Skip to Content

Why Do Cats Like To Pee On Bathroom Rugs – Common Reasons

Some cat owners know this all too well: you get out of the shower and step onto your bathroom rug. Even though it’s supposed to be dry, it’s wet. Gross! You immediately know that your cat is the culprit, and you ask yourself in frustration, why do cats like to pee on bathroom rugs?

Cats like to pee on bathroom rugs because they do not feel well, dislike their litter box conditions, or mark their territory. Medical conditions and stress can also encourage cats to pee on bathroom rugs.

There is no one reason why your cat pees on the bathroom rugs. There are multiple reasons. Stay with us as we discover some of the reasons why your cat has turned your bathroom rug into your litter box and what it should tell you.

Reasons Cats Like To Pee On Bathroom Rugs

Peeing on bathroom rugs is a normal occurrence for cats with significant behavioral issues. However, this behavior can come as a surprise if your cat normally uses the litter box. Below are some unique reasons why cats do this.

Your Cat Has A Bladder Infection

Cats will begin to pee in places other than the litter box when they have a bladder infection.

Your cat could be one of the best cats when it comes to the litter box, so you should be worried when your cat begins to pee on the bathroom rugs.

This is a severe medical condition that requires your attention right away. It may not be easy to identify at first. If you notice that your cat has begun peeing on the bathroom rugs, check for blood. Blood in the urine is one of the best signs of a bladder infection.

Bladder infections can become serious if left untreated, so you should talk to your vet as soon as you suspect a bladder infection. Vets can prescribe medications, nutritional adjustments, and monitoring to help ensure your cat is in good condition.

Your Cat Has Another Medical Condition 

Your cat might have another medical condition aside from a bladder infection.

Cats do not have many ways to tell owners that they are not feeling well. Peeing in places that they are not supposed to be one of the ways that they tell their humans that something is wrong.

As mentioned above, you should rule out a bladder infection. However, just because you do does not mean that is the only thing that can be ailing your cat.

Ask your vet to run some follow-up tests. Bloodwork is a great way to quickly see if there are any other concerns when it comes to your cat’s health. 

Your Cat Isn’t Fixed

Cats that aren’t fixed have a problem peeing around the house, especially when thinking about male cats.

Bathroom rugs are a good location for cats to pee on because bathrooms are not a high-traffic area of the house, so your cat can be left in peace to get up to no good.

Usually, you are only in the bathroom for a few minutes a day, including when you are showering, getting ready, and using the bathroom.

Your Cat Is Marking His Territory 

Some cats like to mark their territory. Again, this problem is most common for male cats, whether they are fixed or not.

You may notice that your cat begins to pee on bathroom rugs to mark his territory when there is a new person or pet in the house. This could be from anything to a guest staying with you, a new baby, or a new cat or kitten.

Your cat shows the other person in the house what territory is his by marking the area with his urine. 

Of course, humans won’t understand this as much as other animals will! 

It Means That Your Cat Has A Behavior Problem

Peeing on the bathroom rug could be part of a behavior problem. This is something you should consider after you decide that your cat does not have a bladder infection or another medical condition. 

Some cats do not like to listen and are constantly up to no good. Peeing on the rugs in your bathroom could be one of his bold moves of choice.

A behavior problem will be more challenging to solve than many other reasons discussed so far. Cats can be challenging to train, but it is not impossible.

You will need to work with your cat to correct this problem, and if you are not having any luck by yourself, you may have to look to a professional trainer to help you.

Your Cat Doesn’t Like His Litter Box

One of the most common reasons your cat will start to pee on the bathroom rugs is that your cat doesn’t like his litter box.

Litter boxes are your cat’s bathroom, so your cat has good reason to tell you what he does and doesn’t like. Still, I know that it can be frustrating to deal with.

A cat that suddenly starts to pee on the bathroom rugs soon after changing litter probably does not like the litter you have purchased. Try choosing a different litter, or go back to the one that you know your cat liked.

Generally speaking, cats do not exhibit problems if you change the litter box itself. Sometimes, however, problems can arise if your cat cannot get into the new litter box, whether because your cat is too small or because he is too old now.

