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Sarah Snow
Sarah Snow,
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 380
Experience:  Veterinarian at The Vet Clinic East
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My cat is chronic about marking. Female spayed cat, about

Customer Question

My cat is chronic about marking. Female spayed cat, about three years old, we have another older cat, they've been together since she was about six months old. They only ever fight. I've tried everything, and I will have to give her back to the animal shelter if she doesn't stop spraying. Can I get her anal glands removed?
JA: I'm sorry to hear that. Strange behavior is often perplexing. I'm sure the Veterinarian can help you. What is the cat's name?
Customer: Billie.
JA: Is there anything else important you think the Veterinarian should know about Billie?
Customer: She's a very aggressive cat with other cats, she barely gets along with our other cat. They fight a lot. I've tried feliway, and it sort of works, but not with the marking.
Submitted: 2 months ago.
Category: Cat Veterinary
Expert:  Sarah Snow replied 2 months ago.


I am Dr. Snow, and I can try and help you. When you say marking, are you talking about her urinating outside of the box or is she expressing her anal glands when shes upset?

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
Hi Dr. Snow- she expresses her glands whenever- I'm not sure if it's a function of upset or just being territorial. I'm not in the neighbour's house when she does this, so I couldn't say, and when she does it at home is totally unpredictable. We don't have a box, we have a spot in the yard for her. She picks fights with other cats (and dogs), and keeping her as an indoor cat isn't an option. She steals food, she eats almost compulsively if that's possible- the neighbours have all told me they've chased her from their cats' bowls- I can't even set dinner on the table without her jumping up there and trying to snitch off our plates. She is a really difficult cat. We've tried water pistols, shouting, positive reinforcement (which does absolutely nothing for her), etc. She beats up our older cat routinely, and marks. I don't want to have to give her up, but we could deal with all the other behavioural matters if it weren't for the marking. All of that said, she is a very affectionate (toward her humans) cat, and she behaves more like a little dog- runs up to the car when we come home in the evening, follows us around, etc.- so she's not terrible in all ways. We got her from an animal shelter, she had been returned three times already- now we know why. Help...
Customer: replied 2 months ago.
she's been with us for about two years. The marking has always been, we're at the end of our tether.
Expert:  Sarah Snow replied 2 months ago.

So, just to clarify, when you say marking, you mean her anal glands, correct? So, she is an indoor/outdoor cat. Is your other cat indoor only?

She may just be territorial, and animals will express their anal glands when they feel stressed, anxious, or fearful. Its just a natural response for them.

Anal glands can be surgically removed, however, it is not a routine surgery and there can be complications.

I would suggest having her in to your veterinarian's office to have them manually expressed every 2 weeks to cut down on the times she is able to express them at home.

If she was adopted from a shelter and she was a stray, that may explain her eating habits - she may be used to never knowing where her next meal was coming from. When she's outside she doesn't understand that the other food bowls aren't hers and she may just be trying to get a meal when she can.

I hope that helps - let me know if you have other questions and we can go from there!

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
Ah- okay. Yes, her anal glads- stinks more than regular pee. They are both outdoor cats. Billie is just such a bully with all other cats, I can only think that it's territorial. She even bullied my friend's giant schauzer. Wasn't bothered at all, but put that big dog in her place. She was adopted from a shelter, but I am told that she was a housepet that was given up because the owner had to move, but she'd been returned to the shelter twice- we were told it was because of personal circumstances. We got her when she was about a year old, and these behaviours have gotten progressively worse over time. The spraying in the neighbor's house is newish. I'm taking her to our vet on Saturday, but what do I do behaviourally?
Expert:  Sarah Snow replied 2 months ago.

Is she spayed? Is she going inside your neighbor's house?

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
on both counts- our neighbor's house is a guest house, and we live in Bermuda- you can't keep your house closed up here, it's too hot- so locking Billie in or out doesn't work.
Expert:  Sarah Snow replied 2 months ago.

Oh ok, I totally understand. I'm wondering if its possible she is marking with urine and sometimes spraying her anal glands. How much liquid are you seeing? or are you just smelling it?

I know you said you've tried feliway, which can be helpful, but she's not inside all the time so not getting the full effects. Does she wear a collar?

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
Hi again- Billie doesn't wear a collar, and mostly we smell it and have to follow our noses to clean it up. It's usually very little urine- usually just the nasty smell. You can't usually tell by the wetness, we usually just smell. If we leave bath mats on the floor, she'll mark on them- sometimes she'll pee, but usually it's about the smell. She actually urinated on the pop-up toaster once, that was an actual puddle, but most of the time it's not like that at all- little moisture, lots of smell.
Customer: replied 2 months ago.
Incidentally, outside the house does not smell of cat marking. Weird that she'll just do it in the house.
Expert:  Sarah Snow replied 2 months ago.

Ok, I understand. That makes sense. I'm not sure it is much of an anal gland problem as much as just her marking with urine. The urine can be very strong when they are marking.

I think this is going to be a touch problem to tackle. She is likely marking due to the presence of the other cats (inside and out), which we can't fix. If she would wear a collar, a NurtureCalm collar might work, as it releases pheramones designed to help with behavioral issues. We would want to make sure its a easy release collar though so she doesn't get caught up on something when she is outside.

Another option would be anti anxiety medication. You could ask your vet about it when you go later this week. It would depend on how easy you feel it would be to give her a daily medication.

Dr. Snow

Expert:  Sarah Snow replied 2 months ago.

Another thing to do would be to add some litter boxes inside for her to give her multiple options on where to eliminate. This can often be very helpful in marking issues.

Expert:  Sarah Snow replied 2 months ago.

I'm just following up on our conversation about your pet. How is everything going?

Sarah Snow