How to Stop Cats from Peeing on Furniture

Updated: August 5, 2023


The companionship of a furry feline friend can be an absolute delight, but cat owners know all too well the frustrations that come with undesirable feline behaviors. One of the most common and vexing issues faced by cat owners is when their beloved pets start peeing on furniture. Not only can this behavior damage your valuable belongings, but it can also create an unpleasant environment in your home. However, before you find yourself at wit’s end, it’s essential to understand that there are effective ways to address this problem and bring harmony back into your household.

Before we delve into solutions, it’s crucial to recognize that cats do not act out of spite. When a cat begins urinating outside their litter box, it is often a sign that something is amiss in their environment or health. Cats are sensitive creatures, and changes in routine, stress, territorial issues, or underlying medical conditions can trigger inappropriate elimination. It is crucial to be patient and compassionate during this process, as scolding or punishment may worsen the situation and damage your bond with your furry friend.

The litter box is a vital aspect of a cat’s daily routine, and its cleanliness can significantly influence their behavior. Ensure the litter box is placed in a quiet, easily accessible location and kept clean by scooping it at least once daily. Cats are meticulous creatures, and an unclean litter box can lead them to seek alternative spots for relief.

Stress is a common trigger for inappropriate urination in cats. Identify any changes in your home environment that may be causing stress, such as new pets, unfamiliar visitors, or rearranged furniture. Providing your cat with plenty of mental and physical stimulation through interactive toys, scratching posts, and playtime can help reduce stress and promote positive behaviors.

If you’ve tried various methods and your cat’s behavior persists, it’s essential to rule out any underlying medical issues that might be causing the problem. Urinary tract infections, bladder stones, or other health problems could be the culprits. A visit to the veterinarian will help identify and address any medical concerns.

Why Do Cats Pee on Furniture?

Cats may pee on furniture or other inappropriate places for various reasons, and understanding these reasons is crucial in addressing and preventing this behavior. Some of the common reasons why cats may exhibit this behavior are:

  1. Territory Marking: Cats are territorial animals, and they use urine as a way to mark their territory. Changes in the household, such as the introduction of a new pet or a move to a new home, can trigger this behavior as the cat tries to establish its territory.

  2. Litter Box Issues: Cats are particular about their litter box. If the litter box is not clean, located in an undesirable place, or the type of litter is not to the cat’s liking, they may choose to urinate elsewhere.

  3. Stress or Anxiety: Cats are sensitive to changes in their environment, and stress or anxiety can lead to inappropriate urination. Events like loud noises, unfamiliar visitors, or changes in routine can trigger stress in cats.

  4. Medical Issues: Urinating outside the litter box can be a sign of an underlying medical problem, such as a urinary tract infection, bladder stones, or kidney issues. Cats may associate the litter box with pain and, therefore, avoid using it.

  5. Behavioral Issues: Behavioral problems, such as dominance conflicts in multi-cat households or attention-seeking behaviors, can also lead to inappropriate urination.

  6. Inadequate Litter Box Options: Some households may not have enough litter boxes for the number of cats present, leading to competition and avoidance of the litter box.

  7. Declawing: Cats that have been declawed may develop litter box aversions due to pain or discomfort associated with using the litter.

  8. Unfamiliar Odors: Cats have a highly developed sense of smell. If the furniture carries unfamiliar odors from outside or other pets, the cat may be prompted to mark the area with its own scent.

It’s important to note that cats do not urinate outside the litter box out of spite or to get back at their owners. Instead, it is their way of communicating something is not right in their environment or health. Addressing the underlying cause is crucial in resolving the behavior. If a cat’s inappropriate urination persists despite efforts to address potential triggers, consulting with a veterinarian or a feline behaviorist can help determine the root cause and develop an appropriate plan to modify the behavior.

How to Stop Cats from Peeing on Furniture

Embarking on the journey to stop this undesirable behavior in cats requires a proactive approach, and we’re here to guide you through it. While numerous strategies can be employed, it’s important to acknowledge that cats can be quite independent, and their receptiveness may vary. However, fear not, as we recommend beginning with a straightforward and effective step to set you on the right path.

