How To Get Cat Urine Smell Out

You notice it almost immediately.

Fewer things are more putrid than the smell of cat urine where it’s not supposed to be.

You’ve cleaned a bunch of other messes, and your cleaning products have never failed you, so why is it that cat urine is so hard to get out?

Although 35 percent of American households own at least one cat, totaling up to nearly 37 million, there is one thing all of us cat owner can agree on—the smell is god-awful.

The difficult task of eliminating the odor and stain of their urine from anywhere but their litter box is one of the very few downsides of owning a cat.

If your cleaning products have failed you, then you’re in luck because we have found some great techniques on getting cat urine out.


Why Is The Smell So Strong?

There’s nothing quite like when the smell of cat pee hits you in the face upon entering a room.
If you’re anything like me, then you’ve definitely wondered why cleaning cat urine is somehow a hundred times more difficult than any other mess.

There are a couple of reasons.

Firstly, your cleaner is most likely not specifically designed to take on this unique kind of a mess. Secondly, it’s because cat urine is unique and stubborn.

Cat urine is unique because cats have less water in their bodies (and so in turn, their urine). This can all be traced back to before cats were domesticated when they lived in dry environments. Since water is rare, cats depended on getting water from their meals and became rather efficient at saving every last drop of water.

Basically, this means that with less water, there’s more room for the odor-causing compounds. You know how water dilutes most substances, like a cleaner or a cocktail? It’s the same case with our bodily fluids.

So, when a cat urinates anywhere but the litter box, you’ve probably experienced the hardship with getting the odor completely out.

Here’s why: When cat pee settles into a surface like a carpet, a few things start to happen.

First, there are already-present bacteria which release ammonia. Then, it releases the chemical mercaptans, which is the same stuff that gives skunks their horrid spray and has been described to match the scent of sulfur gas.

The feline pheromone present in cat’s urine is the main culprit, though. Naturally odorless to humans, it becomes a stinky problem when settling in your carpet. Usually, bacteria and house cleaners can solve the urine smell, but because of this pheromone, your job just got a lot more difficult.

When cleaning cat urine, it’s important to buy a cleaner that is specific to cat urine. These cleaners are made to break down the crystals (feline pheromone) first which makes spot-cleaning easier and successfully odor-free.

Why Is Kitty Going Outside The Box?

You want to get rid of the cat urine smell for obvious reasons.

If you resort to finding a cheap way to cover it up, your cat will still smell it and refer to that same spot as its bathroom—leading to much worse future problems and a nasty habit.

Be sure to completely get rid of the compounds and crystals with the right cleaner, so Kitty doesn’t go back.

Unlike dogs, cats don’t just have potty “accidents” unless there’s something seriously wrong. Cats are naturally drawn to litter and using a private space to go, so if your cat is consistently going where she shouldn’t, there may be an underlying health issue.

“Anything that changes a cat’s feeling of wellbeing can create a change in behavior, and in cats, that means litter box habit changes,” says Dr. Cathy Lund of Kitty City, a feline-only veterinarian.

Here are some reasons why Kitty might be going outside of her box.

Health Issues

Unfortunately, our feline companions can become plagued with a number of health issues like bladder stones, a urinary blockage, or cystitis.

In some cases, your vet will be able to prescribe Fluffy a special urinary food that should help clear up any blockage issues.

Sometimes this isn’t always the case; these can be life-threatening illnesses that require immediate emergency medical attention.

Big Changes

Life moves fast, and we can’t hit the pause button just for our furry friends. Unfortunately, cats don’t like change.

Whether you’ve recently moved, adopted a new pet, or welcomed a new family member, she may show some displeasure by doing her business outside of the litter box.

It’s important to give your cat some time and space so she can get used to the new surroundings. You might want to consider picking up some calming treats or catnip so she can relax naturally. Also be sure that Kitty still has a designated “cat” spot, like her condo.

Picky About the Box

If the box is not clean enough, big enough, easily accessible, or doesn’t have the “right” kind of litter, Kitty will let you know.

Wouldn’t you too prefer a nice, clean bathroom instead of a neglected public restroom?

It’s possible that the litter is not comfortable on Kitty’s feet, so she is showing disdain for it. Changing the cat litter type you are using might do the trick. These are some of the best brands of non-tracking cat litter that cats – and owners – love.

The problem could also be a litter box that your cat finds uncomfortable. Try to switch to a larger or more open box, so she has plenty of space to get in, move around, and get out. You might also want to consider a self-cleaning litter box that helps you keep those odors at bay.

It’s also possible that she dislikes the location of the box. Try to keep it in a private and quiet area without too much foot traffic. Cats and humans are not too different in this way!

