Plagued with Cat Urine Scent? How to Eradicate the Aroma of “Eau-de-chat” Cat Pee
Most of the cat lovers I know living with felines tell me they feel extremely blessed. After all, avid felinophiles delight in watching their cats play together. The creative games cats invent to tickle their fancy can entertain us for hours on end.
Of course there is nothing more rewarding than the soft, gentle touch of a kitty’s paw on our cheek that lets us know we are loved. And after we return from a hectic, stressful day, what could possibly be more relaxing and rewarding than the sound of a deep resonating purr made by a contented kitty?
This said there are those times when significant challenges present themselves which can test the patience of even the most die-hard kitty guardian. Top on my list of these unpleasant occurances are when one of my cats suddenly starts anointing our carpets with urine, our unmade bed, clean clothing and the basket of clean laundry. Trust me, I was very upset when Sir Hubble Pinkerton started lifting his tail and began spraying on the window sills, dresser drawers and around the bed which soon became soaked with cat pee.
In Sir Hubble’s case it turned out that a stray cat hanging out in our side yard was visibly taunting him while making a “guest appearance” at our bedroom window. Totally frustrated, this drove him up the wall. Fortunately, a few months following his disappearance, Sir Hubble felt more secure and his frustrating behavior slowly came to an end.
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However, when a cat’s elimination behavior changes radically, the first thing to check out is whether the litter boxes are too dirty, or its location is inconvenient making their “toilet” unacceptable. Since cats are picky creatures by nature, if their litter box is filthy, can you blame them for going on strike out of protestation? Is there more than one box for every cat in the household? Do they like the litter that is being used?
Once the box is clean and all the other requirements are met, the next thing to consider is a urinary tract infection or bladder stones. These are serious conditions which need immediate attention, making a quick visit to the vet essential.
Once all problems are resolved, dealing with the unpleasant lingering odor of cat urine is next. Since the pungent and lingering scent of “Eau-de-Chat” pee can turn into repetitive unwanted behavior, it’s necessary to take quick action to eliminate the smell.
There are several enzymatic products available to both help break down odors and remove stains. Two of my favorites are Nature’s Miracle and Simple Solution.
These products are available in most pet stores and the Internet. To help locate affected spots, I recommend purchasing a good ultra-violet light flashlight.
Using commercially made enzymatic products is more convenient, however for folks preferring a more “natural” method, there’s a popular home-remedy to help eradicate the stench of cat urine.
Important: Before proceeding, to ensure that the hydrogen peroxide component of the remedy won’t bleach out the color; test this mixture on an obscure area of your carpet.
Begin by using old rags or paper towels to soak up as much urine as possible. Combine 3 parts water with 1 part vinegar and saturate the spot with the mixture. Dry the spot thoroughly. Once it is dry sprinkle it with baking soda. Mix ¾ cup of 3% hydrogen peroxide with one tsp. dish detergent. Sprinkle the mixture over the baking soda.
Final step: With an old tooth brush or your fingers work in the baking soda. Vacuum the entire area once the area is completely dry. If a slight odor remains, repeat the entire process. For laundering “soiled” clothing, blanket and linens, add ¼ cup of apple cider vinegar to your laundry detergent.
What other methods work for you? Share them with a comment.
Photo credit: Flickr User alan_i_think
Thanks for another great article, Jo. I have only had one experience with inappropriate urination. Our cat Harley began to spray the living room when a stray cat started marking the outside of that particular wall. They were evidently competing with one another. I had no luck with anything I tried, Nature’s Miracle, Simple Solution, Urine OFF, etc. I even tried that peroxide concoction. Nothing worked. Then, quite by accident a discovered a wonderful product. Stazko’s Waterless Shampoo. It is a product designed for pet groomers. I had some and since Harley christened a stuffed animal of mine, I tried it on the stuffie’s fur. It took the smell right out. So….I put it in the steam cleaner to clean the carpet that had been urinated on. BIG MISTAKE!!! Bubbles, bubbles, and more bubbles. But the urine odor disappeared. Then, Tallulah urinated on the carpet once due to a bladder stone. I sprayed the area with the Waterless Shampoo and then used the steam cleaner with just plain water. Odor gone. Since then, I recommend this product to anyone with kitty pee pee issues. 🙂
I’ve used Odorzout for years and love it.
