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how to stop your cat from peeing on the bed

Why Does My Cat Pee on My Bed? 5 Causes and Solutions

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The only thing worse than the smell of cat pee is rolling on it in the middle of the night! Believe it or not, peeing on the bed is a very common cat behavior problem. There are literally thousands of cat parents Googling this problem!

Ready to dive into some pee talk? Let’s do it!

Why Your Cat Is Peeing on the Bed—5 Tinkle Types

My cat, Olivia.
At one time, Olivia decided to make my bathmat her personal pee spot!

There is no one-reason-fits-all explanation for why your cat pees on the bed. And we all know our cats are super unique, each exhibiting their own quirks and oddities that both baffle us and make us love them. That said, there are some commonalities among cats who pee on the bed.

Here are some of the most common reasons why your cat is using your bed as a litter box.

1. She Has a Health Issue

Any time your cat is peeing outside the litter box, there’s a chance some medical issues are involved. A urinary tract infection, kidney disease, or bladder infection may be some of the most common causes of bad litter box behavior.  These conditions can cause your cat to urinate frequently, and your bed may serve as a comfortable spot to do so!

2. She’s Not Happy with Her Litter Box Situation

There are many reasons why your cat may be avoiding her litter box. Cats are very persnickety, and their particularity extends to the size and location of her litter box and the type of cat litter in the box. More on how to fix litter box problems in just a moment!

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pin why your cat is peeing on the bed and how to stop it

3. She Has Anxiety

Cats can experience anxiety, and they often express it in ways you may not expect. While you might find a dog clinging to its parent, shaking or panting, a cat may exhibit brazen or bad behavior, such as peeing outside the litter box.

New people, pets, or living situations can easily stress a cat out and cause her to urinate on your bed or other places around the house and may develop other unwanted behaviors. According to Catster, the bed, or other elevated areas like a sofa, may make her feel safe since she can see all around her when she’s in a vulnerable position while peeing.

Here are some other signs of cat anxiety.

4. She Smells Cat Pee

One reason it’s so difficult to get your cat to stop peeing on the bed is that the odor is so strong! Even if you can’t smell it, the bacteria from cat pee is detectable to their little noses, and smelling pee is a signal that your bed is an acceptable pee spot.

More on cat pee smell here.

5. She’s Marking Her Territory

Dogs are not the only ones who mark their territory. Cats will often spray to claim ownership, and your bed may well be the target of that bad behavior.

Have you identified the reason why your cat is peeing on your bed? Remember, it very well could be several reasons! Now let’s work to solve your cat pee problems for good.

How to Stop Your Cat from Peeing on the Bed

1. Visit Your Veterinarian

First and foremost, rule out medical issues, like urinary tract infections or kidney disease. I know it seems like an expensive way to curb your cat’s peeing, but if there is a medical problem, you’ll want to address it right away before it progresses.

I always recommend pet insurance for this very reason. You never want to make the choice between sacrificing your pet’s health care for the sake of finances. I have literally saved tens of thousands of dollars by purchasing pet insurance. Here’s the pet insurance I use.

cta check your cat's health with this free checklist

2. Make Her Litter Box More Enticing

There are many reasons why your cat hates her litter box. First and foremost, your cat wants a clean box. This means daily or twice daily scooping.

Next, you need to make sure she likes the cat litter itself. Some cats like pelleted litter, some like clay litter, some prefer very fine sand-like litter. I’ve long been a fan of World’s Best Cat Litter™. It’s a natural and sustainable litter that comes in many formulas to suit even the pickiest of cats. For cats who are avoiding the litter box, I recommend the Attraction Action formula. It contains a plant-based additive that’s designed to attract your cat to the litter.

Remember that your cat’s sense of smell is often 15 times or more sensitive than yours – she may not like the scent you’ve chosen, or it may be overwhelming to her. Unscented litter may be worth at try.

Pour enough cat litter into the box to cover the whole thing at a depth of 1.5–2 inches. You want it soft but not so your kitty’s paws sink in deeply.