At-Home Cleaners

Surprisingly, it’s simple to make your own cat urine remover. First, try to blot up as much of the urine you can, especially if it’s in a porous surface.

White vinegar is found in almost everybody’s pantry and acts as a great cleaning agent for household messes. Vinegar naturally deodorizes and lifts bacteria present in cat urine from the surface.

Here’s a popular white vinegar concoction that is great for carpets and upholstery:

  • ¼ cup of white vinegar
  • 1 quart of water

Be sure not to use vinegar on hardwood floors or marble. It will etch the finish and damage the material.

If you feel like mixing it up or must clean up a different type of surface, here is another trustworthy recipe:

  • 2 teaspoons of baking soda
  • 2 drops of dishwashing soap
  • 2 cups of hydrogen peroxide

Mix these ingredients in a bowl together, and follow these directions:

  • Gently stir until the baking soda is mixed in smoothly
  • Blot any excess cat urine if possible
  • Pour the mixture onto the spot and attempt to cover completely
  • This part is important: allow the mixture to soak completely into the mess. You do not have to blot or scrub.
  • Leave the substance alone for a full 24 hours
  • Take a cloth, towel, or paper towel to lightly blot the area
  • Allow the area to air dry. If it is a carpeted area, then you can vacuum to suck up any excess liquid.

Enzyme Cleaners

When buying a cat urine cleaner, avoid products with ammonia. Like mentioned before, ammonia is already present in cat urine, so this smell is basically asking your feline friend to come back and mark the spot again.

What you do want is a product with an enzymatic formula. An enzyme cleaner is different than any other cleaner because it doesn’t lift dirt like detergents, abrasives, or degreasers.

Enzyme cleaners basically digest the stain and odor, so to speak—the longer it sits on the spot, the better chance you have of being stain and odor-free.

Enzyme cleaners are also great for grease, grime, and other unsatisfying stains and odors. So if your regular cleaners are not solving your problems, find an enzyme-based formula that you like and stick with it!

To use enzyme cleaners follow these steps:

  • Lightly blot the soiled surface with a paper towel or hand-cloth
  • Generously spray the enzymatic formula, completely covering and soaking the soiled area
  • Wait between 10 minutes to overnight if the stain is especially harsh. Go do some chores or go see a movie!
  • Blot, wipe or scrub away

When Accidents Happen…

We love our feline companions, but we don’t love their urine.

Be sure to consider all the other reasons that Fluffy might not be using her litter box and take her to the vet if it’s a continuous problem. Try a new litter box, litter, or even a fresh spot for her to go.

When an accident occurs, these are sure-fire ways to help take care of any odors or stains that may come with Fluffy. Just use these tricks to make sure your home smells fresh and welcoming.

Author Bio:

Matt Clayton is the founder of He lives in New York with his two golden retrievers: Ben and Jerry. Once he opened a carton of yogurt, and immediately there was a dog hair inside. That’s when he decided to find the best ways to get rid of pet hair and start a website to share his knowledge. He has researched and reviewed hundreds of products that help you keep your home clean – even when you have furry roomies. Matt loves running and Italian pizza. He hates pigeons. And obviously, pet hair!

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2 replies
  1. Nancy Moisan
    Nancy Moisan says:

    Pink Solution works very well, it’s non toxic, you can actually eat it, but gets stains and smells out of almost anything. Won’t harm any materials as it’s an enzyme, not sure where you can buy it except online or at Costco when they have a demo.

  2. Dan
    Dan says:

    One of my 2 cats (both neutered males) had taken to painting all of my walls, furniture, and anything else he could reach. I was horrified when I got a UV light. He never did that in all of the 9 years I’ve had him and didn’t when I got him a buddy (they love each other and did so right away) but when a strange black cat started showing up outside both of my cats went nuts and the older one (9) started his wall painting, as well as the curtains out in the kitty room. I couldn’t keep up with it.

    My cats are indoor cats so it’s not like the stray is actually going to get in here but they both hate him (and he is weird…my neighbor’s cats hate him too). I’ve tried cleaning with a pet urine enzyme and then spraying some “No More Spraying” but that hasn’t worked. He’s a sneaky little bugger too; he waits until he thinks I’m not looking and then does it. He’s learned that the minute I see him backing his butt up to something he gets yelled at.

    It wasn’t until I found “Cat Spraying No More” that I was able to finally get rid of this tiresome behavior.

    Now my house doesn’t smell like a litter box anymore 🙂

    Here’s a link the their site if you’re interested in checking it out:

    I hope you don’t mind me sharing this. Cheers!


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