If you have had a problem with your cat urinating outside of the litter box, you may have finally figured out why and come up with a workable solution. For your sake I hope you have!
However, even after you’ve solved the litter box problem, there’s another problem still to deal with – the challenge of removing the smell of cat urine from around your home. I know all about this. For several months my two cats, Eric and Felix, were caught in a territorial battle for ownership of our home. The house was the battleground and us humans were the captives!
Once we finally figured out to get them back to using the litter box like good kitties, it was a big relief. Unfortunately, the house still smelled horrible! We had been getting the furniture and rugs professionally cleaned regularly, but that still didn’t take the smell away. The chemicals used by the cleaners, if anything, added to the problem rather than fixing it. If you are dealing with a cat urine issue, I’d suggest that you not go for professional cleaning until you research a few of the ideas in this article.
First, let’s get a better understanding of what we are up against here, and why cat urine is so difficult to deal with.
Cat urine contains three main elements. They are:
– Uric Acid
Urea is the more solid, sticky component of the urine. It is the easiest to clean up with a sponge or towel and any of a number of different cleaning products.
Urochrome is what creates the yellow color of urine. Depending on what kind of surface you cat urinated on, this may be more difficult to remove. Getting pee off a hardwood floor can be especially difficult.
Uric Acid contains the salt and crystals in the cat’s urine, and this is the most difficult element of the urine to remove. The crystals will bond with almost any surface they land on, and when they get wet they promote the growth of the bacteria, which is the source of the odor.
So, why does cat pee smell so bad?
The odor in cat urine is caused by the bacteria that grow in it. Until the bacteria are destroyed, the odor will continue to grow worse, releasing ammonia and mercaptans (the active ingredient in skunk spray) into the air. Therefore, in order to eliminate cat urine odor, we must kill the bacteria that causes it.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Because cat urine contains a high amount of ammonia, you must never use a product with ammonia to try to clean it up. This will only intensify the ammonia smell, which is likely to attract your cats back to pee again in the same spot!
Something that people often do is to just attack the source of the smell with whatever household cleaner they can find.
This is a mistake.
Due to the organic compounds in cat urine, some cleaners can actually make the smell worse. I think we can all agree that we don’t want that! We want to be sure that we are using a product that was specifically formulated for pet stain removal, so that we don’t risk making the problem even worse.
You have a couple of options available to you for removing cat urine smell.
1. Brand name “pet odor removal” products
2. Homemade mixtures for cat urine removal
First let’s talk about the brand name products.
The most famous brand out there and perhaps the best is one called Nature’s Miracle. This is what is referred to as an enzymatic cleaner. It basically works to break down the organic compounds in the urine and to completely eradicate the smell.
This is important not only for us humans but also for the cat. If they can even smell a whiff of their urine, they are quite likely to return to the spot and pee.
In our case, this is what we used to clean our house. To help us identify all the places where the cats had peed, we invested in a black light, which when held in a darkened room will clearly illuminate any and all spots of cat urine. We found this to be extremely helpful, and I really recommend getting a black light regardless of what kind of cleaning product you decide to use. This was about the only way that we could be sure we found all the spots. And the one thing you really don’t want to do, is to go through all the hard work of cleaning up your house, only to leave a few spots of urine around that tell your cats, “it’s OK to pee here”.
Next, every time we found a spot of urine, fresh or dried, we doused it with the Nature’s Miracle. If it was on a hard surface like a wood floor, we wiped the area very thoroughly after using the liquid. For spots that were on carpets or upholstery, we completely soaked it with fluid and allowed the spot to air dry.
ONE WORD OF WARNING: When you first soak the area with an enzyme cleaner, it may at first create an even worse smell, and you may wonder what is going on. This is the smell of the enzyme working on the bacteria, breaking it down. By the time the spot is completely dry the smell should be gone. If not, then more thorough soaking may be needed.
Carpeting and upholstery that has been chemically cleaned may be more difficult to get the urine out of with the enzyme solution, and may require multiple treatments before they are totally clean. This is why I recommend not using professional cleaners if you have not already! In our particular case we had to go over the carpets and sofa a number of times before we finally got the smell out.
We used Nature’s Miracle, but there are many other similar enzyme products out there. Some of the most popular are Bramton Simple Solution, OdorXit and Petrotech Odor Eliminator.
There is no question that products like Nature’s Miracle do a great job of cat urine removal. Then again, what if I told you that there are easy to make, homemade formulas which are usually as effective as the brand name ones? Many people I know have used these with great success.
One really good home recipe is this:
– Exactly 1 quart of hydrogen peroxide (3%)
– 1/4 cup baking soda
– A teaspoon of liquid soap
What you do is to mix all elements together and then pour the mixture into a spray bottle. Make sure you are cautious while mixing. This could cause a small explosion if you are too rough!
After that you should completely wet the soiled are. Make sure the fabric to be cleaned won’t lose its color by doing a small pre-test. In some cases hydrogen peroxide can make certain materials fade.
Cleaning up cat pee is not a pleasant job, but by using a formula like the one described above, you can make sure that you get it all out and that the soiled area is thoroughly cleaned.