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Why Is My Cat Peeing And Pooping On My Clothes?

If your cat is peeing and pooping on your clothes, you will want to know what you can do and how soon this problem will stop! Why would your cat do this? Is it a cause for concern? How can you nip this behavior in the bud? Well, here are the answers to all of these questions and more.

So, why is my cat peeing and pooping on my clothes? Cats may pee and poop on clothes to mark their territory or because the litter tray is dirty. Other times it can be from stress. Medical problems can also cause cats to pee and poop inappropriately, and many of these problems require urgent treatment.

To ensure you get to the bottom of it (no pun intended), let’s delve deeper into the reasons.

Then we will turn to appropriate responses for each context.

Besides, you’re going to want to act fast on this – it’s not something you can allow to continue for too long!

Reasons Why A Cat May Pee And Poop On Your Clothes

It could be your cat is trying to mark its territory to show a rival cat that you belong to them. Or your cat could be stressed because of recent changes in the environment or because the litter tray is dirty. Medical issues can be another cause, which usually requires urgent medical attention.

Your Cat Is Marking Their Territory

It could be your cat is peeing on your clothes because they’re marking their territory. In the wild, cats mark their territory to help them feel secure in their environment.

They urinate in various places in small amounts to let other cats (and other animals) know they’re around.

To see if your cat is marking territory, look at the position they adopt:

When peeing, your cat will usually crouch down and urinate as much as they need to

When marking, your cat will usually stay upright and tense its tail while releasing a small spray of urine.

Sometimes your cat will scratch different areas, too, as they mark them with urine

It’s worth knowing that your female cat will tend to spray more when she’s in heat because spraying deposits pheromones that let males know she’s available for mating.

The arrival of a new cat in the household can often prompt marking behavior – your cat may be letting the other cat know that you belong to them.

The new cat is considered to be a rival, and you’ll likely see some aggressive behavior between the two cats.

They Don’t Want To Use A Dirty Litter Tray

Cats make a lot of effort to keep themselves clean: unlike us, they spend roughly 30% of their time grooming!

Your cat doesn’t want to use a dirty toilet any more than you do, and a cat’s sense of smell is much more sensitive than ours.

A slight odor of pee for us can equal an overwhelming stink for a cat.

Your Cat Is Stressed

A stressed cat can decide to start urinating outside the litter box so that you know something isn’t right in their world.

There are several reasons your cat could be stressed – they are sensitive creatures who like routine, peace, and quiet. Stress can even cause physical ailments in cats, such as bladder or urinary tract infections (see below).

Here are some possible reasons your cat could be stressed:

Bad Experiences Near The Litter Box

If another cat has bullied them, a child has picked them up the wrong way, they’ve heard a loud noise, or something else has happened to upset them, your cat can equate this negative experience with the litter box.

They then decide their litter box is dangerous and they’ll avoid it – sometimes, they’ll even avoid the entire area surrounding it.

If your cat runs in and out of the litter box, avoids the entire area, or pees close to its litter box but not inside it, stress could be the cause.

Changes In The Litter Box

Cats don’t like change – they like the same food, the same bed, and the same loved ones around them.

Recent changes can stress your cat, such as the addition of a new family member, moving home, the litter box being in a different location, someone your cat cares about is no longer at home, etc.

Dislike Something About The Litter Box/Surrounding Area

Maybe something is happening in or around the litter tray that they don’t like.

This can be anything from a new type of kitty litter to a self-cleaning litter box that makes noise, children playing nearby, an air freshener, or noisy construction work happening outside the window.

Your Cat Has a Urinary Tract or Bladder Infection

If your cat has a urinary tract or bladder infection, it can be very painful for them to pee. Because of this pain, your cat may look for other places to pee.

Some of these medical issues can lead to incontinence, so your cat simply can’t hold it in when they need to go.

If they are comfortably settled on your clothes to sleep, they may not have time to reach the litter box or go outside.

UTIs in cats can often stem from serious problems such as hyperthyroidism or diabetes mellitus, both of which often affect cats who are ten years and older.

