Cat stepping outside of litter box

All it takes is one time for your cat to pee outside of the litter box and the smell will linger. It’s not just about the potent smell, though. If you don’t promptly take care of the cat’s urine smell, your cat will keep up the behavior.

Most people are aware that cat pee is a smell that is hard to get rid of. Cat pee isn’t much different from other animals’ urine, but this smell is much more noticeable. What makes cat pee so difficult is when the urine is left unnoticed. Some cats feel the need to mark their territory outside of their litter box, whether it’s on the carpet or other areas of the home. When cat urine sits, the bacterium in it will decompose and give off an ammonia-like, stale old urine smell. There is a second stage of the decomposition process which emits mercaptans, which are compounds that give skunks their strong characteristic odor.

This can be daunting to deal with. How do you get rid of the smell once and for all? Here are 5 steps you can take to get rid of the cat pee smell.

The 5 Simple Steps to Get Rid of Cat Pee Smell

1. Soak it Up

Let’s hope you found the cat pee spot before it dried into your carpet. If so, soak as much of it as possible. Don’t worry if it did end up drying into the carpet; there is still hope.

2. Your Cupboard May Have the Solution

Before you grab your keys and head to the store to get some enzymatic cleaner, you have another option. You don’t always need to resort to those products. It’s possible that you already have ingredients in your home to do the trick.

  • Vinegar and water- Vinegar is acidic and can offset and neutralize the bacteria in the urine. Mix white vinegar in water to dilute it (try 1 and a half cups of warm water and ½ cup of vinegar) and spray it on the area. Let sit for 3-5 minutes. Next, use a paper towel or old hand towel to dab the solution. Keep repeating the process until the area is dry.
  • Baking Soda- Baking soda works to deodorize the smell of cat pee. The ingredient called sodium bicarbonate is what baking soda is made of and is magical for soaking up pest odors. Start by sprinkling it on your carpet once you have cleaned the urine area. Make sure the area is dry before sprinkling. Leave the baking soda on the carpet for approximately a half hour and vacuum it up.
  • Hydrogen Peroxide- You can use hydrogen peroxide after you use the vinegar and water mixture to rid your home of the odor completely. Although hydrogen peroxide is best for hardwood floors, it also works on carpets. The best way to use hydrogen peroxide is to pour it directly on the surface of the smell and let it soak in for about five minutes.

If you don’t have these ingredients or would prefer to use a carpet cleaner, read either our list of the best pet carpet cleaners or the best cat urine odor removers.

3. Enzymatic Cleaners are a Good Backup

If the solutions above don’t work for you, enzymatic cleaners are the next option. This type of cleaner releases cultures that will eat the urine and leave the area smelling fresh. It’s not okay to use a fabric deodorizer – It’s not the same thing – Cats have a strong sense of smell, and you need something that will eliminate the cat pee odor so they won’t soil the same area. Sometimes no cleaner will solve the entire issue. Urine can soak through the entire carpet and seep into the subflooring, causing the smell to linger. If you notice this, use a stain-blocking primer under the carpet and replace the padding.

4. Clean With an Extracting Wet Vac

An extracting carpet cleaning expels clean water on the carpet and sucks dirty water back in through the tank, which makes it an ideal method to soak up the rest of the soiled area after you follow the above tips. Make sure to avoid steam cleaners as the intense heat can cause odors to seep into the carpet fibers, leaving you with more of a smell and defeating the whole process.

5. Wait, Your Cat Didn’t Pee on the Floor?

Maybe you have lost hope because when you hear of a cat peeing, you think it’s automatically on the floor. Unfortunately, as you may know, cats can pee anywhere from clothing, linens, to mattresses and cushions. If your furry friend decided to take matters outside of the litter box and resorted to your bedding or clothing, there is hope. Wash the items in the sink with cool water. Next, throw them in the washing machine with your normal detergent, but add one cup of baking soda. If you don’t have baking soda, a quarter cup of cider vinegar also works. If the urine smell is still on your bedding after the cycle, throw in some enzyme cleaner to the load and complete another cycle. Be sure to air dry as excess heat from the dryer can lock in the smell.

If your cushions have cat pee, soak the area with water and blot up as much of the urine as you can. Next, soak with enzyme cleaner for 15 minutes. Blot and squeeze out excess cleaner. Put your cushion outside until it dries. Mattresses require the same steps as a cushion. However, after soaking with an enzyme cleaner, let it sit and blot up, then lay several towels over the area before you make your bed. Change the towels every day until your mattress completely dries.

Featured Image Credit: Africa Studio, Shutterstock