Tip Week!
Getting rid of cat pee smell

Before I get into today’s FANTASTIC post on cat pee, a reminder that I’m holding another workshop.  The Art of Doing MORE Stuff.  4 hour long classes of live, online video that will get your ass in gear.  I’ll teach you some basic tools and principals I use to get so much done. Many of my techniques have a basis in  Behavioral Activation, a psychological behavior therapy. Which sounds fancier than it actually is.  Doing stuff comes naturally to me, but I’ve discovered it doesn’t come naturally to a lot of people and most people need a little help.   The workshop includes 3 live video classes and one night on your own filling out a workbook that will help us figure out why you aren’t doing that stuff you want to do and how to get you to do it!  By the end of the course you’ll have a plan to accomplish 10 things on your to-do list.  3 of those 10 things will be accomplished, before the end of the course!  Find out more on the course page.

 

Onto the post!

 

I would like to describe to you what’s on my work desk right now.  I don’t have my cell phone handy otherwise I’d take a  picture. I don’t have my cell phone handy because it’s downstairs charging because my phone is so old it doesn’t hold a charge for longer than a few hours.  So basically it’s always charging and I’m always cursing that I don’t have it on hand to take a photo with.

My desk.

I have a long white, narrow desk from Ikea. My laptop sits in the centre of the desk.  To the left is a task lamp that I bought at a thrift store for $5.  Beside that is a bowl of half eaten peanuts in the shell, a paper bag filled with seeds I’m going to plant, a coupon for kitty litter, 2 camera memory cards and a pack of gum.  Filling up the right side of the desk is a calculator, 2 notebooks, a stack of bills that need to be paid, a television remote, a black printer cartridge that I bought which doesn’t actually fit into my printer, a 2 day old glass of water that has fluff floating in it and a cup filled with 11 Sharpies, 1 pencil and 2 pens that don’t work (yet I try to scribble things out with them every day).

My desk.  It would never pass the Pinterest test.  So why am I telling you about this you may ask?  Well it has nothing to do with my desk but everything to do with what’s on it.  In every post this week I’m going to be giving you a tip.  A little, stupid tip that will make your life just slightly easier and therefore allow you more time for things like doing your nails, watching The History Channel or spying on your neighbours.  And each of those tips are based on one of the items on my desk.

Today it’s the kitty litter coupon.  If you’ve been reading my blog for a long time or have gone through the archives you know I toilet trained my cats.

 

cleo-and-ernie

 

Which means that I taught them to hop up on the actual toilet, make pee pee, then hop off.  Prada, my huge black stray cat took to toilet training immediately.  Cleo, my little Siamese, not so much.  I eventually had to give up on the toilet training because Cleo was so opposed to it, half the time she’d run behind my dining room curtains and pee there.  It was my fault for toilet training her too early.  She was too small.  I traumatized her.  Which in the case of cats is something that can really happen, as opposed to children.  Children cannot be traumatized for life by toilet training.  How many adults do you know that crap behind a curtain because their mom tried to get them out of diapers too early?

 

 

Prada died, I ended up getting a new stray cat (that’s Ernie, the dirt coloured cat in the photo above) who was afraid of air let alone an actual toilet so I eventually gave up on toilet training. Which led me right back to the litter box of course.  The problem is … Cleo would always make her way behind the curtain.  If the litter wasn’t impeccable she’d go behind the curtain. If the litter box was moved by one inch she would go behind the curtain.  If she thought I’d wronged her in some way, she’d go behind the curtain.  I eventually realized that because of the smell she just figured that was the place to go. And I couldn’t find anything other than expensive enzyme cleaners to get rid of the smell.

That of course led me to the great Enzyme cleaner experiment of 2012, a SPECTACULAR failure indeed.  Then somewhere I came across this recipe for getting rid of pet pee smell.   I knew about for approximately 2 and a half years before I actually tried it because I couldn’t be bothered, I didn’t know if it would work and I couldn’t be bothered.  And I couldn’t be bothered. Until I could.

