Cats are possessive animals. As humans who love kitties, you likely already know this. But why are some cats more possessive or more territorial than others? Does your cat seem to be safeguarding his territory a little more vigorously lately? Do you find yourself asking, “Why is my cat so territorial?” These are all great questions! And they all have a few possible answers. Read on for some reasons why kitty is being so territorial and what (if anything) you should do about it.
What is Territorial Behavior in Cats?
Before diving into some reasons behind territorial behavior, let’s first define it. Basically, cats will sometimes feel the need to show everyone their boundaries. Cats have multiple ways of being territorial about their space.
For instance, they might spray a piece of furniture or a doorway in your home. Or your normally well-behaved feline is now scratching up your favorite armchair. Cats also do cute things like rub their cheeks on you or your belongings. They do this to indicate that they ‘own’ you.
Sometimes, cats will get a little aggressive to show someone who’s the boss. Usually this takes place between felines. However, cats will sometimes get aggressive with humans too. They might bite, hiss or scratch. My cat decides to corner me sometimes in a fit of territorial behavior.
All About Cat Instincts
So why do cats act all territorial? Generally speaking, your cat comes with a few basic instincts or needs built in. First, he needs to make sure he has a sufficient supply of food to sustain him. Second, he needs to make sure that he is safe from potential threats or predators. Understanding this is the key to understanding the territorial behavior we sometimes see in our feline friends.
Why Do Cats Get So Territorial
Now we understand two basic needs are driving your cat’s behaviors. But why are they making your cat feel territorial?
Your cat may feel threatened in some form—whether it be food supply or general safety. When a cat feels threatened in some way, he might display those territorial behaviors. These behaviors can pop up because of a variety of situations. Moving to a new house or apartment is a pretty common scenario. Similarly, adopting a new furry family member into your home can prompt your cat to feel territorial.
Both of these life situations can cause major stress to your cat. That stress can in turn trigger his need to mark his territory. And, if your lovable cat happens to be an intact male, know that he may be more prone to being territorial in general.
Is There Anything I Can Do for Territorial Behavior?
Remember that punishing your cat is never a good answer. Prevention is key with unwanted behavior, so try to head it off before it happens. You can distract kitty with play time if she starts getting too territorial. Or if you plan to introduce a new feline to your home, do it slowly and give them both time to ease into it.
If your normally docile cat turns violent or aggressive quickly, call up your vet. This may signal something besides marking territory, like an underlying health issue.