Feline companions are wonderful additions for any home. Cats are beloved by their owners for their independence, their affectionate nature, and their unique personalities. While having a cat can certainly be a fulfilling experience, the odors that come along with them can be extremely challenging.
Cat urine is one of the most pungent smells associated with pets, and it’s also one of the most difficult to remove from the home. Understanding the basics of cat urine and how to remove cat urine odors will surely make the time that you spend with your furry friend a lot more pleasurable.
Why Does Cat Urine Smell So Bad?
Cat urine is a concentration of metabolic waste. Over time, bacteria decompose urine and create ammonia odors, eventually emitting pungent compounds called mercaptans. The combination of ammonia and mercaptans are what gives cat urine its distinctive odor.
Because cats tend to mark territory in hidden areas around the home and the litterbox, urine will often go unnoticed, increasing the pungent smell. Urine from male cats naturally carries a stronger scent, due to various steroids present in the urine.
Dangers of Cat Urine to Your Health
Odors from cat urine are not only unpleasant, but they can also come with certain health risks. Unpleasant side effects associated with cat urine include:
• Sore throat
• Nausea and vomiting
• Decreased sense of smell
• Irritation of eyes, throat, and lungs
• Increased heart rate
Because cat urine contains ammonia, there are some serious health concerns for those who suffer from prolonged exposure. Ammonia irritates airways and can make breathing difficult, potentially resulting in bronchitis, pneumonia, lung irritation, or even burns to the trachea.
How Corrosive is Cat Urine?
Since ammonia is a toxic, corrosive gas, cat urine will naturally have corrosive properties. Urine from healthy cats generally contains about 0.05% ammonia, though this may vary depending on age, health factors, and concentration of urine.
Over time—and with high concentrations—the ammonia present in cat urine has been known to corrode galvanized metals, cast iron, copper, brass, and metal alloys. This puts household fixtures like hinges, aluminum doors, and air vents at high risk of corrosion damage from cat urine.
Why Do Cats Spray Inside Your Home?
The cause for spraying inside the home comes from an instinctual method of communication. If a cat feels anxious, threatened, or stressed, spraying may also be an emotional reaction.
Most commonly, spraying stems from territorial marking. Urine is used for signaling to other cats to stay away. Stray cats wandering too close to the yard or introducing new animals into the home may provoke this territorial impulse.
Aside from territorial or emotional impulses, there are some medical conditions to be aware of when considering reasons for your cat spraying inside the home. Kidney failure, urinary tract stones, diabetes, or arthritis may prompt a cat to urinate outside of the litterbox.
5 Reasons Your Cat Won’t Go in Their Litterbox
While territorial, emotional, and health-related issues are all possible explanations, there are a few other reasons why a cat might avoid a litter box. Five of the most common reasons are:
• Placement of the litter box: When located too close to food and water sources, cats will avoid it altogether. It should also be placed in a “safe” location, meaning that it should be quiet and private.
• Changing cat litter: Unsurprisingly, cats are sensitive and somewhat picky by nature. If a new brand of litter has a texture, consistency, or scent that the cat disagrees with, this could prompt them to do their business elsewhere.
• Hooded vs. open litter box: Some cats enjoy the privacy and protection of a hood, while other cats find it too confining. Switching between the two may help identify why a cat is refusing to use its litter box.
• Environmental changes: Stress, anxiety or new animals in the home can cause behavioral problems, including urinating outside of the litterbox. This ties in closely with territorial disputes, as cats react to other animals by marking and spraying their territory.
No matter what the cause, there’s no doubt that dealing with litter box odors is a frustrating process. With so many possible reasons, identifying the issue may take time, simultaneously allowing the ammonia from cat urine to worsen progressively.
Steer Clear of these Products for Cat Urine Removal
It can be challenging to find the right product to remove cat urine odors since many household cleaners contain ammonia. In fact, this is one of the biggest mistakes that cat-owners make. Cats associate the cleaning scent with urine, prompting them to continue urinating in the same spot.
A short list of common products to avoid when removing cat urine are:
• Chlorine Bleach: While effective at killing bacteria and neutralizing odors, bleach comes with its own list of adverse side-effects. It’s pungent fumes make storage and use potentially unsafe, largely due to dioxin and mercury present in chlorine bleach.