Last year some time after a particularly trying weekend with Cleo thinking I was considering getting a dog I couldn’t take the curtain pee anymore.  I mixed up the ingredients, sprayed the wood floor and have never looked back.

Pee-Potion

 

Just mix the ingredients together in a spray bottle and spray whatever it is that needs to be sprayed.  I’ve used it on fabric, wood floors and nylon.  The mixture also helps to lift staining along with the pee smell.  Just spray the area, wait for it to dry then vacuum or wipe away any white powder left (it’s the baking soda).

This easily works as well as the expensive enzyme cleaners and is definitely easier than letting citrus peels rot in a jar.

Coming up on Wednesday a printer miracle. Which has nothing to do with cat pee.
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71 Comments

  1. Becky says:

    Are there any problems with using this on fabrics? I’m wondering about my couch, which doubles as the dogs bed when I’m not looking, that now smells of dog.

    • Karen says:

      I use it on my curtains and it’s fine, but do a little test are first to be sure. ~ karen!

    • pauline says:

      would this cleaner work on concrete outside a basement window??? it appears cats have decided to pee near one of my windows on the driveway…

  2. Jamie says:

    It also works like a charm if your dog happens to get too well acquainted with the back end if a skunk 🙂

  3. Valerie says:

    Thank you for the cat pee remover recipe.
    The potion you have posted is probably very effective however on a rug or curtains do you think that the peroxide may have a bleaching effect? I had a cat that in its senior year sprayed. That cat now resides with the choir invisible. I looked up various ‘treatments’ for the residue. You guessed it – every single one suggested vinegar and ammonia which does not work. Actually this combination smells exactly just like cat pee.
    What was effective was FANTASTIC. The ingredients in this cleaning product contain TSP which is probably why it was effective particularly on surfaces that could be bleached by other products.
    Regarding your non working pens: pass the tip of the pen over a flame for about 2 -3 seconds. If there is ink left in the pen it will now work.

    • Karen says:

      Huh! I’ll give the pen thing a shit immediately! Well not immediately but when I’m done answering your comment. I use the spray on my curtains and it’s fine. No bleaching or anything. But do a little test area to make sure. ~ karen!

      • Cred says:

        i have to ask because it seems to have gone unnoticed….

        “I’ll give the pen thing a shit immediately”
        Whaaaaat? I actually try looking this up to see if its urban slang that I’d never heard of.
        Haha!

  4. Christy says:

    Has she stopped peeing behind the curtain now that the scent has been removed?

  5. Sherry says:

    I’m still chuckling at the dirt colored cat being afraid of the air………..
    I lived with a cat for 7 years who was afraid of everything. The only time I even got to touch her was at night once I was tucked up for sleep. She would appear and curl next to me. If I’d been very, very good, I might stroke her a bit. Probably the only feral cat to be a live in. No point here, I just thought you might like to know there are others who keep strange cats.
    I plan on putting your post on my How To board…. See if it gets as many pins as the lazy-susan.

  6. Pam'a says:

    Excellent tip!

    I’m not surprised to learn that this holy trinity of cleaning substances is capable of conquering the WORST SMELL ON EARTH, and I’ll be giving it a whirl on a couple of corners. I’m curious as to whether the magic properties will fade as the peroxide deteriorates– It loses its oomph rather quickly, or so I’ve heard, which is why they sell it in opaque bottles.

    My point being, if the solution ever *stops* working wonders, that’s probably the culprit.

  7. Stephbo says:

    I had a horrific incident with one of my dogs, resulting in a very large, very dark stain on our wood floors in the house we rent. I ended up making a poultice out of this mixture, and it lightened right up AND took the smell out. It’s awesome!

  8. Patty says:

    This is such a timely post, you’ll never know. My (elderly) cat recently decided close is good enough and I don’t even care if it bleaches a pure white circle around the entire litter box. Bless you, my dear.

