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8 Reasons Your Cat Poops on the Bed & How to Fix it

If you’re ready to hit the hay, the last thing you want to deal with is a fresh pile of cat poop on your bed. But you’re probably here because your sweet kitty has been using your sleeping space as a toilet, and you want answers. After all, they aren’t the ones that have to do the laundry, and if they were—they wouldn’t.

So, what are some reasons that your cat might be pooping on your bed? There are more answers than you might think. But because it could indicate a more significant underlying issue, you want to get to the bottom of what’s going on.

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A Little Story on Cats & Bathroom Habits

You can introduce kittens to the litter box as early as three weeks old. At this time, they should get well-acquainted with their private bathroom, so they learn the ropes. Cats are arguably the easiest domesticated animal to house-train because they do all the hard work for you.

By four weeks, most kittens are litter-trained—but it can vary slightly depending on the cat. They have a natural desire to use the potty in an area where they can easily cover up their mess. Kittens usually learn most by watching their mama.

Generally, cats are spotless animals that take personal hygiene very seriously. They self-bathe, grooming their bodies all on their own. If you have a fully-grown cat that just started this behavior, you know that it isn’t related to litter training.

So, when your cat is going to the bathroom outside the box, it’s an obvious concern because it’s not normal. While issues like spraying can happen because of territorial marking, pooping has another cause entirely. And what are some of those potential reasons?

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Image Credit: Dana Nguyen, Unsplash

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1. Illness

If pooping on the bed is new behavior and there have been no recent changes in the household, look to illness first. Some health problems are very time-sensitive, so knowing what to look for can help things along.

There can be several medical reasons why your kitty has taken an interest in using your bed as a litter box. Here some of the illnesses that might be the culprit.

  • Intestinal Parasites — issues like intestinal worms can cause a bunch of nasty side effects. Because worms can cause diarrhea or constipation, your cat might not be able to get to its litter box on time.

The most common types of intestinal worms found in cats are:

  • Hookworms
  • Roundworms
  • Stomach worms
  • Whipworms
  • Tapeworms
  • Giardia
  • Toxoplasmosis

If you think worms might be to blame, you might look for other symptoms like:

  • Weight loss
  • Vomiting
  • Worms in stool
  • Coughing
  • Bloating
  • Bloody stool or diarrhea
Veterinarian examining a kitten_didesign021_shutterstock
Image Credit: didesign021, Shutterstock

If you make a vet trip and discover your kitty does have some worm or infection, they will have to take a routine round of antibiotics to kill off the problem.

  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome—IBS is a gastrointestinal condition that produces an extra-strong urge to eliminate with little notice. If your cat suffers from IBS, your bed probably isn’t the only place that they poop when they can’t make it.

This condition usually shows up in middle-aged to older cats, but it can happen at any age. There might not be an excellent way to pinpoint what causes it, but doctors believe it can be a combination of their diet, intestinal bacteria, and immune system health.

Symptoms of IBS in cats include:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Poor appetite
  • Bloody stools

If your vet runs the necessary tests to determine your cat has IBS, they have to create a health plan to reduce the symptoms. Usually, a vet will try a combination of antibiotics with a diet change to see if the condition improves.

Food Sensitivity—like humans, cats can suffer from food allergies, and they can be tricky to sort out. Your cat will likely have to undergo food trials to eliminate certain ingredients in its diet. That can help your vet peg down which component is causing the sensitivity.

cat not eating
Image Credit: Alena Lebedzeva, Shutterstock

Other symptoms of food sensitivities in cats include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Poor coat
  • “Scooting”
  • Skin & ear infections
  • Hypothyroidism—if your cat’s thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough hormones, it can cause a condition called hypothyroidism. Imagine that everything in your cat’s body slows down, making all functions a little sluggish.

Symptoms of hypothyroidism in cats include:

  • Weight gain
  • Increased thirst
  • Increased appetite
  • Frequent urination
  • Poor coat
  • Excess shedding

Luckily, most cats who develop hypothyroidism are over 12 years old. So, the likelihood of it happening to your cat is much less if they’re younger.

  • Diabetes—yes, even our beloved felines can get diabetes, and it can cause all sorts of weird side effects. The condition itself wouldn’t cause your cat to poop on your bed but it can make them exhibit new, unwanted behaviors that can vary.

Most commonly, diabetes in cats causes:

  • Increased thirst
  • Increased urination
  • Ravenous appetite
cat sleeping on bed
Image Credit: Paul Hanaoka, Unsplash

Your vet can run a few simple tests to rule out or confirm diabetes as a possibility.

  • Liver Disease—when your cat develops liver disease, it will wreak havoc on otherwise typical aspects of their lives—including trips to the litter box. That’s because the changes it creates in the body can trigger behavioral changes and physical problems.

The symptoms of liver disease in cats include:

  • Weight loss
  • Decreased appetite
  • Jaundice
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Mental changes

There is no at-home test for liver disease, but they must receive treatment. If you’re unsure, it’s always best to consult a professional.

  • Cancer—the dreaded word. Don’t fret, because it’s probably not cancer. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take it seriously if your cat is behaving oddly. Your vet will rule out many much more common health problems before they check into cancer.

