Cat Peeing on Dirty Clothes

My cat is 2 yrs old and has just started peeing on our clothing and our bed. Her litter pan stays clean at all times, but she insists on using our stuff to pee on. I punish her by showing her what she did wrong and then putting her in her cage for a time out. Why is that?

By Shaby from St. Louis, MO

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Sometimes, it's the litter they object to. Just try a different litter and see if that helps at all. If it does, then add just a little of what you're using now in with the new litter and get it used up that way, or save it to put on icy sidewalks or steps in the winter, and you can also use it in the garden if nothing else.

There's something about a cat that pees on her owner's clothing that is trying to tell them something.

Otherwise, she or he would just go on a rug or carpet. She's trying to communicate something to you in the only way she knows how.

If she was spayed before she was a month old, she could have a urinary tract problem too. She would also try to let you know that by doing what she's doing.

I wish you good luck, just don't give up on her yet.

She's a very beautiful kitty.


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Yeap, our cat did the same thing when he had a urinary tract infection. Have the vet check her for that. Urinary tract infections can get so extreme that the cat can go into a coma. It's best to have it checked even if this is not the problem.

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If it's not physical it's emotional. Since you mention she did not used to do this something is eating at her. Have there been any changes at all in your home? I also beg you to not 'show her she was wrong'! Animals do not think like we humans and you most likely are making the behavior worse by punishing her. She loves you and by you punishing her natural instincts is going to cause all kinds of emotional and trust issues. :-( Wash your bedding and use a vinegar rinse and keep your dirty clothes in a closet where she can't get to them and be sure to have the vet check her for physical problems and ask for more behavioral advice.

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My cat did the same thing. It is a marking behavior showing the world she owns (loves) you. I don't leave laundry on the floor anymore. Be sure to have your cat checked for a urinary tract infection any time she abandons the litter box. You can also try a product called Comfort Zone with feliway. Where you spray it the cat will not mark. Good luck. She is a beautiful cat.

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Agree with the posters who've said that maybe a vet visit is a good idea, also had a cat who only did that when he had a UTI. Putting her in the cage for a time-out really won't work; doing that after the fact only confuses them and can prompt more unusual behaviors.

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Cats will also do that if they have an ulcer, as one of my cats has every time it acts up, he pees on stuff. Very high strung cat! Take your cat to the vet.

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How do I keep my 17 year old calico cat named Samantha from peeing in the dog kennels and on my dirty clothes? I have 7 animals in my 864 square foot home, 3 large Labs and 4 cats. All of the animals are over 10 years old, except one dog and one cat.

I suspect she has a urinary tract infection, but she can't travel to the vet's office. She gets very car sick. Can the vet give me something to make her woozy so she can go to the doctor and get checked out?

I am pulling my hair out. We also just took one of my mom's cats and I was wondering if she is doing this in protest of my mom's cat being there. This cat has lived with several animals including snakes, rats, other dogs, lizards, etc. What do I do?

By Deborah D

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Be careful with the cranberry meds as cranberries can cause really bad heartburn in some people and animals.

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Read More Answers...

Why does my female cat keep wetting on any item of clothing that is on the floor? My cats are very good about using the littler box, but lately Maggie (who I caught in the act, so now we know the culprit) wets on any item of clothing that is left on the floor. I scoop the cat box 2 times a day and have gone back to the regular litter we used. Why is she doing this?

By Bonnie B

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I also recommend a visit to the vet no matter what to be sure she's physically okay but could you tell us if there are any type of changes or stress in your household? Is perhaps someone treating her differently than what she's used to? Is there a new human or animal addition in the home? If a cat does urinates on clothing it could mean an infection and/or that she is really upset about something.

I once had a cat, Niki, who never urinated outside of her box but then when I had a young lady move in temorarily because she had no other place to live my cat started urinating on clothing or towels left on the floor. Turns out the young lady was not a very nice person and I truly believe Niki simply sensed that. Once the young lady moved out Niki never urinated outside of her box again.

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Read More Answers...

I have a cat who is 2 or 3 and she has started peeing on our dirty clothes. She has done it before once or twice, but now it's getting to be every other day in the same spot. I've washed all of our clothes 2-3 times now and I can't get the smell out! This last time she pooped on the clothes also. What should I do? Does anyone have any suggestions?

Alicia from Downers Grove, IL


Here's some ideas:

  • They sell some cat pee/spray deterrent at Pet Smart, I can't remember what it is called. Just ask them.

