Cats are great. They are the favorite companion for a lot of folks. They are loving and independent and are basically the bread and butter of high-quality internet memes. Researchers have even suggested that having a cat around can relieve stress, improve sleep, lower your risk of heart disease, and even improve your social life (True story! Studies have shown that women are significantly more attracted to men with a pet than those without.) Cat pee (and on your mattress, at that!) is… not so great.
Though cats can reduce stress, when they urinate where they are not supposed to, they can certainly increase stress as well. You might be faced with a pee spot on your bed and find yourself wondering if your cat is trying to spite you or if you have a defective model—they aren’t and you don’t.
There are a lot of reasons that a cat might use your mattress to relieve themselves, but actively trying to drive you insane (though a likely side-effect) is not one of those reasons. So, first things first, take a deep breath.
There are several medical issues that can cause cats to have a hard time controlling their bladder. Kidney stones, bladder infections, diabetes, arthritis, urinary tract infections, and hyperthyroidism are among the most common health issues that may be causing your cat to have accidents.
Dietary changes can also cause incontinence. If this accident is not an isolated incident, if your cat seems to be experiencing any other pain, or if their habits have changed, talk to your veterinarian about your kitty’s health.
Social and environmental changes can cause cats to feel stressed and anxious, which may also result in urination outside of the litter box. If there have been major changes within your household, such as a new baby, pet, or partner, your cat may be feeling a bit anxious and forgetting their bathroom behavior. Make sure your cat has a space where they feel safe and secure and that they are getting enough attention.
Cats can also be a little bit finicky and have preferences about their litter box. Their box should be in a private and secure spot—make sure it isn’t next to the noisy washing machine, or in direct sight of the dog’s bed.
It is also important to make sure you have enough litter boxes and they are convenient for your kitty. A good rule of thumb is to have one litter box per cat, plus one extra. You should also make sure that you have one box on every level of your home if it has multiple levels.
It is especially vital that kittens and older cats have a convenient and safe place that they can comfortably get in and out of in order to do their business. Aging cats might need a box with lower sides and softer litter and kittens need a box that is always close enough for them to get to quickly as their bladder control matures.
If your kitty has mistaken your mattress as a good spot to squat, get to cleaning the mess as soon as possible to prevent the stain from sinking in or setting. You can follow these steps for thorough clean-up:
If your cat has learned a bad habit or has marked your mattress with their smell, it may take a bit of time and patience for them to relearn proper potty protocol. In the meantime, you can protect your mattress from further mess in a few different ways.
You should also make sure that your cat’s litter box is safe, appealing, clean, and easy to access. You might be dreading having to clean your kitty’s box more often but hey, it is MUCH easier than having to clean your mattress again, right?
If you don’t want to revoke your cat’s bedroom privileges, you can protect your mattress with a waterproof topper or invest in a mattress with a removable and washable cover. A few popular beds that have a machine washable cover include Puffy, Novosbed and YogaBed.
Essential oils can also be helpful in deterring your kitty’s defecation. There are some smells that cats can’t stand. These include: most citrus fruits, bananas, cayenne, mustard seed, and lavender, among others. You might consider spraying your bed, or any other spots you want to discourage your cat from claiming, with one of these fragrances.
Hopefully this has been helpful and you can go forth with a clean mattress and no harbored resentment toward your cat. Wow, we’re basically pet therapists, your first session is free! (We here at the Slumber Yard are, in no way, licensed to practice pet therapy.)