The cat population in America is about 94 million, and anyone who has a cat at home that stains and odors from cat urine can be a problem. Cat urine that seeps through the carpet into the padding and down to the floor beneath can give your home an unpleasant aroma and bad look. In almost all cases, it is the worst perpetrator of pet stains and pet odors.
When cats urinate as a means of elimination, they normally do it on a horizontal or flat surface like the ground or in a litterbox. When cats spray to mark their territory, they turn their backsides to the object, twitch their tails and spray urine on the vertical surface. But in both cases, cat urine could come in contact with a carpet.
The cat’s urine is an amber-colored liquid waste fluid excreted by the kidneys and is composed of waste products of protein metabolism. The color of urine and its staining potential will often depend on the cat's dietary habits, age, and sex, whether he is on medication or the cat's health. It can saturate absorbent materials such as padding, upholstery, and mattresses.
The older cats have diminished renal function, thus producing urine that contains more plasma proteins. Because less uric acephalia is secreted in this urine, it is less likely to stain a carpet, but it will produce an even stronger odor.
Typically, because cat diets are richer in protein than dog diets, their urine will produce harsher odors and are more likely to cause stains.
Urine can saturate absorbent materials such as carpet and padding, upholstery and mattresses well beyond the surface area to be cleaned effectively. It is very difficult to remove all of the urine from inside of these materials. Even after a thorough cleaning, stains, and odors often remain. So here are a few things you can do to eliminate the odor.
How to clean cat urine from carpet
Removing it from your carpet can be one of the most difficult cleaning tasks since it produces an especially persistent, unpleasant odor and amber-colored stains, so here are a few things you can do to eliminate them when the “accident” has happened.
First, blot up as much of the urine as possible with a soft, clean white cloth or absorbent paper towel. Press down firmly (do not rub) for 30 seconds. The more fresh urine you can remove before it dries, the simpler it will remove the odor. Remove the towel and repeat the process until the area is fully dried. Rinse the "accident zone" thoroughly with clean, cool water. After rinsing, remove as much of the water as possible by blotting it up. Next, you have some options:
1. One of the newest technologies for cleaning cat urine is to penetrate the soiled area and deactivate the odor with peroxide. Spray a product that consists of 3% hydrogen peroxide and wait about five minutes. After that, use a clean white absorbent cloth, blot the area, pressing down firmly (do not rub) for 30 seconds. Repeat this blotting process until the area is dry. If the stain or odor persists, repeat the process.
Matt Humphries (science educator at a museum), who has read this article, gave us some suggestions for removing cat urine based on science: "I read your suggestions and hydrogen peroxide should be number 1. One of my cats was born with almost no large intestine, so he goes to the bathroom anywhere. Hydrogen peroxide, H2O2, will damage proteins, lipids, etc. ( why it should NOT be used got first aid). Mixed with very little dish soap, it's the best around. Apply liberally. Soak the area, and you can leave it. No more stain or smell. A 3% solution is available from the grocery store. Under a dollar/liter. Do not water it down. 6%, you can buy at a beauty supply store, and if you really want to save money, you may buy 35% from an alternative health store. It is sold as food grade. BE CAREFUL, it is hazardous. Research how to handle properly. Avoid contact and any open flame. Must water it down. Do not allow contact with anything, god forbid skin, eyes, mucus membranes, ingestion, etc. This goes for pets too. If you so much as touch it, your skin feels like it's burning. When used, it breaks down into water and oxygen, which is why it's very volatile but useful. It's the cheapest and most efficient, effective way to remove stains and smells. The key is removal, not just covering up."
2. Baking soda works well to eliminate surface (but not deeply penetrated) odors. Dampen the area with clean water and then sprinkle baking soda over it. Rub the baking soda into the soiled area and let dry. Brush or vacuum to remove the dry material.
