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Understanding your cat’s territory and preventing territory-related stress

Cats like to have a very distinct territory to call their own; this could be just your home and garden, or it may stretch across a much larger area. Any disruption to their territory can cause your cat to become stressed.

In urban areas with a large cat population, the presence of neighbouring cats can lead to fights or intruders in the home. Stress in cats can cause related issues such as cystitis, skin conditions or hair loss.

Keep your cat happy and healthy by understanding their territory and learning how they use it.

Why do cats patrol their territory?

While some cats will learn to accept and even enjoy the company of other cats that they live with, they won’t tolerate neighbouring cats invading their territory. They patrol their territory to ensure that intruders are kept away.

How do cats patrol their territory?

Just like guards on patrol cats will often visit key sites within their territory at the same time each day. They will often patrol their territory in one direction. This is why you may notice that they’ll go out the back door, and then meow to be let in at the front door!

Spraying and clawing

You may notice your cat spraying or clawing at the end of the garden or along the fence. This is the edge of their territory and by marking it, it is their way of telling other cats in the neighbourhood that it’s theirs and not to cross the boundary of their territory.

If there is another cat living nearby, there is a chance their territories may overlap. When a cat sprays within this overlap, it tells other cats when they were last there. Cats visit certain parts of their territory at the same time of day, so other cats know what time to avoid that area. In this way, cats in densely populated areas can learn to patrol their territory without coming into contact with other cats.

So how can you help your cats?

Cats are creatures of routine, and if this routine is disrupted and they can’t patrol their territory when they want to, they can find this stressful. Therefore, it’s important to give your cat access to the garden through a cat flap so that they can patrol their whole territory whenever they choose. Consider installing more than one cat flap to give your cat more chances to patrol their territory freely.

Prevent home invasion by installing a SureFlap Microchip Cat Flap. The home is your cat’s core territory where they sleep and eat. If neighbouring cats invade this space, your cat can quickly become stressed. They might even spray or claw inside your home to discourage the intruder. A secure cat flap will stop any intruders coming inside and will make sure your cat feels more relaxed knowing that your home is their home.

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