If your cat peed on you, there’s no straightforward way to know exactly why. There are quite a lot of explanations for this fairly straightforward behaviour, and narrowing them down to just one may actually prove fairly tricky.
That being said, when a cat pees on a human, it’s evidence there’s something wrong, and while you may not be able to narrow down the behaviour to just one explanation, there’s a lot you can do in terms of being proactive that will help you fix the problem regardless of what it happens to be, which could come in especially handy if peeing on humans seems to be a recurring issue.
If you’re taking the fact that your cat peed on a bit personally – do your best to put those emotions on pause for a short minute.
Yes, there’s a really slim chance that your cat knew he or she was going to pee on you when the act happened, but even if it happens repeatedly, there’s also an enormous likelihood each and every time it happens, it’s a complete accident and out of your cat’s control.
Even in the very slim chance the explanation behind your cat’s behaviour has something to do with particularly you, the act is still not done out of malice, out of trying to upset you, or anything along those lines.
Your cat is almost certainly behaving this way out of severe anxiety and stress, like a cry for help – if he or she is even in control of this behaviour at all.
While it’s not all that common for cats to pee on their owners, it isn’t altogether uncommon either. That being said, uncommon or not, again – it’s not a healthy behaviour – it’s a sign something is amiss.
When a cat pees on a human, whether or not it’s you, it’s an indication there’s a problem that needs immediate attention and fixing.
This behaviour is typically coupled with other red flags, like going to the cat litter box but leaving not having peed, peeing in weird places like by the front door, as well as other peculiar behaviours.
Those other behaviours can be exceptionally good clues that indicate which explanation is more likely than others to be the culprit behind your cat’s behaviour.
In this article, I’ll go through a slew of possibilities behind this behaviour one by one, explaining the issue as well as other related behaviours to look out for so you can do your best to potentially narrow down or at least get a gist of the many different reasons that could explain your particular cat’s behaviour.
In terms of what to do if your cat is peeing on you and/or someone else: first and foremost, make an appointment with your vet.
A lot of cats in this situation are actually sick with UTIs. It’s so important a UTI is ruled out first, as these can become life threatening for cats if they’re not dealt with quickly.
Yes, they’re one more thing to have to buy, but they’re not expensive, they’ll make clean up easier, make sure you don’t have to replace your furniture even if the problem persists for some time, and they’re easy to remove if you have guests over and don’t want couch covers on for their visit.
Tried the vet? Want to know what else could be the problem? As we’ll get into, most cats without UTIs have severe anxiety issues over something or another.
Please let me know in the comments if there’s an explanation behind cats peeing on humans you can think of that wasn’t listed below.
Also let me know if your cat has ever struggled with this problem, and if you found the root of the problem as well as the solution to fixing it. What was the fix was in your particular case? Now let’s get into the list.
Picture from post 01/09/16
11 Potential Explanations Why Cats Sometimes Pee on Humans
1. Cats will at times pee on their humans when they have UTIs.
UTIs are fairly common in cats – especially male cats who don’t drink enough water on a day-to-day basis. Considering how common they are, and how likely they are to be the culprit in this particular case, it’s really important you take your cat to the vet and let him or her know what your cat’s behaviour has been like.
A few other indicators your cat most likely has a UTI include:
- Visiting the restroom and crying – as though in pain while trying to pee.
- Peeing in odd places like on tile floors, bathrooms, or in blankets.
- Trying to use the litter many more times per day than usual.
- Going into the restroom and leaving without having urinated.
There are special diets cats often prescribe cats who have regular UTIs, so please ask about those as well as any preventative measures your vet may recommend if your cat struggles with them often.
2. Cats will also pee on humans at times if their litter box is unclean.
Sometimes cats do something that may resemble “punishing” their pet parents with urination in weird places, but this isn’t about punishment at the end of the day.
It’s about letting you know there’s something wrong about their environment, and the first and most obvious place this is likely to be if there’s a cat who peed in a place he or she shouldn’t is their litter box.
Cats don’t like to use the litter box when it smells or is dirty.
There are many who will go so far as to avoid using it until it’s clean, but this could easily mean having an accident on a human lap or while sleeping in bed with a human if they’ve delayed using the loo for too long.
3. Cats sometimes pee on humans because another cat makes them too afraid to use the litter box.
Imagine every time you go to the washroom, someone’s out there waiting for you to come out, or even comes in and scares you off because they feel that’s their washroom and you shouldn’t be using it.
