Need some practical advice for dealing with cat urine.

Pic of household cleaning supplies.OK it’s audience participation time. Those of you with pets and experience with getting urine out of carpet should leave a comment with your recommendations on how best to accomplish this feat. I ask not because our cats — Melvin, the official SEB cat, and Cuddles, the emergency backup cat — have suddenly started pissing everywhere except their litter box. No, I ask because our vet has offered us two free cat trees with the understanding that they’ve been pissed on a fair amount in a couple of spots by the cats at the clinic.

Considering that a decent sized cat tree will run a couple of hundred bucks and that one of the two we’re being offered is probably close to $350 to $400 if purchased new and the fact that neither one seems to be in bad shape, it seemed an offer worth taking advantage of. We’ll be picking them up Wednesday and they’ve been outside in the weather for a while so it’s possible they’ve already had a good rinsing from Mother Nature, but we’d like to be prepared to de-urinate them before putting them inside the apartment. We wouldn’t want the presence of piss from other cats to make ours feel like it’s a challenge they’d have to match.

There are various products at the pet store, but it’s hard to know what actually works and what doesn’t so I’m turning to you, my fellow pet owners, for your advice and experience, if you have any to offer. We figure if worse comes to worst and there’s not really any product that would do the job then we’ll just remove the carpet from the worst spots and replace it later when we can pick up some remnants, but that seems like it’d be a lot more work than some form of cleaning spray and a bit of elbow grease.

So what say you pet owners? Have any piss removal suggestions?

33 thoughts on “Need some practical advice for dealing with cat urine.

  1. Have found (when we had dogs who decided to become unhousebroken) that the product “Nature’s Miracle” worked very well on our carpet.

  2. Unless you have a pressure washer and several pounds of Oxy-clean to mix up Elwed and Country have the best idea.

  3. Try lemon juice to get rid of the smell and/or bicarbonate of soda sprinkled on, left for a couple of hours then vacuumed off.

  4. I would think vinegar applied to the carpet and allowed to set for say 20 minutes, and then followed up with a club soda rinse would eliminate the odor. But more importantly would be why a cat chooses to alternate it’s urinary output placement would be the primary question. Have they suddenly learned to associate pain with the cat box. This pain is likely a urinary infection. And a simple broad scale antibiotic may be needed. In determining this question of inflammation. Do the cats urine have a change in color? Do they look to be in pain when pissing? We use to have piss problems with our dog. I suspected the tap water was the problem and switched him to the same purified water that we drink, Problem went away.

  5. Moloch, not sure how your suggestion helps as it’s not our cats that were doing the misplaced urination.

    Paul, I have no idea why the cat trees were peed on other than they were in use at our Vet’s clinic and it may have been a territorial thing as they also adopt out cats there. They have a number of cat trees in the clinic already. These are two they were retiring which is why they need to be cleaned up a bit.

  6. Les…I never heard of a Cat Tree. And I am not harassing you, It’s probably me. But I read your post 3 times and it is hard to understand. I think the part that throws me off is this.

    ” I ask not because “

  7. No problem Paul. Cat trees are also known as Kitty Condos or Cat Towers. Basically an assembly of wood, rope, cardboard, and carpet for cats to play on and sharpen their claws on. You can see several examples of what I’m talking about at this site.

    You’ll notice most of of the trees there of any size are well over $150 and that’s one of the more reasonably priced sites I’ve found.

  8. Baking soda works if you make a paste and rub it in and even sprinkle it like carpet freshener… You can also sprinkle it in the the tree itself. I never had a second hand cat tree so I can’t really say that I have had to clean one.

    A last ditch effort is to check out local carpet cleaning companies like Stanley Steamer or Serv-Pro. They usually have heavy duty stuff that they may sell you a small sample of…at least they did when I worked there.

    Good luck!

  9. I have five cats, and needed to rip out all my carpets and replace with hard flooring, so I am speaking from experience here:

    DON’T DO IT. Just back slowly away from the trees.

    If you must, this would be my plan:
    Invest in carpet remnants and sisal or twine and and a heavy duty stapler and hot glue.
    Bring tree to outside the house.
    Rip off ALL carpet.
    Clean base liberally with Nature’s Miracle or Simple Solution.

    Once the cats start marking they will continue, and will expand their territory against perceived invaders. Outside walls and doors will be marked, and corners are especially lovely. It is almost impossible to stop. So take preventative measures, invest in a HUGE bottle of NM or SS, follow directions, and get a black light for the Smell That Cannot Be Seen. Once it starts it is an olfactory nightmare, so be on top of it at the beginning.

    Do not use vinegar. For an itsy spot it might work, but it is helpless against large sprays, although you will find yourself craving a salad..

  10. Nature’s Miracle is a good product, as I recall. We have a variety of others we’ve tried, too; I’ll need to check at home.

    The main thing you’ll need is some sort of enzymatic-based cleaner. More conventional odor aborbers or maskers will be temporary at best. Carpet-cleaning equipment will be difficult to use with a cat tree.

    One warning — if the urine has soaked through the carpet and into the underlying wood structure, you will have pretty minimal luck, long run, with anything you do.

  11. Natures Miracle. Make sure it penetrates to the deepest layer, may need several applications as you don’t want to soak the underpaying cardboard or padding, just reach it.

  12. To clean urine stains I use ammoniac diluted in water.
    Rub the stain with a sponge, rince with water and let dry.
    It’s great to clean everything if you mix ammoniac with water and some detergent.

  13. I’ve found, in our house, that a product by the name of Ew! works really well. And I’m not kidding about the name. We bought a bottle of it to try out and it, surprisingly, did a wonderful job. Big spots, little spots, you name it. And it smells pretty refreshing, too.

