Last year, my husband and I started playing the super fun game “Does This Smell Like Cat Pee to You?” About 8 months ago, we moved into our newly renovated house which was a stressful experience for Lucy, my cat. She doesn’t like change and she doesn’t like boxes or furniture being moved or out of place. Needless to say, moving is a big change with a lot of boxes and furniture, so … she started peeing on our bed. Then, when we brought home our new twin babies 12 weeks ago, she began peeing on our bed AGAIN because of all the changes around the house with the babies. Lucy is a member of our family and I’m not getting rid of her, so I’ve become somewhat of an expert on how to stop a cat from peeing on the bed and how to get the smell of cat urine out of sheets, pillows, blankets, clothes, etc. Obviously, some of these tips also apply if your cat is peeing on your laundry, sofa, or marking another area of your home. Lucy only pees on our bed, so my tips mostly have to do with how to deal with mattresses, sheets, blankets, etc., but I have heard that aluminum foil or double-sided tape will help stop a cat from peeing on the sofa and making sure you put your dirty laundry into a laundry hamper with a lid (or fold your clean laundry and put it away) will stop a cat from peeing on your laundry.
Here are my tips on How to Stop a Cat From Peeing on the Bed:
1. Take Your Cat to the Vet
First and foremost, you need to take your cat to the vet to rule out any medical issues such as kidney problems or a urinary tract infection. I know this isn’t what you want to hear, vet bills are expensive, but sometimes a cat pees on the bed (or the sofa, or laundry) because they’re in pain and peeing on top of a soft surface eases that pain. If the peeing isn’t “medical,” then it’s “behavioral” which is harder to determine. So, by ruling out any medical issues, you can then start to focus on behavioral issues. I took Lucy to the vet, they found nothing wrong with her, so I focused on behavioral issues.
2. Eliminate the Stresser
If you’ve determined the problem to be behavioral, try to eliminate the stresser. In my situation, Lucy was stressed because we had moved and there was furniture out of place and stacks of boxes everywhere, so we moved our furniture into more permanent or semi-permanent spots and removed the moving boxes that were stressing out the cat. Obviously, when she started peeing again because of the babies I couldn’t remove my twins, but I now make sure to play with Lucy more and give her more attention so she knows we still love her. (See tip #7 about toys below.)
I’ve also tried using calming cat scent diffusers and cat scratchers in order to give Lucy some stress outlets. Cats have nervous habits just like humans do – we bite our nails and cats like to scratch with their claws to relieve stress. I don’t know if the calming cat scent diffuser helped at all (although some reviews swear by the stuff!), but she loves her cat scratchers and I think those have really helped with her behavior!
This is another big thing. Cats are picky about their litter boxes. You may want to experiment with the litter – scented, unscented, the size of the granules, etc. Cats are picky. It’s annoying. I know. Lucy isn’t very particular about the type of litter, but she expects it to be clean. We’ve found that when my husband doesn’t clean out her litter every day, she voices her objections by peeing on the bed. Also, if you have multiple cats, it is recommended that you have at least one litter box per cat plus one extra so that one cat doesn’t guard the litter box so the other can’t use it (which results in that cat urinating elsewhere.)
A reader sent me an email about a particular kitty litter she has used to get her cat to stop peeing in her living room. I have not used/tested this kitty litter (I have to use up what we already have stocked before I’ll buy more), but the other reviews look legit and it looks to have helped some people! So, I’d say it’s worth checking out and I’ll definitely be trying it in the future!
But regardless of what is causing the problem, you have to remove the smell of urine. If the cat continues to smell the pee, they will continue to urinate in that spot. You must remove the smell of the urine from whatever surface the cat has peed on. To do this, I use Nature’s Miracle Just for Cats Urine Destroyer. (I’ve used Clorox Pet Urine Remover in the past, but I prefer Nature’s Miracle now.) According to the manufacturer’s instructions, you can use it on both hard and soft surfaces such as sealed hardwood and tile, upholstered furniture, carpet, bed linens, and mattresses. Obviously, spot test it on an inconspicuous location to make sure it doesn’t stain/discolor your item. It is safe to use around pets, but please do NOT be an asshole and spray it ON your pet. Buy it in the gallon size container (trust me, you’ll need it in the beginning as this process can take several weeks before the cat stops peeing and then you can hopefully size down to a smaller size to just keep on hand once you run out of the larger gallon) along with a spray bottle and the Nature’s Miracle Laundry Boost.
