The Ultimate Guide to Eliminating Cat Pee Odor - Step To Health
 

The Ultimate Guide to Eliminating Cat Pee Odor

The fragrance emanating from cat pee can be very strong. So eliminating cat pee odor should be on top of your to-do list. Learn how here!
The Ultimate Guide to Eliminating Cat Pee Odor

Last update: 07 December, 2021

Cats are animals that stand out for their independence and great hygiene. However, there are some reasons why they may urinate outside their litter box. Both in these cases and to keep the litter clean, it’s important to quickly remove the smell of cat pee because of its strong aroma.

It’s not just a question of aesthetics or hygiene. If cats urinate in inappropriate spaces and they’re not cleaned, they will likely repeat the action. Anxiety problems, stress, or conditions in the urinary tract cause this behavior.

Various areas of the home, such as carpets, furniture, and even the bed, can be affected spaces. Fortunately, eliminating the smell of cat pee is possible with commercial products and home solutions.

Reasons why a cat may urinate outside of their litterbox

It’s common to think that cats pee outside of their box to act out in revenge against their owners for some situation that displeased them. However, other reasons can be more serious, such as health problems. If the behavior is repeated, you first have to rule out diseases related to the urinary tract.

For example, diabetes, hyperthyroidism, or kidney disease may be the cause. When the animal suffers pain, it may associate it with the box, and therefore try not to return to it. In this case, you should see a vet.

Age and location

Age is another factor. If your cat is very little, it may be due to inexperience, which can be corrected with time and indications. On the other hand, in adulthood, arthritis problems may appear, a situation that makes it difficult for them to access the litter.

In general, the litter should not be placed in a difficult space to reach. It shouldn’t be too far away from social activity or too close to noisy appliances, such as washing machines or dishwashers.

Other reasons for cat pee outside of the litterbox

Male cats tend to urinate to mark territory. On the other hand, females do it to make themselves available for mating. It’s advisable to neuter males and spay females once they’re six months old.

Other reasons, such as territorial disputes with other cats or situations of dissatisfaction with food changes, can lead to anxiety problems. It’s necessary to pay attention to identify these causes and, if necessary, consult a specialist. If there’s more than one cat in the house, they should have a box each.

Litera para un gato.
The litter box’s location should be well thought out so that the cat has easy access to it.

What causes the strong cat pee odor?

The urine of any animal has strong odors. In felines, however, a particular fragrance can be distinguished that quickly affects the home’s hygiene.

This is due to different factors:

  • Time: The urine stain may go unnoticed for a while as soon as it has been left. After a few hours, the typical smell caused by ammonia is released.
  • Decomposition: When the decomposition process continues, the smell of cat pee increases due to the emission of an organic compound called methyl mercaptan or methanethiol.
  • Age: This is an aggravating factor for the smell. The older the animal is, their kidneys work less effectively, making their urine smell worse.
  • Hormones: Uncastrated males urinate with a higher testosterone component. This also increases the potency of the odor.
  • Materials: Depending on the surface where the cat urinates, the fragrance may be greater or lesser.

Useful tips to eliminate cat pee odor

Removing the strong smell of pet urine is possible with different products, both commercial and homemade. In general, they’re liquid solutions diluted in water, so it’s best to use latex gloves to apply them.

Lemon and baking soda

This is a homemade solution.

Dilute two tablespoons of baking soda in water and lemon and apply to the stain using a cloth. The abrasive power of the product acts on the bacteria that cause a bad smell.

Hydrogen peroxide, baking soda, and soap

Another effective combination is to combine these three ingredients in a container. The amount of baking soda and hydrogen peroxide must be similar.

Enzyme-based cleaner

For fabric or leather surfaces, such as carpets, mattresses, and even the sofa, a useful item is an enzyme-based cleaner. Although this is a commercial product, it’s readily available at any cleaning store. Its properties break down and evaporate the uric acid that generates the smell of cat pee.

Detergent

This is another solution easily within reach. However, it’s preferable to use detergents of active origin.

The recommended procedure is to mix them with water and apply them to the urine stain. Then, clean with circular movements in the area.

