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You CAN get cat pee smell out of carpet!
You love your cat and they love you back. But you hate the smell of their pee in the carpet, right?
That’s why you need these 3 simple steps to get cat pee smell out of your carpet!
Even the most well-behaved cat will have the odd accident… and who can stay mad at a kitten who accidentally soils the rug in your bedroom?
Inappropriate bathroom rituals can also be a sign of mental or physical distress and shouldn’t be ignored…but let’s deal with the immediate problem first. The smell.
You probably know that it’s very important to clean up cat urine as quickly as possible. It’s easier to eliminate the odors when it’s still fresh and wet. And cats have a habit of becoming repeat offenders if the mess isn’t cleaned up quickly, too. In fact the smell itself tells them that’s where the pee goes.
But sometimes you stumble onto the accident hours or days after your kitty has gone to the bathroom under your sofa or in other odd places.
Still, you can clean up the catastrophe quickly and thoroughly, even when you’re late to the party, once you know how. There are some homemade solutions and some excellent commercial products available, but there are also ones that you should not use. We’ll share our favorites with you here.
Why does cat pee stink?
All urine has an unpleasant odor, but cat pee is one of the worst offenders on the olfactory senses. There are few scents more distinctive – and pungent – than strong cat pee. To understand why you’ll need a little lesson in chemistry.
As the urine ages in the carpet, on your furniture, or the sweater at the bottom of your closet, the bacterium in the pee starts to decompose. This results in the putrid ammonia-like odor emanating from the stain…and that’s usually when you discover there’s a mess to clean up.
Unneutered cats have hormones in their urine that can be especially unpleasant smelling to humans. And, the older your cat, the worse the smell as their kidneys become less efficient.
Sadly, it’s more likely your aging cat will be experiencing health issues related to kidney function and bladder control as time goes by.
It’s very important to keep in mind that, despite their reputation for mischief and spite, cats aren’t ‘getting even with you’ when they skip the litterbox and pee on your bath mat, bed or pillow. What they are doing makes perfect sense, from their viewpoint.
They’re trying to tell you something – either about their physical or mental health. Make sure you listen carefully to their message and consult a pet communicator or veterinarian to find out what Tiger or Felix are trying to say.
How do I get the cat pee smell out of carpet?
It would be nice to call in a professional to take care of the problem, but that’s not always practical – or affordable!
Here are three simple steps that will help you get cat pee smell out of carpets and furniture.
1. Remove as much of the stain as you can with an absorbent paper towel.
Don’t bother with a deep cleaning at this stage. The trick is to lift up as much of the moisture as possible when it’s still wet.
If it’s already dried, jump straight to Step 2.
2. Use an enzymatic cleaner.
This is imperative. Cats have a very keen sense of smell and will definitely return to the scene of the crime to repeat their offense if they can still smell their scent there.
Don’t be fooled by your nose… Just because you can’t smell it very well doesn’t mean they can’t. Their nose is much more sensitive! The pee scent calls to them like a neon sign in the night.
Never under any circumstances use an ammonia based product. Urine IS ammonia, so adding more ammonia just spreads the stench around and makes it worse.
You want an enzymatic based cleaning solution. They have special types of enzymes and cultures that will literally consume ALL the odor-causing bacteria in the urine.
Here are some brands we recommend:
- Carpet Miracle – the Best Carpet Cleaner Shampoo
- Nature’s Miracle Just for Cats
- Bubbas Super Strength Concentrate Pet Odor Eliminator
- Anti-Icky-Poo by MisterMax
- Clean + Green Carpet and Upholstery Pet Odor and Stain Remover for Cats
Then let the magic do it’s work on your carpet until the area is thoroughly dry.
3. Using baking soda as a finishing touch.
It’s time to get out the vacuum. Sprinkle baking soda liberally on the dry area and leave it for a couple of hours to draw out any residual smells of the cleaning solution.
A few drops of essential oil shaken up in a jar with baking soda adds a fragrant scent to your carpet freshener if you don’t want to purchase scented products at the store.
Be careful if you decide to use essential oils though because many essential oils are toxic to cats. Also, less is more when it comes to your kitty.
A few common essential oils that are SAFE to use for your cat that also smell nice include lavender, copaiba, helichrysum, and frankincense.
This works for upholstery and carpets, and could be part of your cleaning ritual to keep all pet odors in your house at bay.
What should I do if my cat keeps messing outside the litterbox?
It’s one thing to know how to get cat pee smell out of carpet. It’s another altogether to deal with the root cause of the problem.
As mentioned earlier, if your cat has the odd accident there’s likely no cause for concern. But if you’re finding messes throughout the house or consistently in certain spots, it’s time to consult an expert.
There’s a range of diseases – like lower urinary tract infections – that could be the cause of the problem.
Cats also use urine to mark their territory in what’s known as marking.
However, inappropriate messes in the house can often be a sign that your feline is experiencing either physical or mental distress…and this is one of the ways they’re telling you about it.
You should always be paying attention to your cat’s needs – and in this case? It’s time to go beyond food and water and safe haven to solve the pee problem.
Cats are sentient beings with thoughts, feelings, and experiences to share with you if you’re willing to listen.
This article was previously published September 2, 2020, and was updated on January 19, 2024.
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