There are over 94 million cats as house pets in the United States. One in three homes keeps at least one cat. With all those cats, there is bound to be kitty litter failures, spraying and accidents. No wonder people with cats often ask how do you get rid of the smell of cat urine in the house.
It’s a problem. To solve it, you must identify the urine-soaked area and treat it to neutralize the urea and other organic compounds. The real challenge can be to actually identify the urine-soaked area.
Why Cat Pee Smells So Bad
So many people will claim that cat pee is the most foul-smelling substance on earth. They will rank cat urine right up there with a skunk. The truth is cat urine really isn’t that different from most urine.
The problem is that cats are notorious for being sneaky little devils. They will spray urine in the most unlikely places to mark their territory. That makes it really hard to find a wet area. It’s not the pee that smells bad, it’s what happens to it as it breaks down.
Cat urine is nothing more than urea, creatine, uric acid, some detoxified substances, sodium chloride and electrolytes. When you don’t find cat urine right away, bacteria go to work. They start to break down the urine components and this creates the ammonia smell.
The next stage of decomposition is when those really nasty mercaptans are created. Mercaptans are harmless but boy do they stink! They consist of carbon, hydrogen and sulfur.
All the really stinky stuff in life (dirty socks, bad breath, farts, skunks, and rotten cabbage) are loaded with mercaptans. That’s why they add it to natural gas, so you can smell a leak. So, when the cat pees and you don’t find it right away or you don’t clean it properly, the mercaptans are the problem.
Masking Pet Urine Odor Doesn’t Help
Air sprays, fabric sprays, candles and essential oils don’t solve the problem. These agents just mask the smell of the ammonia or mercaptans. Once the masking agent dissipates, you are left with the urine odor.
You reapply the masking agent as a temporary fix, but it disintegrates and the smell returns. It’s an endless cycle because making the odor doesn’t solve the problem with the odor. It just hides it. To get rid of the smell of cat urine in your house you must treat it at the source. And, you must treat it properly.
How to Control Urine Odors from the Litter Box
The best way to control the odor of cat urine in your house is to stop it at the box. First, invest in a good quality litter for the box. Old clay-style litter is fine for absorbing oil from the garage floor or driveway but it doesn’t absorb odor.
Use a high-quality litter in the box and make sure you use plenty of litter. If you don’t pour the litter deep enough, your kitty won’t have enough material to cover their waste. Cats cover their urine to hide the smell. Give them enough litter to do this!
Next, commit to keeping that box clean! Today’s kitty litter has superior clumping capabilities and if you keep the depth right, it’s easy to clean the box. Just scoop waste into a plastic bag (save those bags from the grocery store, they are perfect for this), tie it up and take it outside of the house.
As added insurance, you can set a gas absorbing agent nearby to capture any ammonia that might be created if you didn’t clean the cat box as you should.
Baking soda has long been a stand by, but it is a onetime use product. A greener and more effective alternative is a bag or bowl of zeolite rocks. These volcanic rocks absorb gasses like ammonia in their honeycomb structure. When saturated, you just place them in the sunshine for a day and use them again. They work well on any organic odor, and urine is most certainly organic.
How to Control Urine Odors from Accidents or On-Purposes
Cats have accidents, sometimes an older or stressed cat might not make it to the box. More often, cats have an attitude and they have an “on-purpose” to mark their territory or to quite literally let you know they are pissed off.
First Find the Source of the Urine Odor
Unless you are lucky enough to step on a wet spot of carpet, you are going to have to hunt the source of the urine odor down. Start with your nose. Use it to narrow down the room in which the urine is located. Next, start looking for stains or wet spots. If you are lucky, you will find the urine before it has dried. If you aren’t lucky, start with the obvious places:
- The soil in potted plants
- Under the furniture
- Bottoms of curtains or drapes
If the cat is having an attitude problem with a human occupant, be sure to check the human’s belongings. Many a cat has expressed its displeasure with a human by peeing on their clothing, pillow or other possessions.
If your eyes and nose can’t find the source, go high tech. A UV black light flashlight will show the sodium chloride from pet urine and all other sorts of nasties. They are very inexpensive but highly effective.
Next Clean Up the Urine
Hopefully, you can find the spot while it is still wet. Use paper towels to blot the wet urine. Don’t rub or scrub, you will just send the urine further into any fabric surface.
Once you’ve blotted up all you can, then clean with an enzyme-based cleaner. Enzyme cleaners will convert the urea to gasses that quickly dissipate. This step isn’t to get rid of the odor, it is to reduce the urine components.
The final step is to deodorize. You will do this by applying a product that will neutralize any of the remaining urine components that weren’t removed in the cleaning process.
Products like Allersearch ODRX and Vital Oxide contain chlorine dioxide. Chlorine dioxide kills any bacteria that were attracted to the urine and eliminates the odor at a molecular level. Most chlorine dioxide products are non-bleaching, but they can interact with your cleaning agent.
Be sure to test both products in a small inconspicuous place before using on a large area to make sure they won’t discolor fabric. Don’t skip this step in the process or the odor will return.
So, to get rid of cat urine smell from the house, use the right type and quantity of litter to control odors at the box, augment with a gas absorbing agent and clean up accidents with enzyme cleaners and finally deodorize with chlorine dioxide.
This will take care of odors from cats.
Wishing you the best of health
The Allergy Store