I’m at my wits end and need some help as to what to do. My 5 year old cat has always been timid, but will come up to us and socialize and everything. Lately he’s been peeing on my bathroom rugs. Unfortunately I cannot pay for vet bills right now so I was just trying to handle it. He did it one day and I got mad (I am pregnant and have a 3 and 2 year old as well) and made him scared of me. Now when he sees me he will start howling. His location of choice to do this is usually the kids room when they’re asleep. If I touch him, approach him, yell at him, ANYTHING, he pees. I really cannot have this cat peeing everywhere and don’t know what to do.
Unfortunately, taking your cat to the vet is really the only option. Cats don't tend to urinate in odd places purely out of fear - there's almost certainly something else at play - probably something renal or bladder related. he is possibly in some sort of discomfort and the panic sets him off.
When my usually well-trained 15 year old cat started peeing in weird places (a corner in the bathroom, the shower tray, etc) we took him to the vet and it turned out he had diabetes and needed to go all the time due to his body not processing water as it should have been. He also had a massively heightened thirst - is this an issue?
Either way, you should really get the cat to the vet as soon as you can, as it sounds like the poor guy is in pain which is being exacerbated by anxiety. He probably knows he shouldn't be urinating everywhere and can't help it.
There is something wrong with your cat, as other have pointed out: please, please visit a vet.
Some Western countries might have a fund or non-profit setup that can help you with vet bills.
An other thing you could do is gently take your cat and feel if there is anything wrong in their intestines. Feel for lumps that are hard, there should be nothing hard there. Do be careful, if there is something wrong, it might be painful for your cat when you touch it.
If you have neutered male, he might have problems with his kidneys and or bladder / bladder stones. If that is so, he will pee a lot, that will smell different from normal cat pee.
I had the same problem with one of my cats. My cat would pee wherever he was when he got scared. He was always a timid cat as well. Sometimes he would even poop. But he didn’t go to certain spots he would freeze, make no expression and just lose control. There is no medical condition for him. He was just stressed where we were living at the time. I never encountered this problem before. He went to live with my in-laws where it’s just 2 older, quite adults and no kids. He hasn’t had a pee or poop incident. The stressful environment where we lived gave both my cats anxiety as we had neighbors downstairs and there was always a lot of noise. He’s been very happy living where he is now and it works out for everyone, especially him.