  9. Auntiepatch says:

    Our old cat started having seizures and whenever/where ever she was when it happened her bladder would empty. After a series of Grand Mal seizures we had to have her put to sleep because they were too hard on her. So, I thank you for taking the time to post this for us. I will mix up a batch tomorrow morning and give it a try.

  10. Diana says:

    You must of been reading my mind. The foster cat I have is going back to his owner (he had some bill issues ), so he moved in with my daughter and her hubs. Well for 3 years the cat went from home to home, then landed with me. He peed all over the bed in the guest room which was his room but not to pee all over the bed. So I was wondering how I was going to clean up that room (the bed goes !!).
    Now I know and knowing is half the battle, the room is having all the furniture taken out and the carpet completely done with this now that I have found it after he leaves. We are going to repaint the room as well !LOL
    I always taught my cats to be civil and use the boxes; this one cat I think will need a cat Dr before its all done and said in his life ! Poor thing .. Thanks for the recipe !!! “-)

  11. Claire says:

    I’ll definitely have to try this. Our little white girl cat is super fussy when it comes to litter boxes. It’s actually gotten to the point where we have 3 litter boxes for the one cat (which, thankfully, seems to work).

    • Carswell says:

      My Siamese was very fussy – but his fastidious nature led him to perch on the side of the box to do his business not to reject the box entirely. In fact, he’d perch when the box was freshly cleaned.

      He never covered his stuff either – he’d walk around to a clean part of the box and wave his paw over it in an homage to burying it but never actually touch the litter. No litter was ever going to get between his delicate toes. LOL

      • Karen says:

        Cleo (my siamese) perches too! It must be a thing. ~ karen

      • Aspasia says:

        That actually sounds really cute, but it made me wonder whether the texture of the litter is the reason your kitty (and Karen’s) won’t step in it. Maybe trying a new type of litter (like newsprint litter or wheat litter if you’re currently using clay) would help. Cats–the great mystery 🙂

      • Violet says:

        Try a different type of litter, it may not like the texture or scent. They make litter out of many different materials now. Declawed cats are said to have a problem with traditional litter.

  12. Tigersmom says:

    I’m going to try this on a dog pee spot. My ladies are pretty good now, but weren’t at first…

  13. jainegayer says:

    I’ve been using this for years. Also works well for puppy pee.

  14. TeePee says:

    I too trained my cat to use the toilet. I also trained him to flush the toilet after he did his thing. After a couple months, I noticed that the water bill was way up. I finally found that he enjoyed watching the water swirl down the drain and kept flushing the toilet all day while I was at work. I think it was harder to train him to go back to the litter box than to use the toilet.

  15. laura n says:

    My 16 year old pom is having problems with holding…..we need this. Just in time.

    • Karen says:

      I … I thought you wrote “My 16 year old porn …”, lol. ~ karen!

    • Mary says:

      Laura, look up belly bands (for males) or they have diapers for females. Has helped me a million times. I foster for a rescue so we get older dogs that have never lived inside and take a bit longer to train.

  16. Dan says:

    Will have to give it a go in the baby’s room, after her recent retelling of The Exorcist.

  17. Vicky says:

    We have a crazy cat who thinks the world is her litter box. I’ve never had a cat poop outside the box before. I’ll give this a shot to see if she is using the spot because of the smell left there.

  18. I had to use this on our poor dog years ago, after he encountered a skunk….but not just once, they say three times a charm.

    • Tina says:

      A skunk got one of my dogs 23 times during one summer. The other dog figured out that the odd-looking cat was to be avoided after the first five sprays. The hydrogen peroxide + dish soap + baking soda + water works really well for skunk stank.

      • Karen says:

        23 times? 23 TIMES?!!! Yikes! ~ karen

      • Carla says:

        My former dog, Paco, NEVER learned to leave skunks alone, so I had to give him the above (very effective) treatment many times. He was a cairn terrier mix who looked like Benji, so as the summer progressed, he got blonder and blonder and blonder – very glamorous 🙂

  19. Cel says:

    I want to try the cat pee potion, but I’m still stuck trying to picture “half eaten peanuts in the shell.” How did they get half-eaten if they’re still in the shell? Or are the shells half-eaten, too?

