Q: My cat is 9 years old and recently she has urinated on my bed exactly where I sleep. I do not know how to stop her. It began when she was ill but she continues to do it once in a while.
A: There are a number of factors that could be triggering your 9-year-old cat to occasionally urinate on the bed. A few of them are:
- Incomplete cleanup. Cats will urinate repeatedly on a previously targeted area if it hasn’t been thoroughly cleaned up with a really good enzyme cleaner. There are many enzyme cleaners on the market, but unfortunately some aren’t as effective as others. Even though an area may appear to be clean and smell urine-free to our insensitive noses, to a cat’s highly tuned nose an area can smell strongly of urine. Urine-soaked mattresses are a challenge to thoroughly clean and depending on the damage, may take repetitive applications of the enzyme cleaner. Many times though, even the best enzyme cleaner can not remove the smell completely from a soaked mattress, and a new mattress is the only solution. You may want to consider covering your mattress with a plastic cover or pad that is designed for bed-wetting incidents.
- Pain associations. Your cat might still have a painful association with the act of urinating in the cat box. It is not unusual for cats who have had urinary tract infections or other illnesses to develop litterbox aversions because it was painful to urinate when they were sick. Providing her with plenty of clean, uncovered cat boxes throughout the house, along with unscented cat litter, can help, as well as providing her with a couple of boxes that are different than the boxes she is accustomed to. Don’t replace or move the boxes she currently has; instead add new uncovered boxes in different locations.
- Other resident animals. There may be other household animals that are influencing your cat to not use her litterbox. Animals sometimes engage in resource guarding — not allowing other animals access to the litterbox or other resources. Plenty of boxes need to be provided and they need to be located in areas where she won’t feel trapped. Closets and showers are not good locations for litterboxes since they do not allow cats to have multiple escape routes.
These are a few of the common reasons for cats to not use their litterboxes. Without more information, it is hard to determine the exact cause of your cat preferring to urinate on your bed and not in her litterbox.