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Posted on Wed, Aug 4, 2010 : 10:03 a.m.

Is your cat stressed out? Here's one way to help him deal

By Lorrie Shaw

Do you know why your cat rubs his cheek up against furniture or your leg? There is a motive behind it - it's definitely "marking" behavior. As your cat rubs on you or other things in the house, he does so to mark his territory - but it also gives him a sense of calm. You know that feeling that you have when familiar things or people are close at hand? It gives you a sense of peace, right? The feline pheromones rubbed on things in his territory do that same thing for your cat. It's a built-in coping tool. This is especially true when cats are under stress.

There are times when feline facial rubbing isn't enough to give cats the security that they need. Situations when a cat, male or female, feels especially ill at ease or "challenged" it can lead to a distressing problem for their human counterparts: urine-marking, or spraying indoors. (If your cat is exhibiting urine-marking behavior, it's always a prudent idea to take them to the vet to be sure that there is not an underlying physical problem, like a urinary tract problem - and to check their overall health.)


flickr photo courtesy of Claudio Gennari

The College of Veterinary Medicine at OSU has put together a comprehensive website called the Indoor Cat Initiative, which has easy-to-implement tips to help keep the sanity of your cat - and you. One interesting way that is mentioned to assist your cat in dealing with stress is a synthetic version of feline pheromones, called Feliway. Available in two different delivery systems, Feliway promotes a sense of stability. Depending on if your cat is spraying, behaving stressed, scratching or exhibiting other destructive behavior will indicate if you need spray or a diffuser. The product can be a pre-emptive strategy when stressful situations arise, like fireworks, storms, new baby in the house, construction and more.

Lorrie Shaw is owner of Professional Pet Sitting as well as a regular pets contributor on She also blogs frequently on More Than Four Walls, and enjoys researching solutions regarding pet wellness and behavior, as well as social issues related to pets, including cats. She can be reached via e-mail.



Thu, Aug 5, 2010 : 12:40 p.m.

Like you've never spoken your mind in a post.

J. Sorensen

Thu, Aug 5, 2010 : 3:04 a.m.

Nicole, now that's just rude. If you dislike pets, don't read the pet articles.


Wed, Aug 4, 2010 : 9:25 p.m.

OK....if your cat is spraying the house with urine, get rid of the cat. That would be the solution. I mean, gross. What is it with pet owners anyway. Animals belong out doors. Not inside the house anyway.

Macabre Sunset

Wed, Aug 4, 2010 : 1:20 p.m.

You can also give kitty a tiny dose of an OTC anti-histamine to take the edge off. Might want to fix the headline of this article.