    😀

  20. Barngirl in Texas says:

    Hi, Karen,

    I have successfully used full-strength white vinegar on several fabrics anointed with cat pee; however, I will definitely save this recipe. I haven’t had to deal with pee on wood or items that couldn’t be washed. Love your site.

  21. Rondina says:

    No pee smell here, but your desk sound suspiciously clean to me.

  22. Cred says:

    I have heard of this combo for skunk smell. My brother in law said it was the only of many remedies that worked on their dog- ever better than the expensive stuff they bought at the vet.
    But good to know that it seems to be a general purpose enzyme cleaner replacement.

  23. Debbie says:

    I have used peroxide before and it worked pretty amazing on its own, but I am going to try this the next time we have a cat or puppy ooooopsie! I’m thinking this might be okay to use on animals… my beabull pup loves to rub himself in all things disgusting, including cat pee. It’s awful when your dog smells like cat pee! And it’s funny how cats are so particular about their potty routine – and then there is my puppy that poops, turns around and yup, decides it might make a good snack. lol it’s no wonder cat’s think they are superior to dogs!

  24. Lisa E says:

    Karen, do you know if this works for older set in stains?

    • Karen says:

      Those are harder Lisa E, but it will lighten if not completely eliminate the stain. Sometimes when things are that bad you have to sand it down and refinish. ~ karen!

  25. Theresa says:

    Oooh, thanks for the tip. I always buy Oxyclean or whatever Pet Odor spray but this sounds a lot more economical. I will try it next time one of my fur babies is naughty!

  26. laura n says:

    Mary, I will get diapers. Our carpet needs to be replaced. Holding off because of cost issues. I am afraid she will chew off.

  27. Jennie Lee says:

    Perfect timing! I am in the middle of a “ditch the carpet and enjoy the beautiful oak” project-3 rooms worth. And I was just about to give up on a black area caused by cat pee and wax over it. Thanks! Let me give you a tip, in gratitude: you can get name brand cell phone batteries and just about every pen refill ever made on eBay CHEAP! (Also exotic camera batteries and watch batteries, for that matter. I once got 50 assorted watch batteries for $5. I used to go to a lot of yard sales and find watches for $1 that just needed one of my 10 cent batteries. I also like using NICE pens and pencils, like Cross, Parker, Waterman, Sheaffer, etc. I donated all the cheap pens my Dad had compulsively bought to my workplace, The Land of Lost Pens, and now every pen and pencil I own is beautiful. And writes.) 🙂

  28. Cheryl says:

    Gonna give this a try! Our 19 yr old has taken to sleeping directly in front of the wood stove all winter, and has peed on the hearth a few times (I think she get so warm and cosy she’s not venturing to the litter box). Despite cleaning with enzyme cleaners it still happens so we’ve given up and just put down “pee pads” which allows us to simply toss out the mess in the morning. Come spring, I don’t want her thinking that this is the new place to pee, so it will be good to get that odour out fully.

  29. Jody says:

    I am so going to give this a try. Nothing in the world like a disturbed cat peeing on your brand new sofa, newly upholstered chair and leather chair. Professional cleaning helped but the fragrance really comes out when the weather gets humid.

