Cats – can’t live with them, can’t live without them. While Fluffy and Snowball may have shown you the meaning of true love, it can’t be denied that love can be messy, especially if you do not know how to remove cat urine odor. Now, it’s true that cats are easier to toilet train than dogs are, and they take more quickly to peeing in a litter box.
However, if at any time they decide it’s time to stop urinating inside the litter box, they can well outrival their canine buddies in terms of smell. Many a cat owner has thrown up their hands in despair at the thought of ever getting the smell out at all.
The odor of cat urine is pervasive, difficult to get out, and nigh impossible to mask. Now, your beloved fluffball’s urine isn’t actually that different in composition from that of other animals, but it is rare for cat pee to be discovered until it’s too late.
Once the bacteria in cat pee decompose, it begins to give off a frankly disgusting stale and ammonia-like odor. And in fact, once it decomposes even further, the urine begins to release compounds called mercaptans, which are what make skunk spray smell so terrible! Plus, if your cat is older, its urine is likely to smell a whole lot worse, since their kidneys stop working as effectively as they used to, so the urine holds less water.
And then of course, cats emit powerful hormones when they are peeing, which add to the overall smell. Both male and female cats can do this when they are not neutered.
All of this can be especially embarrassing if you have guests coming over, but it is also impractical for the resident of the house to ignore the smell. Additionally, once a cat has urinated in a certain area, it is likely to come back to that area to pee again if the stench has not already been eliminated from it.
This could lead to the formation of a problematic behavior. What’s a loving cat owner to do in this case?
Well, this guide should provide you with some workable solutions on how to remove cat urine odor. Read on to discover the underlying reasons behind your cat peeing outside the litter box, how you can avoid this from repeating, and of course, how to get rid of that cat urine smell.
How to Remove Cat Urine Odor Out of the Carpet
First find the stain quickly, and blot up the urine using a clean cloth. Then use clean water to rinse the area and suck up the excess liquid with a vacuum cleaner. Vacuuming will remove the cat urine particles from the area quite effectively. Never use a steam cleaner, as it can set the stain and make it difficult to get rid of.
Then use an enzyme cleaner. If the urine has soaked through to the flooring below, use a stain blocking primer on the floor beneath the carpet. One of the best enzyme cleaner in the market is Xion Lab’s Bio-Enzymatic Stain & Odor Remover. You can CLICK HERE to find more information about Xion Lab’s Enzyme Cleaner.
How to Remove Cat Urine Odor from Cushions and Mattresses
Clean the cushions and mattresses in much the same manner as you would have cleaned the carpets. First soak the cushion with water, then blot as much of it away as possible, and pour enzyme cleaner on it. Let the enzyme cleaner remain there for around 15 minutes, and then squeeze it out. Blot the remaining cleaner with towels.
Do the same thing with mattresses. However, once you’ve liberally applied the enzyme-based cleaner to the mattress, let it sit and blotted it up, make sure to take the additional step of placing clean towels over the area before making the bed again. While you’re not using the mattress, cover it up with a plastic tarp so as to discourage your kitty from peeing on it again. If your cushions or mattresses are particularly thick, you may have to repeat the process a few times.
How to Remove Cat Urine Odor Out of Linens and Clothing
Of course, if these are machine washable, you’re in for an easy time. All you have to do is rinse the spot with cool water in a sink, then put them inside the machine along with detergent. Add some baking soda or cider vinegar for good measure.
If the smell of urine still remains after this, add enzyme cleaner to the machine and run the machine again for a cycle. Never ever use bleach, since a combination of bleach with ammonia can result in the release of harmful gases. You may need to wash the linens or clothing more than once in order to completely get rid of the smell.
So Why Do Cats Urinate Outside The Litter Box Anyway? Aren’t They Supposed To Be Clean And Well-Behaved Creatures?
Yes, they are. But don’t worry: your cat isn’t peeing in all the wrong places as part of a grand scheme to overthrow you and establish its own rule. Your cat isn’t really trying to get even, or to get back at you. However, certain instincts can drive them to alternative urination practices.
In fact, if your kitty has only recently put an end to a longstanding tradition of exclusively peeing inside the litter box, it could be due to a medical problem. Certain biological issues could lead to your cat losing control of its urination, such as diabetes, kidney diseases, urinary tract infections, feline lower urinary tract disease and hyperthyroidism.
And if the act of peeing causes your cat pain, it may well have formed an association between that pain and the litter box. If your cat seems to be in pain or trouble, don’t waste any time in taking it to a vet immediately. Certain conditions can develop into serious and life-threatening issues if left untreated for too long. If your cat is particularly young or old, it is even more important to take it to the vet.
Additionally, cats have a tendency to contract arthritis as they grow older. This could make accessing the litter box difficult for them, especially if the sides of the box are too tall, or if the box is placed in a location that requires some amount of physical activity on behalf of the cat to get to it. So if it turns out that your cat does have arthritis, simply make it easier for it to access the litter box easily by placing it in a place your cat frequents.
So much for the physical or medical reasons, your cat isn’t peeing right. Let’s move on to behavioral problems now. If your cat’s behavior has changed, there is obviously some sort of underlying reason behind it. As the article stated earlier, the cat isn’t deliberately trying to give you a hard time, after all/. It’s up to you to play detective and figure out what’s gotten into your cat that is preventing it from peeing in its usual spot.
With a behavioral problem, it’s important you step in quickly and re-train your cat before peeing outside of the box becomes a deeply ingrained habit. First of all, don’t just have one litter box in place. Generally speaking, you should have litter boxes all over the house.