3. Another option is white vinegar. Mix 1-quart warm water and 1/2 cup white vinegar, and dribble the mixture onto the stain. Place dry towels over the stained area and put something heavy over the towels to increase the pressure. After some hours, remove the towels and raise the nap of the carpet with a soft-bristled hairbrush. Note: Test the vinegar solution on a piece of fabric hidden from view - under the cushion or on the furniture's backside.
4. To clean old or heavy stains in carpets, consider renting an extractor or wet-vac from a local hardware store. The extracting/wet-vac machines work like a vacuum cleaner and do the best job of forcing clean water through your carpet and then forcing the dirty water back out again. When you use these machines, you should follow the instructions carefully.
Note: Don’t use any chemicals with these machines – they work much more effectively with plain water.
5. Another way for cleaning the cat urine from carpets was submitted from one of our visitors - Elaine Byrnes. She says that if you add several drops of Listerine mouthwash to the water/peroxide mixture, it helps a lot with the odor. In addition to a great cleaning solution, this is a safe pest spray for plants around children or pets.
Once the soiled area is really clean, you should use a high-quality pet odor neutralizer available at pet supply stores. Test the affected surface for staining first, and read and follow the instructions.
If the area still looks stained after it’s completely dry from extracting and neutralizing, apply a specialized stain and odor removing bacteria/enzyme cleaner, such as "Outright Pet Stain Eliminator," "Pet 'Oops' Remover," or "Stain Gobbler".
How to clean cat urine from your upholstery
When it is not possible to remove the cover of your couch or chair upholstery, observe the following cleaning procedures to get the cat urine out:
Dab stubborn stains with a soft, clean white cloth or absorbent paper towel. If solvents are required, avoid applying them directly onto the stain, and pour it onto a clean cloth. Clean the stain using a circular motion working from the outside inwards. After removing the stain, dry immediately with a handheld hairdryer using a cool setting. Take care to direct the air stream first towards the outside of the area, working inwards. Always be careful to rub any stains gently and to use a brush with soft bristles.
How to clean cat urine from hardwood floors
Cat urine can harm your hardwood floor and can cause rotting. However, you might not be ready to replace your floor just yet, so here are a few things you can do to eliminate the odor. If you can catch the problem while it's still "fresh," you'll be better off.
Remove any excrement and blot the entire wet area immediately and firmly with paper towels. Wash affected area several times with white vinegar. Rinse stain thoroughly with warm water. Blot dry with paper towels. Apply a specialized stain and odor-removing bacteria or enzyme cleaner.
Tip: Read the instructions carefully before using these products and test them in an invisible area. If you can not remove some old stains, try sanding away the stain and resealing the wood.
You must be extra vigilant about cat odor and attack the problems as soon as it occurs. You should also remove all the odor's traces because if the scent remains, the cat will do it again in the same spot.
I have a Tom that was fixed at a early age. I have gotten rid of one set of leather furniture that he destroyed. I bought another set before I realized he was the culprit, but it doesnt seem to matter. I chase him 24hrs a day with a bottle of armor-all and a rag. I have also tried the so called agents for cleaning urine. NOTHING DISCOURAGES HIM. Yes we have many other cats. But he did it before. I never thought I would say this, but I may have him put down.. I cant take it. This furniture cost 3k.
You have many cats and leather furniture yet you want to put this guy down? You shouldn't have animals, much less "many" because you are worried more about possessions and money than about the cat. I'd take him myself if I could, just to get him away from you.
You may want to look into you litter box arrangement if they are adequate, you may need to increase more litter box for the cats. if you have two cats then the adequate litter box is 3, and 4 box if you have 3 cats etc.
Great tips, Walt! One of my 2 cats (both neutered males) had taken to painting all of my walls, furniture, and anything else he could reach. I was horrified when I got a UV light. He never did that in all of the 9 years I’ve had him and didn’t when I got him a buddy (they love each other and did so right away) but when a strange black cat started showing up outside both of my cats went nuts and the older one (9) started his wall painting, as well as the curtains out in the kitty room. I couldn’t keep up with it. My cats are indoor cats so it’s not like the stray is actually going to get in here but they both hate him (and he is weird…my neighbor’s cats hate him too). I’ve tried cleaning with a pet urine enzyme and then spraying some “No More Spraying” but that hasn’t worked. He’s a sneaky little bugger too; he waits until he thinks I’m not looking and then does it. He’s learned that the minute I see him backing his butt up to something he gets yelled at. It wasn’t until I found “NoMoreCatPee.com” that I was able to finally get rid of this tiresome behavior. Now my house nor my ropes don’t smell like a litter box anymore
It sounds complicated , a lot of work & dangerous.
