Cats have a number of delightful traits. There’s the affectionate nuzzling, the playful antics, the cosy lap-time snuggles. Unfortunately, some of your cat’s activities may be much less appealing. Accidents outside the litter box are just part of being a pet owner, and they’re something we all get used to. Some cats, though, develop the distasteful habit of spraying (urinating) outside the box, often visiting the same spot. This can be intensely frustrating and distressing for a cat guardian trying to keep a clean house. Fortunately, there are solutions. With the right approach, you can stop your cat from engaging in this type of behaviour.
How to stop a cat from peeing on a dog bed? This is territorial behaviour, so you’ll need to help your cat feel more confident and secure in his territory. Reducing the cat’s anxiety is key. Thorough cleaning or even replacement of the dog’s bed can be a useful first step.
You’ve arrived at this page because you have questions about your cat’s spraying. Why does my cat keep spraying in the same spots? Why does my cat target the dog’s bed for spraying? Why does my cat pee outside the litter box? How can I prevent my cat from peeing in unacceptable locations? What makes cats want to mark their territory in this way? Keep reading, because we have the answers. In this article, you’ll find useful tips for helping your cat stop spraying, removing the smell of cat urine, and helping your pets to get along.
How to Stop a Cat Peeing on a Dog Bed
It can be incredibly frustrating when your cat decides to pee outside the litter box, especially when the behaviour is repeated. You’ll often notice that the cat constantly targets the same spot, returning to soil it again after you’ve cleaned it.
The first thing you need to understand is that the cat isn’t acting out of malice. He feels scared and insecure and is trying to control the situation by marking his territory. Discourage your cat from urinating in the wrong spot, but don’t punish him — you’ll just make him more anxious and more apt to spray.
If he’s peeing on the dog’s bed, it may well be that your cat’s anxiety is focused on the other animal. Dogs can be very confusing to cats; their body language and ways of interacting are very different to those of felines, and they can be quite threatening. Even a friendly, non-aggressive dog can appear menacing to a cat. Urinating on the dog’s bed, which smells strongly of the dog, could be a way of trying to assert some control over the situation.
Conversely, the cat may be retreating to the dog’s bed for comfort. If urinating is painful (because of a urinary tract infection, for example, or bladder stones), cats often seek out a spot that feels safe and comfortable and urinates there. This is annoying if the spot in question is your favourite cushion or the dog’s bed. Addressing the painful condition can halt the behaviour.
Of course, the choice of the dog’s bed might be entirely coincidental. The cat happens to pee there once, and the lingering smell makes it seem like a good spot to keep on peeing. Cats tend to revisit the same spot when they want to excrete. You can resolve this issue by removing the smell — either by very thorough cleaning or by getting rid of the bed and buying a new one. The bed should be placed in a different spot, somewhere away from any lingering odours that might prompt further soiling incidents. Ideally, I would want to see a litter box placed where the bed was for the cat to use instead.
Getting Rid of Odours
To discourage your cat from urinating in a particular spot, it’s a good idea to get rid of any remaining smells. Be mindful of the fact that your own nose might not be terribly reliable here. For one thing, humans have a far weaker sense of smell than cats do. You might not be able to pick up on smells that your cat can. Another issue is olfactory fatigue. Once you’ve been exposed to a smell for a long enough period, your olfactory neurons start to check out and stop relaying the information to your brain. This is why some cat owners seem unaware of the distressing smells haunting their homes.
I would certainly consider throwing out a dog bed that had been repeatedly peed on by a cat. It’s quite unsanitary and something about the bed may be prompting the behaviour. If the bed was new or expensive, of course, you might want to try and rescue it. In this case, I would recommend using an enzymatic cleaner. These cleaners use special proteins called enzymes to break down the substances that produce the smell (chiefly ammonia). Ordinary detergents are good at removing stains and disinfectants can help destroy some bacteria, but they’re not great for addressing smells. At best, conventional cleaners will cover up the smell with artificial perfumes. An enzymatic cleaner will attack the odorous compounds themselves. If the bed is machine washable, you could try running it through the machine a few times with a biological laundry detergent. I generally avoid these as they’re not terribly good for the environment, but in a pinch, they’re great for getting rid of smells from pet soiling.
Fighting Like Cat and Dog?
If anxiety is at the root of the issue, there are a number of steps you can take. Things are trickier if the dog and cat were not introduced properly (in stages, with barriers between the animals and lots of supervision), but you can still improve the situation. Some cats really struggle to cope with dogs. My British Shorthair and American Shorthair get on famously with my friends’ pooches when they visit, but my poor little rescue kitty runs off and hides.
One of my friends solved her pet incompatibility problems by making sure that the cat had several bolt-holes where the dog couldn’t go. She installed a cat-flap in the bathroom door, so the cat could get in and the dog could not. She also set up several high cat perches that were inaccessible to the dog. Being able to get out of the dog’s range made the cat much less nervous and gave back a sense of control.
Keep an eye on the dog when he’s around your cat. Dogs can be aggressive towards smaller animals. More amiable dogs can be a bit full-on and over-friendly for the more reserved feline, who can rapidly become a bundle of nerves.
In general, make sure your cat has plenty of spots where he can feel safe and in control. High perches, cat habitats that the dog can’t access, rooms that are dog-free zones — all of these can help.
How to Prevent Spraying
First and foremost, you must make sure that your cat has been spayed or neutered. Entire toms are notorious for spraying. In my experience, un-spayed queens are almost as bad. De-sexing your cat can resolve a whole host of problematic behaviours, including spraying, aggression, anxiety, and escape attempts. It’s also important for your pet’s long-term health.
Address any issues that are causing anxiety. Make sure that everyone in your household knows how to interact with the cat safely and respectfully. Check that nobody is hurting or frightening your cat, even by accident. Children, in particular, are often a bit too keen on hugging or picking cats up, and can inadvertently cause distress through being too affectionate. Adults in the household should be educated in proper cat care so that they don’t make things worse by shouting or punishing the cat. (You can’t discipline cats. You can only frighten and distress them.)
Make sure you have enough litter-boxes, and that they’re big enough for your cat. Each cat should have its own litter box, plus one extra box to be on the safe side. The cat should be able to turn around comfortably in the box. Offer praise and positive attention when your cat uses the box properly. Give pets and possibly treats after a successful visit. Some breeds, like British Shorthairs and American Shorthairs, are easy to house-train; other cats may need a bit more support.
Have your cat checked for UTIs, bladder stones and other issues affecting urination.