cat peeing on clothes and towels
Behavioral Problems

Why is My Cat Suddenly Peeing on Clothes?

Your cat must learn to use a litter box and not pee on your laundry. If your cat starts urinating on clothes, it can be problematic. Cat urine smells strongly of ammonia and can permanently stain fabrics.

If your cat urinates on clothes sometimes and in the litter box at others, then your feline is marking territory or seeking attention from you. Health issues, such as urinary tract infections (UTIs) and incontinence, can also lead to cats peeing on clothing.

You should also ensure that your cat still likes its litter box. Most often, feline urination on clothing is a behavioral issue.

Why Has My Cat Started Peeing on Laundry Suddenly?

It’s important to understand why a cat would urinate on human clothing. The most common explanations are as follows:

  • Marking territory
  • Problems with the litter box
  • Comfort-seeking
  • Sickness leading to incontinence
  • Seeking attention

Marking Territory

The most common reason for a cat to urinate outside the litter box is marking territory. This happens for the following reasons:

  • The cat is insecure and marks territory to feel safe
  • The cat is expressing dominance over you
  • The cat is in heat and attempting to attract a mate
  • The cat is anxious and wants to mark a regular, comforting location

Cats often feel insecure. This is likeliest if you have new pets or people in the house. Your cat will carve out a particular territory for itself. This could be a pile of laundry. Temper this insecurity with reliable routine and dedicated attention. This will reassure your cat that it will not be replaced.

Dominance is particularly common in unfixed cats, especially males. Your pet will be keen to show it is in charge. Spaying or neutering the cat will resolve many of these issues. Neutered males, in particular, are much calmer than their unfixed counterparts.

Female cats in heat will do whatever they can to attract a mate. This includes urinating and spraying constantly. If your cat is crying and begging to be let outside, she is likely in estrus. A cat in heat has strong-smelling urine. Your cat is sending a message to intact toms in the area.

Stress in cats is hard to manage. Your cat is living in a constant state of anxiety. By urinating on clothing, your cat creates a safe space. It will return to the clothing for future eliminations. This stress must be managed. Anxious cats display a range of inappropriate behaviors.

Dislikes Litter Box

Make sure that your cat does not have a medical complaint. Urinary tract infections are particularly common in senior, female cats.

If it hurts your cat to pee, it may associate pain with the litter box. So, your cat will look to eliminate elsewhere. A laundry pile is soft and warm.

Your cat may not like its litter box. Cats are fussy. There could be any number of reasons why a cat refuses to use a litter box:

  • You have changed your cat’s litter to an unfamiliar or scented brand
  • There is too much (typically more than two inches) litter in the box
  • The litter box is too small, or otherwise uncomfortable
  • The litter box has not cleaned
  • The litter box is located in a noisy or busy area
  • Another pet has used the litter box

A cat that rejects its litter box still needs to eliminate. Indoor cats have limited options for urinating. Your cat will look for somewhere comfortable and familiar to pee. The scent of your clothes will provide this.

why is my cat peeing on dirty laundry?

More Comfortable

Your cat may be urinating on your clothes through comfort. Cats love soft things. In addition, your clothing will smell like you. By urinating on the clothing, your cat is making itself even more comfortable.

It may not seem this way, but your cat is attempting to strengthen your bond. Cats often use scent to communicate with each other. Your cat sees you as another feline. The urination is leaving a message for you.

You’ll need to train your cat out of this behavior. Don’t punish your cat, but don’t praise either. Just restrict access to your clothing. Train your cat to use its litter box and nothing else.


If your cat is incontinent, accidents will happen. This may be on your clothing. Your cat may not make it to the litter box. Your cat will consider peeing on your clothes better than soiling the floor.

As The Veterinary Record explains, some cats are born incontinent. This may be due to a hereditary concern. Other cats develop incontinence as they age. Common explanations include:

  • Urinary tract infections
  • Nerve damage around the bladder
  • Trauma to the bladder
  • Overactive bladder
  • Feline Cognitive Dysfunction (senior cats aged 15 or over)
  • Side effects of medication or anesthesia
  • Kidney failure
  • Consumption of toxins

Learn the cause of the problem. Incontinence is always serious. A veterinarian will run tests and administer the appropriate treatment.

Need for Attention

It is a myth that cats are indifferent to their owners. Your cat wants to feel important to you. If you are not fussing or playing with your cat, it will take action to show you that something’s not right.

Your cat will know that clothing is important to you. It sees you get dressed every day. You’ll also spend hours washing, folding, and ironing laundry.

If your cat thinks you are ignoring them, it may pee on your clothes. Your cat is leaving an unmistakable scent to remind you that it’s about.

Your cat may even be prepared to accept a scolding for behavior. Cats eventually come to view any type of attention as good attention.

Manage this by meeting your cat’s needs on a daily basis. Get your cat into a strict routine. Your cat will relax if it knows food, petting, and playtime are coming. If this happens at the same time daily, so much the better.

What Should I Do When My Cat Pees on My Clothes?

If you find cat pee on your clothes, you will likely be displeased. You cannot express this. Punishing a cat for peeing on clothing never helps.

  • If the cat is unwell, it cannot help having accidents
  • If the cat is stressed, punishment will magnify the anxiety
  • If the cat wants attention, yelling provides this

What’s more, the cat will not connect the punishment to the crime. Your cat will not link your anger with the pee on your clothes. This will leave your cat confused as to why it is being punished.

If you see your cat weeing on your clothes, offer a firm, “no” command. This will distract the cat. You should then scoop up your cat and place it in the litter box. This will forge the connection between urination and litter.

You can watch the reaction to this. If the cat flees the litter tray at once, it suggests this is the problem. If the cat goes about its business, more training is clearly necessary to modify its behavior.

If you find cat urine on your clothes after the event, act as if nothing has happened. Do not rub the cat’s face in the urine. Ignore unwanted behavior.

why is my cat suddenly peeing on my clothes?

How to Stop a Cat Peeing on Clothing

The first step is learning why your cat is peeing on clothing. You must assess if the behavior is a training or medical issue.

Provide your cat with its own room. Leave no clothing in this room. Fill it with everything your cat needs. This means:

  • Wet and dry food
  • A supply of fresh water
  • Cat trees and toys for entertainment
  • A clean litter box

Keep the cat in this room for a period of time. Visit your cat and play with it, ensuring the cat’s routine is maintained. Check whether the cat uses the litter tray as per normal.

How to Get Cat Pee Out of Clothing

Cats will always be attracted to an area that smells familiar. This means that cat are more likely to urinate on your clothing in the future. Even if you have washed your clothes, there will be traces of the scent.

Do not rely on laundry detergent to clear the smell of cat urine. Not only will the scent linger, but it could soil other garments. Cat urine can also leave a yellow stain. Take these steps:

  1. Rinse the stain with cold water
  2. Dab dry. Do not scrub. This drives stains deeper into the fabric
  3. Create a vinegar mix – one part white vinegar, three parts water
  4. Pour the vinegar mix on the clothing and let it sit for several minutes
  5. Cover the affected area with baking soda to mask the scent
  6. Wash the clothing in cold water, without detergent
  7. Leave the clothing to air dry

You will still need to undertake training. Your cat is less likely to urinate on clothing if it smells unfamiliar, though.