Pet Keen is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

Home > Dogs > Do Cats Pee When Scared? Deciphering Your Cat’s Behavior

Do Cats Pee When Scared? Deciphering Your Cat’s Behavior

cat pee on the carpet

Cats are not usually easily scared, but since they are highly sensitive, they can be afraid of certain things in their surroundings. Many cats can freeze up, pull their ears back, show signs of aggression, or hiss as a response. Another common reaction when your feline gets scared can also include peeing.

So, if you ever wondered if cats pee when scared, a simple answer is yes. We have created this article to help cat parents around the world who are dealing with this issue. Keep reading to find out more about the causes of stress-peeing and how to help your cat.


The 5 Reasons Why Your Cat Pees When Scared

cat scared of thunderstorm
Image Credit By: Irina Kozorog, Shutterstock

There are different reasons why your cat pees when scared. Some cats might do it accidentally, while with others it indicates submission.

1. Urinating Involuntarily

When your feline gets too scared or startled, it can urinate involuntarily. Involuntary peeing can also happen to humans and dogs. The limbic system is responsible for such a reaction because it pushes the cat to respond to a threat.

When this happens, the cat cannot control the amount of pee it releases, so minor accidents and emptying its full bladder could happen. Commonly, this occurs when your feline encounters something it has never seen before or if it’s too stressed. Your cat is more likely going to pee if it confronts something bizarre. Some cats can also have this reaction and pee if exposed to loud noises or fights with other cats.

Involuntary peeing is a reflex that simply happens, so your feline cannot control it. We suggest not scolding your cat because there’s not much it can do about the issue. Instead, try to calm down your kitty and help them in a stressful situation.

2. Showing submission

Peeing can be a sign of your cat showing submission. It’s a common reaction among felines, especially if you have more than one in your home. Cat conflicts can quickly become quite rough, and one of the cats can become injured.

When things go too far, the cat will likely pee as a way of surrendering to its opponent. If this happens, the feline may keep peeing submissively every time it gets in fights with other cats.

scared cat with his owner
Image Credit: Jaromir Chalabala, Shutterstock

3. Stress Territory Marking

Felines have a lot of issues when they are overstressed. A widespread problem is stress territory marking. When a cat is scared, it can use different methods to mark its new spots. The most common ones are:

  • Scratching
  • Rubbing their head against something to place their smell on it
  • Using scent glands in their head and feet

Also, both male and female cats may pee when afraid, attempting to make new territory for themselves. Stress territory marking with pee will likely happen if you move or allow your cat in places of the home it hasn’t been before.

4. Comfort Scent

Both people and animals can get comfort from known smells. That’s why some cats may pee when scared. Once they smell their urine scent, they will calm down easier. Most cats encounter this issue when they change their environment or if there is a new pet in the family.

It’s important to recognize these signs and try to comfort your feline so that their urge to pee due to the discomfort of the unknown is less significant.

5. Not Spayed

Non-neutered cats will likely be more exposed to peeing when scared. As a feline owner, you probably know that unneutered cats love to spray on walls, furniture, or other areas of your home.

If possible, it might be helpful to spay your cat, but of course, this is not something that you have to do.

No matter how hard you try, pets will always leave you cleaning up smells, stains, vomit, hair, and everything in between. With the Hepper Advanced Bio-Enzyme Pet Stain & Odor Eliminator Spray, you can advance your clean-up routine!

Hepper Advanced Bio-Enzyme Pet Stain & Odor Eliminator Spray

It permanently removes the very worst pet stains and smells (and truly makes clean-up a breeze). Click here to learn more, order a bottle, and freshen up your home today.

At Pet Keen, we’ve admired Hepper for many years, and decided to take a controlling ownership interest so that we could benefit from the outstanding products of this cool cat company!


How to Stop a Cat From Peeing When Scared?

