You go to sleep one night only to wake up the next morning to the smell of ammonia, or cat urine, somewhere in your bedroom. When you investigate where the smell is coming from, you pick up your favorite pair of jeans to find your cat peed on them. Why would your cat pee on your clothes?
Cats pee on clothes for several reasons, including being stressed by new changes in the routine. Or they may have a medical issue like a urinary tract infection that makes them not want to use their litter box. The litter box might be dirty, so the cat is telling you about it.
While it is an annoying part of having cats, cats peeing on clothes is not abnormal behavior. Keep going to find out how to discourage this behavior.
Rule Out Any Medical Issues Before Addressing Behavior
Cats refuse to go in their litter box sometimes because of an infection or disease, making it painful to use the litter box. So they associate pain with the litter box and will urinate on something soft. Kidney disease, feline diabetes, or urinary tract infections all cause cats to have pain when they urinate, and the litter in the box might cause more pain.
Take your cat to the vet to rule out any possible infections or illnesses that would make your cat need to pee on your clothes.
Urinary Tract Infections
Urinary tract infections in felines can occur in both sexes, which is a common infection for cats. It can cause pain when urinating, so cats will find a soft and comfortable place to pee. Litter can be rough, and if a cat is squatting and the litter rubs against them, which might cause pain.
Some of the signs of this infection could be:
- Your cat is straining to pee and very little comes out.
- They pee on your clothes or anywhere else outside the litter box.
- They will cry when urinating, and small amounts of blood will come with it.
- Your cat is constantly licking their genital region.
If you see your cat doing any of these things, get it to the vet as soon as possible for treatment.
Kidney disease affects elderly cats more often than younger cats, except if they have feline leukemia. Elderly cats with kidney disease might not have leukemia, but it is still serious when their kidneys fail.
Aside from peeing on your clothes, other signs of kidney disease include straining while urinating or the inability to urinate at all. The cat will stop eating and lose their health quickly, and they will have anemia.
Diabetes in any species causes the patient to urinate frequently, and cats are no exception to this. Peeing outside the litter box might be a symptom of feline diabetes because the litter box might not be close enough to where they are. Your cat might not be able to get to the box in time before they need to pee. If your clothes are on the floor, they will go on them instead.
Insulin therapy is the usual prescribed course for cats with diabetes if you can afford it and want your cat to go through all of that.
Cats Might Be Stressed Due to New Changes
There is a story of a woman with a cat who brought in someone new to their home, but the cat didn’t like him too well because he encroached on their territory. So, instead of using the litter box, the cat peed on the new person’s clothes. Whether it was jealousy or a territorial dispute, no one knows. But the cat was distressed and upset about this new change.
Other new changes that might cause your cat to go outside the litter boxes could include moving to a new home, a new baby, or a disruption to your cat’s routine.
The Litter Box Might Be Too Dirty
Cats like a clean and tidy litter box and most cats will cover their poop. But if it doesn’t get cleaned out regularly, your cat will tell you about it by peeing on your clothes.
Avoid this behavior by regularly scooping out the litter box and cleaning it thoroughly by taking out the old litter and scrubbing with non-scented soap about once every two-four weeks. Your cat will appreciate this and show it by not peeing on your clothing.
Other Cats Are Intimidating One Cat
If you have a multiple cat household, but you have only one litter box, one cat might get intimidated by the other cats and pee on your clothing. Cats are territorial and don’t always want to share their space, including the litter box, with other cats. And it’s not a secret to cat parents that cats can be bullies sometimes.
One way to fix this is to set up one litter box per cat in your house, preferably away from each other. If you have a small home, you could clear out a spot under your kitchen sink and put a litter box under there, then add a curtain for privacy. Many people put a litter box in the bathroom, especially if they don’t have a basement.
Conventional wisdom says that you need to have 1.5 litter boxes per cat so that they have multiple places to go in different areas. You might try this if your cat is still peeing on your clothing.
Cats Like Only One Type of Litter
Cats are creatures of habit and don’t like changes in their routine, food, or litter box. If you’ve recently changed your cat’s litter to a different type or brand, chances are your kitty is telling you it doesn’t like it and wants the old litter back.
Most cats like the sandy litter that doesn’t have much of a smell to it. Some litter brands try to make the litter smell like flowers, but that’s not a positive thing for your cat. Cats mark their territory with urine, and if the litter smells too much like soap or flowers, they are not going near it.
If you don’t want the litter box making your home smell like a toilet while keeping your cat happy, try getting litter with baking soda in it, and that clumps up when wet. It will neutralize the odors while making their urine easier to scoop out of the box. Your cat will still smell the residue of their urine, but they will be more willing to use the box more often, staying off your clothes.
Cats Are Spraying to Set Up Their Territory
As you know, cats are very territorial, and if your cat is stressed or feels threatened by a new person, cat, or routine. To counteract this stressful feeling, your cat establishes dominance by spraying your clothes and other items in your home. There’s not much you can do about this besides keeping the same routine and keeping new changes to a minimum.
It can be frustrating when your cat decides to pee on your new pair of jeans or your expensive leather jacket. But rather than getting rid of your cat, try understanding where your cat is coming from. They might be feeling stressed and looking to you for comfort. Try the suggestions in this article and do the best you can to discourage the behavior.
In the meantime, getting pee out of your clothes is not as simple as washing them in the washer. Add a bit of Borax and a tablespoon of lemon juice to your washing machine, in addition to your laundry soap, to work the pee smell out of your clothes.
- Chicago Tribune: Cat Peeing On Dirty Laundry Is Not Uncommon Feline Behavior
- Atlantic Vet Hospital: Why Is My Cat Peeing On Laundry?
- Slate: Why Does My Cat Pee On My Boyfriend’s Laundry?
- Tuxedo Cat: Why Is My Cat Peeing On My Clothes?
- The Advisor Coach: Why Does My Cat Pee On My Clothes?
Pam is a self-confessed cat lover and has experience of working with cats and owning cats for as long as she can remember. This website is where she gets to share her knowledge and interact with other cat lovers.