Cats make great pets to be sure, especially because of their independent streak.
For the most part, cats are going to take care of themselves. They’ll find the food and water use left out for them, will entertain themselves for hours on end, and (generally) will have no trouble finding the litter box, either.
Every now and again, though, you may have to deal with cats that urinate all over the place – sometimes even urinating on your clothes.
A lot of first-time cat owners get upset when they discover these “accidents”.
My Cat Is Urinating Everywhere
But before you freak out, before you get angry, it’s important to understand exactly what’s going on. There may be something more at play with your cat urinating on things than meets the eye.
And that’s why we put together this in-depth guide.
By the time you’re done with the details below, you’ll never again have to wonder why my cat peed on my clothes right in front of me ever again.
Instead, you’ll know exactly what’s going on, will know how to diagnose different peeing issues, and will be able to not only clean things up with no smell left behind but also prevent these urination issues in the future, too.
Let’s jump right in!
How Often Do Cats “Normally” Pee?
As a general rule, a healthy cat is going to go to the bathroom anywhere between two times and four times a day.
Obviously, though, the bathroom habits of your cat are going to be hugely dependent on how much they eat, how much they drink, how much they run around and play, and other issues like heat and humidity, even.
If you’re not sure how often your cat is going to the bathroom on a day-to-day basis might not be a bad idea to kind of “chart their progress” one of these days. Just generally be aware of how many times they visit the litter box to pee for a couple of days and you’ll be able to come up with an average that you can use as a guideline moving forward.
This isn’t a bad tip for all cat owners to keep in their back pocket, either.
One of the surefire signs that something is wrong “under the hood” of your cat when it comes to their health and wellness is a change in the frequency of their bathroom breaks. Sometimes going to the litter box more often is a sign that something’s wrong and sometimes they’re not going to the litter box at all is a symptom of underlying issues that need to be addressed.
If you don’t know how frequently your cat is going to the bathroom in the first place, though, you won’t be able to get out in front of these issues moving forward.
It’s also not a bad idea to have a look at the color of your cat’s urine as well. Normal urine is pretty yellow as a general rule, but anything that is very pale or right red is a surefire sign that something’s wrong, too.
No, it’s not a lot of fun “peaking” in on your cat when they are going to the bathroom. But it’s a good idea to get in the habit every couple of months just to make sure that things are going smoothly.
Better Understanding Cat Urinating Habits
Of course, as we highlighted earlier, cats aren’t just peeing all over the place to relieve themselves.
There are a bunch of other reasons that your cat might decide to be on your clothes right in front of you, for example. And they have little or nothing to do with them not being able to hold it till they got to the litter box.
The very first thing you’ll want to do after your cat pees somewhere that they shouldn’t have you’ll want to figure out whether or not this is normal urination behavior or something else.
The easiest way to tell (but also the most unpleasant) is if the urine itself as a significantly different kind of smell to it than what you’re used to smelling near the litter box.
Cat urine in general is pretty awful to smell. It’s pungent, it burns, and it has a lot of ammonia like aromas to it that most of us find really objectionable. There’s a reason why lots of folks hate having to clean the litter box, after all.
Cat spray, on the other hand, is even more pungent than that – if you can believe it!
Cat spray (used to “mark” territory or their possessions) is usually a quick jet of urine that’s also mixed with hormones. Cats spray this out whenever they are feeling particularly territorial, whenever they get nervous, or whenever they get aggressive.
This kind of spray lets all the other animals in the area that they aren’t dealing with their normal, playful self. It’s usually used to tell other animals to back off, too.
Unfortunately, when cats use a spray to mark different territorial boundaries they spray across horizontal surfaces. This usually means your carpet, your sofa, your dining room chairs or table, your bed, or even just a pile of clean clothes that you have just taken out of the dryer.
You never really know exactly when cats are going to spray to mark their territory, either. A good indication that a spray is about to happen, though, is when your cat backs themselves up, starts to tread with their hind legs and their tail straight up in the air and they begin to quiver in the backend.
If you start to see that kind of signal just understand that things are going to get messy in a hurry.
Dealing with Pungent Cat Urine?
The number one reason that cats are spraying your clothes is that they are smelling something new that doesn’t quite “mesh” with the overall ambient smell of your home and are marking this territory for their own.
A lot of cat owners take this kind of behavior demeaned that the cat is upset with them, that it is doing it on purpose to get revenge, or that the cat just couldn’t hold their bladder any longer.
That is very rarely the case (if ever).
We know that cats are very social animals – not to mention highly intelligent – but there’s not a lot of hard evidence out there that they’re looking to get revenge by spraying down your clean clothes just as you get ready to fold them.
No, this kind of behavior is almost always linked to that cat just trying to warn off other animals that they are encroaching on their territory. In a weird way, it’s kind of like your cat is helping you out – making sure that nobody takes your clothes from you (or the territory those clothes are sitting on) by marking it themselves.
A couple of other issues may be responsible for this kind of behavior, too.
For starters, as cats get old they start to lose a bit of that mental acuity that they had when they were younger. They may start marking areas that they have already marked, marking areas that they haven’t marked in a long time, or generally just spray for no real reason whatsoever because of their advanced age.
Another reason that cats might decide to pee all over your clothes has to do with them being fearful.
A dog chasing them into your room, a cat springing out and surprising them, getting yelled at by a human, or something falling over or falling off the shelf could all make them feel threatened. It’s not uncommon for a cat to release a bit of spray in those situations, especially if they are feeling particularly vulnerable.
How to Get Your Cat to Stop Urinating on Things
The easiest way to stop your cat from peeing on your things is to make sure that they are on surfaces or in containers that they can’t access any longer. Even still, though, you might find your cat starts to pee all over those containers or surfaces just because they can get at the clothing within!
Some folks like to move food into a space that their cats have been marking up consistently.
There’s something about the instinctual nature of cats that prevents them from spraying all over the place where they are going to eat. This can be of huge help, especially if you’re dealing with a couple of different cats that want to spray on top of the territories and spots other cats have already sprayed themselves.
Lastly, it might be a good idea to take advantage of commercially available scent neutralizing products.
Cats aren’t going to markup spaces that do not smell different or new. If you’ve been able to neutralize the new smells completely the odds are pretty good that your cat won’t want to hose down your clean clothes as soon as they have been pulled out of the wash!
How to Clean Up Cat Urine Smells
One of the most important things you can remember when you’re cat pees on your clothes right in front of you is that you have to move swiftly to get out ahead of this problem.
The longer that cat urine sits around the worse it smells, with everything sorts of concentrating and really building up faster than you probably would have thought possible before.
What you want to do is use a baking soda and vinegar mixture, enzyme-based cleaners, or other commercially available options that are designed to neutralize those aromas right out of the gate. The last thing you want to do is use ammonia-based cleaners, as that’s only going to compound the smell issues you are already dealing with.
One of the best ways to get concentrated cat urine smells out of soft surfaces (clothing, bedding, and things like cushions for example) is to soak the impacted area in a bit of water. This will cause the urine to release from the fabric itself, giving you an opportunity to hit the spot with your cleaning treatment and remove it just as though it was a fresh accident.
Blot the excess water and cleaning solution away, give your soft materials the opportunity to dry completely, and then rinse and repeat the process as much as necessary to get those smells out permanently.
At the end of the day, it’s important to remember that if your cat peed on your close right in front of you they aren’t doing it out of spite. They are marking their territory – and you as their human – even if they are doing it in a really unpleasant kind of way.