  30. Sagas of Pee and Poo

    When we moved into our house, the first thing Harman did was hire two men to dig a trench and install a cat tunnel, made of 10″ PVC pipe, leading from our kitchen, down about 3′, across about 35′ of lawn, and back up into the side of the garage. We keep the litter boxes there. The cats were initially completely averse to the tunnel, but eventually they figured it out and it became second nature to them. Of course, in spite of the fact that we spent $300 on a Cat Genie (an entirely self-cleaning cat box, totally genius invention, highly recommend), one of our cats, Remie, only used it for peeing. For pooping? She used the entire rest of the garage. As long is it wasn’t inside the house, we just grumbled and cleaned it up. Then our other cat, Isabel, started peeing on the stove. In our kitchen. On my burners. Apparently that’s a thing. I looked it up. Anyway, after several months of covering the stove with inverted sheet pans every night, we finally rehomed Isabel. She is actually very happy now living around the corner from us with a very nice lady, and she doesn’t pee on her stove. Now we had to figure out what to do about Remie pooping all over the garage. So recently we built an enclosure for her so that when she exits the cat tunnel on the garage side, she can access only the area of the garage immediately adjacent to her box. She pooped on the floor. So then we attached some leftover 10″ PVC pipe to the end of her cat tunnel, leading directly to the cat box itself. This worked for a while, but then she started skirting the box and circling round to poop on the floor. Next up, another barrier forcing her to poop in the box or not have any room to poop at all. I will let you know how this works out. (I really recommend the Cat Genie. It hooks up to a water source and a sewer line–some people just use a spare toilet, most people use laundry hook ups. The Cat Genie literally scoops and discards poop down the sewer line, washes the litter–special plastic cat litter granules–and then dries them. The cleaning process is activated by the cat using the box, so it cleans itself every time it’s used, and so is never in any way compromised.)

    • Diane says:

      Some cats are afraid of automatic cleaners. Maybe that’s why Remie doesn’t poop in it? Maybe it has caught him, uh, at a bad time when he was going?

      • Nope, the Cat Genie has sensors that detect when a cat is in the box and won’t run until ten minutes after the cat leaves the box. Remie actually does use the box, but she seems to have been habituated to the garage floor for some reason. She pees in the box, and lately (this very morning, actually) I saw poop in the Cat Genie. But she is also pooping and peeing elsewhere, alas.

  31. Donna says:

    Never be without peroxide, it cleans everything, blood on rugs, dog vomit on the car seat, try it when nothing else works.

  32. Jeannie says:

    Karen,

    Has Cleo always had potty box issues? If this is recent she may have a health issue. On Christmas Eve our 7 year old cat jumped on the coffee table squatted and let loose. Ater a trip to the vet she was diagnosed with renal failure. A special diet and fluids every other day, no more potty box issues.

  33. Kathy Hartzell says:

    According to Jolie Kerr, author of What to do When your Boyfriend Barfs in your Handbag, cleaning up cat pee with vinegar is counterproductive. Apparently there is something about vinegar that actually incites the cat to re pee the area.

    Just sayin’

  34. Joy says:

    That’s the solution for skunk spray, too! I would have never thought of using it on cat pee. I’ll try it out in my garage. The outside cat likes to sneak in and do his business right next to my treadmill if someone leaves a door open. Hiss! 🙂

  35. Bobbi says:

    I have 4 cats and am constantly cleaning up pee and poop. I have all my shredded furniture covered with inexpensive quilts so I can launder them when a cat (identity unknown) sprays. Yes, they are all spayed/neutered, and have been checked for UTI’s. One cat refuses to poop in the litter box, no matter what type of litter I try, and occasionally I find pee on the floor in a bedroom. It is a never ending battle, but I fight every day. I have 5 litter boxes, so everyone should be happy, but not so much. Will give this a try, Karen. I have used many products, but feel that really it is just temperament, not lingering odors that drive these cats to do what they do.

  36. Shauna says:

    This recipe seems to be good for so much. I’ve seen it in various places lately – pinterest of course, but on a kid show called the Wild Kratts where they teach kids all about various animals. One show was about getting the smell of skunk out of something. It was a mythbusters type of episode really because they tried all sorts of things, but it was this concoction that did it. So, it seems that it works on the worst of smells – cat pee and skunk odor.

  37. Jules says:

    Next challenge: how do you stop them from peeing in plants? Cause this special sauce sounds amazing but I can’t spray it on my plants (right?).

