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Kitten with big eyes on bed

The essentials

  • It’s not personal — Your cat isn’t peeing on your bed because they’re mad at you. Both environmental and biological reasons could be behind it.
  • Bladder or kidney problems may be at fault — Your cat may pee on your bed because of anxiety and stress.
  • Be patient. It could take longer than a month to fix — Punishing your cat will only prolong problems because your cat may become anxious and fearful.

Waking up to a wet bed, or getting ready to lie down and finding your bed soaked in cat pee, may be one of the most annoying things as a cat parent, but it could be a sign of a health problem. Cats are notoriously clean, so soiling a place where they enjoy sleeping is not something they do for fun or to make your life difficult. The good news is there are ways to treat an underlying condition or correct the behavior.

Cat being examined by vets

When peeing outside the litter box is a medical issue 

If your cat pees on the bed and you’ve noticed a change in their litter box habits, it could be a sign of a serious, even life-threatening cause.

🚨Seek veterinary attention ASAP if your cat frequently pees outside their box.

Urinary tract infections

Urinary tract infections are uncommon in cats, so if you happen to see any symptoms of one: frequency of urination, straining while urinating, or blood in the urine, it’s time to see the vet. Neutered male cats are at risk for blockages because of how narrow the urethra is. If he visits the box frequently, but only a little urine is coming out, he may have a blockage, a medical emergency because it won’t go away on its own. Blockages could be from crystals, build-up of mucus-like substances, or naturally-occurring minerals .

Feline lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD)

Some of the most common signs of FLUTD overlap with UTIs, but the cause differs. FLUTD causes can include an abnormal function or structure of the urethra or bladder because of infection, diet, inflammation, or an obstruction. Cats most likely to show these symptoms are overweight cats with little exercise, middle-aged to older cats, neutered males, indoor cats that use a cat box, multi-cat households, and dehydrated cats.

Kidney problems

Another cause, especially in older cats, is kidney failure. Many factors play into the likelihood that your cat will develop this such as breed, medication history, and especially age. Many cats over the age of 15 will show signs. Urinating places other than the litter box is one sign to look out for. It could also be a sign that your cat has diabetes mellitus or true kidney infections (pyelonephritis) which are other medical conditions that cause an increase of water consumption and changes in their urination habits.

When peeing outside the litter box is a behavioral issue

If there are no medical reasons for your cat peeing outside the litter box, a behavioral issue may be to blame. One misconception is that cats urinate outside the litter box out of aggression. Some of the most common reasons are:

  • Territory marking. Cats mark their territory through scent. Some cats, especially males, mark the house as theirs to feel more comfortable.
  • Separation anxiety. Contrary to popular belief, cats are caring and loving and want to spend quality time with their loved ones. Long periods spent apart can cause separation anxiety in your kitty.
  • Stress induced by change. Most cats are creatures of habit, similar to cat owners. When environmental changes happen inside their house, it can cause them to be stressed and unsure of what is happening.
  • Dirty litter box. Cats are clean creatures. When their litter tray gets too dirty, cats will find an alternative to do the job and keep them clean.
  • Addition of new family members. Along the same lines as marking their territory, cats will pee outside the litter box if new animals, especially other cats, are brought in. Their own scent gives them comfort in this stressful time.
Black and white cat on a table

How to prevent your cat from peeing on the bed

Whether a medical or behavioral issue is behind this behavior, or maybe you’re still scratching your head, there are steps to prevent it from continuing. Always check with your vet for any underlying medical causes.

Assess the litter box

Once you’ve gone to the vet for a physical exam, the next thing is to try the most obvious solution: perfecting the bathroom situation. Because each cat is an individual, you may need to try several setups to get your kitty situated.

  1. Move the litter box — Find a location, like a small, more private room, to place the litter box. This might allow your cat to feel safer as they do their business.
  2. Move the litter box (again) — If you find that your cat is still not using the litter box, you may need to double-check its accessibility. If your cat can’t reach it, they can’t use it.
  3. Add another box(es) — If you have a multi-cat household, the general rule of thumb is one more litter box than the number you own. Try keeping them in different locations in your home.
  4. Find a different box — Some cats prefer higher walls while others prefer lower sides they can see over. They also have preferences on box covers (hoods or no hoods). Experiment with boxes of different floor sizes and tops.
  5. Try a different type of litter — Just like some people have their preferred toilet paper, some cats will have a favorite litter material. Some cats are more sensitive to litter dust so you can try non-clumping cat litter. Cats are also sensitive to odors and can have allergies to some perfumes so try to steer clear of those.

👉 If none of this works, you may want to look into trying diapers for your cat.

Training your cat to stop peeing on the bed

Cats respond well to positive reinforcement training and redirection from their pet parents, even as kittens. Keep your bedroom door shut so your cat no longer accesses your bed. Some pheromone products can help discourage cats from peeing outside the litter box. If you’re still having a hard time training them, consider talking with your vet about if your cat has anxiety and may need medication to help relieve it.

Cat sat on kitchen counter washing machine

How to get cat urine out of your bedding

Unfortunately, if you’re reading this article, your cat has peed on your bed. Everything is not hopeless. There are different ways to clean urine odor and urine stains out of your bedding. The first thing you’ll want to do is remove any cloth that you can and put it straight into the washing machine with cold water and a detergent specifically for pet odors. After that, the priority is soaking up the urine in anything that cannot be laundered with baking soda. Then make use of a cat-specific enzyme cleaner on the soiled area.

🚨Never use bleach on urine! It contains ammonia that will mix and create toxic fumes.

If you’ve noticed urine on your bedding, take a look around your house to see if your cat has peed anywhere else. Cats pee where they smell ammonia, so you’ll need to clean other affected areas of your home.

Frequently asked questions

Why did my cat suddenly start peeing on my bed?

There are a few possible reasons for your cat to start peeing in your bed. A few of them are medical problems, so you will want to take them to the vet as soon as possible. Others are stress and anxiety induced, most commonly caused by change.

Why is my cat peeing on my pillows?

One of the reasons that cats pee outside the litter box is to comfort themselves by surrounding their area with their scent. When a cat has a special bond with you, your scent will be comforting and may lead them to pee where they feel safe.

Can I make my cat stop peeing on my bed?

It is possible to train your cat not to pee on the bed. You’ll need some good fabric cleaner for the accidents and lots of love and positive encouragement for your kitty.

Why did my cat pee on my blankets?

Contrary to popular belief, cats don’t pee outside their litter box out of spite. If you’ve noticed your cat peeing elsewhere, you’ll need to take them to the vet to see if they have health issues like kidney disease, diabetes, or hyperthyroidism.