While this sounds absurd if you’re talking about humans, with cats, it’s pretty common for kitties to scare other cats in the household away from what they feel is their territorial place to “go” – and yes, a cat can think that every single litter box in the house his his or her territory to be protected.
At this point, an anxious cat, too afraid to use the litter box, might continue to hold in his or her pee to the point where he or she just cannot keep it in any longer – and that may happen to be right when your furry decides to crawl into your lap for a cuddle.
Just when he or she begins to relax and stop feeling anxious (in your presence), the flood gates metaphorically open, and you’re drenched. Poor kitty, but also poor you.
If your cat’s odd peeing behaviour seems to coincide with the date you brought a new cat in, I strongly suggest reading my article (written for Tiffany who left this comment on this very post) titled: “I Got a Second Cat & Now My My Old Cat Pees Everywhere.”
That particular article spells out a lot of tips I have on this issue, and the comments section of that post may be able to help you out as it details others’ experiences as well.
4. Cats can pee on humans because they don’t like the litter being used.
Cats are notoriously fickle about the litter being used in the box.
If they can’t stand it for absolutely any reason, they may put off using the litter box, then again, accidentally go right at the point where they’re snuggling on your lap because they just couldn’t hold it anymore.
If you’ve recently changed litters, this may be the culprit. Try changing back.
If you aren’t sure which litters to try, but think this may be the problem, note that unscented litters are a lot better liked than scented litters.
Struggling with stinky litter and tried a scented litter to mask that smell? Use these tips to keep litter smells away.
My favourite tip is to try to grab a clumping cat litter, even if you don’t need your litter to clump because you don’t put your cat’s litter down the toilet.]
Clumping litters greatly reduce smells in my experience because they allow you to get rid of all the urine in the litter much more easily.
The only cat litter I’ve used in years? World’s Best Cat Litter. It’s made of whole-kernel corn and is very good at reducing especially urine smells. Check out my review of it here if you’re interested.
5. Cats sometimes also pee on humans when they hate their litter box.
The same disdain some cats have for litter can also be true of litter boxes.
Finding the perfect litter box can be tricky because, as it turns out, cats all like different things.
Some cats like covered litter boxes. Some cats only like uncovered litter pans (if it turns out your cat is like this, but also gets litter outside the box, there are open-top litter boxes with shields).
If you’ve recently changed litter boxes, or you have a feeling your cat might like a different type of box, experiment. You might find this problem goes away with the perfect fit.
6. Cats can pee on their humans when they lose bladder control.
Some cats simply lose bladder control and thus, will be sitting on your lap having a good time, and pee out of the blue – completely by accident – on you.
If your cat is obese, he or she is more likely to be at risk of incontinence. Middle aged to older cats are far more susceptible to losing bladder control.
Please see your vet if you suspect a lack of bladder control may be the issue behind your cat’s urination on you.
There are plenty of medications your vet can try and many work to help cats with incontinence issues.
Incontinence is most frequently caused by inflammation, which can also typically be treated by your vet with antibiotics and topical ointments.
Or, there could be an underlying condition causing the bladder control issues, which leads me to our next possibility.
7. Cats sometimes have other illnesses that can cause them to pee on humans accidentally.
PetMD mentions that some other illnesses that could cause incontinence include:
- Lesions on the spinal cord
- Lesions in the brain
- Overactive bladder syndrome […]
- Chronic inflammatory disease
- Pressure on the bladder caused by a mass
- Underdevelopment of the bladder or other birth defects
While it may be unlikely, something more serious could be behind your cat’s behaviour.
Please do yourself a favour and get your cat to the vet to have them all ruled out before proceeding to guess it may be something other than illness causing your cat to pee on you.
8. A cat who feels threatened by other cats in the house may pee on a human to mark them as their territory.
Male cats who are un-neutered are especially likely to scent what they feel is their territory with urine markings, though this really only happens when they feel threatened by other cats, such as those they live with at home.
Most cats will scent without the use of urine – by rubbing their faces and bodies against surfaces like chairs, beds, door frames, and cat trees.
This type of scenting is typically enough for them to feel safe and secure, surrounded by their own smell.
