How to Clean Cat Urine

Do you need to know how to clean cat urine? Anyone who has owned an inside cat understands that knowing how to clean cat urine is part of the package. Unfortunately, over-the-counter products as well as products purchased from a veterinarian's office or online merely mask the odor of cat urine. Since the Ancient Egyptians first domesticated the cat some 4,000 years ago, cat owners have been subjected to the wrinkled noses of guests, and the knowledge that their homes smelled like cat.

Cleaning Cat Urine Is Easier Said than Done

In animals, urine is used to mark the animal's territory. In order to do its job properly, cat urine requires a strong odor. For an outside cat, that's not much of a problem, but it can be a serious problem when the cat resides inside your home.

When cat owners do their best to give their cats everything they could possibly want, food, water, snacks, treats and toys, and are rewarded with urine on the carpet, a natural feeling of disillusionment follows.

Cat urine is made up of three ingredients:

  • Urea, the sticky component
  • Urochrome, which gives the urine it's amber color
  • Uric acid, the crystals that carry the scent

Desperate cat owners will go to any length to remove the odor of cat urine from their homes. Unfortunately, most products can remove the first two ingredients in cat urine, but uric acid is almost impossible to remove. Even the products that contain enzymes billed as urine eaters do not work as effectively as one might believe.

Uric Acid Crystals Do Not Break Down Easily

Fresh cat urine is almost odorless. Unless you step in a wet spot, you probably will not be aware of your cat's problem until urine has had a chance to dry, leaving a concentrated level of uric acid behind. Even after cleaning and removing the first two ingredients, to a point where you no longer smell the urine ,a cat will easily detect the odor and continue to mark the same spot. Additionally, when it rains or when the sun shines on the spot, the homeowner and guests will be treated to a whiff you had hoped never to smell again.

Often the smell of cat urine can be detected, but not the actual urine. When this happens, resort to a blacklight. Cat urine will be fluorescent yellow. On the surface of a carpet, the spot will be about the size of a pea. When the cat urinates in one spot, the urine then filters down into the carpet and spreads out, saturating the bottom fibers of the carpet and carpet pad and also contaminating the floorboards. The bladder of a full-grown male cat holds approximately 1/4 to 1/2 cup, so remember to clean an area that is at least the size of a dinner plate.

How to Clean Cat Urine in Carpets:

The best method of cleaning cat odor is a couple liberal doses of white vinegar. If possible, toss the carpet and clean the floorboards by pouring white vinegar directly on the spot. Blot up the excess. Let the floor thoroughly dry, at least several days, then repeat the process. Let the floor dry for a full week before painting it with KILZ. You may need several coats.

If you cannot remove the carpet, lift the carpet and pad and make sure the floorboards have not been involved. If the urine spot is in the middle of the room (unusual, as cats normally will go in the corner or along the baseboards) and the carpet cannot be lifted from the floor, repeat the process outlined below. The biggest problem with not lifting the carpet is that the carpet cannot dry sufficiently, giving mildew or mold has the opportunity to grow.

  • If the urine is fresh, blot the spot. Do not rub.
  • Saturate the spot with cold water.
  • Blot again. Do not rub.
  • Repeat this process a second time. This is to ensure you have gotten all of the excess fresh urine out of the carpet.
  • Test the carpet with white vinegar. If it does not harm the carpet, pour a cup of white vinegar directly on the spot.
  • Blot. Do not rub.
  • Repeat the process two more times to ensure you have gotten down to the carpet pad and floorboards.

What Not to Do When Cleaning Cat Urine:

  • Do not use ammonia.
  • Do not cover with flowery scents.
  • Do not assume that the urine is gone because you can't smell it.
  • Do not allow the cat in the room until the urine odor has been removed, or the cat will reuse the spot.

If possible, the floorboards should be covered with two coats of KILZ or two coats of polyurethane. The best advice for a homeowner with a territory-marking cat is to remove the carpet entirely from the room the cat marked and go with a nice floor paint, instead.

How to clean cat urine from carpets should be the second of two questions. The first should be, "Why is my cat urinating on the carpet?" For the answer to that question and any other question concerning your cat's health, consult your veterinarian.

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