White vinegar

This product, also diluted in water, is suggested for urine on certain surfaces. For example, it’s great on walls and floors, as it neutralizes the odor. Although the fragrance of vinegar is also potent, over time, both will disappear.

Avoid ammonia

Finally, it’s important to avoid cleaning products with ammonia if the goal is to eliminate the smell of cat pee. Urine also contains ammonia, so there can be added effects.

In addition, the animal may be attracted to the scent and return to relieve itself on the site.

Techniques to eliminate cat pee odor

If the cat urinated on the carpet, remove as much liquid as possible with absorbent paper. Then, rinse the area with clean water, dry, and apply the enzyme-based cleaner. Leave for about 15 minutes and dry again. Cover the site for a period to prevent the animal from returning.

If the liquid or odor reached the subfloor, remove that part of the carpet. For sofa cushions, pillows and mattresses, the process is similar. In the latter case, several towels should be used to dry, as it’s a thick object with many layers. Since it’s the space where you sleep, its sanitization must be complete and effective.

For clothes and sheets, apply baking soda or white vinegar techniques. First, rinse with cold water, both manually and in the washing machine. Once the product has been applied, let it dry in the open air. The faster the urine is removed, the more chances you have to erase the stain and its odor.

Bicarbonato y limón para limpiar pis de gato.
The classic household cleaning products are useful to combat the smell of cat pee.

Litter box hygiene

Although cats urinate in their designated space, it’s important to maintain the overall cleanliness of their litter. This prevents bacteria build-up and minimizes cat pee odor.

If necessary, perform daily litter changes and weekly deep cleanings. After washing with soap and water, let dry and place a layer of pine sawdust to absorb. Finally, fill with new sand or sepiolite.

What to avoid when cleaning cat pee

It’s common to make the mistake of scolding pets when they perform unwanted behavior. However, this attitude is not recommended for the problem of urine in cats. In reality, it can even make the situation worse. It’s better to provide adequate space and a clean litter box instead.

The pet should be gently guided back into the litter box – for example, by moving it and its food bowls. On the other hand, it’s best to avoid using steam or heat on the areas affected by urine, as they can set the stain.

It might interest you...
Blinds or Curtains: Which Option is Better for My House?
Step To Health
Read it in Step To Health
Blinds or Curtains: Which Option is Better for My House?

Can't choose between installing blinds or curtains? Read on and discover which one is best for your home. Don't miss it!



  • Mangas J, Ferrari HR. Relación humano-gato doméstico en el hogar y su impacto en el bienestar animal . RevPsi [Internet]. 27 de septiembre de 2021 [citado 23 de noviembre de 2021];:132. Disponible en: https://doi.org/10.24215/2422572xe132
  • Calle Saldarriaga, Juliana,  Manejo comportamental de un felino con eliminación inadecuada/ Reporte de caso. Revista CES Medicina Veterinaria y Zootecnia [Internet]. 2007;2(1):35-40. Recuperado de: https://www.redalyc.org/articulo.oa?id=321428097004
  • Brousset Hernández-Jáuregui, Dulce Ma., Galindo Maldonado, Francisco, Valdez Pérez, Ricardo A., Romano Pardo, Marta, Schuneman de Aluja, Aline,  Cortisol en saliva, orina y heces: evaluación no invasivaen mamíferos silvestres. Veterinaria México [Internet]. 2005;36(3):325-337. Recuperado de: https://www.redalyc.org/articulo.oa?id=42336308
  • Del-Ángel-Caraza, Javier, Pérez-García, Carlos César, Quijano-Hernández, Israel Alejandro, Mendoza-López, Claudia Iveth, Diez-Prieto, Inmaculada, Martínez-Castañeda, José Simón,  Xantinuria: una causa rara de urolitiasis en el gato. Veterinaria México [Internet]. 2012;43(4):317-325. Recuperado de: https://www.redalyc.org/articulo.oa?id=42325501005
  • Meléndez Samó, Liza M.,  EL VÍNCULO HUMANO-ANIMAL Y SUS IMPLICACIONES PARA LA PSICOLOGÍA EN PUERTO RICO. Revista Puertorriqueña de Psicología [Internet]. 2014;25(2):160-182. Recuperado de: https://www.redalyc.org/articulo.oa?id=233245622002