Your Cat Doesn’t Like Litter Boxes

Now, this is a weird one, but it can be that your cat doesn’t like litter boxes. It doesn’t matter how many times you change litter or move the box.

This is probably a relatively rare occurrence, but I can speak from experience on this one.

My one cat hates litter boxes. We could not get her to use the litter box in any room or with any litter. She was happier using a pee pad that we put on the floor like a puppy! 

To solve this issue, we started to get in the habit of letting our cat out in the morning and the afternoon. Our cat was on the same schedule as our dog! We found that our cat was no longer peeing on the bathroom rugs when she was going outside. 

Is It Normal For Cats To Pee On Rugs

It’s not normal for cats to pee on rugs. If you see this happening it is almost always an indication that your cat is dealing with one of the ranges of issues we mentioned above. For the most part, it’s behavioral and to make their presence known, which, if they have already been living in the residence for some time, isn’t normal.

For that reason, you should not think that it is normal for cats to pee on rugs. Rightfully so, there is some legit concern around the matter.

Cats are an interesting type of animal. Even the smallest of kittens can quickly and easily learn how to use a litter box. Of course, cats are extremely clean animals, so it makes sense that most cats prefer to have a litter box.

When your cat starts to pee on rugs, whether in your bathroom or anywhere else in the house, you should try to get to the bottom of why this is happening, especially if it is sudden.

At no point should you assume that your cat peeing on your rugs is normal behavior that you have to accept as a cat owner. 

How To Stop Cats From Peeing On The Bathroom Rug

It can be tough to stop your cat from peeing on the bathroom rug, so here are some tips to help correct the issue:

Figure out what’s making your cat pee elsewhere in the house

This is easier than it sounds, but the surefire way to make sure your cat stops peeing on the bathroom rug is to identify the problem and form a solution.

The problem can be anything from moving to a new location, changing your cat’s litter, or recent medical development. Cat’s don’t communicate quite the same way as dogs do, so you’ll really need to think long and hard about what changed in your cat’s routine.

For the most part, a change in peeing locations is caused by a large event. You’ll want to take some time to analyze the litter box, and even the rug itself and look for clues. Does the rug have your scent? Most likely. Is it something your cat hasn’t had a chance to mark as their own territory yet? Quite possibly.

Once you’ve identified the problem, the fix is usually quick (unless it’s medical), and your cat will resume using the litter box fairly quickly.

Keep the bathroom door closed

If the bathroom rug seems to be a target for your cat, the most effective way to stop them is to close off the bathroom. When the bathroom is not freely open, your cat won’t be able to enter. It might seem like a simple suggestion, but it’s highly effective.

Unfortunately, if your cat doesn’t get what it wants and has no access to the bathroom area, it may start acting out in other ways. This can include clawing at the door, throwing fits, or even finding a new location to use the bathroom in.

So, no, this does not entirely solve the problem and it could make matters worse. If the bathroom rug is a big deal to you, then that will be preserved, but your cat will likely find another spot to target.

Do not put bathroom rugs in the bathroom

No rug? No problem.

If you remove the bathroom rug entirely from the bathroom, your cat won’t have a choice but to figure something else out. This idea is actually more effective for stopping your cat from peeing on the rug than keeping the door closed.

Because cats have a strong sense of smell, whatever it is about the rug that’s attracting them to it will still be there even with the door closed.

In this case, removing the rug from your home entirely leaves your cat to focus on other things. This is an easy way to rid yourself of the headache.

Teach your cat not to go in the bathroom

There’s this idea that cats can’t be trained, but that’s further from the truth.

With some guidance, you can actually teach your cat not to go to the bathroom.

Try the following:

  • Provide your cat with treats
  • Redirect your cat with toys and other activities
  • Build a new routine for your cat to follow when you go to the bathroom

That last point is especially helpful. If you can build a solid routine for your cat to follow anytime you go to the bathroom, they are less likely to follow you in to use the rug to potty.

The routine can be as simple as moving their feeding time to your bathroom breaks or providing them with a treat or distraction anytime you get up to use the bathroom.

When your cat follows you to the bathroom heading forward, they’ll be more interested in whatever treats or activities you have for them. They’ll start to associate that behavior with you using the bathroom.