Put down?? Why don’t you try rehoming before you decide wether your cat deserves to live or not because he scratched your sofa? He’s clearly stressed to the max living with you and your other cats. You chase him 24hours a day? The poor thing obviously has no escape because if he did, he wouldn’t come back. You need to seriously think about the environment your cat is forced to live in. And what gives you the right to have your cat killed because you can’t cope. My advice is DON’T get any more cats. You clearly have no idea what a cats needs are. Some are solitary and just simply cannot live with other animals. It sounds like your tom is that type of cat. Putting him down?? You shouldn’t have cats if you can’t fulfil their needs.
Just as you can't murder babies for being fussy, you can't murder your cats for scratching. By taking a cat home, you've agreed to put their life first and to take the best care of them as you possibly can. So, the way I see you, you have two choices. A. If you no longer want to be a pet owner, re-home your cats immediately. It's important to spend a few minutes finding the nearest no-kill shelter so your cats have a chance at a good life and aren't slaughtered due to overcrowding and lack of funding. Drop them off during or just before business hours, so they can aren't left in the cold for hours. If possible, leave a donation check to offset their expenses, or drop off whatever cat food, litter, toys and bedding you had. This will help pay their costs and provide them emotional comfort during this stressful transition. I suggest re-homing all your animals. Problems with litter, spraying, scratching, excess mewing, aggression and disease can crop up at any time. These difficulties are inevitable the more animals you have. Just as not everyone is capable of being a parent, not everyone is capable of owning a pet. If you see their needs as a burden, don't ruin their lives by keeping them around. Instead, limit your contact with animals to cat cafes or taking your friend's dog for a walk. B. If you do want to keep your animals, you're going to need to come up with a functional plan. 1. Go to a pet shop and buy a black light bulb, a large supply of enzymatic cleanser and some calming product like Feliway diffuser. Ordinary carpet or furniture cleanser won't work, even if they refer to pet messes on the package! The urine smell remains and encourages the cat to mark repeatedly. Instead get a specific cat urine product like Nature's Miracle. 2. Put all your animals in one room, then go through your house with the black light. The light will show up anywhere the cat has sprayed or marked. Clean them thoroughly following manufacturer's directions. For best results, clean twice. You may wish to follow up with a light application of scent, such as citrus or lavender (never tea tree, it's toxic to them), or a bit of Feliway, catnip, etc. The point is to erase all memory of that spot as a potty or marking spot. 3. Once everything is clean and dry, protect your good furniture with plastic covers or washable throw blankets, which are easy to clean if kitty makes a mistake. Water-proof mattress protectors or shower curtains can be used, too. Yes, it's an ugly look but much easier than constant cleaning or replacing furniture. For small areas, scratch-proof tape, spray deterrent or buzzers that sound when kitty is near may work. 4. Before giving your cats free reign, thoroughly scrub (or replace) their litter boxes, and distribute them around the house, paying special attention to those areas kitty spends the most time. If he always sprayed in the kitchen, put a box in the kitchen - eventually you'll move it to a place you prefer. You should have one box/cat +1 spare. Make sure there is one on every floor. Fill them with a variety of litter types (silica/dessicant, clay, paper, corn...clumping vs non...scented vs unscented...). This way, kitty will be able to find a comfortable place to go where he is secure. Make note of the products your cat responds to best. You may want to add litter attractant. 5. As kitty resumes his routine, keep notes about what triggers his spraying. Maybe he has problems with other cats in the house, or is intimidated by outdoor cats. As you identify a trigger, remove it. If he's fearful of outside cats, use a product that blurs the window view while allowing in the light (such as window wraps). If he fights with a fellow feline, restrict them to separate territories for a while and slowly re-introduce them. 6. When you see kitty spraying, don't shout, act crazy or punish. Pick him up and set him gently in his little box. Immediately clean the mess without comment. When you see him urinating in the box, praise him and give him a treat. Spend lots of time with him playing and cuddling so he feels safe with you. Provide perches and cat beds where he can observe from on high or tunnel away from scary situations. 7. Take kitty to the vet if the spraying situation continues, as there may be a serious medical issue going on. As a last resort, they can also prescribe medicines that may help with nervous kitties.
