Our feline friends tend to mark their territory with urine as a form of scent-based communication to other cats. Unfortunately, this pungent odor is unpleasant for people to smell, especially inside the home. Help alleviate your kitty's desire to urine mark by using aromatherapy to deter this behavior.
Cats secrete pheromones from their cheeks that only they can smell. These pheromones have a calming effect on kitties, making them feel safe and secure. According to the Feline Advisory Bureau, whenever a kitty smells these pheromones in an area, she won't mark that area with urine. To obtain these pheromones, you can rub a cotton cloth over your feline friend's cheeks to collect the pheromone secretions. Use the cloth to rub the pheromones in areas where you don't want your kitty to mark. You can also purchase synthetic versions of feline pheromones in pet supply stores to spray around your home, recommends the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
Essential oils are pleasantly scented liquids extracted from plants, which can have a therapeutic and calming effect on your kitty. Because anxiety and stress may contribute to your kitty's desire to mark her territory, keeping her calm can help deter this behavior, suggests the Humane Society of the United States. Some essential oils like chamomile or lavender can help to calm your cat when she smells their aromas, according to the Holisticat website. Place a few drops of the oil in a scent diffuser so your kitty can enjoy its soothing aroma. Turn on the diffuser for 15 minutes at a time, up to four times each day, recommends an article published in the May 2011 issue of "Animal Wellness Magazine."
Kitties are very sensitive to essential oils, so you should never apply them directly to your feline friend's skin or coat. Feline bodies can't properly metabolize the oils, which can build up in your furry buddy's system and even become fatal to her in some cases, warns the Holisticat website. Synthetic pheromones, which come in liquid sprays or scent diffusers, are also not designed for use directly on your cat. Pheromones and essential oils are for use around the home; however, you can safely put collars infused with their calming scents directly on your cat, according to WebMD. The only kinds of aromatherapy liquids you can safely spray on your kitty are hydrosols, which are byproducts of essential oil production.
While aromatherapy products may help to discourage your kitty's urine marking, it's best to bring your furry buddy to the vet for an evaluation to rule out a medical cause for this behavior. Get your kitty spayed or neutered, because intact cats are prone to urine marking. After this procedure, about 90 percent of kitties stop this behavior, according to the HSUS. If you try these steps and use aromatherapy but your kitty is still marking, your vet can prescribe her a medication to help her stop. Medications include tricyclic antidepressants, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors or benzodiazepines, according to the ASPCA. In addition, you can still use aromatherapy in conjunction with medication therapy, if you desire.
- Feline Advisory Bureau: Scratching in the House
- American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals: Urine Marking in Cats
- The Wall Street Journal: A Scent to De-Stress Pets
- Holisticat: Aromatherapy and Your Cat
- The Humane Society of the United States: Marking Territory
- American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals: Behavioral Medications for Cats
- Veterinary Herbal Medicine; Susan G. Wynn and Barbara J. Fougère
- WebMD: Pet Behavior Problems: Can Pheromones Help?
Based in Las Vegas, Susan Paretts has been writing since 1998. She writes about many subjects including pets, finances, crafts, food, home improvement, shopping and going green. Her articles, short stories and reviews have appeared on City National Bank's website and on The Noseprint. Paretts holds a Master of Professional Writing from the University of Southern California.