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Why Do Cats Pee On Backpacks?

If you have a backpack, that keeps getting peed on by your cat, you may be trying to understand why and looking for solutions…

Why do cats pee on backpacks?

When your cat pees on something like your backpack, the two most common reasons are that they are ill or highly stressed. With illness, it could be something like struvite bladder stones, which form in the urinary tract and cause pain along with a frequent need for urination.

When it’s stressed-related, the reason they are peeing on the backpack may seem a little strange to you, but it has to do with scents. You use your backpack all of the time and it’s got your scents on it, and marking it with their scents makes your cat feel more comfortable.

It is important not to punish them for them. Even though they seem mysterious, cats love order and a scheduled day. Arguments with your spouse can upset them, a new animal in the house, rearrange your home schedule, or even move furniture.

Check with the vet first to rule out any health issues and if it’s not their health, consider what has changed in the home recently.

What is a backpack?

A black backpack outdoors on a wooden table.

A black backpack is outdoors on a wooden table.

A backpack is a useful bag where you can add items and distribute their weight nicely by the means of two straps, positioned on either end of the bag so that you can slip them on your shoulders.

Cats find these interesting because they can be made of many different types of materials with their interesting scents, while also having your scent on them, and if they are left open it’s not uncommon for cats to simply climb inside!

How can I prevent my cat from peeing on backpacks?

When you are trying to keep your cat off of your backpack, a few simple strategies will often do the trick quite nicely. Let’s take a look at some basic ways that we can do this.

Hide the backpack in a lockable cupboard

Locked away in a cupboard, you can get at your backpack easily but your cat most likely cannot. While some cats can open cupboard doors, you can check your local department store or online retailer to obtain some childproof cupboard locks – these are inexpensive and will foil your kitty’s plans to get the backpack.

Lock the room door where it’s stored

The easiest method is typically just storing the backpack in a room that you keep closed so that your kitty cannot easily access it. While some cats will wait and sneak in the room anyway, you can protect the backpack a little better with a wall hook to hang in this room.

Lightly spray the backpack with citrus spray

If you don’t want to hang the bag in a locked room, a little citrus spray might be just what you need to keep your kitty away and your backpack smelling extra nice. While citrus smells great to humans, cats can’t stand the smell, and a few sprays should keep all but the most determined kitties away.

How can I clean the cat pee off my backpack?

A spray freshener getting squeezed.

A spray freshener getting squeezed.

When cleaning cat pee off a backpack, you’ll want to go with an enzymatic cleaner to properly get the smell out. The uric acid in cat urine is what makes cleaning it so difficult, which is why detergent never seems to work.

With enzymatic cleaner, it may take a few tries, but it should break down the uric acid and get your backpack smelling like normal after 2 to 3 cleanings (depending on how many areas were sprayed by your cat). Make sure to let it air dry – you don’t want any of the urine smell to get in your dryer!

How can I get the pee smell off my backpack?

If your backpack was sprayed very thoroughly, get an empty spray bottle and mix it with a 50/50 mixture of water and white vinegar. Spray this thoroughly on the affected areas of the pack and let it air dry for 15 to 20 minutes before cleaning it with a commercial enzymatic cleaner.

Make sure to air dry it completely in a well-ventilated room or outside before assessing if you will need to clean it again.

This might take a few cleanings, but between the vinegar and the enzymatic cleaner the uric acid in the cat urine should break down thoroughly, and then you can get it back to smelling normal.

Do cats pee on things for attention?

Cats will sometimes urinate on things to get your attention, although part of why they do this is because the mixture of your scents on the object and their own will usually comfort them. This is generally done as a result of stress, which with cats is often related to changes in the household.

A new pet, especially a cat, can result in your older cat ‘marking’ their territory in response, though even changes in the owner’s schedule or moving furniture around can make your cat – a very orderly animal –  can become quite stressed.

Check with your vet first, however, as cats will also do this when they have a urinary condition, and so it could be a sign that your cat needs your help.

Do cats pee on things as revenge?

We don’t believe that they do. Behaviors such as marking your items are more likely to be from separation anxiety. When you are away for too long or leaving frequently, your cat can get very uncomfortable because they don’t know your schedule.

When they mark an item of yours, it smells like a combination of your scent and theirs and this makes your cat feel more comfortable. In cases where a new animal has been added, it’s more often behavior inspired over territorial dominance, as your cat is telling the new animal ‘who is in charge’.

Do cats hold grudges?

No, it is unlikely that they hold grudges, or at least they don’t for very long. Cats build associations in their memories with different things over time, so certain scenarios such as arguing or leaving the cat alone for long periods can stress your cat and the behavior is a result of stress, rather than any sort of ‘angry mission’.

Try to find out what is going on before bad behaviors happen and with a little luck you can determine what stimuli are triggering their dramatic responses.

Lindsey Browlingdon