Why Do Cats Pee on Their Owners' Beds?

Cats don’t do it for spite.

It's more common than we would all like—cats urinating in inappropriate spots in the home. Two of the common spots people complain their cats urinate inappropriately are on their bed and on piles of their clothes. Many owners believe their cat does this intentionally because the kitty is angry with them for something, but that's not the case. Here are the reasons cats pee on your bed or clothes.

It Could Be a Medical Problem

A cat that is suffering from a bladder infection or cystitis—inflammation of the lining of the bladder wall—often experiences pain. When they urinate in the litter box and feel that pain, they might associate it with the box and begin to avoid it, going other places in the home instead.

Also, the irritation of the bladder and urethra can cause a feeling of intense need to urinate, even when the bladder isn't full, and the kitty will go right where they are. Because cats love to be near you or near things that remind them of you, your bed or a pile of clothes might simply be where they are when the urge strikes.

Litter Box Aversion Causes Inappropriate Urination

If your cat doesn't like his litter box or litter for any reason, he might find other, more attractive places to go. This could happen if the litter box isn't kept clean enough or if the cat doesn't like the location, type of box, or the litter that is being used.

Cats like to urinate on soft surfaces that they can use to cover the urine afterward, so a nice soft bed or clothes pile fits that bill nicely.

Stress Causes Cats to Urinate Inappropriately

Stress is a big culprit when it comes to inappropriate urination in cats. And a whole host of things can cause that stress, including new people or pets in the home, changes in schedules, remodeling or redecorating, strained relationships with other cats in the house, and scarce resources (not enough food and water bowls, litter boxes, scratching posts, or cat beds or bully cats not allowing others access to those things).

Again, in this situation, when cats are feeling stressed and engaging in inappropriate urination to mark territory and feel better, your things are a target because of how much your cat loves you and how secure you make him feel—not because he's trying to get back at you for something.

What About When a Cat Urinates on a New Person's Things?

This is another common scenario. A new person comes into the home, and the kitty urinates on their clothes or side of the bed. This is also often interpreted by humans as spite when it's really stress and anxiety. The cat is trying to intermingle his scent with the new person's to feel better about things, not to upset the person or get back at them. The kitty is trying to self-comfort by marking.

What Can You Do to Stop the Behavior?

Inappropriate urination is a complicated problem and will need to be approached systematically. First, visit the veterinarian to rule out a medical problem. Next, make sure your litter box cleaning routine is good enough. You should be scooping several times a day, replacing the litter at least weekly (for one cat) and washing the box with soap and water before refilling it.

If you have multiple cats, you need multiple litter boxes in different areas of the home. Be sure you have as many boxes as you have cats plus one extra (four boxes for three cats).

Next, consider the type of box you have. Many cats dislike covered boxes because they trap powerful odors inside which can hurt the kitty's eyes and nose when he gets in.

Then, think about the type of litter you're using. You can even set up a few boxes next to each other with different kinds of litter in them to see if you are able to determine which type your cat might like best.

Next, think about the possible causes of stress in the home. Are there cats that have issues with each other? Make sure you have enough resources for the number of cats you have.

Clean up all accidents with an enzymatic cat urine cleaner. Otherwise, your cat or other cats in the home might keep returning to the same spot to mark over it.

Finally, be sure you're combating feline stress and boredom in your house with regular interactive playtimes with each cat and lots of scratching posts in every area of your home.

Remember, be patient and positive with your kitty. He is definitely not trying to get back at you for something—he's just trying to communicate with you.

Learn more about this issue here: "Inappropriate Urination in Cats."

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