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Cat Peed Under The Bed (Can I Stop This?)

If your cat has peed under your bed you may be shocked, or just bored of it by now. Either way, you are likely to want to understand why it’s happening and what you can do about it… 

Why has my cat peed under the bed?

When cats pee somewhere outside of their litter box and the box isn’t dirty, then it is generally one of two things. It could be a health issue, such as diabetes, a problem with their bladder, or other issues or it could be stress.

So, now you know. But, how can I prevent this? How can you get rid of the bad smell? Do cats “Stress pee”? Keep reading for these answers, and much more…

How can I prevent my cat from peeing under the bed?

A kitten staring while seated on a bed.

A kitten staring while seated on a bed.

There are a few things that you can do to keep your kitty from going potty under the bed. Plastic carpet runners are a good start – they’re easy to cut to shape and they’ll provide a little protection. You can make them even more effective with some double-sided tape on the top.

Cats HATE how it feels on their paws and your cat will stop going under the bed altogether.

You can also simply close your room door or block access underneath the bed. A practical way to do this is a flat, plastic container, and you can store off-season clothing in it underneath your bed. This keeps your cat out and gives you more closet space in the bargain!

Finally, cats are big fans of citrus, so citrus repellant spray or even just some orange peels under the bed might keep your cat from going there. Just know that if you go with the peels, every now and again you’ll find that your cat will go there anyway to bat them around for fun!

Can vinegar help to stop a cat from peeing on your bed?

Vinegar is not necessarily an effective repellant, but it is excellent for cleaning up kitty messes to get rid of the smell. Get a plastic spray bottle and fill it with a 50/50 mix of white vinegar and water and you can use this to spray the affected area, let it sit a few minutes, and then clean and repeat as needed.

Test a small patch of carpet first, however, as vinegar can discolor some carpets and you’ll want to be aware of this will be the case with yours before you saturate it.

While vinegar won’t work, citrus repellants are available commercially. They smell great to us, but not to your kitty, so they are effective for cordoning off certain areas by way of scents.

How do you get cat pee smell out?

A person spraying a wooden surface with a spray bottle.

A person spraying a wooden surface with a spray bottle.

When you need to get rid of the cat pee smell, you can use a 50/50 mix of distilled white vinegar and water in a spray bottle, and once these dries, try sprinkling some baking soda on top and leave it there for an hour or two before vacuuming it up and repeating the process if necessary.

Commercial enzymatic cleaners may be purchased at your local pet store or online, but when it comes to cleaners the most important part is to make sure that they don’t have any ammonia in them. The scent of ammonia is more likely to encourage your cat to do it again, so whatever cleaners you select be sure that they don’t have an ammonia component.

How do you discipline a cat for peeing outside the litter box?

Don’t try to discipline your cat for peeing outside of their litter box. Sticking them in a room, rubbing their nose in it, or yelling at them after the fact just makes them think that you are mean and will provoke aggressive behavior – your cat simply doesn’t understand what you’re upset about and won’t associate your behavior with the ‘potty accident’.

If you catch your cat in the act, you can gently lift them and place them in the box if they are still litter training, but if they are already litter trained then start things off with a vet visit to rule out any health issues.

Once you’ve ruled these out, this sort of behavior means that your cat is stressed, so you need to take inventory of the week to think about what has changed. It could be something as simple as a new pet, roommate, or even just you leaving at an unexpected time and staying away for a few hours.

Spend a little quality playtime with your kitty to help them to destress and this will accomplish much, much more than discipline that your cat might not even understand.

Does rubbing a cat’s nose in pee work?

No. Unless you catch your cat in the act, they won’t even know what you are mad about, but forcing their face into urine is still not an option even then. Your cat is just going to view this as an act of aggression on your part and you can destroy their trust doing something like this.

Cats will go to the bathroom outside of their litter box if it’s too dirty, if they have health issues, for stress reasons, and sometimes to ‘mark’ their territory. What you need to do is determine what your cat is responding to. Once you understand that, you can easily strategize to deal with it.

Consider spaying or neutering your cat if you haven’t already. This calms their behavior down quite a bit, often reducing or completely doing away with marking-type behaviors, and it’s also good for their health – it minimizes mood swings, lowers their chances of getting certain cancers, and more!

Do cats stress pee?

Yes. Stress, anxiety, or even a surprise scare can cause your cat to urinate somewhere that they wouldn’t normally go. Cats are creatures of habit and they like their schedules and environments to be predictable.

It doesn’t seem like that, since they change their sleep spots from time to time, but these fuzzy little friends are predators.

So, changing sleeping spots makes them feel protected, as well as an environment that smells like them and runs like clockwork. If your cat is peeing in the house, think about your week. Did you go out unexpectedly for a few hours and you haven’t done that in a while?

If so, your cat might have gotten scared and stressed from this. Some cats can even be a little codependent, so this is a factor as well. A visit to the vet can rule out any health issues, but if your cat is healthy then consider what has changed in the last week.

Your cat may just need a little extra playtime and reassurance to calm down and to stop going potty outside of their litter box.

Red Flags of Anxiety or Stress

Urinating in places other than the litter box is a red flag that your cat is experiencing anxiety or stress. This could be from adding a new animal or roommate to the home, relocating, or even spending random times outside – cats love a predictable schedule and they stress out sometimes when you change yours.

A quick vet visit can rule out any health issues, after that, you’ll need to spend some more quality time with your kitty and try to determine what has changed recently – the behavior will stop once your cat feels safe and secure, just be patient with the process.

Why do new cats hide under a bed?

A new environment can be frightening. For one thing, cats rely on their sense of smell quite a lot more than we do, and an environment that doesn’t have their own scents everywhere makes these fuzzy little predators very nervous.

Be patient. Your cat will come out but if you have to, sliding a litter box under there if there is enough room for them to use it might be a good idea. You can put a little catnip and some treats just outside and give them a little space.

The first few nights can be very stressful for a cat and they need to get used to you and begin to trust you, so keep treats handy, speak in a calming voice, and don’t force the cat to be close to you. Once your cat is comfortable, they will start getting closer to you on their own and you will have earned their trust.

Why does my cat pee on my son/daughter’s bed, but not mine?

There are a few possibilities for this. Your cat could be trying to establish dominance, for example, by marking the child’s bed. Another possibility that sounds strange to us but normal to a cat is that they might be stressed and they prefer the company of the child, so your cat is simply mixing their scents together.

This makes cats feel calmer, as they don’t associate a urine mark as a bad thing as we do. Your cat might even be responding to the bed being messier than your own – try making sure that the bed is neatly made every morning and see if this makes a difference.

Kids aren’t always in the habit of keeping their door closed and so the reason might also be that the cat got locked in for a space or that the room was simply more accessible and your cat is stressed out from forced attention by the kids.

Finally, consider a vet visit to make sure that it’s not any health issues – sometimes this behavior occurs because your cat simply cannot help it.

Lindsey Browlingdon