  • Try a different litter and make sure there is a enough litter that the box doesn't tip when they get in it, that can scare them.

  • Try moving your litter box or boxes and see if they are more likely to use them in a different place.

Anne H. <Guest Post>

Cat Peeing on Dirty Clothes

Try a product called Feliway. It comes in a plug-in dispenser (sorta like a plug-in air freshener) and a spray bottle. It is a pheromone that calms and reassures cats, and only cats (not humans ) can smell it. It has a 95% success rate. Petsmart sells it, but you can find it cheaper online at KV Vet Supplies and other pet and vet supply companies. I've been using it with my "problem" cat and it seems to be working so far.

There are also many online articles about cat spraying and marking that you can read. I read up extensively on this subject and found that changes in the household, too many cats, not enough litter boxes, litter that the cat doesn't like, and other factors can aggravate marking behavior. This is not an uncommon problem, so a little research will yield lots of results.

Good luck, and have patience with your kitty!

Ness <Guest Post>

Cat Peeing on Dirty Clothes

I use Out from WalMart. It smells great, like vanilla and the creator of Thriftyfun advised me to use Arm and Hammer laundry detergent to take the smell out of things. It's great. I saw an expert on TV who recommended putting foil where they pee as they don't like to walk on it. I don't think there's enough foil in the universe for my house.

Ann <Guest Post>

Cat Peeing on Dirty Clothes

When you wash the blanket, pillow, etc. make sure all the odor is gone from that, too. I wash first in Lysol and then a second time with detergent with a vinegar rinse. Also, really soak the cushion in vinegar. Also put vinegar in a spray bottle and spray around the area. I really think they are attracted to the same area because they can still smell it. You could also spray the vinegar toward them (but not on the cat) when they went near the area.

Linne <Guest Post>

Cat Peeing on Dirty Clothes

Another thing you might try is getting the piddle pads from PetSmart. They are normally for dogs with bladder or house training problems. Cover the couch with them or at least the place that he normally pees. They can be easily thrown away, but trap the odor inside them. You could also crate up the cat during the times he normally does this. Each time you take him out of the crate, put him in his litter box.


Cat Peeing on Dirty Clothes

Vinegar may remove the smell as far as a human is concerned, but leaves plenty of scent calling the cat back to the same area. You need to use a product specifically designed to remove pet odors. Pet Out works well, and is available at WalMart, or look for something that says it uses enzymes to break down the odors. With cushions, you really have to soak them to eliminate all of the odor.

Once you have totally eliminated the smell (use a black light, urine with glow green) you have 2 more jobs: find out why he isn't using the box and train him that the box is the only acceptable place to go. Think back to when this first started: is the litter box near the furnace/laundry/water heater or anything else that could have cycled on, was there a change in school/work/social schedule, new significant other or roommate, significant other or roommate left, one or both cats went to the vet, there was a stray cat or dog outside the window, a change in litter or litter box location, litter box not as clean as the cat would like, litter box is covered and he wants it open or vice versa.

There should be one litter box per cat plus one extra (2 cats need 3 litter boxes), and the box should be in a location where the cat can have some peace and quiet. If the roommates are frustrated with the cat, he may be sensing that and that alone could cause the anxiety and inappropriate litterbox habit. Feliway (available through vets or pet stores) can reduce the anxiety, but you need to try to find the root cause, not just treat the symptom.

Retraining the cat to use only the litter box may be more difficult. Try keeping him in a room (bathroom works well) or large dog kennel with litter box at one end, bedding in the middle, and food and water at the other end. This arrangement doesn't really give him the opportunity to go anywhere, but the box. During the evening or when you can watch him, let him out and spend time with him. Interactive play (fishing pole toys) will give him additional exercise and relieve stress, and grooming or cuddling will reassure him that he is important and loved. Placing a layer of aluminum foil or carpet runner turned nubby side up in the area he likes to use may discourage him from using the area.

<a href=">Patticat

Cat Peeing on Dirty Clothes

I have found; and I know this will go against the grain of thought, but it works. I have a keen sense of smell and hate cat pee (any other for that matter!). My problem was a brand new rug that my cat decided to urinate on even when there was a clean litter box 3 feet away. What I did was soak the area with water and then rubbed baking soda into it and then had to wait for it to dry. It took a couple of days and all the yellow came up and I was able to vacuum it. I could not smell it anymore even when I put my nose to check on the rug. Hope this helps. She never went there again.