Learn more: Best Litter Box For Diabetic Cat

Another possible problem, which can be life-threatening if left untreated, is FLUTD (feline lower urinary tract disease, see below).

How Do I Get My Cat to Stop Peeing and Pooping on My Clothes?

To get your cat to stop going to the toilet on your clothes, you’ll want to make sure the litter tray is clean. If you suspect your cat could be stressed, address the causes and make changes to help your cat relax and be more comfortable. If you see symptoms of a medical issue, address this urgently.

Make Sure The Litter Tray is Clean

Keep the litter tray as clean as possible. Here’s what you can do:

  • Clean out any pee twice a day, and scoop out poop each time you see it.
  • Use cat-friendly cleaning products and odorless kitty litter.
  • Twice per week, clean and deodorize the litter tray.
  • Stick to litter only rather than plastic liners, as these can get caught in your cat’s claws and discourage them from digging there.
  • Don’t use clumping cat litter, which may be easier to clean up but is dangerous for cats. They swallow pieces that get stuck to their paws, and these pieces can combine with the moisture in your cat’s digestive tract to clump together into rocks that your cat can’t pass naturally (this could have fatal consequences, see above).

Remove Stressors and Make Changes Where Possible

It’s crucial to address stress in your cat immediately and make whatever adaptations or changes you can.

While you won’t want to move back to your old home, or you can’t change things when a favorite person has left your cat’s life, there are many things you can do to help your cat relax and adapt:

  • Provide a set routine for your cat so that they know what to expect every day – feed them at the same times with food you know they like
  • Keep other changes at home to a minimum. If you’ve moved your cat’s litter tray and they don’t like the new location, move it back if you can
  • Be sure to play with your cat daily – ideally for 20 to 30 minutes each time, twice a day
  • Give your cat lots of places to hide where you know they won’t be disturbed, such as empty boxes, spaces under beds or other furniture, cat houses, etc.
  • Give your cat both vertical and horizontal scratching posts or mats. You can use sections of carpeting, grassy mats, or whatever your cat prefers. Scratching is incredibly de-stressing for cats, all while helping improve muscle tone and the health of their claws
  • Be sure your cat is getting enough water. Try providing a cat fountain – ceramic is best, as it doesn’t absorb odors like plastic. Cats prefer running water anyway, so you are helping your cat stay healthy and hydrated
  • Pay attention to how your cat likes to be touched and cuddled, and have daily cuddle sessions. Most cats love being scratched or rubbed under the chin, along their cheeks, or at the base of their tails
  • Provide lots of climbing places for your cat to observe the world from up high – heights make cats feel safe, especially when they can see out a window. Cat trees, furniture and windowsills are all great places for cats to climb and feel secure
  • Try pheromone sprays in certain areas of your home (ask your vet for ideas as to where and how much to spray)
  • Provide your cat with several smaller meals per day rather than one large one. Make sure your cat is getting a well-balanced diet that is not exclusively dry food (a dry-food-only diet can lead to kidney problems and other digestive issues, see above)

Address Medical Issues Urgently

If Your Cat Has a Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)

Although you won’t be able to diagnose a UTI yourself, there are some common symptoms to watch for that could indicate a problem:

  • Straining when trying to pee.
  • Discomfort or pain when peeing.
  • Blood in the urine.
  • Urinating very little (a few drops).
  • Peeing outside the litter box when there are no issues with the box itself or its location.

If Your Cat Has a Bladder Infection

Once again, a bladder infection isn’t something you’ll be able to diagnose yourself, but they are serious and require immediate attention.

The umbrella term that encompasses bladder infections and other urinary problems is FLUTD (feline lower urinary tract disease).

Sometimes FLUTD can lead to a blocked urethra, which can have dire consequences if left untreated.

