Cats spray to mark their territory with pheromones as a way of communicating with other cats. The smell is so unmistakable, pet owners are rarely unaware of this particularly malodorous form of feline expression. Often, neutering or spaying the cat will stop unwanted spraying, but the problem of removing the smell remains. Homemade options range from the use of vinegar and baking soda to commercial products containing enzymes. Removing all traces of the cat spray smell is crucial in discouraging your cat from marking again.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- 3 per cent hydrogen peroxide
- Liquid soap
- Baking soda
- Spray bottle
- Scrub brush
- Commercial odour neutraliser
Soak up as much urine as possible with paper towels or an old towel. If the urine is on carpet or rugs, try not to rub it into the fibres.
Mix one part vinegar with one part water in a container. Pour this mixture onto the soiled area until saturated. Allow to dry.
Combine one cup of 3 per cent hydrogen peroxide with 1 teaspoon of a mild liquid soap in a small spray bottle.
Sprinkle baking soda over the spot then spray with the hydrogen peroxide mixture. Test this mix on a small area of the carpet or fabric to be sure it will not stain the fibres.
Use a small scrub brush to gently work the mixture into the fibres of the carpet or rug then let dry. Vacuum the mixture and repeat if necessary.
Saturate the area with a commercial product such as Nature's Miracle or Odor Neutralizer. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for application on various surfaces. Rather than mask the smell as deodorisers do, these products contain enzymes that will break down the molecules that cause cat spray smell. These products are available at many pet stores and department stores.
For soiled clothes, towels or other washables, pour 1/2 cup of vinegar, either white or apple cider, into the wash along with the detergent and launder as usual. Vinegar is a powerful odour neutraliser.
Spray outside bushes or sidewalks with a half and half mixture of vinegar and water until the area is free of cat spray urine.
Hire a professional. Most professional cleaners use the hot-water extraction method. This is a very effective form of steam cleaning used for deep cleaning of carpets and rugs.
Tips and warnings
- Always wear gloves when handling chemicals and cleaning up cat urine.
- Keep the litter box clean to help prevent spraying behaviour. Although spraying behaviour is not directly caused by a litter box issues, keeping the litter box clean and available will cut down on stress and territory issues in the house.
- While spaying or neutering will usually stop feline spraying, addressing stress and territorial issues is also important. Feliway, a product that releases calming pheromones as well as antianxiety drugs prescribed by your veterinarian are two options. Mechanical repellents such as SSSCAT or a Scatmat are also effective. The SSSCAT will release a harmless spray to deter cats from restricted areas. Scatmat works on the same principle, but it is a mat that will mildly shock a pet when they step on it.
- Watch your cat for signs of health problems. Sometimes, inappropriate urination can be a sign of health issues such as kidney or liver disease, diabetes, colitis, hyperthyroidism and feline lower urinary tract disease. Have your cat checked by a veterinarian if you suspect your cat has a health problem.
- Do not use an ammonia-based cleaner on the cat spray. This will only encourage your cat to urinate again in that spot.
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