11 min read

Help! My Cat Won't Stop Peeing On My Bed

Here's how to get your clean bed back.

cat peeing on bed
Shutterstock/The Dodo

It can happen to the best cat parents in the world, but even that fact won’t make you feel any better about your cat peeing on your bed. 

It’s already annoying when your cat pees outside their litter box. But feels like a personal attack when you jump onto your bed to find yourself on top of a wet spot.

“The first step when your cat is peeing on the bed is to discuss this issue with your veterinarian,” Dr. Meghan Carlton, a veterinarian at DoveLewis Emergency Animal Hospital in Portland, Oregon, told The Dodo. 

According to Dr. Carlton, sometimes bed peeing can be caused by underlying medical conditions, which can occasionally be serious. Other times it can be fixed by a simple solution — like changing your cat’s litter.

“If at any point your cat is straining to urinate, acting sick or painful when urinating, or posturing to urinate and not passing urine, then this could signal an emergency urinary blockage and you should contact your vet immediately,” Dr. Carlton said.

If, however, you’ve been able to rule out medical issues like urinary tract infections or diabetes, it’s time to start trying to get to the bottom of why your cat is displaying this odd behavior.

Understanding your cat's basic needs

Cats are creatures of comfort, and if their routine suddenly changes or they find themselves under an unusual amount of stress, this can result in that nervous energy showing up on your sheets. 
 
"Cats have three essential needs: safety, security and stimulation," K.C. Theisen, former director of pet care issues for the Humane Society of the United States, told The Dodo. "Safety is that they are not threatened or harassed, and have easy access to fresh food, clean water and shelter."

"Security means they can get away from people or things they don't like, can get to elevated hiding places and have a routine they can count on in the home," she added. “Stimulation reflects a cat’s need to be a predator, and chase and ‘hunt’ toys in the home. A cat who cannot express their natural behaviors or is bored may act out inappropriately.”

“The good news,” Theisen said, “is once you attend to these needs, unwanted behaviors often go away.”

What this means is that if you’re able to pinpoint the “need” that isn’t being met for your cat, you’ll be able to make the change that can help your cat feel like himself again. 

Here are some of the most common:

He hasn’t been neutered

“Intact cats (especially males) are more likely to mark/spray urine,” Dr. Carlton said.

So if your cat hasn’t been neutered (or spayed, for the ladies), it’s time to set up an appointment with your vet to get it done. (Fixing your cat also has health benefits, so it’s definitely worth the vet trip.)

He doesn’t like the litter box’s location 

Like people, cats prefer peace and quiet when using the litter box. If his litter box is in a noisy or highly trafficked area, he might get fed up after a while. You’ll also want to avoid putting his litter box by a noisy washing machine or appliances that turn on at random times — like a furnace.

Keep in mind that he’ll also want an area that has enough light for him to see what he’s doing, as well as enough space to escape if he gets interrupted by another pet.

He needs another litter box

Believe it or not, some cats like to use one litter box to pee and a different one to poop. If you have a multi-cat household, some cats don’t like to share their litter box at all. In general, it’s a good rule to have one litter box per cat plus one more.

One cat? Two litter boxes.

Two cats? Three litter boxes.

And so on.

If you have multiple floors in your house, you’ll want to spread them out so you have at least one per floor.

He doesn’t like the type of litter box

Check to make sure that your cat's litter box doesn’t trap odors (some that have tops do), and that it doesn’t constrict his movement. Many cats get frustrated if they have to use the toilet while their body presses against the sides of a litter box that’s too small.

He doesn’t like the type of litter

Some cats are extra picky when it comes to their cat litter, and if it isn’t soft enough for them, they’ll find another place to go. Especially if your cat has previously been declawed, rough litter is going to be painful on their paws.

To help find the perfect litter, you can put two litter boxes next to each other, each with a different brand, to see which one he goes for.

He needs to get used to a big change

If you recently moved, welcomed a new baby, brought a new dog or cat into the house or changed your own schedule, it’s likely that he just needs to adjust to the new situation. Cats need structure and predictability in order to feel safe and secure.

How to stop your cat from peeing on the bed

The first thing you’ll need to stop your cat from peeing on your bed or other areas outside of their litter box? Patience. This will take time, but as long as you follow these steps, your cat will be using his litter box like a pro.

1) Make sure you have the right litter box and litter. You’ll want your cat to see his litter box as the most beautiful place in your home. Make sure it’s filled with litter he likes and is located in a quiet area.

2) Thoroughly clean your bedding. Unsurprisingly, your cat will pee where he smells pee.

3) Make the places he’s having accidents unattractive. Until he gets accustomed to using his litter box, make the bed an uncomfortable place to urinate. You can put something non-absorbent on it when you aren’t sleeping, like a shower curtain.

4) Change the meaning of your bed. If your cat is confusing your bed with his bathroom, start to make him see your bed differently. You can begin by playing with him on it and giving him treats there so that he begins to associate it with food.

5) Be patient. Some cats take up to a month to consistently use their litter box.

While your cat peeing on your bed is definitely a nuisance, with just a little patience and the above steps, you’ll soon have a dry bed and happy cat once again!