So that’s my method, whenever we have discovered that Lucy has peed on the bed, we strip the bed and put the sheets, blankets, pillows, etc. in the bathtub with the “pee spot(s)” at the top of the pile. I then spray the pee spots with Nature’s Miracle Just for Cats Urine Destroyer and let it sit. It usually sits overnight because we typically discover her little present right before bed and our washer and dryer are located upstairs (and I don’t want to listen to it all night). So, thanks, Lucy! So in the morning, I spray the pee spots again and then put the laundry in the washing machine along with the Nature’s Miracle Laundry Boost. Before drying, I do the sniff test to make sure it’s clean, if there is any indication that it still smells, I spray it and wash it again with more Nature’s Miracle Laundry Boost.
I’ve also played around with my washing machine settings and sometimes I let the urine-stained item soak in the washing machine with the Nature’s Miracle Laundry Boost for 30 minutes before washing. Check to see if your washing machine has any pre-soak settings. My husband had left his lightweight nylon jacket on the bed (please note, he did NOT follow my Step #6 below and I had warned him about leaving stuff on the bed!) and Lucy used his jacket as her personal litter box. She emptied her bladder on it, it was terrible. My husband thought he would have to throw it away, but I worked my magic, I had to spray it, soak it, and wash it a couple of times, and it’s now like new!
If your cat is peeing on your bed, buy a mattress protector. Sheets can be washed, but the mattress is harder to clean. A mattress protector will save you money in the long run. I have a mattress protector on every single bed (Master bedroom, Guest bedroom, the twins’ cribs, the twins’ playpen, and even pillow protectors on our pillows) because I am not messing around with this anymore. Luckily, Lucy’s bed peeing habits have been stopped, but there can always a new stressor in the future (or my husband doesn’t clean out her litter box one time) and I worry that she’ll start peeing again, so I’ve protected our investments because I got tired of throwing out and having to buy new pillows.
6. Remove Excess Blankets/Pillows
All that said, I’ve found that removing excess blankets and pillows from the bed (or making the bed) keeps Lucy from peeing on it. She likes to pee on super soft and fluffy surfaces, like if the comforter is balled up or folded over. So, I have to make the bed everyday. She doesn’t pee on the decorative pillows or flat blankets, just when they aren’t laying perfectly flat or if there are extra blankets that are thrown on top. So, now I make sure there are no excess blankets, pillows, or even sweatshirts or jackets on the bed. I don’t know why this works, but it does. Plus, it just looks nicer.
Make the bed a play spot. I like to buy Lucy new toys every once in awhile to make sure she is mentally stimulated and happy and I make sure we play with them on the bed so she associates the bed with a fun activity and not her own personal litter box! Toys such as the teaser feather on a stick, laser pointer, etc. are all great and you can always spray toys with a bit of catnip spray to get the cat’s initial interest.
8. Close the Door
Obviously, close the door to the room if you can. Cats are notorious for banging on doors and meowing loudly when a door is closed, so I know this isn’t always possible, but if you can close the door until the stressful situation is managed, it may help. Unfortunately, Lucy is a door banger and she is my little shadow, so if I’m in the bedroom, she thinks she needs to be in there, too. Otherwise, she will get her little paw under the door and try to jiggle it open. And at one point, we were doing construction and we didn’t even have a door on the room, so we didn’t have this option, which is how I became such an expert at this cat peeing situation.
We’ve also had to deal with a feral cat spraying the outside of our front door. I actually thought someone had spilled soda on our front door. Around the same time I also noticed that Lucy was inspecting the inside of the front door – I thought maybe she was planning her escape since the babies had just been born because she usually never goes near the front door. But I eventually connected the two and figured out it was a feral cat spraying the front door. I used the Nature’s Miracle Just for Cats Urine Destroyer on the door to remove the urine and the feral cat has stopped spraying.
Also, don’t make my same mistake and purchase a UV flashlight to light up the pee. I bought this one (and I now see in the description that it doesn’t work well on cat pee) and it didn’t work, but if you read the top review of the flashlight, it does light up dog pee and toddler puke and the reviewer states that they used Nature’s Miracle on the stains and then used the flashlight and the Nature’s Miracle had indeed worked to remove the stain because the flashlight no longer lit anything up.
Do you have a cat who pees on your bed? Do they do it at like the worst time ever when you’re exhausted and don’t have time to do a load of laundry, or is that just what my cat, Lucy, does? Also, a quick note: if you’re ever playing the “Does This Smell Like Cat Pee to You?” game, just stop. The answer is always yes. Cat pee stinks! If you even think you smell cat pee, it’s probably cat pee!
Let me know in the comments if have any other ideas on how to stop a cat from peeing on the bed that worked for you!
2019 Update: Since I’ve taken all of the above steps, Lucy has only peed on the bed once! It was a day when my in-laws were at the house playing with my twin toddlers AND my housekeepers were here, so I think there were just too many people in the house and it stressed her out. Plus, my husband still doesn’t listen to me about Tip #6 and removing excess pillows and blankets from the bed. She peed on his extra blanket that he left on top the bed.