1. Clean Cat Pee Using Enzymatic Cleaners

Cat urine consists of two components: the urine itself and a neutralizing chemical called urea. When cats urinate, they typically target small areas rather than large ones with no significance to them. Consequently, the urine remains concentrated on your furniture, leaving a persistent and unpleasant odor.

Although some may resort to covering furniture with plastic or using harsh chemicals to eliminate the smell, a more natural approach is available. You can try a simple mixture of 1/4 cup of vinegar with water and use a rag to clean all affected areas. The vinegar acts as an effective odor eliminator, neutralizing any remaining traces of cat urine.

2. Use Essential Oils to Deter Cats From Peeing Outside the Litter Box

For centuries, essential oils have been utilized to address a wide range of health concerns, from minor injuries to managing stress and anxiety. While some pet owners may be skeptical about incorporating essential oils into their pets’ routines, these oils can offer numerous benefits.

One notable advantage is their potent ability to deter cats from urinating on furniture. For instance, peppermint oil has shown effectiveness in this regard. However, given the vast variety of essential oils available, it is essential to conduct thorough research before making a final decision on which oil to use.

3. Place Reflective Objects Around Your Home

When a cat marks its territory with urine, it isn’t just leaving marks on furniture; it’s also leaving a scent signature for other cats to follow, indicating favorable areas in your home. To dissuade this behavior, it’s crucial to make it clear that the furniture is not a desirable spot.

Reflective objects can be of great help in this regard. While some may worry that using reflective tape will create an impenetrable barrier, it is quite effective in deterring cats from targeting specific furniture for urination. You can easily obtain reflective tape from hardware stores or online, making it a simple and practical solution to address this issue. So, start incorporating reflective tape as a decoration to discourage unwanted cat behavior.

4. Move the Litter Box to a Specific Spot

If your cat is peeing on your furniture due to a sudden change in the litter box location, it’s essential to address this issue promptly. Cats value privacy when using the litter box, so consider relocating it to a corner or a more secluded area where your cat will feel comfortable.

Since cats are territorial animals, they may initially resist using a different area for their bathroom needs. However, there are several alternative locations you can experiment with. It’s always wise to seek advice from a veterinarian regarding litter box placement, and conducting thorough research before making any changes is crucial to ensure the best outcome. By taking these steps, you can encourage your cat to use the litter box appropriately and prevent further instances of urinating on furniture.

5. Talk to Your Veterinarian if Things Don’t Improve

If you have exhausted all the methods outlined in this guide, and your cat is still peeing on your furniture, it’s time to consult with your veterinarian. They can provide valuable recommendations, such as trying a different type of litter or employing new methods to neutralize the urine odor.

Cats are creatures of habit, and even slight changes in their environment can lead to behavioral issues like inappropriate urination. If stress is the underlying cause, your veterinarian may suggest medications to help alleviate it. In cases where older cats have weakened bladder muscles, ensuring they receive sufficient daily water intake becomes essential.

Remember, seeking professional advice is crucial to identify the root cause of the problem and find the most appropriate solution for your furry companion’s unique situation. Your veterinarian’s expertise will guide you toward resolving the issue and restoring harmony in your home.

6. Play With Your Cat Around Her Box

Ensuring your cat’s happiness is essential when planning to welcome a feline companion into your home. Just like humans, cats have unique preferences when it comes to playtime. While a kitten may relish chasing toys and engaging in interactive play, an older cat might enjoy quieter activities, like exploring their litter box.

If you’re uncertain about your cat’s preferred playstyle, take the time to observe and interact with her to discover what activities bring her joy. Cats can enjoy a variety of play options, and even simple quality time spent together can significantly contribute to their happiness and well-being. The key is to be attentive to your cat’s cues and cater to her individual play preferences for a content and fulfilled feline companion.