Post by <a href=">sshep

Cat Peeing on Dirty Clothes

If you want to get rid of cat pee stink, you should try "Nature's Miracle". It's sold at Pet supply stores such as PetsMart. It'll take a couple of days for the product to chemically break it down, and the side effect of this is that the smell gets worse before it gets better. But, after 2 days, the stink is gone forever, unless your cat does it again. BTW: You can detect where cat urine is with a black light. Good luck!

Mary <Guest Post>

Cat Peeing on Dirty Clothes

I bought a mat that goes on your couch that makes a high pitched noise when weight goes on it. I put it on my new couch and it trained the cats to not want to jump on it. I put it on during the day when I'm at work. They learned quickly. I bought it from Dr. Fosters. It's called the Sofa Scram.

Cat Peeing on Dirty Clothes

I work at an animal hospital. I recently moved homes, where there is no carpet. I decided to have my cats declawed, with a laser ( barely hurts), so that they would not claw on my furniture. Well, my male decided to start using soft, cushy, things as his peeing place. I know that Cat Attract really works, and then for getting the smell out, try Urine Off. Use a black light to find all of the urine spots spray this stuff on, and it really gets it out. We sell out every time we get a shipment.

Erica <Guest Post>

Cat Peeing on Dirty Clothes

Ok, after seeing all the hopeless posts here, I feel obligated to respond. I had a major, major problem with my cat peeing where she shouldn't. I tried everything enzyme cleaners, new boxes, Cat Attract (she hated it!), Feliway, you name it. The vet said she was healthy.

In the end, what cured her was Buspirone. It is a prescription anti-anxiety medication that my vet gave me. It only took a week or two before she stopped and she hasn't done it since. I took her off the meds after two months.

Why was she so anxious that she was peeing all over the place? I have no idea and neither does my vet, but it worked.

Don't give your cat away or live in filth, ask your vet for some anti-anxiety meds for your kitty.

KJ <Guest Post>

Cat Peeing on Dirty Clothes

Pick up your dirty clothes off the floor. Wash them and hang them up and/or place in your dressers immediately. The cat may pee on something else now, but at least it is not on your clothes. (03/07/2006)

By valleyrimgirl

Cat Peeing on Dirty Clothes

Mine did the same thing. I changed the product I was using in the litter box. It did not seem to help. Then I remembered how much he liked the evergreens in the yard. I started spraying the litter box with a pine scent and back to the litter box he went. He has been fixed for a long time, but I never had any problems with that sort of thing when it happened. The pine scent worked. (03/09/2006)

By Shirley

Cat Peeing on Dirty Clothes

My cat has been peeing in my laundry basket and on any dirty clothes for years. I have resorted to making absolutely sure there are no dirty clothes in the house to prevent her from having dirty clothes to pee on. But when there were no dirty clothes in the house for her to pee on, she started to pee on my rugs and even in the middle of my bed. I have taken her to the vet wondering if she had some sort of urinary tract infection or something, and the vet keeps telling me nothing is medically wrong with her.

The vet suggested that I place bowls of food where she normally pees because cats will not pee where they eat, but I thought it was absurd to have bowls of food on my bed and in my laundry basket. Then it hit me. I keep her food bowl about 2 feet away from her litter box in the laundry room. She won't pee in the litter box because I keep her food near her litter box. Since I have moved her food into the kitchen area, far away from her litter, she has not urinated on anything, not even once. I hope this helps some of you, because I know how frustrating it is dealing with cat urine and cats can be very hard to figure out. (06/08/2006)

By Jacki

Cat Peeing on Dirty Clothes

My 3 year old kitty would also pee in the laundry. This summer we went on a 9 day vacation, so I bought a self cleaning litter box. She has never peed in the laundry again.The only thing I can figure is that she is one of those very finicky kitties that has to have a completely clean litter box every time she goes. Yes, it was a little expensive, ($80 at Wal-Mart), but is so worth it! Not only do I not have to rewash clothes because the smell didn't come out or soak it in Oxiclean (which works really well), I no longer have to scoop the litter! I know I sound like an ad for the self cleaning litter box, but this really worked for our kitty. (09/13/2007)

By Becky

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In This Article
Cat getting into a laundry basket.
Cat Peeing on Clothing
Pets Pet StainsJuly 16, 2010
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