Monday, July 4, 2011

How To Remove Cat Urine Smell From Carpets

Cats certainly make great companions and are a wonderful addition to the family. However, there are situations where your cat may have urinated outside the litterbox and the one of the worst places for a cat to urinate is on the carpet. If this does happen to you, it is very important to remove the cat urine immediately while the area is fresh because the longer the urine remains on the carpet, the more difficult it will be to remove the urine smell from the carpet.

If you witness your cat urinating on the carpet, immediately pick the cat up and bring it to the litterbox. This will help reinforce the proper place for elimination. Do not yell at or scold the cat for urinating outside the litterbox, as this almost never works and will only increase your cat's anxiety. Cats generally do not understand why they are being scolded, and the result can make your cat afraid of you. Immediately blot the area with paper towels removing as much of the urine as you possibly can. Do not rub the carpet, make sure you blot, as rubbing will only make the area bigger. Place the paper towels on the floor and step on them, as the more pressure you can apply, the more of the urine you will be able to remove from the carpet fibers. The next thing you should do if your cat suddenly starts urinating on the carpet and not in its litterbox, is contact your vet. Cats often develop urinary tract infections, and this type of behavior change is often your cats way of trying to tell you something is wrong. If your cat does have an infection, a trip to the vet will solve the problem with appropriate medication to treat the infection. The next step is to effectively locate and remove the cat urine smell from the carpet.

To locate all the areas where your cat has urinated on the carpet, a black light is the most effective method. Use the black light in the dark, and the cat urine stains will illuminate so you can easily identify the spots. Once all the areas have been identified, you can begin treating the urine stains to remove the smell.

There are lots of commercial enzyme based products available that you can purchase in most pet stores, but they can be expensive and not always very effective in completely removing the urine odor. If you do not remove the smell completely, the cat will most likely continue to urinate in that spot over and over again for the simple fact that the area smells like their urine. If you are purchasing products to remove the urine smell and they are not effective, you may end up spending more money than you care to, only to be left with the same problem. There are homemade recipes available to remove cat urine smell from carpets that are often effective using products you probably already have in your home.

One effective method requires hot water, white vinegar, baking soda, 3% hydrogen peroxide and regular dish detergent. (do not use the kind you put in your dishwasher) Start by mixing one half white vinegar with one half hot water. You can either put this into a spray bottle, or just pour the mixture directly onto the cat urine stain and saturate the area. Allow this to sit for at least a few minutes or you can allow the area to dry.(using a blowdryer can speed up the drying process) If you choose not to let the area dry, make sure you blot area with paper towels until dry. The vinegar will neutralize the strong ammonia smell of the urine. The next step is to generously sprinkle the area with baking soda, making sure you use a good amount. The next step can be done with or without hydrogen peroxide but is more effective in killing bacteria that produce odor if you do use it.****Just make sure that you test an inconspicuous small area of your carpet with the hydrogen peroxide and let this area set overnight before applying to urine stains to make sure it will not bleach the color out of your carpet!**** If any distortion of the color of your carpet occurs with testing, do not use the hydrogen peroxide! Mix 1/3 cup of hydrogen peroxide with one teaspoon regular dish detergent and apply in a small amount on top of the baking soda, adding more of the mixture to form a paste with the baking soda. Then, use an old toothbrush to scrub the area thoroughly.(You can use your fingers to do this but if you do make sure you wear gloves) Allow the area to dry completely and then vaccum it up. For more persistent stains, you may need to repeat this process more than once to completely remove the cat urine smell from the carpet. Do not use any ammonia based products to clean the stained areas as urine also smells like ammonia and this will not deter your cat from continuing to go there. I recommend following up with an enzyme based commercial product to further treat the area and deter the cat from that area. **Keep in mind that it might not be possible to completely remove the urine smell from the carpet if the carpet has been severely urinated on or repeatedly urinated on. The longer the urine sits on the carpet, the further it will penetrate to the underlying surfaces such as the carpet backing, mat, and the wood floor below. If the carpet has been repeatedly used as a litterbox, you may need to remove the affected areas completely or even replace the carpet. Depending on the surface underneath the carpet, it too, may need to be replaced if the urine has penetrated it.**

Once you remove the cat urine smell from your carpet, you want to make sure you take the necessary steps to prevent your cat from doing this again. Once you have had your cat checked at the vet and any possible medical cause has been ruled out, you need to be attentive to your cat and make sure you clean out its litterbox on a daily basis. This is very important as cats are very clean animals and do not like a dirty litter box. If the box is offensive to them, they will find another place to go to the bathroom and your troubles will start all over again. If you know you keep a nice, clean litterbox, then try using a different type of cat litter. Perhaps the fragrance of your current brand is too strong or undesirable to your cat. Cat litters also come in a variety of textures and your cat may not like the texture of the cat litter you are using. If it is bothersome or irritating to the cats feet, they may not want to walk on it. This is especially true if your cat has been declawed as their feet are more sensitive. You can also try moving the litterbox to a more quiet and private area of your home. Cats like privacy too. You may also want to consider the litterbox you are using. If your cat is older or has arthritis, you want the box to not have high sides because it may be difficult or uncomfortable for a senior cat to step in and out of the box. All of these issues can be possible reasons why your cat has stopped using the litterbox. If you continue to have an issue with you cat urinating outside the litterbox, consult with your vet

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