If you have more than one cat, you should have a litter box per cat, as well as an additional one to remain on the safe side. If you’re lucky, you might be able to easily resolve a behavioral issue simply by adding more litter boxes around the house so you cat has more than one place to pee in. Or you can remove your cat’s litter box’s cover in order to make it even more accessible to the kitty, or change the kind of litter you normally use.
You should also remove waste regularly and frequently by scooping the dirty litter up, so the cat knows the litter is available for its use. Remember, cats are naturally clean creatures. And just like humans prefer to have clean bathrooms and toilets, so too do cats prefer to have clean litter boxes that are free of bad odors.
Replace the litter more often, and you may well notice a decline in its new tendency to pee all over your bed. You can also try moving the litter box to a different location so your cat associates the act of peeing with it anew. Additionally, don’t keep the litter box close to the place where you feed your cats. Put it in a quiet place instead so your cat can use it properly.
If you’re forced to re-train your cat, be patient about it. Cats don’t respond well to telling or shouting, or to punishments. If you catch your cat peeing in the wrong area, quickly move it to the litter box. Take it to the litter box frequently and consistently, and give it positive reinforcement through treats or a play toy when it uses it in order to create a pleasant association with the act.
If it’s not a physical or behavioral issue, your cat is probably spraying.
Why do cats spray?
Well, to mark their territory. Or at least that’s why male cats do it. Spraying is different from urinating, in that it is done on vertical surfaces in your home, not horizontal ones. A male cat that isn’t neutered will spray in order to mark its territory, while a female cat will spray in order to let the local tomcats know she’s ready to mate.
Spraying is therefore mostly a fixable problem: just get your cats spayed or neutered. A spayed cat isn’t going to urinate on purpose so it can mark its territory or invite all the tomcats to town. It is recommended to spay cats at six months. Plus, a neutered cat means you won’t have to deal with potential kitten that are waiting to be potty trained all over again.
There are instances, however, where cats spray for other reasons as well. It could also be due to psychological problems like anxiety, stress or even frustration. This frustration could be due to a lack of playtime, limited diets, or a dispute over territory with another cat. Yes, cats, while not as complicated as humans, are not entirely simple beasts either.
If you find your cat in a match against others in yout neighborhood or home, separate them. Keep fighting cats in your home separate from each other, and then introduce them to each other all over again by using treats. If your cat is stressed or anxious, talk to your vet in order to develop a solution that will minimize these feelings. You can also try purchasing a diffuser that releases an artificially developed cat pheromone that will keep your cat calm.
How to Clean Cat Urine Effectively
The moment you smell cat pee, get ready to clean it. As we mentioned earlier, the bacteria in the urine decompose and go on to release those dreaded mercaptans. The longer you let the urine stay unwashed, the more concentrated the smell will get as time goes on, and the more difficult it gets to remove the odor.
Plus, while you may not be able to see the urine stain once it dries, both you and your cat will be able to smell it. This is bad news for you, since the cat will then tend to pee in the same area again, and then mark it as a regular place for it to do its business. Not cleaning up the urine quickly is a fundamental mistake that cat owners might make.
Luckily, there are quite a few products you can utilize in your fight against cat pee odor. First of all, avoid using cleaning products that contain any ammonia at all. Ammonia forms an essential component of cat urine, and a cat that smells ammonia in a certain location is more likely to go and pee there again. Plus, chemical cleaners like ammonia can actually set the stain and make it nearly impossible to get out again. Most experts actually recommend the use of pantry staples in order to get rid of the smell.
Vinegar and baking soda are often enlisted in this fight. While vinegar does have a distinctively obvious smell all of its own, it is recommended due to its acidic properties which serve to neutralize the alkaline salts that eventually form in dried cat pee. This goes a long way towards removing the pervasive smell.
You can use a solution that is one part vinegar and one part water in order to wash the floor or walls. While this will result in a vinegar-like smell for a few days, this odor will eventually float away along with the smell of urine.
Baking soda is also recommended as a good way to get rid of the smell. Baking soda, or sodium bicarbonate, is actually a natural odor absorber, cleaner and deodorant. If your cat has peed outside its box, you can take to sprinkling baking soda over the area.
Additionally, you can also mix together half a cup of three percent hydrogen peroxide with mild dish detergent, and then spread this concoction over the baking soda that had been applied to the area. Rub the solution into the baking soda using a scrub brush, and remember to wear rubber gloves. Once the reaction between the hydrogen peroxide and baking soda causes foam to form, blot the area and let it dry.
Then there are enzyme based cleaners, which are used to get rid of urine smells from fabrics like the carpet, curtains, mattresses, cushions, linens and couches. The enzymes in these cleaners will break down the acid in cat urine, thus making it easier to wash away, and simultaneously get rid of the smell by eliminating the bacteria responsible for the stench.
These cleaners usually come in a spray bottle, but it’s not usually enough to just spray a light coat over the urine if the cat peed on the mattress or carpet. Take out the sprayer and pour as much liquid as is needed over the stain. Let it sit for 15 minutes and then blot it up with a clean cloth. If the stain is especially smelly, reapply the cleaner until all traces of the smell are gone.
No matter what you use to get rid of the smell, however, it is important to remember that your cat has a far keener sense of smell than do you. Even if you can’t smell the urine anymore, it is entirely possible that your cat still can, and by now you know what that means: there’s a good chance it’ll pee in that area again.
So make sure to wash the place comprehensively enough that even your cat can’t detect the faintest smell there anymore. And here’s a tip: cats don’t generally like to eat where they pee. So place their feeding bowls in the area they soiled in order to make use of this preference.