What Gets Rid Of Cat Spray Smell?

Understanding Cat Spraying

Cat spraying, also known as urine marking, is when a cat urinates small amounts of urine around an area to mark territory. Unlike regular urination, spraying is not done out of necessity to empty the bladder. There are several key reasons cats engage in this behavior:

Territorial Marking – Spraying is a way for cats to mark their territory, especially if they feel their space is being encroached. Intact males who have not been neutered are especially prone to spraying for territorial reasons.

Stress – Changes to their environment, adding new pets, conflict with other cats, or anxiety can lead to stress that causes a cat to spray. It’s a way for them to feel more secure and leave their scent.

Medical Conditions – Issues like urinary tract infections, kidney disease or diabetes can increase spraying behavior in cats. The underlying condition leads to more frequent urination and inappropriate elimination.

Cats usually target prominent objects or areas near entryways when spraying, like walls, furniture, curtains, doors, windows, electrical equipment, or shopping bags. Vertical surfaces in high traffic areas tend to be sprayed most frequently.

There are some key differences when it comes to spraying behavior in male vs. female cats [1]:

– Male cats that have not been neutered are much more likely to spray than neutered males or females. Intact males use spraying for marking territory and to advertise for mates.

– Approximately 10% of neutered male cats and 5% of spayed female cats spray. The territorial marking reasons are still present even after fixing.

– Overall, the number of males that spray is about twice as high as the number of females that spray.

Preventing Cat Spraying

There are several steps you can take to prevent or reduce cat spraying in your home:

Spay/Neuter Your Cat
Spaying or neutering your cat is one of the most effective ways to stop spraying behaviors. Unaltered cats are more likely to spray to mark their territory. Spaying or neutering will reduce these urges. Talk to your vet about the best time to spay or neuter your cat.

Provide Enrichment
Make sure your cat has plenty of stimulation and enrichment. Provide scratching posts, cat trees, toys, and play time. A bored cat is more likely to spray. Engage your cat daily with interactive play sessions.

Reduce Stress
Stress is a common trigger for spraying. Try to minimize changes and disruptions in your home. Create a predictable routine for feeding, play time, and interaction. Provide a quiet space where your cat can relax. Use pheromone diffusers or sprays to help calm your cat.

Clean Previously Sprayed Areas
Thoroughly clean any areas where your cat has sprayed with an enzymatic cleaner designed to neutralize cat urine smells. This will help prevent your cat from being drawn back to spray there again.[1]

Cleaning Products for Cat Spray

When it comes to cleaning products for cat spray, enzymatic cleaners are often considered the best option. Enzymatic cleaners work by breaking down the uric acid in cat urine into harmless byproducts. Popular enzymatic cleaners for cat spray include Nature’s Miracle and Anti Icky Poo.

Hydrogen peroxide is another effective cleaning agent for cat spray. When hydrogen peroxide reacts with the uric acid in urine, it breaks down the acid and helps remove stains and odors. Use a 3% solution and test on a small area first.

Baking soda can be used to absorb and neutralize odors from cat spray. Allow the baking soda to sit for several hours to absorb the odor before vacuuming up. It’s best used in conjunction with an enzymatic cleaner.

White vinegar is a natural deodorizer that can help remove smells left behind by cat spray. Mix equal parts vinegar and water and wipe down affected areas. Rinse thoroughly afterwards.

Avoid using products containing ammonia when cleaning cat spray. The smell of ammonia is similar to the smell of urine to a cat, and can actually encourage additional spraying behavior.

Removing Cat Spray Smell

The first step in removing cat spray smell is to locate all soiled areas. Cat urine can soak into soft fabrics like carpet and upholstery, so check carefully for wet spots. Use a blacklight to identify urine stains, as cat urine will glow under blacklight.

Once you’ve located the soiled areas, blot up any excess liquid with paper towels. Try not to rub or scrub the area, as this can push the urine deeper into the carpet or fabric.

After blotting, pre-treat the area with an enzymatic cleaner specifically designed for cat urine, like Nature’s Miracle. These cleaners contain active enzymes that break down the compounds in urine that cause odors.

For carpets and upholstery, use an extractor or wet vacuum to draw out as much of the urine as possible after pre-treating. This helps remove urine that has soaked down into the carpet fibers and backing.

Finally, allow sufficient time for the enzymatic cleaner to work. It may take several hours or overnight for the enzymes to fully neutralize and eliminate the odor. You may need to reapply and extract multiple times for severe or persistent smells.

