Why Is Your Cat Peeing On Towels?
Chances are you have come across this post because of one thing and one thing only. Your cat is peeling on towels! Probably your towels! So let’s break it down a little further to understand.
We need to talk about three things:
- How to identify the cause for your cat to pee on your towels
- Figure out why your cat is peeing on towels instead of their litter
- How you can stop this behavior, have your cat use the litter! (Oh and not stress about your towels)
In order for you to get your cat to stop doing something, like peeing on towels, you have to understand the WHY behind it.
Let’s get started!
Why Is My Cat Urinating On My Towels?
Let me tell you, there is nothing quite like going into your closet or your home after a long day only to discover your cat has peed on towels, clothes, the carpet, a rug.
And let’s be realistic, how we all find it is never in the best ways. Most of the time its accidentally putting your hand or foot on it, or something in that manner.
It can be especially frustrating if your cat has always been using the litter box, and now all of the sudden there is a shift. Towels are now the new litter box…except no litter and not what you want.
In truth, I do truly know what that feels like. And I understand it can be one of the most frustrating moments for you to have to deal with.
On top of being worried about your cat, you have to clean towels that were probably clean before the “incident” which throws a wrench in your entire day and you have to figure out how to get them to stop before you cat gets its next victim. (And by victim, I mean towel).
But fear not, there is always a solution and a reason behind it. You do not have to live the rest of your life either with cat pee towels, or no cat. There are other ways.
First we need to look at why your cat is behaving like this? And what caused them to go from using the litter box, to not all of the sudden.
Possible Causes Your Cat Is Peeing On Your Towels
There are several different reasons why a cat suddenly abandons using their cat litter tray. And why they have decided that these softner, nicer towels are now the place to go.
It’s important to start out by saying, don’t get cross and punish your cat when you find it. That will only lead to more confusion. Instead, let’s look deeper to see if we can get to the WHY. Because as soft as the towels were, before yesterday (or however long it has been), your cat was fine just laying in them or seeing them from afar. Something changed.
Here’s why your cat is using your towels as their litter box
- Your home does not have enough litter boxes. And the ones you do have are far away from the locations your cat likes to hangout in. So the easiest place for them to relieve themselves is…towels.
- Your cat is getting older and finds that it is easier and more convenient to pee wherever they are in the house, rather than go all the way to their litter tray. Or the litter box may be getting hard for them to get in and out of.
- They have developed a UTI (Urinary tract infection). These can be really painful for your cat and they may be associating the pain of urinating with their litter tray and have chosen another site that is softer.
- Your cat has been stressed out by a recent major event such as staying in the cattery whilst you and your family have been away on holiday. Maybe you have just moved house and they are ‘under house arrest’ until they have spent a week in the new place.
- If you have multiple cats in your home, there could be a territorial struggle going on that you did not even realize was happening.
- The litter box is dirty and not changed enough. Some cats are very clean and will not go in a litter box if it is too dirty.
The first thing to do.
The very first thing you need to do is evaluate your situation. How many floors are in your home? How many cats? And how many litter boxes? The typical rule is that if you have multiple cats, you want to have the number of litter boxes equal to the number of cats, plus one.
If you live on multiple levels, the suggestions is to have a least one litter box on each floor, especially if you have an older cat.
If you realize that you don’t have enough litter boxes. Try adding one or two more into your home to see if that helps solve the problem.
If you know you have enough litter boxes in your home, self-reflect for a moment. How often do you change the litter out? Does it seem extremely dirty when you do clean it out? If so, try cleaning it out more often to see if your cat won’t go in a dirty litter box.
I always like to start with the simplest ones. It’s less traumatizing on your cat(s), and it lets you check in to see what your cat is trying to tell you. It could be a spite peeing on your towels because their litter box is dirty and they don’t want to have to go in a dirty box.
Understanding Your Kitty Cat
If the litter box number and cleanliness is not a problem. Or if you are trying it and the issue still persist, you will want to go to the vet.
Your local vet will be able to test for a UTI and see if that is the reason.
If it not, if you trust your vet talk to them about possible options for you to try. Typically they will recommend a few different treatments or items you can buy that may alleviate your situation.
If your trip to the Vets did not reveal any medical problem, the next step is to try and understand what has changed that has caused your cat to not use their cat litter tray.
If we have eliminated three of the possible items, let’s see if we can narrow it down further.
Could any of these be the problem?
- Right back to basics! Have you changed the brand of cat litter that you are using for your cat? Cats really can have a preference – especially if it does not smell right to them. Cats can be just as fussy about their cat litter as they can be about cat food – and we have all been down that street! If you have changed the litter, try changing it back for a week or two to see if your cat starts going back into the litter box.
- Have you recently moved the cat litter tray to a new location? If you are rearranging your house, just moved, or doing renovations, the location of their box may have changed. And there is always the possibility that your cat does not like the new location of their litter box. It is a very vulnerable time for them, so if their box is in a very public location, they may not want to go there.
- Is there a pattern in where your cat is now soiling? This is particularly applicable for older cats. If the bathroom is proving to be the popular alternative place to pee, maybe it is because it is a distance from the cat litter tray. It could be worth installing a second litter tray in the bathroom. Personally, I like to always keep a few extra litter boxes in our storage area in case we need to try a different location, or if we just want to change out an old box for a new one. Location and distance from the litter box could be all that is causing your cat to squat where they need to.