Here are some of the signs to watch for that could indicate your cat is suffering from a FLUTD:

  • Peeing more often than normal.
  • Pain when peeing.
  • Trouble peeing, or peeing in very small amounts.
  • Not being able to control the bladder.
  • Peeing outside the litter box (including on cool surfaces, such as the bathtub, sink, kitchen counter, or tile floor).
  • Blood in the urine.
  • Cloudy urine.
  • Urine with a strong smell of ammonia.
  • Hard or distended abdomen.
  • Fear of the litter box (or avoiding it).
  • Excessive drinking.
  • Repeated vomiting.
  • Lethargy (lack of interest in stimulation).
  • Too much licking around the genital area.

Note: FLUTD or UTIs are very serious and potentially fatal – they must be treated as a medical emergency, as they can cause kidney failure, rupture of the bladder, or blockage of the urethra. Any one of these problems can have fatal consequences.

Common Causes of Lower Urinary Tract Problems in Cats

The first step in treating these types of problems is to get the correct diagnosis, as there are a lot of possible causes.

Here are the most common ones:

  • Problems with the spinal cord.
  • A buildup of stones or crystals, causing a blocked urethra.
  • A tumor or injury in your cat’s urinary tract.
  • Incontinence from a weak bladder or drinking too much water.
  • Congenital abnormalities.
  • Stress (whether environmental or emotional).

Here are some factors that are commonly associated with urinary tract problems:

  • Cats who are overweight.
  • Older cats.
  • Indoor cats who have limited or no access to the world outside.
  • Cats on a dry-food-only diet (these cats often get dehydrated and have kidney problems).
  • Cats who aren’t getting enough physical exercise.

How Your Vet Can Treat Lower Urinary Tract Issues in Your Cat

Once your vet knows what the cause of the problem is, they can begin treatment for your cat.

The treatment will vary depending on the underlying issue, but here are some options you can expect:

  • Getting your cat to drink more water.
  • Changing your cat’s diet.
  • Giving fluid therapy.
  • Administering urinary acidifiers.
  • Assisting in the excretion of small stones through the urethra.
  • Providing a urinary catheter to remove blocks in the urethra (sometimes this also requires surgery).
  • Giving antibiotics or medication to help relieve your cat’s symptoms.

Other Things to Know About a Cat Peeing and Pooping on Your Clothes

Other important things to be aware of if your cat is peeing and pooping on your clothes include things not to do. You don’t want to make things worse by frightening or punishing your cat. Consider neutering or spaying your cat, and make arrangements in a multi-cat household for each cat to be comfortable.

Don’t Frighten Your Cat

If you catch your cat in the act of going to the toilet on your clothes, you may be tempted to do something to startle your cat, such as clapping your hands, pushing your cat away, or yelling at your cat.

You might think this could be effective to scare your cat away from the clothes, but your cat will decide that YOU are scary – this will affect your bond with your pet.

Your cat is also likely to become even more stressed, which can exacerbate the problem.

Don’t Punish Your Cat

If you yell or otherwise try and punish your cat for going to the toilet where it shouldn’t, your cat won’t connect the punishment to the action.

Your cat will connect the punishment to your presence!

Your cat will decide that you are angry and scary, and they won’t know why.

Cats who have been punished by their people are more likely to have behavior problems.

Consider Neutering Your Cat

Neutering your cat can help, especially if you have several cats living together.

Female cats won’t go into heat, and males will be less territorial and less likely to spray.

Give Each Cat Their Own Space

In a multi-cat household, it’s essential that each cat has their own space. In practice, this means:

  • Each cat has their own litter tray.
  • Everyone has their own food and water bowls.
  • Each cat has playtime with you.
  • Everyone has a different place to hide when they want to be alone.


Thankfully, even if your cat has begun peeing and pooping on you and your clothes, this is something that you can stop and prevent going forward.

Whether that’s a subtle change in the litter box (a cleaning, moving, or getting a new litter box altogether) or treatment for a medical issue, however, will dictate how quick and easy a fix this could be.

And what is required and involved to resolve it.

Just a final point to note.

If you do suspect your cat is unwell, do contact a vet.

Don’t delay.

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