Homemade Cleaning Solutions

There are several effective homemade solutions for cleaning and removing cat spray odors including:

Vinegar and water – Mix equal parts white vinegar and water in a spray bottle. Spritz the mixture directly onto affected areas and let sit for 5-10 minutes before wiping and allow to fully dry. The acidic vinegar helps neutralize urine odors. Source

Hydrogen peroxide and baking soda – Combine 1 part 3% hydrogen peroxide with 1 part water and stir in a few tablespoons of baking soda to form a paste. Spread the paste on sprayed areas, let sit for 5 minutes and wipe clean with a damp cloth. The baking soda absorbs odors while the peroxide disinfects. Source

Essential oils – Oils like lavender, lemon, and tea tree can help mask urine odors. Add 5-10 drops of oil to the vinegar cleaning solution or baking soda paste. Avoid using on surfaces that may stain. The oils provide additional odor fighting power. Source

Odor Neutralizing Products

There are several types of odor neutralizing products that can help remove cat spray smells:

Odor Absorbing Gels and Powders

Odor absorbing gels and powders like Fresh Kitty Gel and Arm & Hammer Clump & Seal Slide Odor Absorbing Cat Litter Deodorizer can be sprinkled on areas where your cat has sprayed to help soak up odors trapped in carpets, furniture, and other porous surfaces. The gels and powders contain activated charcoal or baking soda to neutralize odors.

Odor Eliminating Sprays

Odor eliminating sprays like Nature’s Miracle Just for Cats Stain & Odor Remover and Bissell Pet Stain & Odor Remover can be sprayed directly onto affected areas. These sprays use natural enzymes that break down the compounds causing odors from cat urine, feces, vomit, etc. They are safe to use on most surfaces.

Scented Plug-ins

Scented plug-in diffusers like PetMate Scent Control Kitty Tales Freshening Kitty Frame and Comfy Cat Air Freshener can help mask litter box odors. Look for fragrances that are appealing to humans but not overpowering for your cat.

Repeated Spray Areas

If your cat keeps spraying the same areas repeatedly, there are some strategies you can try to discourage this behavior.

First, it’s important to rule out any medical causes. Take your cat to the vet to make sure there are no underlying health issues leading to the repeated spraying (Source).

Trying synthetic pheromones like Feliway can help reduce stress and anxiety that may be causing your cat to excessively mark their territory (Source). Spray pheromones in problem areas to help calm your cat.

You can also try restricting access to regularly sprayed spots by closing doors or placing furniture in the way. This removes the temptation and makes the spot less appealing.

Punishment rarely works to stop this behavior long-term. It’s better to focus on addressing the underlying motivation through things like pheromones, environmental changes, and vet visits.

When to Call the Vet

If your cat starts exhibiting sudden changes in their litter box habits, it’s important to contact your veterinarian. Some signs that warrant a vet visit include:

  • Sudden change in litter box habits – For example, if your cat has always used their litter box consistently and then starts urinating outside of it, this indicates a potential medical issue.
  • Only spraying in one spot – If your cat is spraying urine repeatedly in just one area of your home, this could signal an underlying condition causing them to return to that spot.
  • Urinating outside the litter box – Cats who previously used their litter box well and have now switched to urinating in unacceptable areas need to be evaluated by a vet.

According to Hill’s Pet Nutrition, inappropriate urination can be caused by abnormalities anywhere in a cat’s urinary tract. It’s important to have them examined in order to pinpoint the cause and get proper treatment.

Don’t delay – make an appointment with your veterinarian as soon as you notice any unusual litter box habits. The sooner your cat is evaluated, the better the chances of effectively treating any underlying medical issue.

Preventing Re-Spraying

Once you have cleaned up the mess from a cat’s spraying, it’s crucial to take steps to prevent them from re-spraying the same areas. Here are some tips:

Clean soiled areas thoroughly. Use an enzymatic cleaner designed for pet stains and odors. According to Elanco, enzymatic cleaners help break down the pheromones in cat urine so your cat is less likely to be drawn back to spray the area again.

Use synthetic pheromones. Try a product like Feliway, which mimics cat facial pheromones to help provide comfort. Plug in the Feliway diffuser near frequently sprayed spots. The pheromones can help relieve stress that may cause marking.

Provide environmental enrichment. Make sure your cat has plenty of stimulating toys, climbing structures, and scratching posts. Rotate toys to keep them interesting. Giving them positive outlets helps curb stress and anxiety that can lead to spraying.

Living with a Sprayer

Some cats become devoted sprayers despite efforts to curb the behavior. While it’s best to address the root cause and stop the unwanted spraying, sometimes modifying your home environment is also necessary in the meantime.

Because spraying is triggered by territorial and anxiety-based emotions, the first step is caring for your cat’s emotional wellbeing. Give them lots of affection and playtime to reduce stress. You can also try synthetic cat pheromones like Feliway to provide comfort.

Next, focus on reducing triggers in the home:

  • Clean litter boxes daily to keep areas tidy. Cats prefer using clean boxes.
  • Block off common spray areas like walls, furniture, or doors. You can use shelves, storage bins, or other barriers.
  • Keep your cat away from windows where they can see outdoor animals. Limit their view with curtains or contact paper.

With some adjustments and patience, it’s possible to peacefully cohabitate with a spraying cat. But if the issue persists, consult your veterinarian or cat behaviorist for targeted advice.

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