Also, as an overall refresher for cat beds, etc. I use K.O.E. (Kennel Odor Eliminator) and threw out Febreeze and the like.
I don’t know if this would help or not, but once Sir Hubble and Dr. Hush Puppy joined our family, for the first time I had two kitties that were very macho and had to stand up to pee. LOL. I put the litter boxes in tall cartons, so if they missed the box itself at least the urine wouldn’t end up on the wallpaper.
It was a mess- the carton was disgusting- So I put a big plastic bag-inverting it, over the carton- and under the litter pan. That was worse.
I found a litter box that finally solved the problem- the brand is CleverCat. It is available on Amazon. They are about 14 inches tall anda foot wide. There is an optional cover which has ridges- keeping most of the litter off the floor. Our boys LOVE it and they can stand up as much as they please but no more urine on anything! We have 4 of them. Two of them are at least 12 years old and are still pristine!
Hope this helps! How many boxes do you have right now?
Now this is going to sound a little crazy. All my life I have had cats, most of them way back when were from the streets. I had males & females and even though they were neutered I had what I thought were problems with just the males. So after each of the males passed on I vowed to only have females thus eliminating what I thought was the problem. Boy was I wrong!!! My middle three sisters are bullies and I believe they are the ones causing the problems. I have tried Natures Miracle with very little results. My question is do you think if I bought super sized boot trays underneath the litter boxes that would help? I understand that the trays would have to be cleaned but I would rather do that instead of ruining more carpeting? I have 7 cats and 10 litter boxes around the entire house. My house is a single built like a double so there are littler boxes on 3 different floors.
I’m not sure what boot trays are, Amy.
But, I have huge litter boxes and use the floor of dog kennels under them. Any time I’ve known someone getting rid of a kennel, I’ve asked for the floor. They’re great.
Also, within the next couple of months, most of my carpeting is going to be replaced with tile in my house.
I’m so busy that I really need a quicker cleanup situation.
My next effort will be new livingroom furniture. Ruth and Babz just got faux leather and like it. I’ll be checking it out. But, I’m also thinking about some “better than average” outdoor furniture. How simple would it be just to drag the garden hose inside, spray them down, and the tile gets done at the same time? I live alone and only really have family or close friends visiting. They wouldn’t care.
As you may have guessed, I want a simpler life and more cat time.
I’m preaching to our choir, Dee. 😉 You are right on! Tile or bamboo or oak floors. Glad that you mentioned that.
Thanks, Caroline. Happy you agree.
I just want an easier, softer way to have more cat time. No scrubbing. Just spray and wipe.
I’m tired of throwing my money into half–ssed cleaning products.
Our Walter has spraying problems at times of stress, from his bad start in life and then bereavements since he came to us. He hates any furniture to be moved or anything lying around out of its place and we understand spraying is his way of de-stressing.
We simply use biological washing liquid in hot water, it removes all the smell.
I think a lot of cat caretakers have this problem but don’t like to admit it, so I’m glad you wrote this article Jo because it’s much more common than people think.
I like the way you know exactly how to do your best to keep Walter de-stressed. Interesting that he doesn’t like furniture being moved. Even small changes in his environment upset him, it seems.
His first bout of spraying was just after John died (Babz husband) and Popsy came to live here, He loved John and we can only think he resented Popsy being here when John wasn’t, because he never did get along with her. Since then, any change upsets him, he was very insecure as a tiny kitten when we rescued him from the awful place he lived, he just needs stability to be happy. He’s even sprayed on Babz and me once each lol to mark us as his.
We still laugh about Jozef, who one day seeing Walt spray when we’d moved a chair he likes to sit on and forgot to put it back, thought he’d have a go too. He must not have liked doing it because he’s never ever done it since, but he obviously wasn’t going to be to be left out lol
For those in Britain who can’t get some of these products easily, a solution made from hot water and biological washing powder works well. Also solutions containing white vinegar or very dilute hypochlorite bleach is helpful.
And when the carpet is dry again, Shake’n’vac or Neutradol powder left on for 12 – 24 hours works a treat.
that sounds good thanks for that sarah its hard living in a rental home when they decide to be sick its good to find a natural way to clean it up
Thanks Sarah, I have never heard of those tips and tricks. I normally use (v.rarey need it, I hasten to add) a commercial product like the ones suggested by Jo. But I like your home brewed ones.
