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How To Get Rid Of Cat Pee Smell: Step By Step Guide

Posted in: Cat Care - Last Updated: September 1, 2023 - Author: Mayurii Rajvanshi
Posted in Cat Care 
Last Updated: August 27, 2023  
Author:  Mayurii Rajvanshi
grey cat lying on sofa

From time to time us cat owners will all need to know how to get rid of cat pee smell!

Imagine this. 

You have guests over. They just stepped into your tastefully decorated home and instantly asked you do you have a cat? Confused, aren’t you? Your cat isn’t even in the vicinity but still, the guest knows. But how?

It could easily be the peculiar smell, mostly the cat urine smell that tips off a new visitor. Chances are high we, the cat parents, get desensitised to the smell. Luckily, there is a lot we can do to get rid of the smell. 

Your fastidious furry feline can suddenly stop using the litter box. Your warm blanket can become the target, or so does your beautiful carpet. Naturally, you cannot replace or get the steam cleaner in every time your kitty decides to use them as her personal litter box.

In this article, we will be discussing all possible reasons behind your kitty peeing outside the box and how to get rid of the cat pee smell. Towards the end, there is a review of a popular odor and stain eliminating detergent.

So, why is my Cat Peeing outside its box?

Your fur baby not using the litter box to pee can be upsetting for several reasons. Smell and hygiene concerns apart, you will be worried if they are okay. It is a problem that can arise due to several reasons. 

We will be discussing all of these shortly. But before we delve into it, it is important you know there are two broad reasons for inappropriate peeing. It could be due to a medical reason or a behavioral problem.

Health issue

Cats could be peeing outside their litter box due to health problems. It could be cat bladder stones causing irritation and blockage. It could also be inflammation of the bladder making it hard for your kitty to hold in urine. 

Urinary tract infections and feline lower urinary tract disease are the other reasons for your furry feline skipping litter box. Feline lower urinary tract disease affects the urethra of cats and their bladder.

Pay close attention to your cat to see if it is distressed. Look for signs like blood in urine, little to no urine, and changes in their appetite. 

If your cat is trying to use its litter box frequently but pees a very little amount of urine, it might be a urinary tract infection. 

Feline interstitial cystitis can make a cat pee outside its box because of the urgency to relieve itself. If your cat is mewing or crying while peeing when eliminating, it is experiencing pain that could be caused by bladder stones.

Seek an appointment with the vet if you have the slightest doubt.

Dirty litter box

Cats have their own quirks and whims. Sometimes for reasons best known to them, they simply won’t use the litter box because they don’t like it. Maybe you placed it behind the door and your kitty doesn’t like the location. 

Maybe the litter box is too small for your cat’s comfort so it's time to invest in an extra large litter box. Or it was covered with a hood. And if your kitty is anywhere like mine, it can even object to the litter smell. One of the biggest behavioral reasons for not using the litter box is it is dirty. 

Make sure your cat has different litter boxes in various parts of the house. Sometimes lack of choice can also make these annoying furballs pee or poop on your carpet. Then you'll be asking how to stop a cat from pooping on the floor!

Of course, it may be that the litter box is too stinky for your cat (and you smelling it too!). In that case, try using a cat litter odor eliminator to add to the litter box.


Sounds a bit ironic. Right? How can the most laid back and self-assured species in the world get stressed? 

But believe me- cats are emotional and they do get stressed. They are sensitive to the smallest changes in their environment. Your kitty might be unhappy because you got a new pet. Or maybe you just shifted to a new home. 

Even the presence of your new partner can stress your kitty. This doesn’t mean you quit your relationship. Just give your cat time to adjust to the new surroundings. 

Irrespective of who or what the source of stress is, your kitty needs a safe quiet place to relieve itself.

grey cat has peed on sofaCat-pee-cat-care

Unneutered males spray to mark their territory

Want to watch the Clash of the Titans LIVE? Bring home a new pet in the presence of your unneutered male cat. 

It’s no surprise- cats are territorial by nature. Males mark their territory with urine to claim their area and let intruders know they aren’t welcome. If you have an unneutered male cat, it could just be doing the same. 

Time to schedule an appointment with the doctor for snip-snip or your cat is going to keep marking its territory forever.

Unneutered females spray to let male cats know that they’re in heat.

So, you thought only male cats pee around? Female cats ain’t behind. They don’t mark territory. But they do spray their pee to let male cats know someone is in heat. 

