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Why Does My Cat Lay on My Clothes? 7 Possible Reasons

Grant Piper

By Grant Piper

Cat sleeping on clothes
Image Credit: Gill Thompson, Shutterstock

There is nothing more annoying than folding a fresh load of laundry and then watching as your cat comes and curls up in it. Many times, the laundry will still be warm from the dryer when your cat moseys on over and lays right on top of it. This can leave a bunch of annoying cat fur on your clean clothes and can even aggravate allergies. So why do cats engage in this kind of behavior? Here are seven possible reasons that cats will lay on their owners’ clothing.

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The 7 Possible Reasons Your Cat Lays on Your Clothing

1. Your Cat Is Feeling Affectionate

Cat sleeping in owners jeans
Image Credit: Gill Thompson, Shutterstock

When cats are feeling lovey-dovey, they will often seek you out. Many cats will appear out of nowhere and start rubbing against your leg while purring loudly. Cats can become very attached to their owners, and sometimes, they will be so filled with affection that they can’t handle it. If you are not around or if you are refusing their affectionate advances, many cats will try to find the next best thing – your clothing.

Your clothes are often warm and soft. Your clothes also smell like you and look like you. If your cat is feeling affectionate and can’t love you directly, they will often go and find your clothes or a spot they can be near you to get their affection out. If you know that your cat has loving tendencies or is clingy and affectionate, there is a good chance that those are the reasons they are burying themselves in your clothes.


2. Your Cat Is Feeling Insecure

While some cats ooze confidence and aloofness, other cats are needy and insecure. Insecure cats are more likely to want to cuddle up in your clothes. Your clothes contain your scent and will make them feel secure when they are feeling insecure. Not all cats will exhibit this behavior, but if you know that your cat is a scaredy cat, there is a good chance they are using their clothes as a comforting crutch. This is doubly true if you often find your cat curled up in your clothes when stressful things are happening around them.


3. Your Cat Is Looking for Comfort

Cat lying on a pink blanket
Image Credit: mercesart, Shutterstock

At the end of the day, clean, warm laundry is comfortable. Your cat may just be looking for a soft place to lie down. If you don’t have blankets or throw pillows on your couch, your cat might decide that your laundry basket is the most comfortable place in the house to take a nap. Once a cat finds out that the laundry is comfortable, they might go back again and again when they are looking for a cozy place to bed down.

You can buy blankets or beds for your cat that are more comfortable than your laundry to try and get them to lay somewhere else. But it can be hard to break the habit once your cat decides your clean laundry makes a great nest.


4. Your Cat Wants Stability

Cats do not generally like it when things change. When new people come around or if you rearrange your house, it can cause your cat to become anxious. When they are feeling anxious, they will seek stability to make themselves feel better. Your clothes smell like you, they also make a visual connection between the changing situation and you. This connection will make your cat feel more stable when other things are changing. In these situations, your cat will likely seek out clothes that you wear often or clothes that are familiar to your cat.

This kind of behavior can also happen if you introduce a new cat to the house. You can try to reduce your cat’s anxiety during turbulent situations to reduce the likelihood that they will need to lie in your clothes.


5. Your Cat Is Attached to Certain Items

Ginger cat sitting on the owners jeans
Image Credit: Maliflower73, Shutterstock

Some cats will become attached to specific items. These items could be meaningful for your cat, or they could be a source of comfort or joy. Your cat might not lay on every piece of clothing, but they might curl up in a specific set of pajamas or in a jacket. If your cat only lays in certain pieces of clothing, it could be an indication that your cat is simply attached to that specific item of clothing. If you are attached to a specific piece of clothing, there is a good chance that your cat might also become attached to the same one.

You can remove a specific piece of clothing or put it away where your cat cannot get to it if you do not want them lying in it. If you remove the piece of clothing in question and your cat stops lying in clothing in general, it is a definite sign that they were attached to that one thing specifically.


6. Your Cat Is Sick

One of the most concerning reasons that your cat might be laying on your clothes is that they might be sick. When cats do not feel well, they will seek out comfort or look for things that will potentially make them feel better. If your cat is attached to you, they might seek out your clothes for comfort when they are feeling ill.

There are a number of ways that you can tell if your cat is sick when they seek out clothes to lay on. First, if this is not normal behavior for your cat, it could be a sign that something is wrong. If your cat never lays on your clothes and suddenly starts, it could indicate a change with your cat. Another way to tell that your cat could be sick is if they are lethargic or acting strangely while they are lying down. If your cat starts breathing heavily, is lying on their side, or acting dumpy or mopey, it could be a sign that your cat is suffering from an illness or an infection. If you are worried that your cat might be sick, you should consult your veterinarian for advice and a potential treatment plan.


7. Your Cat Is Marking Their Territory

Cat sitting on owners clothes
Image Cr4edit: TimmyTootz, Shutterstock

Another thing that cats do as a part of their natural behavior is territorial marking. Animals like cats produce a number of pheromones and other special scents that allow other animals to know there is another cat around. Humans can’t often smell these pheromones, but your cat can. By rolling around in your clothes, your cat could be making your laundry smell like them. This will mark you as their own. It can tell other cats that you are the owner of a specific cat. Territorial marking can also come with peeing or scent marking your clothes, which can be a stinky hassle.

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If Your Cat Lays in Clothing a Lot, Make Them a Safe Space

Many people don’t like when their cat lays on their clothes. As discussed, it can be annoying, and it can spread allergenic cat fur through your closet. One way to help make your cat more comfortable and reduce the amount of time they spend lying in clean laundry is to make them a safe space. You can make a cat corner, which is a spot where your cat can curl up in a blanket, bed, or even in old clothes that you provide for them. This will hopefully become the place where your cat goes to lie down when they are feeling insecure, needy, or affectionate instead of your laundry basket.

Depending on your specific cat, the safe space can be in the center of the home where everything is going on or somewhere quieter, like a spare bedroom or a basement. Some cats like to be in the middle of the action, while others like to be away from the hustle and bustle of the main house. Try building your cat a cat corner, bed, or safe space and see if it reduces their dependence on your laundry for comfort.

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Conclusion

A cat that lays in your clothes or seeks out laundry to bed down can be annoying. It can disrupt your chore flow and can make clean laundry dirty. In most cases, your cat is looking for a way to get close to you or to make themselves feel comfortable. But that doesn’t make the behavior any less frustrating or concerning. The good news is that most of the time when your cat is bedding down in your clothes, it is for positive reasons. However, it could also mean that your cat is anxious or not feeling well. If you are concerned about your cat or if this is a new behavior, consider consulting your veterinarian for professional advice on what to do next.


Featured Image Credit: Gill Thompson, Shutterstock

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