Dealing with cat urine odor problems can be a frustrating experience. The cat urine smell is awful, and cleaning the area is also difficult. Worse, cats that have problems urinating out of their litter box tend to do so over and over again, making this a problem that you'll have to continually deal with.
Tip 1: Reduce stress and anxiety. Cats experience stress and anxiety, just like people do. A common response to stress for many cats is urinating out of the litter box. Therefore, reducing stress in your cat's life will help address your cat urine problems. Take a few minutes to think about why your cat might be stressed and figure out a way to reduce or eliminate that. Reducing stress can often be as easy as spending more time with your kitties.
Tip 2: Consider a pheromone diffuser. Pheromone diffusers are small devices that plug into a wall outlet and emit a calming pheromone throughout your home. The idea is the pheromone calms your cats and reduces their urge to urinate out of their litter box. You can't smell the pheromone, but your cats can, and for them it helps them to feel more secure in your home. Your local pet store or veterinarian will be able to suggest a diffuser that's appropriate for your home.
Tip 3: Remove existing urine stains. Cats tend to urinate in places where there are existing cat urine stains. This is most common if you have allowed your cats to urinate in the same place repeatedly, or if you have moved into a home where the previous occupants had cats that urinated frequently. Your cats are likely smelling this area, thinking it's a bathroom, and urinating. Other than by catching them in the act, you can spot these areas using a blacklight - cat urine glows under a blacklight and it's very easy to see.
Tip 4: Have your vet check for a urinary tract infection. Some problems with cats urinating out of their litter box can be medically-related. A common cause is a urinary tract infection, which your veterinarian can check for. You should definitely advise your veterinarian if your cat suddenly starts urinating out of his litter box. Even if you suspect another cause, it's best to be on the safe side and have your vet check. Treatment is usually an easy series of antibiotics.
Tip 5: Use a simple litter box. Cats don't like litter boxes with doors or mechanized sweeping devices. They're intimidating and can frighten your cat, making her less likely to use her litter box. The best litter boxes are the simplest, and they don't get any simpler than a basic pan litter box. If you like, you can use one with a shield, but stay away from litter boxes with doors. If you have another type of litter box, try using a simpler box for a few weeks to see if you notice a difference.
Tip 6: Use quality litter, and clean it daily. There are a lot of different cat litters on the market today, but some of the best are those made from natural materials, such as corn or wheat. These litters are excellent at absorbing urine and feces odors, clump well, and are healthy for you and your cat. Many of these litters can be scooped and flushed down the toilet too, but check the specific litter and your home's sewage system. Regardless of what litter you are using, scoop the litter box at least once every day, and change the litter completely every week.
Tip 7: Never use water to clean cat urine. Water can reactivate the crystallized cat urine in your carpet or rug, and make the smell worse. Always use an appropriate cleaning product that's designed specifically for cat urine removal. Water can be used for urine spots on hardwood floors, but even in these situations a specially-formulated product will do a better job.
Tip 8: Use the right cleaner for the job. For minor to moderate stains, use an enzyme-based cleaner like Nature's Miracle or Petastic. These cleaners are all natural, and use enzymes to break down the crystals that are present in cat urine. For heavier or repeated stains on carpet, you'll need a heavy-duty product. Urine Away and Urine Off are both excellent choices, as they are essentially heavier-duty versions of the other products. Other cleaners do exist so shop around, but make sure you get a cleaner that's specifically for cat urine.
Tip 9: For really bad stains, clean the carpet pad. Some stains, particularly those in areas where the cat has urinated repeatedly over a long period of time, will reach through the carpet and pad to the floor. For these stains, you must clean all layers - carpet, pad, and floor - in order to eliminate the odor and the problem. Pull up the carpet and pad and clean them with a heavy-duty cleaner. If the stain is really bad, replacing the pad might be in order. For the floor, use a floor sealer such as Killz, but work in a well-ventilated area as these products emit a harmful odor while they are being applied.
Tip 10: Don't give up! No matter how bad it gets, there's always something else you can try. If you've worked through these 10 tips and still have a cat urine odor problem, you should definitely speak to your veterinarian. Your vet will be able to suggest other ideas for prevention and treatment that will help you and your cat live a healthier, happier life!