Unneutered females use their pee spray tactic to attract potential mating partners. You can keep cleaning the pee smell off your carpet and your cat will spray urine as soon as it gets a chance. 

Here is a quick checklist for you to see what might be making your cat pee inappropriately.

  • Dirty litter
  • Litter box with a liner or hood
  • Uncomfortable litter box- too high or too small
  • Litter box location doesn’t allow your cat to get privacy
  • Change in environment- new house, pet, or human
  • Old urine smell on carpets, clothes, or bedding
  • Marking territory by unneutered male cat
  • Unneutered female cat might spray urine to attract a male cat
  • Health issues like UTI and bladder stones
  • You changed the variant of litter
  • Cat finds litter smell unpleasant
brown and white cat has peed on carpet

How to Properly Get Rid of Cat Pee Smell. The Steps:

Whatever the reason is for your cat peeing outside its litter box, the good news is you can get rid of the cat pee smell. Completely. And have the surfaces spotless clean. Let’s delve into it bit by bit starting with carpeted surfaces first.

Cleaning Cat Urine Odor from Carpet

Getting rid of the cat pee smell from your carpet can be challenging. Unlike hard surfaces, carpets have fibers that soak in the urine. The longer the urine is on the carpet, the higher the chance is for the pee to reach right to the carpet padding.

Things worsen further because cats have a superb sense of smell. If you do not get rid of the smell completely, your cat may well sniff at it later and see it as an invitation to pee there again. It becomes a vicious circle.

The only way to break it is by cleaning the carpet thoroughly. Deodorize completely to prevent any residue smell of urine that might prompt a return visit.

  • Your first step would be to remove the cat urine as soon you spot it. You can use paper towels and cold water to mop up.
  • Next, scrub the cat pee smell affected area thoroughly with club soda. Let it dry. You can also use an enzyme cleaner to eradicate the smell. The enzymes act on the acid in the pee while also neutralizing the odor causing bacteria.
  • If you are using club soda, follow it up with baking soda. Sprinkle it on the site and let it sink in to soak up all the lingering odor.
  • Complete the cleaning procedure with vacuuming.

Here is a cautionary note- go for wet vacuuming NOT steam cleaning. The heat of the steam will make the odor set in further.

Cleaning Cat Urine Odor from Non-Carpet Surfaces

If you thought cleaning cat pee from your favorite rug is quite a task, try cleaning from hardwood floors that aren’t sealed. Cats are cute. But even the fluffiest fur balls can stink up a place with their pee smell. 

If your kitty urinated on non-carpeted surfaces, you will need to clean it as per the surface type. Is it a hardwood floor?  Ceramic tile or lino? Each surface type has its own cleaning requirements. But there are a few things common. 

You will need non-ammonia and non-vinegar-based detergent or cleaning products in all cases. It can be as per your preference for all-natural homemade cleaners, commercial ones, or simple DIY fixes.

CAUTION: Whatever product you choose, make sure it doesn’t contain bleach. When you mix bleach with ammonia in cat urine, it creates dangerous gases.

cute black cat has peed on hardwood floor

Cleaning Hardwood Floors

Cleaning cat pee and the pungent cat pee smell from hardwood floors shouldn’t be a tough task, especially if the wooden floor is sealed. You will need a good-quality wooden floor cleaner, paper towels, and a pet deodorizer.

  • Clean the cat urine with the floor cleaner and mop-up with paper towels. Spray the deodorizer and leave it for a few minutes. Wipe off with a dry cloth.
  • In case your floors aren’t sealed, you will need to go a bit of extra length to clean the urine-soaked by the wood. For this, put white vinegar on the spot and let it sit for several minutes.
  • Use a paper towel to blot it. Scrub more white vinegar into the stain.
  • For the final cleaning step, lightly rinse the spot with little water. Mop the spot dry until you can’t feel any moisture. Follow it up with an enzymatic cleaner but do test it on the floor beforehand.

This method is apt for all porous surfaces like marble and wood. Make sure you aren’t using cleaners that have acid. They will be abrasive for the surface.

Ceramic Tiles and Lino

Ceramic tiles are easy to clean. You just need to wipe the pee off the surface, rinse thoroughly, and mop up the remaining liquid. You can use baking soda to get rid of the odor. But if your ceramic tiles aren’t glazed or the pee spreads to the grout, things can get pretty challenging. 

