Why does my cat smell like urine?
If you found yourself asking this question or are in this predicament, do not despair as there are some very common reasons for a feline to emit this odor and some simple solutions to get rid of it. In this article we will cover the science behind the stench, reasons why your cat may smell of this bodily fluid and ways to combat the problem.
The Science Behind the Stench
When you’re in the midst of the “sniff” you may be wondering why cat pee smells so bad. It is not the urine itself that tends to smell (although, in some cases it can) it is the fact that some cats may not urinate inside the litter box, but rather on a carpet, in a corner or anywhere else that catches its feline fancy. Once the urine soaks into an object and begins to decay, the bacterium in the pee will give off that typical, tell-tale odor.
In addition, the second stage of decaying urine liquid waste is the mercaptans (this is the foul smell emitted by skunks) so the longer the decaying process is allowed to proceed (without being cleaned up) the more of the mercaptans will be produced.
5 Reasons Why Your Cat May Smell Like Urine
We know why cat urine stinks, now let’s explore the reasons why your cat may smell like urine:
- Matted Fur. If you have a long haired breed such as a Persian, you may notice the hair around its bottom has become matted. When this occurs the cat is unable to clean the area as thoroughly as it should, which can lead to urine becoming trapped in the fur.
- Overweight. Cats that tend to be overweight or suffer from obesity may have a harder time keeping their hindquarters clean.
- Urinary Tract Infection. The bacteria causing the infection can make your cat’s urine to emit a foul odor. In addition, once the infection is present, your cat may feel the need to urinate more often or may even dribble a little pee onto its skin and fur around the urethra.
- Arthritis Pain. Older cats or those that have experienced joint problems can develop arthritis. This painful condition can restrict your feline’s movements, especially towards the back end where urine and feces can collect.
- Chronic Illness. Cats that are not feeling well will reduce the amount of time they spend grooming themselves. The lack of daily grooming can lead to a strong urine smell on your cat.
What Should I Do If My Cat Smells Like Urine?
An obvious, if temporary, solution is to wash the cat with cat shampoo (we have used and like the John Paul Pet Shampoos).
In order to prevent the problem from reappearing you should first check out the cats its rear end. Are there matts that may be trapping the fluid? If so you will want to groom them out. You can do this yourself or enlist the help of a professional pet groomer. If you want to go DYI a pet grooming kit may be of help.
If your cat’s back end is free of matted hair, you will have to dig deeper for the cause of the problem. Watch its behavior for any changes in diet, litter box usage and general behavior. If you see changes in its normal behavior, make an appointment with your veterinarian. He will examine your pet and possibly take some blood work to pinpoint the cause. Once he has made a diagnosis, be sure to follow the care instructions to help eliminate the cause.
How to Eliminate the Smell of Cat Urine in Your Home
The trouble with cat pee on any surface is the longer it sits and stays, the stronger the odor becomes. For this reason you will want to clean it up as soon as possible.
There is the old standby of vinegar in a spray bottle to spot-spray and remove the smell. This works because vinegar is an acid that neutralizes the smell of fresh pee or the alkaline salts of old dried pee. If you have a larger area to cover you can use one part vinegar to one equal part of water. This is useful if you aren’t sure where the smell is coming from and want to do a general mop of floors and walls.
Enzyme-based cleaners are also effective in the treatment of cat pee. These specifically made products will change the organic make up of the urine, which can then be washed or mopped away. These can be purchased at your local pet retailer or online, a popular choice being the Stain & Odor Eliminator by Rocco and Roxie that is specially formulated for cat and dog urine.
No More Cat Smell
If your cat stinks of urine, then be sure to check her back end for matts. If this is all clear, then be sure to monitor her behavior and make an appointment with your veterinarian if needed. Remember, the cat urine smell will not go away on its own, so be proactive to clean it up and get Kitty checked out.