4 Most Likely Reasons Your Cat Peed On Your Clothes (With Tips to Stop It)

You open the door after work, expecting the fresh smell of home. Instead, you are greeted with the pungent ammonia smell of cat urine. The last thing you want to do is to clean it up. And if you don’t figure out the cause, it’ll happen repeatedly. Not how anyone wants to spend their weekends rather than relax.

Katenna Jones, CAAB, Our Certified Cat Behavioralist here at ‘Cat World’ has plenty to say: When cats pee on belongings, it commonly indicates something wrong. This could be because:

  • they are sick and don’t feel well,
  • there’s something wrong with the litter or the litter box itself,
  • there’s something wrong with the environment–such as a stressor or lack of mental or physical outlet.
  • If the peeing appears to be specific to a particular person, maybe some negative association has formed, causing unpleasantness.

To put it simply: cats suddenly peeing on clothes is often due to a medical or behavioral issue.

Ketenna Jones adds that if your cat just peed on your clothes, “You may notice other behaviors, including peeing on anything soft, such as laundry, throw rugs, furniture, and pillows. It is not unusual for cats to pee in the shower or the sink. You may also notice a change in appetite, frequency of litter box use, an increase in isolation, and demand behavior. Or any change in behavior which is out of the norm.”

4 most likely reasons your cats pees on your clothes and what to do

stop your cat from urinating on your clothes

Illness

A significant sign of illness in cats is peeing outside the litter box. It occurs because cats associate peeing and, therefore, the litter box with pain, causing them to eliminate elsewhere.

Peeing outside the litter box can signify a urinary tract problem. The cause of urinary issues in cats can range from a urinary tract infection (UTI) to urethral obstruction.

Common symptoms are:

  • frequent urination with little urine
  • straining
  • licking the area
  • crying.

If you believe a urinary tract problem is the cause, Katenna Jones recommends, “Step one is always to go to the vet for a thorough exam to rule out any health problems as soon as possible.”

Urinary issues can escalate fast, particularly with male urethral obstructions. Your veterinarian will conduct tests to determine the cause, including a urine sample, x-ray, or ultrasound.

Litter Box

Cats prefer certain litter boxes and materials. If you have noticed your cat peeing outside the litter box, it may simply be a matter of preference.

Your cat may have peed on your clothes because they don’t like:

  • Cleanliness levels
  • Litter box type
  • Litter
  • Location

If you have made any changes lately, this could be the cause.

Ideal litter box conditions are:

  • Daily scooping
  • Litter box at least 1.5 times cat’s length from nose to tail
  • Preferred litter
  • Preferred type of box

Your cat could have a preference or aversion to the litter or the litter box’s location. Some cats prefer pellets, and others like clay litter. Some have sites they may avoid, especially near food or water. Each cat is unique.

Ketenna Jones advises, “If the information online doesn’t work, I strongly recommend hiring a professional because trying a variety can make the situation worse and harder to resolve. I have created a master course on feline inappropriate elimination. You can take this source yourself or find a listing of professionals who have completed the course here.”

Stress

Cats are creatures of habit. If your cat feels anxious or stressed, it can cause outside of the litter box elimination. Has there been a significant change in the household lately? If so, stress or anxiety is likely the cause.

If your cat eliminates due to a new family member, create positive associations through:

  • Petting
  • Feeding
  • Playing

If the change is a new move,

  • Provide a familiar space
  • Start with one room
  • Let them explore the entire home slowly

One final tip for relieving stress or anxiety elimination issues could be aromatherapy pheromones. Cats respond well to calming pheromones.

Urine Marking

Approximately 30 percent of cats peeing outside of the litter box don’t fit into the previous boxes. Urine marking is often the culprit. Cats use urine marking to communicate with other cats about their presence and property.

You can recognize urine marking on a vertical surface; these deposits have less volume and distinct odor.

If your cat is urine marking, here’s what you can do:

  • Spray or neuter
  • Provide enough litter boxes
  • Ensure there are enough resources such as food, water, and toys

What should I do when my cat pees on my clothes?

 

 

What not to do when your cat pees outside the litter box?

Don’t punish your cat for peeing outside the litter box. This won’t solve the problem. If anything, it will escalate even further. Laundry-soaked pee is not a pleasant experience for anyone. However, cats don’t pee on things out of anger or revenge. By doing this, they are trying to communicate with you.

Cat urine smells! Here is how to get the pee smell out of my clothes?

The distinct ammonia smell isn’t pleasant. Your first instinct is likely to rush to the washer but wait!

Here are a few tips to ensure the best results:

  • Don’t mix your clothes. If you put pee-soaked clothing in with other items, everything will smell.
  • Regular products will make it seem as though everything is fine. You pull them out of the washer, and the smell is gone. But it’ll be back. The problem is regular detergent doesn’t remove uric acid.
  • As disgusting as it may sound, clean up as much as possible before applying any product. Ensure you don’t scrub but dab it up.
  • A popular move is to use an enzyme cleaner, a protein, to break down the uric acid faster. There are many products made specifically for pet urine.
  • When at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. It’s not fun, but a second or third wash often can help eliminate any remaining traces of the pee.

Authors

    by
  • Elizabeth Lasley

    Elizabeth is an animal lover who is owned by three cats: Vivan, Burr, and Puck. Her passion for writing started in the 9th grade when she began writing her novel. She hasn't stopped since.

  • Katenna Jones, Cat Behaviorist

    Katenna Jones is an Associate Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist (ACAAB) and Certified Cat Behavior Consultant. Katenna works with families and their cats and dogs in person or virtually with her company Jones Animal Behavior in Rhode Island. She earned a Master's in Psychology, with a focus on animal behavior, from Brown University.