Likewise, if you see your cat heading to the bathroom rug on their own and you provide a distraction this can work too. From then on when they go towards the bathroom rug, they’ll be doing so to grab your attention; not to pee on it.

Spray something with a scent that your cat does not like in the bathroom

Deterrents are an effective way to stop cats from peeing on bathroom rugs. You don’t have to purchase any expensive sprays or fluids either. Many ingredients laying around the home can be used as effective deterrents to stop your cat from doing almost anything.

Here’s a list of safe deterrents you can use to stop your cat from peeing on bathroom rugs:

  • Citrus Scent
  • Vinegar Scent
  • Lemon Pepper Scent

These three scents are the most effective when it comes to cats staying away from things. The vinegar scent is particularly annoying to cats because it’s very strong. In general, I would suggest avoiding any garlic-related deterrents; your cat could get sick.

In addition to spray deterrents, there’s also the option to use physical items to stop your cat from approaching your bathroom rug to pee on it. This includes:

  • Plants
  • String
  • Scat Mats
  • Motion-activated horns
  • Motion-activated water sprayers

Considering most bathroom spaces are small, you’ll probably want to stick away from the plants or string. Scat mats however are highly effective. If your cat steps on that texture, it won’t feel good to them to have that underneath their paws. They’ll quickly run away from the area. Scat Mats can be left in the bathroom entrance. Over time, your cat will start to associate the mat, and that area in general with displeasure.

Motion-activated horns are a way to startle your cat, which of course isn’t fun, but it will limit them spending time in that space. The motion-activated water sprayers are effective here too. However, after a while cats might just lick the water off their faces and fur and continue peeing anyway.

As a whole, deterrents are effective all around, but there’s a bit of giving and take in this scenario. If it were up to me, I would use the spray deterrents. Pick something like Citrus that smells good to you (the bathroom user), but something your cat would hate.

Use a strong cleaner to clean the pee to deter your cat from peeing again

If a cat ends up peeing on the bathroom rug, you’ll need to eventually get the stain (and stench) out of the rug. That’s not a fun task (we’ll get into how to do this later) because the scent is usually overwhelming after it’s settled.

Thankfully, there’s a bit we can do as cat owners to clean up the scent and deter our cats from doing this again.

Simply put, use a cleaner that has just as strong of a scent as your cat’s urine and it will naturally deter them. I already mentioned the citrus cleaner above, but you may want to go for something a bit stronger.

In this case, you may want to go with a professional spray like Mighty Petz or Natures Miracle. These spray products do a good job at not only cleaning up the space but keeping your cat away from it.

Nature’s Miracle is quite effective at stopping the cat from going to that particular location additional times. It also gets deep into the material; removing the stains and the odors at the same time. It’s safe for your cat, and also saves you time trying to create your own DIY repellents.

Even if the urine stain is deep-set into the carpet, this product does a nice job at still removing it.

How Do You Get Cat Pee Out Of A Bathroom Rug

Getting cat pee out of a bathroom rug might seem like a daunting task at first. However, it’s not as complicated as you might think; even if the stains have had a considerable amount of time to settle in.

Since we’re assuming that your cat is already peeing in your bathroom, let’s talk about how to remove the pee from your bathroom rug.

One of the easiest ways to get cat pee out of a bathroom rug is to wash it in a washing machine. Do not wash the rug with anything else. Usually, your detergent will be enough to get the smell out of the rug on a full cycle. Washing it with other clothes might actually cause the scent to faintly transfer, and you don’t want that!

You can also soak your bathroom rug in the bathtub if you need a quick solution. Make sure to use some sort of soap that oxidates and can handle the color of your rugs. This method may not remove the smell as well as you want, but it’s pretty effective at removing the stain portion.

To remove the smell will require you to invest in a spray or make a DIY solution. You may need several applications of either before it finally kicks in and your rug is good as new.

Purchase a spray product that cuts the smell of cat pee such as Natures Miracle products. This alone should be enough to clean the rug, but it will give you peace of mind that your bathroom, which is usually a small space in your house, does not reek of cat pee. 

FAQCATS IS A PARTICIPANT IN THE AMAZON SERVICES LLC ASSOCIATES PROGRAM. AS AN AMAZON ASSOCIATE FAQCATS EARNS FROM QUALIFYING