    • Frances says:

      I made little bonnets out of black landscape cloth for the houseplants my cats can reach. Just cut a circle a few inches bigger than your pot, cut a center hole and a slit (a la an outdoor tablecloth designed for an umbrella), install on the pot and tie it on with twine. It looks a little like those cloth caps they put on old-fashioned jam jars but it keeps the cats — and toddlers — out and you can water through it. Win.

  38. Nancy Blue Moon says:

    Sorry I’m late for this…Thanks for the tip..I will mix some up..I think Ernie’s fur is gorgeous..and of course Cleo is pretty..she is Siamese..she can’t help but be pretty..I also love your headboard..very nice..

  39. Janet says:

    Hmmmmmmm, I have to try that…my chihuahuas think peeing is for inside and lounging is for outside. The last time I went into Yankee Candle with my husband the girl asked what kind of smell we were interested in and my hubs said “dog pee scent”…it’s what were used to!

  40. Lindsey says:

    So the peroxide totally works. We had our litter box in a closet at our last house (a rental) and my elderly cranky cat Chunky ruined the hardwood in there. We poured peroxide on the floor multiple times and watched it bubble and the cat pee rise up to be mopped up.
    At the current house Chunky took to peeing in the dog’s beds or random corners or just next to the litter box when she wasn’t happy. I scoured so many different sites and tried a wheat litter for a while until I found roaches going mad eating it one night. What finally worked was this miracle cat litter I found on Amazon. She has never peed outside of the box again! It’s a miracle in and of itself because the room where the litter box resides was once covered in pee by the last owner’s cat. I’m currently chipping away at the tile in that room and the smell is so bad it burns my nose!

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0009X29WK/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o01_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

  41. Olga says:

    I’m going to try this mixture on human pee smell. I have 6 year old boy who seems to miss the last (or first) drops of his pee into the toilet. . And then our bathroom ends up smelling like a public restroom in the train station, even though it gets cleaned on weekly basis. I’ll report back…

  42. Kristen says:

    Thanks. This definitely is good at ridding the initial urea smell. However, it doesn’t break down the uric acid, which has a natural half-life of six years. After a while, the uric acid may re-crystallize, especially in humidity. Sometimes, humans can smell this. Cats definitely can and may re-urinate on the spot. In order to break down the uric acid, you will need an enzyme cleaner. I don’t recommend citrus or limonene, however, as those are highly toxic to cats. Our cats pee on anything –no matter if it has previously been peed on or not — so we do use the vinegar/ baking-soda solution often to eliminate the urea/ammonia smell for our sakes, and that has been working well.

  43. Rachel says:

    This recipe is good for basic stuff, when you catch it right away. For serious problems (i.e. our new house used to be the crazy-cat-hoarder-lady-house. It was as a short sale/foreclosure situation in a tight market and we only got to see the inside of the house once before buying. . .and we thought they just liked incense, but 6 months later when we moved in, we could smell the house down the block on a summer day. Cat pee so bad it was visible leaking down the foundation of the house through the floorboards and saturated the ceilings of the floor below.

    We were at the point where it was either find a solution or level the house.
    We found a product called Odormute. You can get it on Amazon. I sprayed this at “skunk strength” three times over the whole foundation inside and out and it saved us having to level the house It took 2 $14 boxes to cover our 2000 square foot house.. . .it’s basically the same stuff as above, but with enzymes. Be really careful to mix it so the water is hot enough to activate the enzymes but not to hot to “kill” them. 2 years later and we only have to spot treat areas that were missed in the initial three treatments.

  44. Janis says:

    Hi i’ve got a dog that’s been peeing in my basement on my concrete floors, sometimes the cats will do it to. it smells horrible in my basement and when it’s humid the smell wafts up into the house yuck, so anyways i was wondering if you thought this mixture would work on my concrete floors? Thanks 🙂

  45. Kenneth says:

    Use 3% hydrogen peroxide not the regular kind

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