Jo, this is the best article, post that I’VE READ. lol. keep it up! 😀 know one understands cat piss like we do. great. love it. rofl. You are my bebe!
its great has come at the right time. i was thinking of what others did
I think my knowledge of cat pee stink removal was solely from baptism by fire!
But since it is such an issue, thought a blog giving suggestions from many cat people would really be a help!
But it is not my favorite topic by any means:) LOL
worse got someone coming to look though the house as its on the market to sell for a potential landlord to buy. I really hate so much these days when have to keep the place tidy and clean and sweet smelling. just wish somoene would buy the damn house.
yea id like to know of some products of with 4 fixed male cats and one female kitty have had problems esp when one of the delightful cats decides to be sick. Ive worked out that friskas new brand is not idea as one of them been sick last night. i think will have to go back to whiskas brand or Chef im sure its rebel thats doing it. I hope hes not senestive as its soo expensive but i guess just have to bite and get it.
Our cats can only eat Dad’s Gourmet in the yellow bag. They throw up any other dry. We love the Nature’s Remedy. Been using it about a year now.
sounds good gonna have to Try something different. Its hard to find things that work for all of them. Its usualy one or two who wont like it.
Elisa, do you know the reason why they only like that brand of dry cat food? It’s quite interesting to someone like me that a group of cats will only eat a certain brand of dry cat food. Perhaps it contains something which separates it out from the rest: although I doubt that.
i reckon its the taste or tastes more meaty
Oh yes, I am in love with Zero Odor! I heard about it from Dr. Nick Dodman — who definitely knows his cat pee! Really amazing stuff. I used to buy it online but now I can get it at Bed, Bath and Beyond.
The other two I like are X-O and F.O.N. (Feline Odor Neutralizer, aka P.O.N. in which the P stands for Puppy).
A friend’s cat knocked a bottle of perfume off the dresser and into the carpet, and X-O even took THAT smell out. Powerful stuff. I used it before moving into our house and our cats never knew there had been animals there before. Smells funny at first then dissipates.
My clients and I have not had good results with Nature’s Miracle.
And Jo, the first rule of cat pee is “Protect Your Stuff.” Using a tarp for a bedspread isn’t attractive, but it saves a lot of aggravation (and laundry detergent)! Plus, it held the urine so I could test it–and indeed she had a UTI. I lived with tarps and newspaper on the floor for the last 1-1/2 years of my elderly cats’ lives, and I kinda missed it after they wre gone.
Zero Odor is amazing! We love it too. I have a container of it in both bedrooms and the bathrooms. It totally takes away odors and what I love most about it it doesn’t leave its own scent- it’s totally scentless! I learned about it two years ago at the 2012 Blog Paws Conference. The folks who own it are just amazing as well.
JoJo! This title me you email, so that i can stop! LOL, kittens! <3 Jo?
“…There are several enzymatic products available to both help break down odors and remove stains. Two of my favorites are Nature’s Miracle and Simple Solution.” Those are two of our favorites, as well. Another one that really works is Zero Odor, available online from petproductadvisor.com.
Our young male cat “Razzy” was showing the very beginnings of spraying, but thankfully as his hormones waned from being neutered…the behavior stopped. I am just guessing, but do fixed males under anxiety and females also exhibit the marking with urine (or feces?) behaviors? Thanks! 🙂
–Mom of four fab felines
Hi Bonnie. Thanks for sharing. Neutered or spayed cats can still spray. Depends on the cat and the circumstances. I would have thought the unneutered male is the most likely to spray while the spayed female is the least likely to spray.
We had to replace our mattress and box spring- and ultimately the bedroom carpet- it was gone too far.
But if Sir Hubble has another bout with the outdoor kitties, and starts spraying again, the commercial products work great. We also have three black light flashlights at home JUST in case we catch a whiff of that “eau-de-chat”. LOL
An excellent and comprehensive article on this tricky and disruptive feline problem.
Sir Hubble’s spraying seems to be a classic case of territorial marking after seeing an alien cat. I have seen this outside my living room window with various cats trying to establish or reaffirm their territory – home range. There is an overlap by several cats it seems.