- Not a substitute for professional veterinary help.
Ahhh, peaceful and relaxing sleep—that is, until you wake up to some not-so-wonderful cat urine soaking your sheets.
Many of us have had this unfortunate experience, and as much as we love our feline companions it has us really scratching our heads as to why they choose our cozy sleeping space to relieve themselves in. Luckily we’re ready to dive into these questions and get answers, with the help of some knowledgeable sources, of course.
If your cat is peeing somewhere other than their litter box, it’s possible that they’re not feeling well—which means a trip to the veterinarian might be in order.
Cat Behavior Associates suggests taking them in for a physical exam, including a urinalysis and other diagnostic tests to rule out things like urinary tract infections and kidney disease. They emphasize the importance of first checking for something physically wrong with your cat (just in case), even if you’re convinced that the peeing is really a behavioral issue. After all, wouldn’t you rather be on the safe side?
This brings us to one of the main reasons for cats soiling your precious sleeping area…a whole lot of anxiety and stress. According to PetMD, anxiety in cats can trigger some unpleasant reactions, including peeing in places that they’re not supposed to.
Maybe your partner just moved in and they’ve taken over your kitty’s side of the bed? Maybe you just introduced another four-legged friend (cat, or even a dog!) into their sacred space? Anxiety can trigger this strange reaction in cats—especially since they tend to thrive in a predictable and controllable environment.
It’s also a possibility that you’re not spending enough time with your furry bestie. VetStreet explains that cats can express their unhappiness with their owners being out of town, or even gone for long hours at work, by peeing in their bed or on other things. The intermingling of their scent with the owner’s scent on the bed can also be comforting to them, which is, let’s face it—such a sad, heartbreaking thought!
Anyway, getting to the root of the psychological or emotional stressor that’s causing the kitty to urinate in your lovely sheets may be difficult, but it’s the only way to truly remedy the situation.
All of the sources we came across did agree on one important thing—that you should re-think your litter box situation if your cat doesn’t want to eliminate there. In fact, unhappiness with their current litter box is one of the major reasons that kitties have issues peeing in the proper place.
According to VetStreet you should first look at the box itself. Make sure it’s not too tall (for cats who are suffering from arthritis), but that it’s large enough for them to fit inside comfortably. Many cats prefer uncovered boxes, even though their humans like the covered ones where everything is all tucked away.
The kind of litter you use is also important and cats can get picky about this. Finely ground clumping clay litter is a popular choice for kitties, although you should avoid the ones with a strong scent since that’s mostly for the sake of humans, not for the cat.
Location, location, location is also essential. You don’t want to keep the litter box in an area that people are constantly walking through, as that can be super distracting to a cat trying to do their business. It’s also a good idea to put a couple of boxes around the house, with the rule of thumb being one box per cat, plus an extra.
Vet Street also emphasizes the importance of cleaning the litter box DAILY. Yes, that can be a pain—but it’s essential for making your kitty feel safe and happy. Plus, your house will smell a heck of a lot better if you do that!
And finally we get to the most important part—what to do to make this situation with your feline better.
First, you’re going to need a little bit (OK, a lot) of patience. Then, follow these useful tips suggested by our friends at PetMD:
- Spruce up the litter box: Like we mentioned before, if you make them a nice area to pee, they’re more likely to use it. This means scooping regularly, using high-quality litter, and making sure you have plenty of boxes available around the house.
- Make sure you’ve thoroughly cleaned up the mess on your bed: Cats will continue to come back to areas they’ve marked which is…not great.
- Turn the area into a “fun zone”: Play with their favorite toys on the bed, give them treats there—make it a special place that they won’t want to mess up.
- Be positive: Getting angry and punishing your cat will only stress them out more, which will probably make the problem much worse. Be patient and give them lots of cuddles—this is hard on both of you.
- Ask for help: Have you been trying to retrain your cat for a month and nothing seems to be working? Don’t be afraid to ask a professional for help. A certified cat Behavior specialist may be able to help you figure out your next steps.
We know you love your ball of fluff regardless of the urination situation. But we also know you’d like your fresh, clean sheets back. We just want to emphasize that this kitty bed peeing situation CAN be fixed.
Taking the time to understand why your cat is acting out is the first step, and once you’ve tackled that you’re well on your way to getting back to your peaceful, harmonious, no-urine-in-the-bed life together.