In that case:

  • Use clean water and paper towels to mop up the pee.
  • Make a thick paste of baking soda and water. Rub it into the grout.
  • Take a clean dry cloth or more paper towels to wipe off the paste.
  • Rinse thoroughly and sponge up all the liquid. Make sure you are using a pet-safe cleaner during rinsing.
  • Alternatively, you can also go for the final wash using bleach and water solution. You can prepare it by mixing one part bleach with eight parts water.

The above cleaning procedure is safe for Lino floors as well.

Cleaning Cat Urine Odor from Bedding and Clothes

Cats and their shenanigans! Leaving a heap of clothes on the floor or your laundry basket within the reach of your cat can bring in unpleasant results. Or odors! 

I don’t know what it is with cats and their penchant for using clothes as litter boxes. But hey, that’s a trade-off for having a goofy cute kitty to sparkle up your life.  

Ever wondered why cats urinate on your clothes and bedding? 

Turns out, it is their way of screaming for attention. Fewer meows and more pee! You need to clean your clothes and bedding instantly or the smell would set in. your first instinct would be to throw everything in the washing machine and voila!

But DON’T. That’s a big mistake. Washing urine-soaked clothing immediately in the machine will result in stink intensifying. Your other clothes in the machine would reek of urine smell as well as the odor will set. 

Nobody wants to walk around wearing socks smelling of cat pee. 

So, what should you do? Let the pee dry off on its own. NOPE!

  • First, blot the urine with paper towels. Rinse the affected part in cold running water. However tempted you are, do not scrub because it will cause the urine to soak further into the cloth fiber.
  • Now, soak the rinsed part in one part white vinegar mixed with three to four cups of water. You can also sprinkle baking soda on the stain. Let it sit for 15 minutes.
  • Now, your clothes and bedding are safe to wash in the machine. Make sure to run the washing machine on the cold water setting.
  • If you are washing only those clothes soiled by cat urine, you can simply add a quarter cup of apple cider vinegar to the wash cycle, along with the detergent. Your items would come out clean and fresh.

Exercise caution when dealing with delicate fabrics. If possible, hand wash them. Remember to NEVER use bleach as it produces dangerous gases on mixing with ammonia found in the cat urine. 

Baking soda cleans and deodorizes the urine smell from your clothes and bedding. You can use it in the way explained above or add it directly to your wash. If that seems like too much hassle, you can also purchase a detergent that has baking soda in it. 

You can try Arm & Hammer 4in1 Laundry Detergent Power Paks to wash your clothes and bedding. I highly recommend this product as it helped me get rid of a very tough and old pee stain and smell from my favorite pair of socks. I genuinely thought I might have to throw the pair away. 

The brand claims the detergent formula gets rid of the toughest stains. I find the claim to be true, at least in the case of my pretty bunny socks soiled by my cat. The detergent has baking soda in it, which serves the purpose of deodorizing well.

What I particularly like about this product is its lasting freshness. I have a sensitive nose and even slightly strong smells can give me a headache. This one didn’t. The brand attributes the cleaning prowess of the product to its five-fold action. It attacks tough odors, protects bright colors, fights stains that have set in, cleans, and freshens with a scent booster. This detergent has microcrystal consistency. The brand says these fast-dissolving microcrystals have 99% active ingredients to clean the toughest stains.

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The best part is you do not need to struggle with measuring spoons. There are pre-measured power paks inside. All you need to do is open and drop the power pak in your laundry pod. One pack is sufficient for a lightly soiled load or your regular load. You will need two paks for heavily soiled loads or your large loads. 

Several buyers liked the fact that you can use this detergent at all temperatures in all machines. Many buyers appreciated how the detergent completely dissolved in water. A few of them were impressed by the odor elimination power of the detergent. 

One user did express concern over finding clumps of powder stuck to the laundry. 

Overall, this product is definitely worth a try. It is affordable and you might actually love it.

Why you might love this detergent:

  • Dissolves completely in water
  • Cleans the toughest stain
  • Eliminates odor well
  • Pre-packaged power paks make it convenient to use
  • Smell is not overpowering

Conclusion: Cats are Still the Best

They are the fluffiest, cutest, and the loveliest! Just make sure you clean their litter box well and keep them intrigued. You won’t have many pee accidents in the house. In case of consistent inappropriate peeing without apparent reasons like a change in environment or bringing a new pet home, consult your vet.

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About the author

Mayurii Rajvanshi takes pride in being a content ninja, who is an avid animal lover. She has fostered numerous cats and developed in-depth knowledge of feline facts so she can write about cat health and cat care to help dispel myths with authentic information. Her aim is to encourage responsible pet parenting and cat adoption.