Cancer can also mimic the symptoms of many other illnesses. So, try not to self-research too much and get stressed out. Because cancer can be totally asymptomatic, blood tests (among others) will signal a warning to your vet.

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2. Environmental Changes

Cats are creatures of habit. If things have been pretty routine around your household and then changed suddenly, it can cause bad behavior.

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Image Credit: Timothy Meinberg, Unsplash

Sometimes, your cat—much like a child—can’t process new information without acting out a little.

If you think back to when the issue first started, you might think of something that changed drastically—even if it wasn’t that big of a deal to you. It could be something as simple as reorganizing your bedroom. It can throw your cat off completely, making them do questionable things in response.

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3. New Pets or Children

If you are welcoming in a new addition to the household—human or animal alike—this may not go over too well with your roommate. After all, you didn’t ask your cat if someone else could live with you. Your cat may be having a hard time adjusting to this significant change.

They might be using your bed especially if the new pet or person stays in your room. This is more a cry for attention than a spiteful action—no matter how it might feel to you. Remember to make introductions slow and be patient with the process. If this is the case, it should calm down once they acclimate.

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4. Untreated Stress

If your kitty has an anxiety condition or high-stress level that you haven’t noticed before, this might be a sign to pay attention. Cats can have atypical anxiety levels, being very sensitive to everyday stimuli. If you have a cat you might call “skittish,” nervousness could be the culprit.

If your cat started using your bed to poop, it could signal that something around their litter box stresses them out. Maybe you recently sat the litter box in the laundry room, and now they’re scared of that big, loud dryer—relating the litter box to scary things.

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Image Credit: Connor Tollison, Unsplash
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5. Multi-Cat Households

Cats can be territorial or combative with other household felines. If they feel like they need to make their statement, they might poop outside of the litter box. Competition is real for cats. If they feel like the natural order is upset, it can cause a battle to assume the alpha position.

Even though it isn’t your fault, your cat might be doing this toward other cats—and not you at all.

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6. Plain Old Spite

We’ve all been at the receiving end of our kitty’s scorn. It’s not a pretty place to be.  Cats can be downright ruthless when they aren’t happy—giving you underhanded clues that they are just flat out ticked off about things.

If you have done something to upset your feline, you might want to rekindle the relationship. Your cat might be telling you that they disapprove of your new boyfriend. Or they might smell another animal on you when you come home—how dare you! You’ll want to explore the triggers so you can eliminate the problem.

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7. Litter Problems

If the litter you buy irritates your kitty’s skin or their allergies, they might not want to use the litter box. Look for other symptoms like sneezing, skin irritation, and watery eyes.

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Image Credit By: Yuliya Alekseeva, shutterstock

Cats also hate dirty litter boxes. If you haven’t been keeping up with the cleaning like you usually do, this could be their way of signaling that it needs to happen more.

 

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8. Habit

Once your cat has used the bathroom in an area, it can be a real pain trying to remove the scent. Even when you can’t smell it anymore, your cat can. Now that they’ve used your comforter as their own bidet, they might think they can go here whenever they please.

If it’s become a habit, try using an enzymatic cleaner, like vinegar and water, to neutralize the smell.

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What to Do About a Cat Pooping on the Bed

If your cat is pooping on the bed and you can’t figure out why, you can try a few things to find the root cause.

Look for Other Signs

The problem might not just exist on your Egyptian cotton sheets. There might be other odd behaviors going on that you might have overlooked. Make a mental list of other, if any, symptoms your cat is displaying. Try to self-investigate in your house first to check to see if something has changed.

Eliminate Potential Triggers

If you know what the cause could be, you need to find a way to accommodate your cat. If they’re scared of a new household member or don’t like their new litter, they’re counting on you to solve it.

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Image Credit: Hector Bermudez, Unsplash

Try to eliminate one thing at a time. Once they stop pooping after you change up a few things, you can discover the original trigger.

Keep Your Cat Out of Your Room Unattended

Make sure you shut your bedroom door when you’re not in it. That way, they really can’t poop on your bed. If the habit picks up somewhere else, you can visit a vet.

Use Kitty-Safe Sprays

There are certain smells that your kitty would rather stay away from completely. You can make your own spray bottle at home by mixing components like garlic, peppermint, citrus, and vinegar. There are plenty of online, at-home suggestions for safe cat-repelling sprays.

Maintain the Litter box

Cats don’t like a dirty litter box. If you are waiting a little too long to clean it out, your cat can resort to other places. To avoid that, clean the litter box once or twice a day—depending on how many cats you have.

Make a Vet Appointment

To be on the safe side, you might want to get them into the vet no matter what. Realistically, there could be something you’re overlooking that could be serious. To err on the side of caution, get your kitty examined to rule out anything more significant.

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No More Kitties Pooping on the Bed

Now that you have a pretty good idea about what could cause this behavior, it’s time to get to work trying out new methods. Just know that there is a solution to every bad action.

You might not be able to pinpoint an exact reason. That’s why it’s so important to work closely with your vet to determine the cause.

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Featured Image Credit: Paul Hanaoka, Unsplash