But an exceptionally anxious, stressed cat who feels threatened by other cats, such as one or more felines who live with them, may begin to urine mark as a sign of extreme stress and anxiousness towards the cat or cats in question.
Your cat(s) all likely feel as though you are their territory, and thus if one or more mark you with urine, it’s an indication of a bigger problem.
If you find your cat marking with urine around many different areas of your home, and has a strained relationship with one or more of your cats, as well as having peed on you, this may be the problem.
Neutering or spaying the cat in question will go a long way in helping resolve the aggression and anxiety, as will re-introducing the cats if this is really what’s going on.
Check out the Humane Society’s guide on what to do to if your cat is marking if your cat happens to pee around the house.
A vet should definitely be able to help you if you find this is your issue – not only with advice, but also with anxiety medication if this is seen as appropriate, so please do bring this up with your vet if you think this is the problem.
9. A cat who feels threatened by cats outside the house may pee on a human to mark them as their territory.
Cats outside the house who don’t even come into your home can cause issues with your cat feeling anxious about his or her territory, causing your cat to feel the need to mark you with urine.
If you come home smelling of other cats – say because you were cat sitting, work at a pet store, work at an animal shelter, or for any other reason – this may be the issue.
Neighbourhood cats and stray and feral street cats can also be the culprits, if they happen to get close enough to your home for your cat to smell, which they almost certainly do.
If you feel this may be the issue, again, neutering or spaying the cat in question will go a long way toward helping if that hasn’t been done yet.
If that doesn’t prove to be enough, there are steps you can take to reduce anxiety – from increasing playtime and exercise to help your cat release pent up energy, to using cat repellents like outdoor scat mats around your home in spots neighbourhood cats seem particularly attracted to that create anxiety for your cat.
You should also speak to your vet, for suggestions as well as about the potential use of anti-anxiety medication, especially in cases where your cat’s anxiety is not limited to peeing, but also converts into aggression toward humans and other animals in the house.
10. Cats sometimes pee on humans if they’re incredibly afraid in the moment.
You’ve no doubt heard the figure of speech “I almost peed my pants” to describe a heightened sense of fear and anxiety from another human before.
If you’re incredibly afraid, as a human, it is possible to lose control of your bladder, and the same is true for cats.
If your cat happened to be in an incredibly stressful situation – such as seeing a carrier come out right before being taken to a vet – it’s likely your cat peeing on you had more to do with fear than anything else.
You can absolutely help cats who are stressed by the most common triggers: fear of carriers/getting into carriers, and fear of cars/being in vehicles.
I’ve written up a guide on how to reduce and maybe even eliminate carrier fear here, and how to get your cat used to being in cars/vehicles here.
Check those out in case you’d like to help your cat be less anxious with both these.
I promise you it’s incredibly easy and it will make your life (and your cat’s life!) so much less stressful whenever you need to get Fluffy to the vet for check ups and possible emergencies.
11. Something in your cat’s environment could be causing acute distress to the point where peeing on a human is used as a cry for help.
A lot of things can cause acute stress, anxiety, and distress to the point where cats can accidentally begin to urinate in places they shouldn’t due to a lack of control over their bladders, or as a cry for help – signifying their distress and fear.
A few examples: a recent move, a long-distance travel with a cat, being left alone for long periods of time, noisy and frightening construction taking place near by – all these things and many more could be causing your cat to become stressed to the point where peeing on you was accidentally done when that stress piqued and your cat happened to be in your lap.
If you have a feeling you know what the cause of the anxiety may be, do your best to resolve it.
Have a lot of construction going on in your neighbourhood? I’ve found blasting an air purifier to help drown out frightening noises with white noise to be really helpful for my own cat in cases like that.
Recently moved? Try starting your cat off in a single room of the house to get him or her used to that one room, then letting him or her explore whenever he or she feels ready (cats will begin trying to get out on their own when they usually begin to get ready).
Help your cat’s anxiety with distraction techniques like playing more often and spoiling your cat with things he or she loves – cuddles, pets, new cat beds, warm heating pads, new toys – whatever you think could help make him or her happy. You know your cat best!
Your Thoughts on Cats Peeing on Humans?
Has your cat ever peed on you? Did you ever figure out why?
Are there possible explanations for cats peeing on humans that I’ve missed out in this list? Which do you think are the most common explanations for this behaviour?
Looking forward to hearing your thoughts, theories, stories, & experiences in the comments down below!