• Baking soda: Odors can be covered by baking soda, but this is usually a temporary solution. Additionally, baking soda cannot eliminate most bacteria, like E. coli and salmonella.
• Household cleaners: Check the ingredient lists on many household cleaners, and you’ll see that ammonia is listed. Never use a cleaner that contains ammonia, as its scent will mimic urine, prompting cats to continue urinating.
• Dishwashing Soap: Although it can remove most bacteria and urine stains, soap does not break down the chemical compounds of urine. Thus, even after applying soap to a surface, traces of uric acid are likely to remain.
• Enzyme cleaners: Enzymes are typically found in soaps and detergents, and are best for breaking down stains, dirt, and grime. Unfortunately, this means that enzyme-based cleaners are better equipped to remove cat urine stains, rather than odors.
Home remedies are often prescribed to eliminate cat urine odors, though many of these remedies involve using common household products like baking soda. These types of solutions fall into the same trap of many odor-oriented products: the smell is merely masked or covered up, rather than eliminated entirely.
Cleaning products with fragrances or perfumes primarily use scent to overpower the smell of cat urine. While this may work for short-term relief, the odor is bound to return, as odors are essentially made up of chemical compounds.
For effective, long-lasting odor removal, cleaning products must be able to identify, break apart, and eliminate these chemical compounds.
How to Get Cat Urine Smell Out of Wood
If you have hardwood floors, removing cat urine odors can be particularly challenging because of the delicateness that comes with owning hardwood flooring. Cat urine can soak through floorboards and into the sub-flooring, prompting removal and replacement. Over time, uric acid can also stain and blacken wood flooring. In fact, many household cleaning products are far too abrasive for hardwood flooring and can actually do more harm than good and damage the hardwood floors. One group of cleaning products that should be avoided are enzyme cleaners.
While enzyme-based cleaners can be effective at neutralizing some odors, enzymes are not always reliable. Factors like temperature, concentration, and other external factors may inhibit the biological process, rendering enzyme cleaners ineffective and potentially a waste of a consumer time and money. Do you have wood floors that you just can’t seem to get odor free? Need more help check out our post on the ultimate guide on removing odors from wood
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For cat owners who need an effective, reliable, and thorough method of removing cat urine smells from wood, OdorKlenz Pet Urine Eliminator is a safe and effective means of removing cat urine from your home’s flooring and belongings. What makes the OdorKlenz technology unique & effective, is the patented process which entails the use of safe earth minerals to attack the chemistry behind the urine odors. Odors are addressed at the chemical compound level, meaning that unpleasant smells are broken down and eliminated for good, without the use of masking agents, fragrances, or toxic chemicals.
Because OdorKlenz Pet Urine Eliminator can be used on all water-safe surfaces, it can be safely used on hardwood floors without worrying about potential damage, etching, or staining.
Getting Rid of Cat Urine Smell on Concrete
Just when you thought you were two steps ahead of your furry critter and decided that it will be a good idea to let your cat out in the yard to protect your home’s flooring and wake up one day to a foul smelling back yard. Removing the odor of cat urine from concrete poses its own challenges. The best way to clean concrete is a simple solution of soap and water, but a strong word of caution is this will only help with the removal of the cat urine stains soap and water are largely ineffective in removing cat urine odor.
While there are certainly more powerful chemical cleaning products available, many could have an adverse effect on concrete and permanently etch the concrete. Alkaline solutions, acidic cleaners, bleaches, and enzymes may etch into the surface and ruin the aesthetic appeal of concrete flooring.
As an additional hazard, these types of cleaning products may not be safe to use around your family or pets. Bleach has powerful fumes that can irritate the eyes, lungs, and throat. Alkaline solutions may not be able to eliminate harmful bacteria, allowing cat urine to fester and become a long term health hazard over time as well.
Masking agents such as scented air fresheners or sprays may be able to control cat urine smell, but the effect is only temporary. To thoroughly remove the hazardous odors from cat urine, cleaning products must break down the chemical compounds that create odors and remove them from the source.
