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Stop Cat Peeing on Bed
You’re snuggled in bed. Your favorite kitty snoozing on top of your chest when suddenly, you feel a strange warm sensation. Bolting upright, upending kitty in the process, you flip on the light to discover kitty’s a bed-wetter! Or, you’re getting ready to make your bed when you notice a wet spot on the bedspread. You scratch-n-sniff and wrinkle your nose- cat urine. What is going on?
A cat who pees on the bed is not uncommon, especially if you share your home with multiple cats. But why is your cat peeing on the bed? What does this behavior suggest? How do you stop a cat from peeing on your bed and what do you do about the smell?
To get answers to these questions, I turned to Certified Cat Behavior Consultant, Marilyn Krieger aka: The Cat Coach.
Q: Have you ever had a client call you and tell you that her cat is peeing on the bed?
MK: Yes, I see this quite often. But before approaching this as a behavior problem, it's important to have cats with litter box issues checked out by the vet since there are medical problems that can cause this behavior.
Q: What is your first thought when you hear this complaint?
MK: The cat is choosing areas to eliminate that feel safe. Cat has a great view of the room, probably out the door.
Q: What does the behavior of a cat peeing on the bed suggest to you?
MK: Cat is stressed by something. A few possible triggers are: a litter box management issue, poor location of boxes, inter-cat aggression or scary noises.
Q: Is this behavior limited by age? I.e. do senior cats typically pee on beds more than younger cats do or is it a pee-fest for all ages?
MK: No age limit, it has to do with other issues in the household that are causing the cat stress.
Q: In your opinion, how serious is this issue?
MK: The problem can be solved, if the client follows the recommendations.
Q: How do you recommend stopping a repeat offender from peeing on the bed?
MK: First you have to identify the triggers for the behavior. After triggers are identified, you can manage the triggers (may mean different kinds of boxes and more boxes) and then use behavior modification. Also important is using a really good enzyme cleaner to clean the target areas.
Q: If it is a sudden behavior, in your experience is it attributed to a health issue or a stress issue?
MK: I always recommend that the cat is first checked out by the vet, to either rule out a medical issue or to treat a medical issue.
Why cats pee on soft items:
Cats can develop health issues from stress. But please don’t just assume your cat is “acting out” or under stress because your bed has turned into his favorite litter pan. Severe health issues can also lurk behind cats peeing inappropriately. If you happen to see your cat peeing on the bed (although your first impulse might be to engage him in a pillow fight) step back and observe. Is he squatting or standing? Squatting, straining, moving off and repeating the same performance indicates a UTI. Standing up or halfway-squatting indicates marking behavior.
“Victim of Changes” isn’t just a song by Judas Priest. Your cat could also be a victim of changes. Take a good look at his environment. Notice anything different?
In looking for the triggers don’t ignore the smallest changes. Recently, I had to rethink changing my bedspreads during winter because Tobias would pee on the offending bedspread that replaced his bed. The behavior was solved by keeping the lightweight bedspread on top of the heavier winter one.
*Studies show that when cats are stressed this changes the pH of a cat’s urine, causing irritation that can lead to FLUTD.* Any changes however minor can trigger inappropriate elimination and leave you scrambling for an effective enzyme cleaner to clean the spot(s) left by your bed-wetter.
For more information or help with behavior issues please visit www.thecatcoach.com
References: *Cat Owner’s Home Veterinary Handbook Third Edition-Debra m. Eldredge, DVM, Delbert G. Carlson, DVM. Liisa D. Carlson, DVM. James M. Griffin. MD