Tackling the Odor from Kitty's Indoor 'Accidents'


PetMD Editorial

Published Sep. 18, 2008


Is your cat peeing around the house? Grab a sponge and use some of the following commercial (or homemade options), but don't forget to attack the root of the problem.


There’s nothing quite as pungent and persistent as the smell of cat urine. If you’ve ever come home to the overwhelming stench of ammonia, or given strong consideration to trading your beloved cat in for a goldfish, then you know exactly what we’re talking about.


Of course, the best way to keep your home pee-free and smelling sweet is prevention. There are two ways to stop a cat from spraying in the house or from using a dark corner as an alternative toilet. First, you can get your cat spayed or neutered. Unfixed males spray to mark their territory, and unfixed females spray to let tomcats know she’s ready for some lovin’. The other solution is to keep the litter box super clean. That may mean cleaning the waste more than once a day. Cats are fastidious creatures, and many will absolutely refuse to go in a dirty litter box. If you’re not keeping the box up to your kitty’s high standards, then kitty will find another place to "go."


If your cat has already peed elsewhere in the house for whatever reason, the best way to stop repeat behavior is to make sure that the area has been cleaned thoroughly, leaving no lingering smell. If a cat smells old urine, chances are that spot is treated worse than the bathroom at your local truck stop.


And what is the best method for removing the smell? Well, you do have a few options, both commercial and homemade. You want a product that contains enzymes that will break down and eat the bad-smelling bacteria (go little enzymes, go!). But remember, not all products are created equal, so do some research into which ones actually work. And by research, we mean ask your veterinarian and the helpful folk down at your local pet supply store. Online customer reviews are another invaluable resource.



Now here are some basic tips for you budding domestic gods and goddesses, also known as do-it-yourselfers.


For carpet stains, get some white vinegar (the old, plain kind will do), hydrogen peroxide, washing-up liquid, and baking soda. First, use a sponge to mop up as much of the liquid as possible without rubbing it in deeper, and then mix equal parts water to vinegar. Pour the mix over the spot where kitty was naughty and let it dry. Once it has dried, liberally sprinkle baking soda over the spot. Then stir up a mixture of hydrogen peroxide and dish liquid (four parts hydrogen peroxide to one part detergent) and lightly rub the mix onto the urinated area. Use a brush (old toothbrushes work wonders), gloved fingers, or whatever else you have on hand to get the job done. After it dries, vacuum the area. If the smell remains, repeat the process.


Removing cat pee from non-carpeted surfaces, on the other hand, requires cleaning with a non-ammonia based detergent/cleaning product. The cleaning product can be commercial, all-natural, or homemade, just make sure the product does not contain bleach, as bleach mixed with the ammonia in cat urine would be a bad combination. Clean the spot, by mop or by hand, rinse thoroughly, and repeat. Then, making sure the room is well ventilated, give the area a final wash with a bleach and water solution (about one part bleach to seven or eight parts water).


And what if kitty has stained the bedding or clothes? This can be remedied by adding about a quarter of a cup of cider vinegar to the wash cycle, along with the detergent.


Avoid yelling at your cat during these "episodes." Yelling will not help the situation. In fact, it may only make the problem worse -- a stress-ridden cat will have even less compulsion to follow the rules. If the problem does not end, instead of getting angry take your cat to the vet for a checkup. Kitty may just be acting naughty, but there could also be something medically wrong. Conditions like polyuria, dysuria, and pollakiuria are all urinary disorders that are outward conditions of more complex underlying disorders.




Help us make PetMD better

Was this article helpful?

Get Instant Vet Help Via Chat or Video. Connect with a Vet. Chewy Health