Cleaning Cat Markings

The strong smell of cat pee is awful for us (but actually awesome for cats). Here's how to battle the scent.

By Julie Mignery | Updated: April 7, 2016, 5 p.m. EDT

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Clean Cat Markings
How do you get rid of the odor from cat markings? Virginia Mendez

Cat pee is a powerful scent. Clean it up and it still might smell. It’s bad enough for you, but it’s worse (or better) for your cat and his more sensitive nose. If he’s peed on a particular thing once and knows it’s "his” because his scent is still on it, he might just decide to do it again. So what can you do?
•    Spay or neuter your cat if it hasn’t been done already.
•    Keep his litterbox clean and remember the rule that says your number of litter boxes should exceed your number of cats by one.  

And what do you do about the thing he’s sprayed?

If he’s peed on something you don’t care that much about, like a pair of socks or an ex-boyfriend’s favorite T-shirt, wash it a few times with a box of baking soda tossed in with the detergent, then throw it away if it still smells funky. If he’s peed on something you do care about or if it’s hard to replace, we suggest the following strategies.
•    Soak up as much urine as possible, using old towels and lots of pressure, if the target is a soft surface. Rinse the area thoroughly with water, then soak that up, too, using a wet vac (NOT a steam cleaner) if possible. Wipe down hard surfaces with soap and water.
•    Shop at your local pet supply retailer for an enzymatic cleaner formulated to neutralize odors and pheromones. You also might need a separate stain-removing spray.
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Reader Comments

kari    detroit lakes, MN

5/28/2015 9:55:13 PM

180 XT is absolutely the BEST product for getting rid of the smell of cat urine and breaking the habit of marking on furniture, walls, and carpet.

Get 180XT

Martha    Memphis, TN

5/27/2015 11:30:07 PM

Please don't expect neutering to stop the problem altogether, or think that females won't spray. Neutering makes the spray smell less of pure testosterone, but once a cat has established the behavior, learns the behavior from another cat or feels his/her territorial rights are in question, you will have spraying.

While the cat may spray again, as long as he or she can smell it, they probably won't. What you do need to be careful of is never urinating in your tub or shower. Cats will assume the tub or shower is another litterbox, and getting the smell out of the drains simply can't be done. They will pee where they smell pee.

Peggy    Cheyenne, WY

5/27/2015 10:49:46 PM

Use a vinegar/water mixture. If laundering in a washing machine, put 1 cup vi egar in with the detergent.

Susan    Lafayette, TN

5/27/2015 7:00:10 PM

I had a cat (male neutered) who stopped using the litter box (for pee) after his best buddy (another neutered male 10 years his senior) passed away at 18.
I spent a fortune on pet store emzyme cleaners until I spent $7 on line for the following recipe: 2 cups hydrogen peroxide, 2 tsp baking SODA and 2 drops original blue Dawn dish liquid - combine ingredients and STIR (DO NOT SHAKE). Soak the affected area making sure you hit ALL THE PEE. Let the area dry - no more odor! That was 10 years ago and I have yet to find anything that works better or costs less.
This also works to remove all kinds of stains and odors. It also works to clean old linens and lace that have turned brown and spotted - without damaging the fabric like bleach will.

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