As you will surely know if you share your life with a cat, felines are very territorial animals and creatures of habit: they will have a distinct area for eating, one for sleeping, etc., and it would be hard to make them change these. In fact, a change to their territory or the place where they live could cause them a great deal of stress. If we have a good understanding of how the distribution of territory works for cats, we will be able to prevent problems and help them to be happier.
THREE TYPES OF TERRITORY
Based on a cat’s mentality, we find that there are three types of territory:
This is where your cat feels safest and most comfortable. For this reason, they dedicate this area to rest and withdrawing for some quiet time. It is also convenient for them to have a spot within this space to retreat, to which people and other animals have no access.
These are places in the house that your cat dedicates to playing, hunting and sharing with people and other animals. It should be in this space that you locate differentiated areas for their toilet, their food and their water.
This is the extension of the territory that the cat defends, although they do not spend the majority of their time there. For example, it could be your garden, your terrace or surrounding areas.
If you take into account these territorial needs when you are setting out your home, you will be able to ensure that your cat feels as comfortable as possible.
A change to the cat’s territory or the place where they live could cause them a great deal of stress.
THEIR RELATIONSHIP WITH THEIR
Cats establish an emotional attachment to the space in which they live, so they mark it to organise it, orientate themselves and send messages to other animals.
Although they may be invisible to your eyes and undetectable to your nose, your house will certainly be full of scent marks (which they leave by rubbing their chin, head, flanks…) and visual marks (like scratches) that your cat uses to mark their areas.
Other marks can be more obvious, for example marking with urine: to prevent this, get your cat neutered. It is normal that, faced with any change, such as the arrival of a new member of the family, the cat will react by making more marks. This usually only lasts for a short while and, if others continue to respect their spaces, in a few days they return to normality.