- Have you been cleaning out the litter tray with a lemon flavored cleaner? Or cleaning around their litter box with lemon scented products? Cats have an excellent sense of smell and generally do not like lemon or many other fragrances. Try cleaning the litter tray out using an un scented cleaner and see if that makes the difference.
As you can see litter can play a key part in your cats life so make sure you get the right one!
Have a look at my post, best cat litter to buy on Amazon
Is Your Cat Stressed & How You Can Help Them If They Are
If you have checked the box on all other reasons why your cat may be peeing on your towels, the chances are the culprit is emotional. Typically it is stress related.
If you have recently moved, it will take time for your cat to settle.
If you haven’t moved, have you introduced a new cat or a dog into the household?
Has another person moved in or a baby just been born?
Even if there have been no major changes, sometimes even small things can trigger your cat to feel stressed or act out. Sometimes if you are giving another cat, pet, or family member more attention than usual, they can get jealous.
Or there can even be a dominance issue at hand. Do you have an alpha cat that is peeing, chances are they feel threatened that another animal is trying to take their spot.
It’s important that your cat feels reassured that you are there for them and still love them. Ensure that their favorite sleeping place has not disappeared. If you have moved the furniture around or put something that blocks their favorite spot to look out the window, you may want to look at making adjustments. This home is their entire world. And if they can’t do the things they enjoy in this home, they could be frustrated with you.
Cats like to wander through the house easily, without having to negotiate pieces of furniture or other animals or people, can your cat do this easily?
Does your cat have to fight for their food?
Often if there is more than one cat, it is necessary to stay in the room whilst they feed to ensure that one is not nabbing the other cat’s meal. Make sure that you feed the cats at regularly times too.
If you are worried that your cat(s) have become jealous of one another, simply try playing with all of them. You can do this at the same time, or separately. However you see fit. Just like with kids, cats want their own special time with their moms and dads. So make sure you are carving out little pockets of your cat to spend with your cat, or cats.
A good investment could be one of the cat toys on a string that contain catnip – after a few minutes you could well have a sleepy purring and very happy cat!
If your cat is bored, sometimes a simple toy, or a catnip plush could be the entertainment they need to stop peeing out of boredom.
How To Deter Your Cat from Peeing Anywhere But In The Litter Box
Now, I have given you a lot of different ideas to try and figure out why your cat is peeing on your towels. And unless you are extremely lucky and figure it out on your first try, chances are you may still have another “accident” or two while you are narrowing down the problem.
But while you are trying to figure out the problem, you still want to try and get your cat to stop peeing outside of the litter box. If they do it too often, it could become a bad habit and be very hard to break it…even once you figure out the reason why.
* The first thing to do is to remove the opportunity to pee anywhere else! Don’t leave towels on the floor, remove any rugs and put clothes away in the wardrobe.
* As cats do not like the fragrance of lemon, use this to your advantage and wash your towels (or other favorite peeing spots) with a lemon scented washing liquid and fabric conditioner as this could prove the ideal deterrent.
* If your cat has urinated on a particular towel, rug or item of clothing, you really will have to launder it extremely well to ensure there is no trace of the odor left behind. I also like to recommend spraying it with a fragrant smell even after it has been washed to deter your cat from going there again.
This will definitely make you feel better, but importantly your cat’s finely tuned sense of smell will spot it instantly and they will find it irresistible not to pee on it again.
The only way to guarantee success is to use an enzyme cleaner. And I am someone who typically recommends multiple sessions. If your cat is peeing on your towels, you want to try them more than once.
I personally recommend treating the area at least three times with a good enzyme cleaner and leave a fragrant smell on it afterwards. You have to make sure there is not a single drop of urine scent left on that item. If there is, your cat will go there again.
The good ones, do not come cheaply, but with pets in the house, it is a useful item to have in your under sink cupboard.
Overwhelming & Don’t Know Where To Start?
I get it. I threw a lot at you in a single article. But don’t worry. We got this!
All this information to just get your cat to use the litter box and not your towels can become a bit overwhelming.
And that overwhelming feeling can transfer over to your cat. Which will cause them to be more stressed and it becomes a cyclical effect that no one wants.
When you find your cat peeing, as hard as it can be, try and stay calm. Take it one step at a time.
Clean the clothing, start the enzyme and fragrant process.
While all of that is happening, do some analysis on your cat. Check each box and don’t give up.
And if all else fails and you are starting to feel hopeless. Reach back out to your vet. Sometimes cats have a hard time handling their stress, even if you give them all the attention in the world. And medication could be the solution your cat needs to feel better.
There is no shame in your cat needing a little extra help if they aren’t feeling like themselves.
To Circle Back
Follow these tips and advice and work through it and hopefully your cat will stop peeing on your towels
Will it take time? Maybe
Does it require patience? of course
Whatever you do, try to not shout at your cat and get angry
I know it’s easier said than done but if you shout at your cat this will just make things worse
Understanding why your cat is behaving in this manner and then tackling the problem from the root will help stop this peeing outside the litter box
Remember, it’s just a phase your cat is going through and it will stop. And maybe this will even bring you and your cat closer together.
Related Article – How To Remove Cat Urine From Your Home
I have 3 cats. Not sure who is the culprit but one of them pees on the carpets. I’ve picked them all up. If I put a towel down it gets peed on. Why????