Why Does My Cat Pee on Laundry?

Cats engage in all kinds of interesting behaviors, but some of these can be downright baffling (and frustrating). While known for their general cleanliness and meticulous grooming habits, cats may sometimes do decidedly untidy things, like pee on the carpet or on your pile of laundry. Why do they do this? There are many possible reasons, which we aim to cover in this blog. We’ll also offer some potential solutions to correct the problem. Naturally, if you’re concerned about your cat, we encourage you to call Brown Veterinary Hospital at (812) 645-0715!

cat pees on laundry in terre haute indiana


The Puzzling Habit: Why Cats Choose Laundry

Of all the things on which to urinate, why do cats choose our (likely clean) laundry?

Simple: It’s Soft and Comfy

Soft, absorbent materials like laundry provide a comforting texture that cats might find appealing, especially if their litter box is less inviting by comparison. The scent of their owner on the clothes can also be a draw, as cats are scent-oriented creatures.

Unraveling the Causes: Medical and Behavioral Factors

Cats peeing outside the litter box can be perplexing and distressing for pet owners. It’s critical to look into the potential causes, which can be broadly categorized into medical and behavioral factors.

Medical Concerns

Medical issues are often at the heart of a cat’s inappropriate behaviors. Conditions such as urinary tract infections (UTIs), bladder stones, or kidney problems can make urination painful or frequent, leading cats to associate the discomfort with their litter box. In older cats, arthritis can make accessing the litter box difficult, prompting them to find more accessible and comfortable spots like laundry piles.

Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs): Symptoms of a UTI include frequent urination, crying while urinating, and even blood in the urine.

Bladder Stones: This condition is similar to UTI, but may also cause your cat to strain while they are urinating.

Kidney Issues: Kidney issues can lead to increased thirst and more frequent urination, often outside the litter box. 

Stress and Anxiety: Stress and anxiety can also lead to inappropriate urination. Cats are sensitive to changes in their environment, whether it’s a new pet, a recent move, or even changes in your routine.

Behavioral Reasons

Behavioral reasons are equally important to consider. Cats may mark their territory by urinating, which is especially common in homes with multiple cats where there might be competition for space or resources.

Territorial Marking: This is more common in unneutered males but can occur in any cat.

Environmental Stressors: Changes like new family members, pets, or even rearranging furniture can trigger stress-related urination.

Preference for Certain Textures: Some cats simply develop a preference for the soft, absorbent texture of laundry.

Solutions and Strategies: How to Redirect Your Cat

Once the cause of your cat’s behavior is identified, you can employ targeted strategies to redirect your cat away from urinating on the laundry.

Litter Box Optimization

Litter box issues are often the easiest to resolve. The following steps can make the litter box more appealing to your cat:

  • Cleanliness: Scoop daily and clean the box regularly.
  • Number of Boxes: Have one more litter box than the number of cats in your home.
  • Box Type and Placement: Some cats prefer open boxes, others covered. Place them in quiet, easily accessible locations.
  • Litter Type: Experiment with different types of cat litter to find your cat’s preference.

Environmental Enrichment

Reducing stress and boredom can be key in resolving behavioral urination:

  • Interactive Play: Engage your cat with toys and playtime more often.
  • Safe Spaces: Provide safe, quiet areas where your cat can retreat and feel secure.
  • Routine: Maintain a consistent routine for feeding, play, and attention.

Behavioral Modification

In some cases, retraining your cat can be effective. This includes:

  • Positive Reinforcement: Reward your cat for using the litter box using treats and chin rubs.
  • Deterring from Laundry: Keep laundry out of reach and use deterrents like scent repellents or motion-activated devices near laundry areas.

Still Need Help Protecting Your Laundry? Call Us!

Dealing with a cat peeing on laundry can be frustrating, but understanding the reasons behind this behavior is key to finding a solution. Whether it’s a medical issue or a behavioral one, there are steps you can take to help your cat. Remember, if you’re concerned about your cat’s health or behavior, don’t hesitate to contact Brown Veterinary Hospital in Terre Haute, IN, at (812) 645-0715 for advice and support.

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About Brown Veterinary Hospital

We are here to serve as your partner in keeping your four-legged family member healthy, ensuring you have all the tools you need to provide them with a lifetime of outstanding care. Our animal hospital in Terre Haute offers a full range of services to nurture and extend your pet’s life, from wellness and preventative care to critical care, exotic pet care, and dermatology.