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Cat Peed On My Pillow? (What Now?)

If your cat has peed on your pillow you may be wondering why this has happened and what can be done…

Why has my cat peed on my pillow?

This is something that a cat does when it is frightened, highly stressed, or even when suffering from a medical problem, such as a urinary tract infection or worse. Clean the pillow with detergent and a cup of white vinegar and get your kitty in to the vet for a checkup to rule out any health issues.

So, now you know. But, should I be worried? Does my cat know I hate this? What can I do to prevent this? Keep reading for these answers, and much more…

Should I be worried if my cat peed on my pillow?

Gray tabby cat under gray throw pillow.

Gray tabby cat under gray throw pillow.

While it’s easy to get angry, something like this is more of a reason to worry about your cat, rather than to be upset. Cats rely heavily on their olfactory senses, sometimes even as much as their eyesight, and by peeing on your pillow your cat is mixing your scents with theirs.

If it’s not about their health, consider what has changed recently… something is stressing your cat out. It could be something obvious such as a new roomie or even if you’ve been leaving a lot lately – something is stressing them out and you’ll need to determine what it is to help your kitty.

Does my cat know I do not like my pillow being peed on?

Nope, your cat has no idea that what they have done is offensive to you. Cats mark their territories with their own scents, though it’s not always so dramatic. In most cases, it is simply done with the scent glands that they have all over their bodies.

When your cat rubs against you, for instance, they are marking you while they do it and the mixed smells of your cat and your own scents make your kitty feel comfortable. This is what they are doing when they rub against the furniture, too.

If your cat hasn’t been spayed or neutered, this can help reduce ‘spraying’ tendencies, and their marking behavior generally isn’t so direct unless your cat is very stressed, ill, or telling a new cat that ‘this’ is mine.

How can I prevent my cat from peeing on my pillow?

The easiest way is to go to your pet store or get online to get ahold of some citrus cat repellent. These sprays use natural citrus oils that smell good to you, but which the cat really doesn’t like.

Beyond this, you could always simply close the door, or put the pillow away, but the repellent spray is one of the quickest and easiest ways to make your pillow smell like sweet oranges to you and something sharp and unpleasant to your kitty.

Can you clean cat pee out of a pillow?

Person wearing blue rubber gloves.

Person wearing blue rubber gloves.

If your pillow has gotten a very thorough spraying, don’t worry – you can get it out. Mix one cup of vinegar and one cup of water and thoroughly soak the pillow. Next, let this sit for 5 to 10 minutes, before giving it a liberal sprinkling of baking soda to help remove the odors.

Let this sit for another 5 to 10 minutes before washing the pillow in lukewarm or cold water, but without adding detergent. Be sure that the water isn’t hot – this can set the stains and it won’t make the odor any less pleasant, but probably worse!

Air dry the pillow and then give it a regular cycle in your washing machine with cold water and enzyme-based detergent. Air dry it again and repeat the process if needed. Sometimes it can take a time or two, but be patient – you’ll get that smell out!

Does rubbing a cat’s nose in pee work?

No, rubbing your cat’s nose in pee is just going to make them think that you are being cruel – they simply don’t understand what all of the fuss is about. After all, they’re just mixing your scents together! So, resist the urge to get angry at your cat or to punish them, it definitely won’t help things.

Clean the area with an enzymatic cleaner and this should get rid of the smell, and make sure that your cleaning agent doesn’t contain even small amounts of ammonia, as this will encourage more spraying from your cat!

Do waterproof pillow protectors work?

Waterproof pillow protectors will often do the trick. That ‘new plastic’ smell isn’t always such a pleasant one for kitties, but more importantly if your cat still tries to pee there, the plastic will protect your pillows.

If they seem to like the pillow protectors and you’re worried, you can always put a piece of double-sided tape on top and this will definitely drive your kitty away. Cats don’t like the sticky feel of the tape on their paws or their fur, making this tape handy to have for keeping kitties from peeing in specific spots.

What smells deter cats from peeing?

Citrus smells are often considered unpleasant to cats, so much so that they are often included in commercial ‘cat repellent’ sprays that you can purchase. Aside from citrus, essential oils can also work a treat, specifically eucalyptus and peppermint oils.

While we associate these strong smells with medicine and candy, cats definitely don’t like them, so getting some of these oils and keeping them handy can help in a pinch when you need to declare an area ‘off limits’ to a spray-happy kitty.

Does vinegar stop cats from peeing?

Vinegar is good for getting that smell out and this is something that you want to do quickly. When a cat marks an area, if it’s not cleaned thoroughly then they will still smell their scent. The problem is, their scent will smell weakened, and so your cat will feel the urge to ‘refresh’ their scent once again!

Thorough cleaning with vinegar, water, and enzymatic detergents can help to get that odor out and should keep your kitty from immediately marking it again once you do.

What medical issues can cause a cat to pee like this?

There are a number of conditions that can cause a cat to start peeing in the house, even though their litter is spotless. Examples include urinary tract infections, bladder stones, arthritis pain, or even conditions such as kidney disease or Feline Interstitial Cystitis

Diabetes is another common cause of frequent urination around the house – there are really quite a few possibilities – so whenever your cat’s potty habits take a sudden, unexpected change then a visit to the vet to rule out health issues is always the best first step.

Do cats pee on pillows intentionally?

No, your cat is not peeing on the pillow intentionally, at least not for the reasons that you think. Cat’s don’t really understand the concept of revenge beyond a quick swipe of the claws or a nip immediately after you’ve angered them, so waiting to pee on your pillow is not a ‘revenge behavior’ that you are seeing.

Instead, it’s a sign of enormous stress, fear, or potentially even a medical problem. Your pillow smells like you, and this scent makes your kitty feel comfortable – especially mixed with their own. This helps them to feel more comfortable, even if it smells awful to us and feels like a personal attack.

Remember that your cat is not a human, no matter how much personality they have, and don’t punish your kitty. Believe it or not, they wouldn’t have marked your pillow if they didn’t hold you in such high regard!

Lindsey Browlingdon