Why Is My Cat Doing Handstands?

Cat Hand Stand

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The kitty cat handstand – a whimsical sight? Or a homeowner’s worst nightmare?

Sad to say, if you see your adorable feline friend doing the cat handstand, you’re likely going to be in for a night with some bleach and enzyme cleaner.

Cats mark their territory in some unusual ways – one of which is the "spraying handstand."

Here’s what you need to know about this surprising behavior, what it means, and how you can protect your home from the aftermath.

The Cat Handstand

Cat Spraying

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Cats are super territorial... over everything. They mark the perimeter of their territory, they mark their favorite place to sleep in the house, and they even like to mark their human counterpart.

However, while some of the ways cats mark their territory are ridiculously cute – like awww-inducing head rubs and warm cuddles – others are not so enjoyable.

One of the ways cats mark their territory is by spraying urine on surfaces, particularly those near entry points or territory borders. While unneutered male cats are more prone to this stinky, messy behavior, neutered males and female cats can do it, as well.

The cat handstand is exactly what it sounds like, with the added twist of leaving cat urine on your wall. Cats sometimes do a handstand to get their markings higher up on a surface, to ensure they are covering another cat’s smell, or simply because that’s how they learned to do it from dear old dad.

While it may be entertaining to see your cat hold his balance in a circus-like pose, it usually means your cat is feeling the need to define his dojo and has left a yucky little deposit behind.

How to Get Rid of Cat Urine

Cleaning Cat Pee

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If you’ve fallen victim to the cat handstand and you’re now trying to get rid of the unpleasant aroma dancing around your space, here’s how to get rid of those gnarly cat markings:

  • Get as much of the moisture off the surface as possible with paper towels. Sop up the stain and throw the paper towels away immediately to minimize the spread of the stain and smell.
  • Use an enzyme cleaner to break down the urine and eliminate the smell for good. Cats have an extraordinary sense of smell and regular household cleaners – even the toughest bleach – can’t always destroy the lingering scent. If your cat can still smell the previous marking, he or she may be called to do it again. We like Rocco & Roxie’s Professional Strength Enzyme-Powered Stain Remover specifically designed for pet urine.
  • Use a household cleaner specific to your surface. If your cat marked your couch, you may need an upholstery cleaner. If the surface in question is wood, you may need something gentle with conditioning action. Clean the surface according to the surface-specific cleanser instructions.
  • Use the enzyme cleaner again to attack any remaining urine. This will help ensure the smell is gone entirely.
  • Prevent future markings. For some cats, spraying urine is a territorial thing caused by nothing more than their desire to be king of the castle. For others, it’s a coping mechanism driven by stress. Figure out what your cat’s cause is and work to solve it to prevent future cat handstands.
  • How to Avoid the Spray

    two cats

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    Cats – especially unneutered males – spray their territory to ward off intruders, claim their space, or as a response to anxiety. To figure out which scenario fits your cat, ask yourself the following questions.

    First, is your cat fixed? If not, it’s something you may want to consider. If you aren’t raising your cat to be a mama or a papa, having him neutered or her spayed can significantly reduce his or her urge to mark territorial boundaries. If your cat has been fixed already, there may be something else at play.

    Second, do you have other cats in the home? If so, your cat may be feeling threatened and anxious due to the additional company in the home. Make sure your cat has plenty of room to be alone. If you are a multi-cat household, make sure you have at least one litter box per cat.

    Always give your fur babies separate food and water bowls. By giving each of your little ones some room of their own, you can reduce their stress and any damage they may be causing to your home out of anxiety.  

    Third, do you have feral cats in your neighborhood? Some cats are threatened by the mere sight of another cat. Even if your cat is an indoor cat and there are walls, panes of glass, and a several-foot drop between him and the cats outdoors, he may feel the need to mark his territory.

    Encourage your cat to hang out in windows and rooms where he can’t see the neighborhood cats and put up barriers to the windows that spark his anxiety. Even a nice plant in a window sill can deter your cat from hanging out there and a few treats in another spot can entice him elsewhere.

    Finally, does your cat have a health condition? If you can’t figure out where your cat’s desire to mark comes from, he or she may be dealing with some internal stress. If you’re using PrettyLitter, keep an eye out for any signs of abnormal internal health, like blue, red, orange, or dark green spots.

    If you notice anything out of the ordinary or if you still can’t identify the source of the anxiety, take your fur baby in for a check up with the vet. Some internal health problems cause anxiety as a symptom and catching feline illnesses sooner rather than later is always best.

    Have you dealt with a handstanding cat before? How did you figure out the cause and how did you handle it? Help other cat parents by sharing your experience and knowledge in the comments below.




    Rai Cornell
    Rai Cornell

    Author



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