Took in a second cat from a home that was having difficulties in his home. Our home is quite, safe, lots litter boxes for 2 cats, cat friendly home. After 2 months the new cat is starting to spray. Never ever in all my life with cats have I had this problem. Begins to wish I had not rescued this cat from his former family. Now I am trying to find a solution. He sprays at night or when we are at work. Every morning I am on spray patrol. Very frustrating!!!
Hi I tried the H2O2 solution, is it suppose to stink? Also can I put the repellent spray on it as well.
Clara, that was so helpful!! We have three boys that all recently started spraying. We recently got a new puppy, who is a rampaging maniac, and let in a stray male until we found his owner. Clearly, the three boys couldn't handle the new additions to the family. We are definitely going to follow your recommendations. Thank you so much. Walt, you should be ashamed of yourself. Do the right thing and give your children a good home. Sometimes cats get overwhelmed, just like people. We just have to think about it with our heads AND our HEARTS to solve the problems and have a happy life. Good luck to everyone!
It is really very bad to remove the smell of pets urine from the carpet. Your tips will really help us to remove pets urine from the carpet. Just loved your article. It has very unique content for cleaning.
These are great tips. With three indoor cats I certainly appreciate your advice! Thank you!
This was another informative article. I didn't know that cats' urine has more protein in it than dogs', and therefore, more of an odor and staining. I also didn't know that older cats' urine doesn't tend to stain as bad as younger cats', but the older cats' urine has more odor. The tip about adding Listerine to the water/peroxide mixture is something I will remember for future reference.
Keeping up with multiple boxes on a daily basis is definatly a chore but the only way I have found to keep the accidents at bay. Good Luck to all!
Thanks for the information.
Really super information. I am glad I read about the hydrogen peroxide and will use that on my cat's litter mat near the litter box.
Thanks for the great article. One or more of my cats have taken to peeing in my closet. I'm excited to try some of these tips to solve the problem.
It is quite the process, but worth it. We are planning on getting new carpet and with two cats this will definitely be our go to when accidents occur.
I bookmarked this blog post. Thanks for the tips!
We have six cats and sometimes someone marks a spot so I am going try the peroxide idea. Vinegar does help, as does baking soda.
Thanks for the helpful cleaning tips, will have to try some of them
This is a really helpful post. I really love all the tips!
I wasn't aware until I read your article that white vinegar is safe to use on hardwood floors. I prefer to use vinegar for cleaning instead of chemical cleaners when I can, especially around pets. Lots of great information here.
I am amazed that the Cat population in America is about 74 millions! We all do need super articles like this to read!
These are some great tips for removing cat urine or any pet urine. I have always used vinegar and never knew about Hydrogen peroxide.
Thanks for this article. I am dealing with this issue in my home now and hopefully putting these tips to use will help me.
This would have been super useful when we had a cat that began to spray all of a sudden after 8 years. Unfortunately, we couldn't get rid of the smell or get him to stop so we had to rehome him.
Just wondering - will hydrogen peroxide bleach my wool Berber carpet?? What is the best method for this
Great tips, I would like to use these tips while pet stain and odor removal.
Thank you. So informative and lovely to listen to. I can stop wasting energy and money on the wrong products. Thanks for sharing informative tips for removing cat urine or any pet urine.
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