How To Clean Cat Urine
Why is a cat urine smell so difficult to remove even after you have cleaned the spot with a good cat urine cleaner?
Cat urine is comprised of three major components:
1. Urea – Sticky stuff
2. Urochrome – Pigments which give it color
3. Uric acid – The stinky part
It is generally conceded that many standard household cleaners would probably do to get rid of the first two if that was all that was involved. No specialized cat urine remover or cleaner would be required for that part of the task.
However, it is the last item, the Uric Acid, which accounts for that lingering reminder of, “Oh! You have a cat!” when there is no feline visible. It is also the reason why normal household cleaners will not work to clean cat urine effectively. What happens is that the Uric Acid part is comprised of crystals and salts, which, once dry, release relatively little odor. However, once the crystals and salts dampen again, with rain or humidity, for example, the pet odor comes back. Even steam cleaning a carpet in hopes of getting rid of the odor for good just dampens everything and brings the odor back to life.
This is the point at which you will need a specifically designed cat urine remover. The most effective products rely on bacteria and enzymes to actually eat up the last remnants of the Uric Acid and thus rid your home of the unpleasant odor. There are several of these products, such as “Simple Solution Cat Spray & Urine Stain & Odor Remover” which is available at PETCO. Many home remedies will recommend the use of vinegar to remove the smell. I have never tried this, but those who have tend to give mixed reviews to the process. Truly effective removal does seem to depend on the use of bacteria and enzyme based products.
A word of warning here. No matter what anyone may try to tell you about how to clean cat urine from carpets or furniture, do NOT ever try to use a product with ammonia in it as a cat urine cleaner. Cat urine contains ammonia, and by using that product, you have just provided a marker for your cat telling it where to do its business next time.
Sometimes, finding the offending spot can be difficult. One trick is to search with a black light. Remember, you will probably not be looking for a large puddle, particularly on carpet. The urine will have come out in a stream, so the actual spot visible in the black light may not be much larger than a pencil eraser. However, the problem will be that once in the carpet, the cat urine will seep into the backing, the pad, and possibly through to the floor itself. To effectively remove the cat urine smell and prevent further visits to that spot by your cat, it may be necessary to lift the carpet and clean the pad and the floor as well as the carpet itself.
By the way, one of the best things you can do to help cut down on odors associated with the litter box while decreasing the possibility of “accidents” is to keep the cat pan clean. Cats can be picky, and a dirty litter box can encourage your pretty Persian kitty to find another place to grace. Keep access clear to it, and make sure that your cat can get to it in time of need, even if there is company present.