The most important thing is to help your feline to cope with scary situations and stress. Here are some things you can do if you notice your cat peeing when scared:

  • Discuss the problem with your vet
  • Provide your cat with more love and play-time
  • Cuddle with your feline
  • Create a safe, comfortable environment in your home for your cat
  • Thoroughly clean any previous spots the cat marked with pee
  • Clean the litter box daily

Peeing when scared can also indicate that there might be a health issue your feline is facing, so ensure your vet knows all the details about the situation.

Image Credit: Lightspruch, Shutterstock

Causes of Fear in Cats

Cats can be afraid of anything bizarre, unfamiliar, or threatening in their surroundings. Most cats have common stress triggers, which easily make them scared. The most common ones are:

  • Other cats and dogs
  • Unknown places and people
  • Thunderstorms
  • Firecrackers
  • Loud noises
  • Vet visits
  • Moving

It’s essential to try and notice your cat’s behavior in these sorts of situations so that you can help and calm it down. Below we will talk more about the signs of a scared cat and how to notice that your feline is becoming nervous, scared, or upset.

Signs of a scared cat

There are behavioral signs of a scared cat that you can quickly notice. Knowing how your cat acts when afraid will help you recognize situations in which you need to react and help your feline. When your cat is nervous and frightened, you’ll likely notice these indicators:

  • Excessive grooming and licking
  • Avoiding eye contact
  • Dilated pupils
  • Moving its head away
  • Hiding
  • Pulling ears to the side
  • Leaning away
  • High respiratory rate
  • Freezing in place
  • Aggression (hissing, scratching, growling, spitting)
  • Staring at one spot
  • Bladder control loss
  • Running away
  • Tucking their tail between their legs

If your cat is fearful, it can develop stress cystitis, a health issue that can cause even more problems. Try to be alert at all times and relieve your cat’s stress or fear when you notice any of these signs.


How to Calm a Scared Cat?

cat sleeping on owner's lap
Image Credit: Karpova, Shutterstock

You should know how to calm your cat and help it when it becomes frightened, and there are many ways to soothe your feline.

Provide them with their own space

Cats need their own space to feel comfortable and secure. You should create an area where your feline can relax and unwind. You can buy scratchers, toys, or anything your cat likes so they will have a way to calm when nervous or afraid.

Do not force it to socialize

When your cat is scared, do not force it to socialize. That might have a harmful effect on your feline. Instead, allow them to adjust to new people and situations at their own pace. Your kitty will interact once it feels safe again, so there’s no need to rush their recovery process.

Be calm in stressful situations

If you see that your cat is scared or aggravated, stay calm and try to tranquilize your pet. If your feline is friendly, you can pet or cuddle it to reduce anxiety. If your cat notices you’re nervous, it might have an even stronger reaction and need more time to recover.

Some other things you can do:

  • Create a routine
  • Reduce all causes of the fear
  • Allow the cat to lead the way

Feline recovery

Depending on how stressful or scary the reason was, felines might need a lot of time to process everything and feel safe and secure again. Regardless of why your kitty got scared, you should be patient and give them space and time.

Do not try to rush the recovery process because that might discourage your cat or scare them again. Your cat will come to you on their terms once ready.  Each cat is unique, so some might need days, while some hours to feel calmer.

cat cuddling owner
image Credit: RJ22, Shutterstock

Prevent Fears From Developing in Your Feline

Some cats are naturally friendly, while others are reserved. To try and reduce fears from developing in your feline, you can make a routine from a young age, which will help them cope with these situations.

Try to introduce people of all ages and other animals in the early stages of your cats’ life. That way, they won’t be a stress trigger in the future. Have your feline face other possible triggers so that they will develop positive reactions to new encounters.

divider-paw Conclusion

As you can see, peeing when scared is a typical cat issue. We advise preventing the problem as much as possible but do not punish your cat. Instead, be there for your kitty, and show that it can rely on you when frightened.

See also:

Featured Image Credit: Olimpik, Shutterstock

Our vets

Want to talk to a vet online?

Whether you have concerns about your dog, cat, or other pet, trained vets have the answers!

Our vets