How to Get Rid of Cat Urine Odour

Updated on January 25, 2018

The Worst Smell Imaginable

Cat pee is among the most offensive odours on this earth, and one of the most difficult ones to get rid of. It seems completely immune to the usual household cleaners, and once it dries it can make your eyes water.

There are three main situations most people find themselves in:

1. You have a cat who's had an accident

2. You have an old or male cat who's urine is especially stinky

3. You've recently purchased a house that was super cheap because it's toxic with the stench of cat urine.

My personal experience is with option number three. I once purchased a house which had been abandoned for about six months, and had been taken over by the bank. It turned out that a cat had discovered a wide open crawlspace access, which lead to a hole in one of the closets, and gave him free access to the house. The cat owned this home from March until August. Naturally, it peed multiple times in every room that had carpet and the first time we stepped into the house, we had to step out again to breathe.

It was truly disgusting. The ammonia smell burned in our noses, and each time we toured the house all the windows had to be opened for air. A few weeks of hard work though, and the house was pee-free. Here's some advice based on my experience.

Situation 1: Your cat had an accident

If you've caught your feline friend in the act or stepped in a fresh puddle on the floor, there is one thing you should remember. If you've ever seen a ShamWow infomercial you've probably seen the demonstration that shows how a cup of liquid will spill on carpet and then spread out as it soaks in. The same is true for cat or dog messes. Just assume the spot you can see is actually three times the size it actually is.

As soon as you see the mess, or scream at your pet and chase it away from the scene of the accident, grab a whole lot of paper towel (or a ShamWow) and soak up what you can. Then get a spray bottle filled with a 50% solution of water and distilled white vinegar. Just spray, spray, spray until the carpet is absolutely drenched with the mixture. Then cover it up with newspaper so you don't step on it, and let it dry. That should stop it from smelling after it's dry, but if the odour lingers, go to a pet store and buy an enzyme cleaner specifically for cat messes.

For any floor other than carpet, just wipe up the mess with paper towel and spray the vinegar solution on the floor, then wipe it up again. Same as with carpet, if the odour lingers I recommend using an enzyme cleaner from the pet store.

Situation 2: Old or Male Cat

As cats age, their kidneys start to function less efficiently, which could account for the stronger smelling urine. It's probably wise to get your pet checked out by the vet in any case, just to be sure you don't have a liver or kidney problem to deal with. That also goes for cats of any age.

Male cats have certain steroids in their urine which are supposed to stink, as a way of marking territory and other reasons similar to why dogs sniff each other's behinds.

Aren't we so lucky humans have evolved to simple handshakes?

Situation 3: The Stinky New House

This is the big one.

Cat urine odour seems to smell even worse the longer it dries, so naturally a house which has been abandoned (or previously owned by a hoarder/crazy cat lady) is the worst situation of all. Not only is the pee smell stronger, it likely won't have left many visible stains, so you don't even know where to begin.

This is how we did it, step by step (without having to gut the house and replace the subfloors)

1. Get a little handheld black light. Yeah, some of that CSI stuff really is true; an ultraviolet light will illuminate any bodily fluids that have stained a floor, but are invisible to the human eye. (Try it in your kitchen, you'll see some pretty nasty surprises, especially by the stove!)

2. Wait until dark and use the black light to locate the spots where the pee has dried, making sure to look in corners and up the walls too. Male cats have a tendency to spray on walls to mark their territory.

3. Try to determine which rooms the smell is strongest in. For us, it was the carpeted rooms; the hardwood and laminate floors seemed to be ok.

4. There is no way to save the carpet. You may be able to clean the smell from it, but any heat and humidity will almost certainly bring the smell back again. Unfortunately, it has to go.

5. Rip out the carpet and underpad and check the subfloor for stains.

6. Now here's a judgment call... You have two options: replace the sub floor, or wash, disinfect, and seal it. This decision depends on the extent of the damage. Ours was moderate, but not too severe so we chose to disinfect and seal it.

7. We used an absolutely horrid smelling disinfectant called Creolin (Google it), but I'm sure there are other products out there that would do the trick.One I would recommend is called Bio Scavenger Uric Acid Eliminator by a company called Glen Martin Ltd. It's a commercial urine cleaner, intended for uses like public washrooms, etc. It's expensive, but very effective.

8. After the sub floor has been cleaned and allowed to dry, seal it with a wood sealer to prevent the smell from coming back up if it soaked down into the foundation of the house. You'll want to paint the baseboards with the sealer as well, just in case.

9. Whether it helped or not, we also gave the entire house a fresh coat of paint, and all new carpet. Once the old carpet was gone and the sub floor sealed, we laid down both new carpet and new under pad, and the smell is gone.

10. Just to be sure, we also drenched the entire crawlspace and all the hard floors in the house with the Uric Acid Eliminator. We've been asking everyone that comes over to sniff around, and so far so good. The house is clean!

You could say we were lucky to have fixed the problem that easily, there are definitely some horror stories out there about houses being completely saturated in the smell, with layers upon layers of cat feces just sitting there. Those situations do usually require the house to be gutted and redone from the inside.


Questions & Answers

    Comments

      0 of 8192 characters used
      Post Comment

      • profile image

        karla 

        6 years ago

        very helpful. detailed and lead to the resolution of the problem. :)

      • profile image

        Jennifer Angel 

        8 years ago

        Great article, I like the fact that you've covered many of the scenarios that may affect other readers.

        I personally have two garage cats, who refuse to go outside. They can't come in, I'm allergic.

        This is a really great hub! Well done!

      working

      This website uses cookies

      As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, dengarden.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

      For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://dengarden.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

      Show Details
      Necessary
      HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
      LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
      Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
      AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
      Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
      CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
      Features
      Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
      Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
      Marketing
      Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
      Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
      Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
      Statistics
      Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
      ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)