Why is my Cat Peeing on my Clothes?

Has this ever happened to you? You wake up and step into your closet to get ready for the day. As soon as you register your surroundings, you can smell it — the telltale odor of cat urine. It isn’t just from a dirty litter box, either. So why is my cat peeing on my clothes? ┬áLet us help you answer this annoying occurrence!

Your feline friend has decided to leave you a message in a way that they know you won’t be able to ignore. In my case, one of my boys began seeking out one particular sweatshirt to do his business on. No matter how well I washed it or tried to keep it hidden from him, he still left me scratching my head and asking, “Why is my cat peeing on my clothes?”

Cat urine serves a couple of different purposes to a cat. Not only is it waste that shuttles toxins out of the body, it serves as a kind of territorial scent marker.

Cats also have a distinct preference for the places they’d like to urinate and defecate. They prefer a spot they can bury waste (which is what drives some pet owners to distraction when it comes to keeping them out of potted plants!) which is why cats, unlike dogs, don’t really need to be housebroken — you show them a litter box, and they’re usually good to go.
That said, clothing and bedding are pretty common spots for cats to begin urinating when there’s a problem. There are a couple of things that might lead a cat to choose to pee on your clothes instead of their box:

The box is dirty.

The more a litter box is used, the stronger the smell becomes and the harder it is to bury waste. This can lead cats to seek out alternative spots that are more pleasant or easier to use. When problem urination happens, the first thing you should look at is the litter box they aren’t using. Is it clean and easy for your cat to get to?


There aren’t enough boxes.

For owners of multiple cats, having enough boxes for everyone is key. Experts recommend one box per cat, plus an extra or two. Households without enough litter boxes frequently experience episodes of problem urination purely due to the territorial nature of their cats.

why is my cat peeig on my clothes?

Something changed.

Cats are creatures of habit. If you’ve recently moved some furniture around (especially if that includes their litter box) or introduced a new human or animal family member, it can throw them off.

Have you changed brands of litter, the scent or texture of it may be making their usual spot uncomfortable for them to do their pee business.

Have you added a cover to your litter box, they may be objecting to it.  Cats like to be aware of their surroundings in case they need a quick escape from the litter box.

Your cat is still a baby.

While kittens don’t need to be housebroken the way one might housebreak a puppy, accidents do still occasionally happen. Cats will instinctively use a litter box, but a kitten with a tiny bladder may end up heading for the most accessible, comfortable spot near wherever they’ve been playing. If you’re having trouble teaching a young cat to reliably use the litter box, this video can help.

why is my cat peeing on my clothes

They aren’t fixed.

Cats who aren’t altered feel a stronger impetus to mark their territory than fixed cats do. If your cat is peeing on your clothes, they may be marking you as theirs. This can be a particular issue in households with several young male cats all vying for the attention of one owner.

They aren’t feeling well.

If none of the above issues apply, it’s time for a trip to the vet to define why my cat is peeing on my clothes. Several health problems can cause problem urination, from infections that cause urinary urgency, to diabetes that causes excessive urination, to mental decline that can lead to cats forgetting where or when to use the litter box. A check-up from your vet can help rule out underlying health issues and make it easier to work on behavioral ones.

why is my cat peeing on my clothes again - sick cat

How to get rid of urine stains?

After you’ve figured out your specific answer to, “Why is my cat peeing on my clothes?” it’s time to handle the situation. While you might be tempted to reach for the soap and hot water, this may be the last thing you want to do. Urine is a protein-based stain, and proteins are denatured by heat, which means that hot water will essentially “set” a urine stain into fabric or carpet. This guide has simple step-by-step instructions for removing a urine stain from carpet, but a similar process can be used on clothing. The key player here is enzymatic cleaner, like Nature’s Miracle. These cleaners contain specific enzymes that actually break down urine protein so the stain can be blotted up or rinsed away.

How to break the problem urination habit?

Once the clothes are clean, you can address the behavioral aspects of problem urination. Keep dirty clothing in a hamper, preferably inside of a closet or bathroom cats don’t have access to. If they keep returning to the same spot, try placing food and water bowls there (cats won’t urinate where they eat). If you’re helping your cats adjust to a new routine, new furniture, new people, or new pets, try a scent plugin or spray like Comfort Zone. Though odorless to humans, these products contain pheromones that help cats feel like they are in a safe, secure environment and reduce the urge to mark their territory.

Managing urination-related health problems.

If your cat is experiencing a health problem that is causing them to urinate outside of their litter box, follow your veterinarian’s recommendations for treatment. It may require medication, an adjustment in their diet, or a change in the type or placement of their litter.

If your beloved cat is wreaking havoc on your hamper, don’t despair. Most urination problems are easily solved once you figure out the root cause. Keep products like Nature’s Miracle and Comfort Zone on hand to easily clean up stains and calm cats’ urge to mark territory, and please comment if you have any further questions.

So, to recap “Why is my Cat Peeing on my Clothes?”:

  • Check for problems with the litter box itself.
  • Check for problems with the home environment, other cats, or changes in routine.
  • Make sure your cat is healthy.
  • Thoroughly clean up the stain to keep them returning to the same spot.
  • Address behavioral issues by moving food and water bowls or using pheromone products.
  • Keep any health problems under control by working closely with your vet.

cat peeing

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