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How To Stop a Cat Peeing Behind the TV

If your cat is peeing behind the TV then you may be wondering why this keeps happening and what can be done about it…

Why do cats pee behind a TV?

There are a few reasons why a cat might pee behind a television or other items in the house. Most commonly, a health issue. Or, it is a stress response to a change in the environment, such as new people or the addition of another animal. It may also be a territorial response, with the urine being used as a way to ‘mark’ the cat’s territory.

So, now you know. But, what can you do to stop it? What can happen to your TV if this happens? Why do cats even go behind TVs? Keep reading for these answers, and much more…

How to stop a cat peeing behind the TV

Old telly on rough floor in house.

Old telly on rough floor in house.

If your cat seems to be making a habit of urinating behind the TV then you’ll want to resist the urge to discipline them. This will only antagonize or further stress your cat and can damage the trust that you have built with it. Below we’ve listed some effective methods for discouraging this kind of behavior which you may use:

  • Use lino or waterproof wood – Cats often use textures to decide where they wish to go potty. By setting out a piece of waterproof wood or some lino there, over the cables. The textural change may make this location less desirable for ‘kitty potty breaks’.
  • Relocate the TV  — You can also try relocating the TV or getting a new TV stand which may be pushed against the wall, effectively removing the space behind it so that your cat cannot pee there.
  • Repel with orange peel (or spray) – Commercial repellant sprays are available which are non-toxic, as they are made from concentrated citrus oils, and these will effectively deter some cats from going to the area where you have sprayed them.

What health issues could cause your cat to pee behind the TV?

If it’s a health issue, it could be diabetes or a urinary tract issue. If there have been no changes to the environment of late and you haven’t noticed any new cats in the yard, a visit to the vet might be a good idea to rule out any potential health issues as the cause.

What can happen to a TV if your cat pees on it?

If your cat were to pee directly on your TV or on cables with the protective sheeting damaged then there is a good chance of an electric shock that could harm or even kill your cat.

In the case of cables with damaged sheathing, it is more likely to result in a painful jolt, but with the television itself, it is much more dangerous and could even set fire to the house!

To avert this, it is best to make sure that the TV is elevated out of reach of the cat and you can add additional protection to the cables by duct-taping them in place (or wrapping them in additional plastic if you have carpet, instead of a smooth floor).

Even better is a stand that will sit securely against the wall, while the necessary wiring may be zip-tied and hung in place on the wall so that most of it is out of reach.

Why do cats go behind the TV?

Cats like spots that are snug and warm, especially if they can remain hidden but still peek out and get a pretty good view of what is going on. The area behind the TV definitely fits these requirements to a ‘T’. It’s warm, as cooling fans inside the television will be blowing the warm air out of the set.

If the cables aren’t zip-tied or otherwise secured, then your cat might find it amusing to play with these or even to chew them! Finally, we tend to spend a lot of time in front of our televisions, and this gives your cat a way to have a little privacy, while still staying close to you.  

Why do cats pee on cables?

Generally, this is a response to anxiety or stress, but there is also the possibility that your cat is simply marking their territory. Try to think about the context. Has anything new been introduced into the environment recently? This can include a new person or animal into the house or even a new cat that’s shown up in the backyard.

Also, is your cat peeing more than normal? If this is the case, then it might not be anxiety or territoriality at all, but rather a health issue that you will want to get a handle on early. A quick trip to the vet for a few tests can rule this out quickly so that you can find the root cause of this behavior.

How can you prevent your TV cables getting wet with cat pee?

Classic yellow tv with blank screen.

Classic yellow tv with blank screen.

You have a few options when it comes to keeping your cat off of the TV cables. Try to see if one of the following strategies will work for you:

  • Extension cord and mounted cables – Plus an extension cord into the power outlet and mount the ‘new’ outlet high on the wall. After this, zip tie your cables together and tape them to the wall or add a few nails driven in at an angle so that you can hang the cords high and out of reach.
  • New TV stand – A TV stand that can be placed flush against the wall can keep your cat from going behind the TV by simply eliminated the space.
  • Double-sided tape behind the TV – Cats hate the feel of tape on their paws, so get a cheap welcome mat from the grocery store and cover it with double-sided tape. Place this behind the TV and it should discourage your cat from going there quite effectively.

Why is it a bad idea to negatively discipline a cat?

Unless you catch your cat in the act of peeing behind the TV, they won’t know what it is that you are angry about, but this is only one reason why negative discipline won’t work.

Negative discipline is more likely to stress your cat or even to make them angry — you can destroy the trust that you’ve built with them very quickly with this kind of discipline!

It is better to try to teach them not to go behind the TV. When you see them going, call your cat, and give them a treat when they come or a toy to play with. You can even lure them out with a laser pointer – get creative!

Positive reinforcement is always going to be the best with your cat. Anything else they will just see as a sign of aggression on your part and it won’t go well.

Do cats pee on things out of spite?

No. While it may seem otherwise, you have to remember that this is not a furry little human. Cats communicate differently and when they pee on things it’s usually a sign that they are experiencing anxiety and stress. While that pee smells awful to you, cats rely heavily on scents, which is why you see them rubbing the furniture all the time.

Their own scents make them feel more comfortable – your cat isn’t trying to be spiteful, they are stressed out and not sure what to do.

Do cats pee when they’re mad?

No. It seems like it, after all cats target things like your clothes, shoes, or even your bedsheets sometimes, but it’s not what you think. Cats rub their scents throughout the house and urinating on things is just another way that they do this. Your cat is selecting your items, because they have your own scent on them.

The reason for this is not anger or spite. To the cat, they are simply mixing their own scents with yours, and this is something that many cats will do when they feel stressed or insecure. The comingling of scents makes them feel more comfortable.

Unfortunately, that’s not how we feel about it, but now you know the cat’s point of view.

Do cats pee as revenge?

While it feels like your cat is getting revenge on you, there is actually no scientific proof that cats are doing this out of revenge. Holding grudges is a human trait, after all, based off of anger. Cats may get aggressive if you mess with them, but this is typical predator behavior and it will come in the form of a clawed swat or even a bite.

When your cat urinates on something of yours, they are stressed, and mixing both of your scents together makes them feel more comfortable. To stop the behavior, you’ll need to identify what is stressing them out.

Common causes for this behavior can be loud arguing with the spouse, introduction of new people or animals, moving… just try to take into account what has happened this week to see what is out of place and it should give you a good idea what is stressing out your cat so much.

Lindsey Browlingdon