  14. As a cat rescuer, I’ve tried everything on the market including Nature’s Miracle. I agree with most commentors that NM works, but it takes several applications. One I’ve found that works even better and with fewer applications is Ewww! by Bissell (part of their Pawsitively Clean line available at petstores). It works to remove the stain and the odor, and smells pretty good as well – no chemical smell afterwards. They also have a product called Pew! for just odor removal, which works well on even the toughest odors. I use it regularly to deodorize pet furniture, litterboxes, etc.

  15. I use Simple Solution Stain and Odor remover. I found it in the grocery store. $5.99 for a 20 fl oz. container. I picked it up because Molly was throwing up a lot. But I imagine it would work for urine too.

  16. So I guess the question now is: Given that the vet moved these two towers outside because of being pissed on, do you think they’re probably too soiled to make them worth the effort?

    They didn’t look to be in too bad a shape, but being out in the cold I wasn’t able to give them a proper sniff. I have to wonder that if the vet thought they were bad enough to move outside with plans to dispose of them that perhaps they are beyond salvaging.

  17. Personally…
    I wouldn’t take them. You may not even be able to smell the markings, but your cats will. They really will.

    Don’t do it!

  18. We use a product called Bac-out when our elderly cat expresses her opinions on our couch or bed.

  19. Another product we used was the unimaginative but descriptive Urine-Gone. Again, something that works with enzymes, etc., and so forth.

    That all said, I’d be inclined to listen to Darline. The last thing you want is your cats to be challenged into some new, undesirable behaviors. Cleaning up existing messes is something you have to do. Bringing in something to the house is optional.

    Heck, it might be easier in the long run to actually build your own.

  20. I’ve actually considered trying to build my own, but I rarely pick up a power tool so I’m not sure I’d be able to pull it off. My dad has offered to let me use his tools up in Otisville because I don’t have what it would take to do it here.

    Dammit Jim. I’m a computer professional. Not a carpenter.

  21. I wouldn’t take them.

    I once had a cat who got kidney stones and in his head made the connection that litterbox equals painful peeing.
    I had to clean a lot. The one thing I learned most of all (having used all tricks from aluminum foil to aggresive/unaggressive cleaning products) is that even if I no longer smell it, the cats do.

    Although you can still gamble it and see what happens. If they use it and don’t pee. WIN!

  22. One of our cats starts piddling in odd places whenever her anal sacs get filled. You may need to take at least one of your cats to get theirs expressed (yes, that’s what the vet calls it).

  23. ANTI-ICKY-POO!!! It gets urine smells out and many other terrible odors.
    Sounds weird but it is the best that I have found to get the smell of urine out of anything. I have three cats and they tend to get a little pissy (haha) and show me how mad they are at times.

    I buy mine on Amazon, I wish the pets stores would carry it

  24. My suggestion is just try it!
    Clean the cat-trees with one of the options, then bring them in and see what happens. If they urinate on it, then just throw them out. You can get (or build) another one later.

    You could try rubbing the cat-trees with some catnip which might make them more appealing for playing on and thus less likely to urinate on them (though I’m not an animal psychologist or anything, so I’m not sure if that would really work)

  25. Actually, the fact that the vet moved them outside might be to your benefit. Depends on how long they’ve been outside. The rain, fresh air and sun goes a long way to airing things out. I’d still clean them thoroughly with a good enzyme-cleaner, let them dry thoroughly and give it the sniff test before bringing it in the house. Rub them with catnip and see what the furkids do. I’ve actually had good luck doing this with a couple trees that were given to me from another rescuer – a week or so outside followed by a thorough cleaning. No odor, no behavioral issues.

    My gang loves it when I tie catnip-filled toys with yarn and staple the yarn to the underside of some of the platforms on the tree so the toys dangle enticingly. They go crazy playing with the toys and wrestling each other on the platforms.

  26. This from a chemist that knew what makes bad smells and how to break them down:

    1 pint water
    1 pint hydrogen peroxide
    1 tablespoon baking soda
    Small amount (capful) liquid soap, any, really

    It doesn’t appear that the measurements have to be exact, just in that range.

    Soak it in, let sit, rinse it out. Probably do more than once. It worked to stop my cats from pissing on the couch. It’s supposed to be an excellent de-skunker, but I’ve never had the misfortune to have to try it.

    I’d avoid ammonia. Cat urine supposedly outgasses ammonia when it breaks down (no argument,) which may be what the cats smell that’s lasting so long.

  27. As a vet tech who works in a cat exclusive hospital I can tell you, it will be hard to get the smell out, but not impossible.
    I recommend you store them somewhere that the cats cannot get to them until they have been treated several times, just the suggestion other cats have peed on them will give your cats the idea that, hey, I can pee here too!

    Things that work and are cheap:
    -Soaking in hydrogen peroxide. Several times. You need to make sure the wood under the carpet gets a good soak too as the smell is lurking in there.

    -Soaking in baking soda paste, followed with a vinegar rinse- works well, again, make sure the wood under the carpet is soaked, repeat at least two times

    Nature’s Miracle is a so-so product in my view. Anti-Icky-Poo and Odor Pet are better (all 3 are enzyme based), and again the key is to SOAK for long periods of time

  28. Yeah, the turning point for me was when my brother, who I don’t speak to on regular basis, called to warn me not to take them unless I had someplace to decontaminate them over a long period of time (which I don’t) and offered to help me build one out at his place.

    So if I ever get off my ass and motivate myself I have two places I could potentially build a cat tree. My parent’s place and my brother’s house.

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