Eliminating Cat Pee Odor from Your Home

in Help Me Now!, Pets on by
An indoor cat mischievously peeks his head over a dining room table.

Cat lovers really go out of their way to gain the love and attention of their feline friends. Cat treats, boxes of toys, pillows reserved solely for their frequent naps — the list of what these people do for their pets is practically endless. Most cats, however, remain aloof and annoyingly independent, no matter how much TLC they receive. Worse yet, they seem to take delight in relieving themselves all over your home, no matter how pristinely you maintain their litter box.

Lucky for everyone, there are a number of solutions you can employ to rid your home of the accompanying unwanted odor once and for all.

The Odor

People who have owned both cats and dogs know that the urine odor from each is distinctively different. The main difference is that cat urine is more concentrated and consequently has a much stronger smell than dog urine, which explains why simpler cleaning and odor elimination methods work only on the latter.

When the bacteria in cat pee decomposes, it emits an ammonia-like smell reminiscent of stale old urine. Cats also eliminate a potent hormone when they pee, making the stuff reek even more.

A Simple Solution

Cleaning the soiled areas of carpets, mattresses, fabric, and wood with a mixture of baking soda, vinegar, soap, and hydrogen peroxide may counteract the odors temporarily. However, a humid day can make the uric acid recrystallize, allowing the stench to come back as strong as when it was new.

A Better Solution

Enzyme cleaners are the only solution that fully destroys uric acid. To make the best use of them in your home, just follow these easy steps:

  • Test an obscure patch of the carpet, rug, mattress, or upholstery before you start to make sure it can withstand the cleaning solution.
  • Use an old rag or clean towel to blot the affected area. Choose a fabric with good absorption such as Terry cloth, and absorb as much urine as possible as soon as you find a spot.
  • Generously apply the enzyme cleaner on the stained area for a few hours and let it dry naturally.
  • Put a laundry basket or another air-vented item upside down over the spot to keep the cat from recontaminating the areas — believe us, they will attempt to do this.
  • Open all the windows in your home and turn on multiple fans to keep the air moving and help blow the odors outside. The enzymes in the cleaner convert the uric acid into gases that slowly evaporate as the area naturally dries.
  • As a final step, consider cleaning the area with an extracting carpet-cleaning machine that shoots water down into the fiber and then sucks it back out again for easy disposal.
  • Wait a few days, and if the odor persists, keep repeating the process until your home smells fresh and clean.

The Most Difficult Solution

Replacing the soiled areas of floors down to the sub-floor is perfect for eliminating cat urine odor because it removes every layer of material contaminated with the offensive scent. This is a radical solution that takes time, tolerance, and money, but it’s also the most effective one.

Urine Odors in Concrete

Sometimes you can’t tell exactly where an odor is coming from. For instance, if you have a concrete basement, cellar, or garage, your cat may be secretly using it as a urination spot. Check those areas for odors during warm, humid weather when the smells are heightened. A blacklight will also do a great job of quickly revealing the affected areas. Cleanse these spots with a mixture of one part vinegar, one part water, and two teaspoons of baking soda. Next, apply enzymatic cleaner to each spot. Cover the spots with a sheet, towel, or large piece of plastic, let it set for 12 to 24 hours, and rinse away the remaining cleaner.

Methods to Avoid

The worst cleaning agent you can use to eliminate cat urine odor is ammonia. This is because it only adds to the ammonia smell already evident in cat urine, so it actually intensifies the odor and encourages cats to use the area again. And never mix ammonia with bleach, as inhaling the resultant fumes can kill you and/or your pets.

You should also avoid using a steam cleaner or other hot object to get rid of cat pee smell. These methods only set the smell and make it harder than ever to eradicate.

Avoiding Cat Odors

The more often you clean out your cat's litter box, the more likely they are to actually use it.

Not all cats can be stopped from urinating in inappropriate places, but there are some precautions you can take to help them out. For starters, you’ll want to clean their litter box every day, mixing some baking soda into the litter itself to keep odors at a minimum. Plus, cats use clean boxes much more reliably than dirty ones.

You should also have the cat checked by your vet to see if they have any urinary tract problems that can cause accidents outside the litter box. Ask about special foods that can reduce urinary tract problems and hairballs.

Keeping your home smelling fresh with a cat in residence can be challenging, but once you conquer the problem, both you and your feline friend will be healthier and happier.

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