A cat pee smell within your home can come from various causes. That’s right. You don’t even have to have a cat to experience this extremely unpleasant aroma. When your home smells of cat urine, trying to eliminate the odor can quickly become a daunting and stressful task.
How Long Does it Take For Cat Pee Smell to Go Away
Feline urine is an extremely persistent scent, and the worst of it can last for up to three days. With that said, the smell can linger around for much longer if you don’t take the proper measures to clean the area. In fact, leaving cat urine to sit without being properly cleaned can cause the urine to last indefinitely.
This guide will explain what makes cat urine smell so bad. It will also cover how to get rid of the smell on a variety of surfaces and what other issues may be causing a cat urine smell.
Why Does Cat Pee Smell So Bad?
Although cat urine contains the same ingredients as urine from other animals, the smell is usually much worse because the problem is hidden or ignored until it makes itself known. Urine is a mixture of concentrated urea, creatine, uric acid, detoxified substances, sodium chloride, and a mixture of other electrolytes. The uric acid content of feline urine is also much higher than many other animals.
After a certain amount of time, bacteria begin to decompose the urea, and an ammonia-like odor is released into the air. Following that decomposition is another stage where mercaptans are emitted. Mercaptans are the same substances that are emitted when skunks release their spray.
The smell of cat pee can also vary in potency depending on a few factors. These factors include age-related health issues and the sex of the cat. Male cats generally have stronger smelling urine than females.
How Long Does Cat Pee Smell Last?
The amount of time cat pee smells can last depends on a few different things. If left untreated, the smell can linger indefinitely. It’s important to clean up a cat pee mess as soon as possible. While the worst of the smell will last up to three days, the smell can linger inside of wood, fabric, and carpeting for years.
What you can do to prevent it
If you keep a clean litterbox and run a tight ship when it comes to that area of cat ownership, you shouldn’t have much a problem. But here are a few things to consider.
- Consider getting a covered litter box like this helps a lot
- Scoop your cat’s litter box often, daily if possible
- Clean up any accidents outside the litterbox immediately
- Even though a cat can sometimes be smelly, cats don’t relieve themselves out of spite
How to Get Rid of Cat Pee Smell
The best way to get rid of the cat pee smell is to clean up the area as close to the time of urination as possible. If you clean up a cat pee mess right after it happens, you’re less likely to experience a smell than if you waited longer.
While the surface the pee sits on will require specific cleaning instructions, there are some general guidelines to follow when cleaning up cat pee and getting rid of cat pee smell. Here’s what you should do:
- Track down the source. You can’t clean a spot if you don’t know where the mess is. The longer you leave a cat pee mess to sit, the worse the smell will get.
- Blot the area with cold water. Warm or hot water will only amplify the smell. For that reason, you should use cold water when cleaning up the mess. Use a damp towel and cold water to soak up as much of the mess as possible. Don’t scrub the area as it can activate more of the decomposition substances.
- Neutralize the odor. Utilize a store-bought or homemade enzymatic cleaner to neutralize the odor at the source. You can mix equal parts of water and apple cider vinegar for an at-home solution. Let the solution sit for 3-5 minutes before cleaning it up.
- Repeat as needed. You may need to repeat steps 1-3 a few times for tougher messes to get a thorough clean.
How to Get Rid of Cat Pee Smell in Tile or Sealed Wood Flooring
When cleaning a cat pee mess off of a tile or sealed wood floors, follow the general guidelines for cleaning. These guidelines also work for carpets and furniture. In place of a water and apple cider vinegar mixture, you can also use a 1:2 ratio of hydrogen peroxide to water.
How to Get Rid of Cat Pee Smell in Unsealed Floors
If your cat peed on an unsealed floor, follow the general guidelines for cleaning stated above. Once you effectively clean the area, you should scrub the stain with vinegar and then rinse the area with cold water. Use a dry towel to blot the area until you can’t feel moisture anymore.
If the odor persists, you may need to sand the area down. In this case, the cat’s urine has soaked through the wood and can’t be mopped.
Products and Ingredients That Eliminate Cat Pee Odor
To effectively clean up cat urine and eliminate the odor that comes along with it, you need to neutralize the source with an enzymatic cleaner. The enzymes in liquids like apple cider vinegar and baking soda helps break down unpleasant smells in carpeting, wood flooring, and other surfaces.
What Causes a Cat Pee Smell When I Don’t Have a Cat
Several things can cause a cat urine-like smell in your home, even if you don’t have a cat. Some of these causes may include mold growth in your home, leaking Freon, sewer gasses, smelly plants, old and expired food, or lingering smells from previous owners.
Regardless of the source, it’s important to investigate and find it to ensure your health and safety and to eliminate the problem.
Is a Cat Pee Smell Toxic?
Cat pee smell can be toxic for you if left untreated. Prolonged exposure to cat urine odors can cause a dangerous disease called toxoplasmosis.
This disease first presents itself in flu-like symptoms and can cause serious complications in pregnant women if left untreated. The odor can also cause cryptosporidiosis, which causes diarrhea, vomiting, and a variety of other unpleasant and potentially dangerous symptoms.
Cat urine, just like any other animal urine, contains high levels of ammonia. Ammonia is a common ingredient in most cleaning products and is dangerous when ingested or if you’re exposed to the vapors for prolonged times.