7. Trim Long Hair Around Hind Quarters

Cats have a natural inclination to play and explore around furniture, which can sometimes lead to long hair getting caught in those areas. To prevent any discomfort or issues, it’s essential to trim your cat’s long hair promptly and ensure that it doesn’t obstruct her while sleeping.

If your cat has recently given birth to kittens, it may be challenging for her to shed excess fur. However, regular brushing can help remove any accumulated hair, making grooming time enjoyable for her. Make sure to turn grooming sessions into a fun and pleasant experience for your cat, so she looks forward to the bonding time while keeping her coat in good condition.

8. Apply Double Sided Sticky Tape to Furniture

Cats have a natural instinct to scratch and dig, which can sometimes lead to furniture damage and territorial scent marking. To prevent this behavior, take proactive measures such as applying double-sided tape to the areas your cat tends to scratch.

The tape serves as a deterrent, keeping her away from the furniture and discouraging her from scratching elsewhere. However, be cautious not to apply excessive tape, as it may accidentally stick to her fur and skin, causing discomfort. To make the surfaces less appealing for scratching, ensure they are comfortable and provide alternative scratching posts or pads to redirect her natural behavior appropriately. By taking these steps, you can protect your furniture and promote healthier scratching habits for your feline friend.

9. Light up Dark Spaces That Your Cat has Started to Urinate On

Cats’ territorial nature can become problematic when they start urinating in inappropriate places that are not part of their usual territory. If your cat is displaying this behavior, it’s essential to understand the underlying reasons causing her reluctance to return to her regular territory.

To address the issue effectively, start by consulting with your veterinarian, especially if they have encountered similar problems in the past. Discuss topics like toilet training and whether a change in the litter box location is necessary. Additionally, keep the following points in mind when dealing with this situation.

How to Stop Cats from Peeing on Furniture (Video)

Frequently Asked Question

How can I prevent my cat from peeing on my furniture?

Preventing cats from peeing on furniture involves several steps. Ensure your cat has a clean and accessible litter box, placed in a quiet area. Address any potential stressors in your cat’s environment, provide mental and physical enrichment, and consult a veterinarian to rule out any underlying medical issues. Using deterrents, positive reinforcement, and seeking professional advice if needed can also be helpful.

Why is my cat peeing on my furniture?

Cats may pee on furniture for various reasons, including territorial marking, litter box issues, stress or anxiety, medical problems, behavioral issues, or changes in the household. Understanding the root cause is essential in addressing the behavior effectively.

How do I get rid of the urine smell on my furniture?

To eliminate urine smell, start by cleaning the affected areas with an enzymatic cleaner to break down the urine compounds. Avoid using ammonia-based cleaners, as they may resemble the scent of cat urine. You can also try using a mixture of vinegar and water to neutralize odors. Additionally, ensure proper ventilation in the area to help dissipate the smell.

My cat used to use the litter box, but now she pees on furniture. What could be causing this?

A change in litter box behavior could be due to various factors, such as stress, territorial issues, a dirty litter box, health problems, or changes in the household. Identifying the underlying cause is essential in resolving the behavior.

Can essential oils help in preventing cats from peeing on furniture?

Some essential oils, such as peppermint, may deter cats from certain areas due to their strong scents. However, it’s essential to be cautious with essential oils around cats, as they can be sensitive to certain oils. Always consult with a veterinarian before using any essential oils around your cat.


Cats exhibit strong territorial instincts, which often results in them attempting to maintain their space without sharing it with others. When your cat starts peeing on your furniture, it may be a way of marking his territory and ensuring he feels secure in his environment. To eliminate the smell from his urine or spray and address the issue effectively, it is crucial to create a comfortable and reassuring atmosphere in your home to make him feel at ease.

Michael R

Michael R

I'm a publisher and editor at Cat Guide 101. I imagine that since you’re here, you likely own a cat — or two! — so helping you better understand them is my aim. I'd like to invite you to check out our about page to learn more about the Cat Guide 101 story.

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