Once you’ve found the purr-fect litter, you’ll need the perfect litter tray or box to go with it. There are many self-cleaning litter boxes on the market right now, and those can be a lifesaver for you. However, not all cats love the design. Most cats prefer a non-hooded box. Something simple and inexpensive like this litter box will do the job just fine. It’s what I use for my Olivia.

Petmate Cat Litter Box
  • Large open top box with sloped sides for older cats or kittens
  • Holds more litter for less frequent cleaning
  • Made by a company with 50+ years of pet product experience

Older cats may have other health issues, such as arthritis, and may have trouble getting into a tall-sided box. If your cat is over seven years old, try a low-entry box to make it easy to get into and out of. No one wants to be stuck in the bathroom!

Now, the key is getting the right size and the right number of boxes. The ideal size for your cat can be calculated by measuring from the tip of her nose to the end of her tail and then adding fifty percent.

As far as the number of litter boxes, always provide one for each cat in your household, plus one. So if you have two cats, you’ll want one box for each, plus one extra. If you have one cat, two boxes will suffice.

If you have more than one cat, there may be resource guarding at play. Place your litterboxes in more than one defensible location, i.e. different rooms, to ensure that they all have access to a box at all times.

Okay, you’ve appeased your cat with the right box, the right litter, the right number of boxes, and a clean as clean can be area to do business in. Next, let’s talk location!

Most cats prefer privacy in an easy-to-reach, well-lit location. Think of the corner of a bathroom, rather than a closet. Your cat’s litter box’s location should also be accessible to you as well!

Many cat peeing issues can be solved by using these rules of thumb.

3. Alleviate Her Anxiety

Cats can develop anxiety over a variety of issues, but commonly their fears can stem from sudden changes. They are most definitely creatures of habit, so bringing in a new family member, fur or human, can trigger fear that results in a cat’s behavior issues, like peeing on the bed.

They can also react negatively if a human roommate leaves, even if they were not close. If your human child has recently moved out, gone to college, or is suddenly employed outside the home, it may cause some litterbox troubles for your kitty.

There are many other reasons for cats to experience anxiety, and I outline them in this post.

More importantly, what can you do to help calm your kitty?

When Olivia is stressed, I plug in her calming Feliway Diffuser. The scent mimics a mother’s natural nursing pheromones, which helps to put cats at ease.

It’s also important to rule out medical reasons for your cat’s anxiety, so be sure to have a conversation with your veterinarian sooner rather than later.

FELIWAY Classic Cat Calming Pheromone
  • Vet recommended to help with stress-related behaviors like urine spraying and scratching
  • Drug free solution that mimics cats natural facial pheromones
  • Covers up to 700 square feet and each refill lasts up to 1 month

4. Get the Cat Pee Smell Out!

Cat pee smells because it has bacteria in it that will only come out with the proper cleanser, meaning the cleanser must contain natural enzymes that destroy the bacteria.

If there is cat pee present in your home from previous cats, either yours or previous tenants/owners, your cat can easily sniff it out, even if it’s not obvious to you!

Additionally, if she pees in your bed and the bed or bed linens are not washed properly, you can almost be certain she’ll return to the scene of the crime to commit the dirty deed over and over again.

We’ll talk about how to deep clean in just a bit, but for now, let’s start with identifying pee spots. You can do that with a black light, such as this one. Use it to identify urine spots around your house so you can clean them properly.

Vansky UV Flashlight Black Light
  • UV flashlight helps you find invisible stains, like pet urine
  • The 51 UV LEDs have a 15-year lifespan
  • Pocket-size for easy storage

5. Get to the Bottom of the Territory Marking

It’s common for cats to mark or spray when they feel threatened or when their space feels invaded. Are you adding a new little human to your family? Your cat may be rebelling by marking. Anecdotally, cats can detect hormone changes in women so your cat can tell if you’re expecting before you can!

If this is the case, be sure to give your cat lots of extra affection and reassure her that she’s still a valued family member.

They can also sense stress, illness, or other changes in their human roommates, so consider your own health as well.

The Best Way to Clean Cat Pee Out of Your Bed

If your cat peed on the bed while it was covered in cushions and blankets, you’ll need to strip the entire bed and put everything in the wash. But remember, not just any detergent will do! You must use an enzyme cleaner and odor destroyer for it to fully remove the bacteria that causes the smell that attracts your cat.

