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Home > Cats > Why Your Cat Is Peeing in The Laundry Basket: 6 Likely Reasons

Why Your Cat Is Peeing in The Laundry Basket: 6 Likely Reasons

young blue tabby maine coon cat with white paws inside an open laundry basket

Cats are undoubtedly amazing creatures, but owning one requires patience and love. Unfortunately, sometimes their behavior is too much to bear, especially when your cat is urinating in your laundry basket, and you have no idea why or what to do about it.

Consider this; inappropriate urination is the #1 reason people surrender their cats to a shelter. Knowing this fact, you must determine why your pampered pussycat is peeing all over your apparel. Once you know why, you can solve the problem or get your cat the aid it needs to stop.

To help, below, we’ll discuss six reasons why your cat is peeing in the laundry basket. If you’re worried about your favorite feline and frustrated by its inability to find the litter box when it pees, read on.


6 Likely Reasons Your Cat is Peeing in the Laundry Basket

1. Your Cat Is Somehow Being Intimidated When Peeing

Cats are sensitive creatures that can be intimidated by many things. That includes other cats and dogs, loud noises, and even the washing machine or dryer timer. If it’s a one-time occurrence, most cats will quickly forget about it and continue their business as usual.

But if the intimidating factor keeps recurring, your cat might start looking for somewhere else to pee, which might be your laundry basket. One solution is to put your cat’s litter box where it will have peace, quiet, and no disturbances from other pets in your home, especially a dog.

Gray cat looking at camera
Image By: birgl, Pixabay

2. Your Cat’s Litter Box Is the Culprit

Not only are cats sensitive to intimidation but also to the smell and texture of the environment around them. That’s why aluminum foil will often keep cats off countertops. If your cat’s litter box isn’t up to their standards, they might start peeing in other places, including a laundry basket full of clothes. Several factors can cause cats to avoid their litter boxes, including:

  • Cat litter with a very strong perfume
  • Cat litter that hurts their delicate paw pads
  • Cat litter with a weird texture they don’t like
  • A litter box that’s always full and filthy
  • A litter box with sides too high to get in and out easily (older cats with mobility issues struggle with tall litter boxes)
  • A litter box that’s too small
  • The litter box is in a bad spot

3. There Aren’t Enough Litter Boxes in Your Home

If you have more than one cat in your home, one or more urinating in your laundry basket might signify that you don’t have enough litter boxes. Many cats don’t like to share their litter box, especially with cats that aren’t related to them. Some cats are shy; if another cat uses their litter box, they will find somewhere else to pee. If you have more than one cat, one rule of thumb is to have at least one litter box per cat, with an extra litter box for good measure. Also, having a litter box on every floor of your home is a good idea so your cat doesn’t have to go far to relieve itself.

Two cats using a self cleaning litter box
Image By: Lightspruch, Shutterstock

4. A Medical Condition Is Causing the Inappropriate Urination

One of the most common reasons a cat will urinate in a laundry basket is due to a medical condition they’re suffering. Some medical conditions can cause pain when they pee, and a pile of laundry offers a softer, more comfortable place to urinate. Several medical issues can cause this problem, including the following:

  • Bladder inflammation caused by stress (See #1)
  • Urinary tract infections (UTIs)
  • Bladder stones
  • Kidney disease
  • Diabetes
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Feline cystitis
  • Arthritis
  • Crystals in its urine (life-threatening for male cats)

If your cat has pain when urinating in its litter box, it may unwittingly believe the litter box is the source of its pain. Once it does, urinating somewhere else will be its only choice. Also, if you’ve ruled out the other possibilities, take your cat to the vet to have it checked out. Any of the health issues listed above must be treated ASAP.

5. You Cat Prefers to Pee Vertically

While this might sound improbable, some cats, even females, prefer to pee while standing. This preference for vertical peeing isn’t common, but it happens enough that it deserves mention. Cats that like to pee standing up will often have a problem with a regular, low-sided litter box because they can’t stand up inside it.

Instead, they go where they can stand, and a laundry basket is a perfect spot because it has high sides. The solution to this problem is simple; get a litter box with high sides.1 That way, your cat can stand up, see what’s going on, and pee the way they prefer without the need to do it on your laundry.

a tabby cat having constipation using a litter box
Image By: RJ22, Shutterstock

6. Your Cat’s Environment Has Been Upended

The last reason your cat might be peeing in your laundry basket is that they are upset about significant changes to their environment. Cats, as we know, are sensitive creatures and creatures of habit. When their regular routine is interrupted, they can become stressed and urinate in inappropriate places. Some things that can cause a major disruption for your cat include:

  • A new baby in your home
  • Your home is being renovated or remodeled
  • You’ve just moved (or are moving) to a new home
  • You’ve adopted another pet
  • You’re suddenly away from home more often
  • You have friends or family visiting


Most Laundry Basket Urination Problems Are Easy to Solve

If your favorite feline is peeing in your laundry basket, you might think it’s due to a health issue. That’s not always true, as some of the reasons we’ve shared today can be easily solved. For example, if your cat is intimidated or scared of something near its litter box, moving the box might solve the problem immediately. The same can be said if you have a dog that scares or bothers your cat when it’s peeing. Simply place the box where the dog doesn’t have access.

Too many cats and not enough litter boxes can be solved by getting more litter boxes. An older cat’s laundry-loving issues might be solved by purchasing a low-entry litter box so it can get in and out easier. Lastly, cleaning your cat’s litter box frequently, or changing to another brand of litter, will solve the issue if that’s why it prefers to pee elsewhere.

When Should You Take Your Cat to the Veterinarian for Peeing in the Laundry Basket?

If you’ve tried the solutions above and nothing appears to be working, it’s time to take your kitty to the vet. The same can be said if your cat howls or cries out in pain when urinating. Any discomfort on the part of your pet is a sign that a medical issue is the cause of their affinity for peeing in your laundry basket. Some, like crystals in their urine, can be life-threatening, so if you can’t figure out the cause on your own, don’t wait to see a vet.

ragdoll cat being checked by the vet
Image By: Tatyana Vyc, Shutterstock

A Simple Solution to Cats Peeing in a Laundry Basket

While trying to determine why your cat is peeing in your laundry basket, you also need a quick solution to solve the problem. One easy solution is to cover the laundry basket or use a hamper with a lid. Once covered securely, your cat won’t be able to pee in your laundry basket. Of course, you will still need to figure out why they started to do so in the first place.



The leading reason pet owners surrender their cats to a shelter is inappropriate urination. As we’ve seen, this issue can be caused by several factors, many of which you can solve quickly and easily by making minor changes to your cat’s litter box or environment.

Some health conditions can also cause your kitty to pee in your laundry basket to reduce their pain and discomfort, including UTIs and arthritis. These require the help of your vet to solve, and some demand immediate attention to save your cat’s life. Whatever the cause, finding a solution and stopping your cat from peeing in your laundry basket is critical. That way, you and your precious feline can have the enjoyable relationship you deserve.

Featured Image Credit: Nils Jacobi_Shutterstock

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