If your cat defecates on the bed, it is, obviously, pretty horrible. So undoubtedly you will want to quickly get to the bottom, excuse the pun, of why this has happened.
Defecating on the bed comes under the term ‘house soiling’ which can include inappropriate urination and defecation. Certainly, statistics from the US suggest that house-soiling is one of the most common feline behaviour problems reported by cat owners and a major reason why owners relinquish cats to animal shelters.
In this article we will cover a few reasons why your cat may defecate on the bed!
Obviously, gastrointestinal problems can cause changes to your cat’s toileting habits, especially if they have diarrhoea they may simply not have time to reach their normal toileting areas!
Other illnesses that can change toileting behaviour include, intestinal parasites, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), food allergies or sensitivities, infections; whether bacterial or viral, toxin ingestion, hyperthyroidism which can cause diarrhoea and potentially cancer.
What to do?
The biggest factor is going to your veterinary practice to have a health check and rule out any health issues that could result in ‘house soiling’. This may require a physical examination, history taking, diagnostic tests and working up any concerns.
Litter box issues
If the litter box is not in a safe space where the cat feels vulnerable, if it is dirty and urine and faces are left there, if the litter or substrate is not appropriate (whether it just feels wrong, isn’t deep enough or is too scented) or if the tray is guarded or shared by another cat where subtle inter-cat issues are occurring we can experience a myriad of issues associated with litter tray protests. That can result in house soiling.
What to do?
Households with a single cat should have two litter boxes in two separate locations. In multi-cat households, the historical rule of thumb is to have at least one more litter box than the total number of cats. There may be ways around this but ONLY if appropriate. Socially affiliated cats, those cats that prefer living with certain individuals, may be more willing to share litter boxes. Cats which are not socially affiliated should have separate litter stations, p[lus at least one spare.
There are a number of considerations to factor in such as proximity to food and water, size, depth of litter and type of substrate, hygiene and cleanliness and positioning.
Remarkably, stress can actually be a reason your cat is defecating in unusual places, and possibly on the bed. Cats do not show their emotions as overtly as some other species and signs can be very subtle. It therefore becomes necessary for owners to appreciate the subtle signs of stress in their own cats in order to provide the best possible care. Chronic stress is more difficult to recognise as it can develop over a long period of time and the signs may be more subtle.
What to do?
Look at the suggestions for a ‘suitable feline environment’. Are you meeting all your cats’ needs? Some triggers for feline stress are beyond your control and we cannot change, but there are often still things we can do within their environment to help minimise potential stress. There are 5 pillars to a healthy feline environment that you can look at. Remember that feline body language is very subtle and complex, even if you think there is not a stress element it is actually very possible that there is. There are significant changes you can make to your cat’s environment that could ultimately lead to reduced house soiling.