There are almost endless products on the market to do this, and believe me, I’ve tried almost every single one! That’s actually the reason I developed my own enzymatic cleaner: Kinderbean No Stress Mess Eraser.

Kinderbean doesn’t contain stains or dyes, so it won’t discolor your home’s surfaces. If you choose to use a different enzymatic cleaner, make sure to color test first.

Kinderbean No Mess Stress Eraser for Pet Stains and Odors
  • Enzymatic cleaner uses natural processes to completely remove new and old pee, poop, vomit, blood, and scoot stains from all your floor and furniture surfaces 
  • Also cleans leashes, collars, and pet bedding
  • No harsh chemicals or residue, just a non-toxic blend of safe probiotics 

Spray or pour the enzyme cleaner directly on the spot where your cat peed. Then put the linens in the wash in hot water. If you have a steam washer, set the cycle to steam. You can use your regular detergent as well.

When the cycle finishes, be sure to give the linens a good “sniff test.” If you smell any residual odors, run another cycle using OxiClean or Borax (test fabrics and make sure your washer can handle these products). After the second cycle, dry normally.

Now for your mattress! Hopefully, you have a mattress pad that prevents leaks, but in case you don’t, you’ll want to thoroughly clean your mattress as well. Using an enzymatic cleaner like Kinderbean, treat the affected area, and agitate it well with a clean cloth.

Lay a second dry clean cloth over the area. Leave it for 3–4 hours or overnight. Remove the cloth, and let it dry. Because mattresses are often very thick, it may take quite some time to dry. 

If you have the popular Little Green Machine from BISSELL® or another mattress shampooer, use that to finish off the area.

The ultimate goal is to eliminate any odor and bacteria that might give your cat reason to think your bed is her new pee spot. It may also take a few rounds of cleaning to completely remove the pee.

Understanding your cat’s mysterious peeing habits, including why she pees where you sleep, is all part of being good pet parents. The more we know about why our cats behave as they do can help us decode their personalities and quirks and unlock the door to an amazing bond that you and your cat will never forget. 

cta check your cat's health with this free checklist

Kristen Levine is a nationally acclaimed pet expert, influencer, and Fear Free Certified® Professional with over 30 years of experience working with pets.

Through this blog and her book, Pampered Pets on a Budget, Kristen has helped millions of pet parents solve problems and provide the best care for their dogs and cats.

Working alongside hundreds of pet professionals, including veterinarians, behaviorists and trainers inspired Kristen to become a pet parenting “guide”, providing readers with reliable information about health, wellness and lifestyle for dogs and cats and the people who love them.

A dogged advocate for pet adoption and rescue, Kristen has featured over 1,000 adoptable dogs and cats from the SPCA on live television and radio appearances to get them adopted. Her blog, KristenLevine.com has been featured in over 100 media outlets – including the New York Times, USA Today, FOX & Friends, Good Morning America, Women's Day, Reader's Digest, Good Housekeeping, Pop Sugar and more.

To stay up to date on the latest health and lifestyle trends for pets, Kristen regularly attends the top veterinary and pet product conferences, where she’s often a featured speaker.

This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. I have had a cute cat for more than 2 years, I have had him since he was 2 months old. He’s been going to the toilet in the wrong place lately. I was very upset and didn’t understand why. Eventually, I realized that because the toilet was dirty and he didn’t seem to like it, he went into the bathroom in the house and even peed on my bed, which really bothered me. I changed the litter box shortly after, luckily my cat was in the same spot as before.

    1. Thank you for the article, it’s miles very beneficial for a cat proprietor like me, I recognize why my cat goes to the bathroom withinside the incorrect place, and I actually have found out the way to restore it.

  2. We foster cats until they find a new home for them, we have done this for quite a few years, but we have just got a cat that pees in the bed and sofa. we have 2 other cats, but she gets on with them, I think she is about 2 yrs old. I think she has had a few homes and this is why they have not kept her. can you help as how we can stop this. she has her own litter box. if we can solve this we may be able to get her a for ever home.

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