How to Get Rid of Cat Urine Smell
Our adorable feline friends are great companions and are usually hassle-free. However, sometimes cats, like any other animal, can develop bad habits even after being well-trained. Urinating outside of the litter tray is one of the most frustrating habits as toilet-training a cat can be a challenge and the consequence of this habit (the smell) can be severe. Although this behavior can be difficult to rectify and can occur for a variety of reasons, it is a fairly normal habit which affects many cats. So don’t worry, you’re not alone. In this article we’ll cover some of the main reasons a cat might begin urinating outside of the litter tray, how to prevent it and how to get rid of cat pee smell.
Why is it Happening?
Before we start learning how to prevent this habit and how to deal with the smell, it’s important to first understand why this might be happening. As mentioned, there are many reasons for your cat developing this habit. While some reasons are perfectly normal and natural, others might be more severe or involve medical problems.
Sometimes cats urinate outside of the litter tray in order to tell their owner that something isn’t quite right. For this reason, if you notice you cat urinating outside of the litter tray and/or other abnormal urination habits (consistently more or less urine, or a complete cessation of urine) it’s crucial that you inform the vet to seek professional medical advice. These ‘abnormal’ urination habits might indicate that your cat is suffering from a medical condition. Some medical conditions which involve abnormal urination include diabetes, kidney disease, hyperthyroidism and urinary tract infections.
However, some cats may urinate outside the litter tray for other reasons. Cats that develop arthritis may find it difficult to enter or exit the litter tray, particularly if the sides are too tall as it may require a level of physical dexterity. If your fluffy feline friend develops arthritis then it might be worth investing in a new litter tray which is easily accessible. This change in habit can also be caused by hormonal changes, stress or anxiety stemming from environmental or habitual changes. If your cat’s environment or habits are changed quickly then they may struggle to adapt to the change immediately. While they are learning to accept new changes, their behavior can change as a result. This usually just takes a little time and some training to fix, after that your cat should be back their usual self.
It’s also a natural and instinctive habit for cats, particularly males. Just like many other animals, male cats urinate to mark their territory, informing other male cats to stay away and alerting female cats of their presence. If, such as in the last example, your cat doesn’t have any medical conditions but they continue to urinate out of the litter tray, it’s essential to act quickly to rectify the situation. Noticing this behavior in the early stages and actively trying to prevent it is the key to successfully treatment.
Why Does it Smell so Bad?
Cats’ urine is just like any other animal’s but the reason it smells so bad is that it typically isn’t noticeable right away. It might only be noticed hours after the incident or longer, and in this case, it’s likely to smell far worse as a result of it being stale. This is because the bacteria in the urine begins to decompose which releases the ammonia-like stench. For this reason, it’s important to be aware off your cat’s habits and act as quickly as possible if you think they might have urinated outside of the litter tray.
How to Get Rid of Cat Urine Smell
Cleaning and removing a urine odor requires different products and methods depending on the surface which has been involved in the incident. However, here a few products which you may need:
- Baking soda
- Enzyme-based cleaner and/or detergent
- Wet/dry vacuum
- Water and cleaning cloths or rags
- Avoid bleach or other products which contain Ammonia as this may ruin the surface and simultaneously worsen the smell
Walls and Hard Floors
If you need to clean and remove a urine odor from solid surfaces such as walls, tiles or wood flooring, a solution of one-part water to one-part vinegar should do the trick. Simply wipe any remaining residue with paper towels or a cleaning rag before scrubbing vigorously with your water-vinegar solution. While the smell of vinegar might be off-putting to some individuals, it typically subsides in a few days, removing the smell of urine also.
Carpets, Cushions and Mattresses
If your feline friend has made a mess of your carpets or other fabric items which can’t be washed in washing machine, you’ll need to try a more rigorous approach. Start by soaking the affected area with water and mopping up the excess urine, then slowly pour the enzyme-cleaner on and around the area, allowing it to set and for roughly 15 minutes. After this time apply pressure to squeeze the excess cleaner out of the baric and blot try with towels/rags. Alternatively you could vacuum the area if this is easier. You may need to repeat this process a couple of time to fully remove the stain/odor. If you cannot remove the fabric to dry outside (such as a mattress or carpet) simply place some towels on the area and secure them so they absorb the excess moisture and prevent your cat from urinating on the area again.
Clothes and Linen
Cleaning cat urine stains and smells from clothing or linen is bit easier since you can wash these in a machine. Before doing this, soak them in cold water to ensure the remaining urine has been washed off, then wash them in a washing machine with an enzyme-base cleaner and a quarter cup of cider vinegar or a cup of baking soda. If one wash doesn’t effectively remove the stain or smell, simply repeat the process until it is gone. After washing, hang the clothes or linen to dry naturally rather than in a clothes dryer as this can cause the original to odor to return if wasn’t completely gone.
We certainly hope you’re never in this situation but now you know why your cat might urinate outside of the litter tray, the signs to look out for and how to deal with the awful smell. Afterall, sometimes accidents happen and it’s best to be prepared!