Cats are natural-born neat freaks, with the majority of kittens learning how to use litter boxes by their third week. As Pamela Perry– a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine- explains, these animals spend between 30 and 50% of their day just cleaning themselves. Thus, when your feline starts pooping anywhere else other than their litter box, then you know something is amiss.
As frustrating as it may be, you should not get upset at your pet for doing his or her business on bed. The truth is, there might be a valid reason for their new habit. So rather than yell at them every time, figure out what could be causing them to potty on your bed.
Cat Pooping On The Bed? Causes & Solutions
First we’ll talk about reasons why cats poop on bed:
- Behavioral issues
- Medical reasons
And then we’ll discuss what you can do to stop cats pooping on bed:
- Eliminate the Odor
- Check the Litter Box
- Minimize Stress in Your Home
- Retrain your Cats
Why do Cats Poop on Beds?
Out of all the places in your home, it may seem unfair that your furball is slowly transforming your bed into a litter box. However, there are two main reasons why they could be doing so: behavioral issues and medical reasons.
One thing you should take note is that cats, like dogs, are very sensitive to changes in their surroundings. The degree of sensitivity will vary from one cat breed to another.
What this means is that a change in their lifestyles could be to blame for their inappropriate elimination.
To illustrate this, consider a cat that’s gotten used to spending time with their owner all day long. Suddenly, the cat is forced to spend the better of their day by themselves. If they’re unhappy with this change, they will express their discontent in unpleasant ways such as pooping on your bed.
The easiest way to establish whether their behavior is the product of their unhappiness, take note of the times when they defecate on your bed. Do they do it every time you return from a long trip? If so, they’re just trying to tell you that they don’t appreciate your occasional departures.
Distress or insecurity
This factor sounds fairly similar to situational unhappiness, and the two are often linked to each other. However, these are distinct reasons that explain why cats sometimes relieve themselves on beds.
If you adopted or purchased your feline recently, it’s likely that they’re experiencing separation anxiety. Perhaps they’d grown very fond of their previous owners and they’re unhappy with their new surroundings.
Their stress can be further aggravated if you start leaving them all alone for prolonged hours. If this scenario sounds familiar, then this could be the primary reason why your pet is pooping on the bed.
Litter box issues
Cats are very particular about where they “go”. Often, cat owners have to use a trial-and-error approach to find what appeals to their pets.
But, not all cats are picky. For some, all they want is that you’re consistent with what you choose for them. Others, however, will have you racking your brain on what to do. If you change any of the aspects of the litter box, your act can act out by pooping on your bed.
Here are the litter components you should keep in mind:
Type of cat litter
While this may seem like such a trivial detail, it can have a profound effect on your cat’s behavior. Usually, soft sandy litter is better than huge chunky pieces that might leave sharp edges, which could in turn, hurt their tender paws.
Kind of cat litter box
Another aspect that our feline friends are picky about is the structure of the litter box. Some prefer lidded structures while others prefer the large open space of the unlidded type.
The size of the litter box also matters. If you own a Persian or Ragamuffin, you should get a big litter box. However, smaller cat breeds like the American Curl or Munchkin don’t need as much room to maneuver inside.
To determine if you have the appropriately-sized box, check whether their rear end is suspended over the side when they stand in the box. If this is the case, you should get them a bigger box.
Placement of the litter box
As we mentioned earlier, some cats require consistency. This is in reference to the type of litter, litter box as well as placement.
For instance, if you place the box in an area that receives a lot of traffic, there’s a good chance that they won’t use. Instead, you should place the litter box in a quiet corner which they can easily access.
Cleanliness of the litter
To meet the needs of the most demanding feline, you should scoop and clean the litter box on a daily basis. Some cat owners let the debris accumulate for days before removing it and replacing with fresh litter. But this should not be the case.
Number of litter boxes
As the Humane Society of the United States suggests, you should have a litter box for every cat in your home, and then one extra. This way, you’re sure that none of them will end up pooping on your bed because they found the litter box occupied.
Getting a clean bill of health from your vet should be the first thing you seek on the road to correcting their behavior. If your cat is suffering from particular diseases, they could be pooping on your bed as a way of self-medicating themselves.
Medical conditions like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), cancer and even intestinal parasites can force your feline to seek new places to potty. It could be that they’re associating their litter boxes with the pain they’re experiencing. As such, they’ll look for alternative places to poop in an attempt to get rid of the pain.
Also, conditions as simple as constipation can force your feline to defecate in inappropriate places. Imagine that your ailing cat has suddenly gotten the urge to relieve him/herself. Unfortunately, they’re not able to reach their litter boxes in time.
Keep in mind that older felines can also suffer from dementia. If this is the case, the disease can take a toll on your furball’s health and cause short-term memory loss. The result is that they’ll forget years of training and poop in the most unusual places; including your bed.
Furthermore, cats have a tendency to isolate themselves whenever they’re ill. Experts suggest that the reason why they hide away is because they feel more vulnerable.
Another school of thought has it they isolate themselves to avoid infecting other members of their colony. Whatever the reason, this explains why they also defecate in other areas away from their litter boxes.
When you take your kitten for a medical checkup, your vet will inquire if you’ve noticed any other unusual behavior. Other signs that could accompany their inappropriate elimination include vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy and a change in appetite.
If your pet is experiencing these signs, it’s highly likely that their behavior is the result of a medical condition. But if your vet rules this reason out, you should look for behavioral problems.
How do You Stop the Mess?
If you’re able to pinpoint the specific reason for your cat’s behavior, then correcting them won’t be difficult. Here are a couple of strategies you can use:
Eliminate the Odor
If the reason for inappropriate elimination is behavioral, the first thing you should do is clear evidence. In other words, clean your bedding thoroughly and remove every trace of their poop. Failure to clean this area is only going to attract them to this area once more.
Check the Litter Box
Most cats prefer to use clean and spacious litter boxes, which should also be well-littered. If you’d been using a small, lidded box, switching to an unlidded, jumbo litter box could do the trick.
Similarly, if you have five cats and just 4 litter boxes, get 2 more litter boxes. It’s also a good idea to put a litter box on every floor of your home.
Retrain your Cats
If for some reason, your cat has forgotten where they’re supposed to “go”, consider giving them a refresher course. This is particularly important if your feline is too young, too old or recently adopted.
Minimize Stress in Your Home
If you’re bringing a new cat, ensure you introduce the two or more cats properly. Similarly, if you’re planning to go away for a long time, consider hiring a cat sitter who can keep them company. This will help to minimize separation anxiety and stress that may be caused by an owner’s abrupt departure.
You can also improve their living environment by getting them interactive toys. This keeps them entertained throughout the day; hence, reducing their likelihood of engaging in unpleasant behavior.
Is your litter-trained feline pooping on your bed? If they are, the most effective way of solving this problem is to identify the cause. This can stem from two main things: medical or behavioral issues.
Medical conditions that could cause this behavior include: IBS, cancer and intestinal parasites. Behavioral problems that can also trigger this habit are stress, feelings of unhappiness, and litter box issues.
Start by making sure that the problem isn’t a behavioral issue and go from there. If it’s a medical problem, go ahead and expect that you’ll be paying the vet a visit soon.