As an effective, reliable, and thorough method of removing cat urine smells from concrete, OdorKlenz Pet Urine Eliminator is a great option. Odors are addressed at the chemical compound level, meaning that unpleasant smells are broken down and eliminated for good.
Because OdorKlenz Pet Urine Eliminator can be used on all water-safe surfaces, it can be safely used on concrete floors without etching or surface damage. It employs safe, earth minerals to neutralize odors without relying upon temporary relief from fragrances or masking agents or the use of toxic chemicals which can be a potential health hazard to your family and pets.
How to Get Cat Urine Smell Out of Carpet
Compared to hardwood or concrete flooring, getting cat urine odors out of carpet can be much more difficult. The absorbent fibers of carpeting are perfectly suited to soaking up cat urine. If the issue is not addressed immediately, ammonia can seep into the backing of the carpet, creating a permanent, lingering odor of cat urine.
Home remedies for cat urine removal can potentially stain the carpet, and even worse, chemical odors can mimic the smell of urine. This signals your cat to continue urinating in the same area, exacerbating the problem.
Removing Cat Urine From Subfloor
OdorKlenz Subfloor Treatment Kit is designed to be used after normal carpet surface cleaning and spot treatments as an added level of odor elimination to padding and subfloor. The treatment may be used for the removal of cat urine from carpet padding, dog urine on a subfloor, or pet odors that may have accumulated over time.
OdorKlenz is simply injected below the surface and allowed to remain in place. This offers long-term odor maintenance to areas that had significant contamination.
The kit contains:
One (1) dispensing tube
·Ten (10) OdorKlenz Treatment packets
·One (1) plastic container for mixing with water
How to Get Cat Urine Smell Out of Clothing
When it comes to clothing, cat-owners not only have to deal with noxious odors but also with staining and potentially permanent damage when their furry friends spray their clothing or belongings. Oftentimes, if odors aren’t addressed immediately, the smell will linger, forcing cat-owners to discard clothing. Persistent washing to remove stains and odors can break down the fibers, ultimately ruining the clothing prematurely.
Because cats are typically clean and meticulous animals, it can seem strange that they would choose to urinate on their owner’s clothing. As listed earlier, there are plenty of psychological, territorial, and physical reasons that may prompt a cat to urinate outside of the litterbox.
When it comes to clothing, however, there are a few additional reasons to consider:
• Communication: Urinating is one of few ways that cats can communicate with their owners. If your cat is angry or distressed, urinating on your clothing is a great way for them to communicate their annoyances.
• Competing with other cats: If there are multiple cats in the home, there may be territorial disputes over “ownership” of a bedroom, possessions, or possibly affection and attention. Recognizing your scent and marking clothing is one way for
Recognizing your scent and marking clothing is one way for cats to compete.In some cases, deterring cats from spraying may be as simple as cleaning the litter box more often or showing your cat more affection and attention. In others, it may be more complicated, such as a vet visit to identify physical ailments, or restricting contact with other cats.
If the issue cannot be resolved, finding an efficient and thorough treatment for cat urine odor is crucial.
Removing Cat Pee Smell From Clothes
Rather than discard clothes because of odors, OdorKlenz Laundry Liquid offers a safe and effective means to remove unpleasant odors and salvage the clothing. Available in a powder or liquid form, this laundry additive eliminates and breaks down urine odors at the source, restoring clothes to their fresh, clean scent and does so without the use of masking agents or toxic chemicals.
Those who struggle with lingering cat urine odors will be happy to know that OdorKlenz Laundry Liquid is safe for use on all washable fabrics, including:
• Washable lace
• Washable rayon
• Washable wool
No matter how long cat urine odor has been left untreated, OdorKlenz Laundry Liquid offers a safe, reliable, and wholly effective means to getting rid of cat urine odor for good.
Cats are wonderful companions, and those that love them are often dedicated to and passionate about their feline companions. For all their positive qualities, there’s no denying that cat urine odor is both frustrating and hazardous to your health.
By taking an in-depth look at the causes of cat urine odor and the best products to eliminate unpleasant smells, cat owners will be well-equipped in keeping their homes clean and fresh, both for themselves and their feline companions.
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