Do you want to bring a new kitty home and do not know what to expect with the cat-urine odor? You might wonder, what does cat pee smell like? Equally, you might want to know how to ensure your cat always goes inside the litter box all the time.
The truth is that cat pee smell can be tough to get rid of, and air fresheners do very little to cover the smell.
What is essential to know is what cat urine smells like, thereby identifying where and when your cat pees. After all, regardless of whether your cat pees or sprays on the couch, beddings, clothes, curtains, carpet, or hardwood floors, you will have to seek dependable ways to neutralize the smell and entice your cat to use the litter more.
If you want to keep a cat for an extended period, you must clean well and manage cat urine in and around your home. Cat pee odor in the house is the main reason pet owners abandon, give out or euthanize their cats.
Why Foul Smelling Cat Urine Is A Persistent Issue In Many Homes With Cats
Cat pee is foul smelling because it contains urea and nitrogen compounds that bacteria decompose bacteria to form ammonia. The strong, pungent cat urine is because of ammonia.
Over time, the bacteria around the cat urine continues to decompose, releasing a strong and ammonia-like smell that gets worse each time you smell it. The breakdown of urea to ammonia through bacterial action is the leading cause of the horrible smell in cat urine.
Also, cat urine contains the communication chemical pheromones they use to interact with other cats and mark territory. Pheromones give cat urine an even more pungent smell.
Cat urine smell also varies with the age and the sex of the cat. It also matters if the cat is natured or spayed to tone down the cat’s spraying behavior. Other factors influencing cat pee smell include the cat’s stress levels, dietary plan, medication (if any), and sometimes, the length of fur (breed).
So, what does cat pee smell like? There is no one straight-forward answer as you will see below.
#1. Why Does Cat Pee Smell Like Ammonia
Why does my cat’s pee smell like ammonia? Cat pee has a strong, pungent smell that feels like a burning sensation in your nose. It is because cat pee contains some ammonia.
Additionally, cat urine smells like ammonia because it has 2% urea, which naturally decomposes to cyanate, which later decomposes freely into carbon dioxide and ammonia. Addictionally, the decompositon of urea also releases mercaptans, ammoniacal smell like skunk spray.
Furthermore, cat urine also contains some uric acid, which bacteria decompose to produce volatile fatty acids and ammonia.
Ammonia smell in cat urine dangerous side effects include causing health issues in human beings. For instance, ammonia can trigger asthma and allergy symptoms in certain people in our homes. Additionally, it can irritate our eyes, throat, or nose. In extreme scenarios, the ammonia smell in cat urine is dangerous because it can cause severe headaches.
#2. Why Cat Pee Smells Like Sulphur
Cat urine contains about 0.18% sulfur compounds. Among other roles, the work of sulfates in the cat’s body is to help in cell growth, synthesis of blood vessels, healing of wounds, hydration of the eye, and the mucus membrane. These sulfates are found as waste in urine.
Also, when cat pee smells like sulfur, it is because it contains a particular amino acid called felinine, which also includes the sulfur compound. Sulfur in its pure form has no smell but is extremely odiferous and smells like rotten eggs when combined with other compounds.
Mercaptans are sulfur, carbon, and hydrogen compounds and are the same elements that give skunks their defensive odor. Most of the compounds found in a skunk’s spray are organosulfur compounds, and it is no wonder many people rank cat urine odor as the worst up there together with a skunk spray.
The sulfur compounds mercaptans and pheromones excreted in cat urine are responsible for the pungent smell of burnt plastic. Other people say that a cat’s pee smells like burnt rubber, like sulfur.
Other Reasons Why Your Cats Urine Smells Like Sulphur
Other reasons why your cat’s pee smells like sulfur may be due to a diet change or a medical condition. Some of the foods that may cause a sulfur smell in cat pee include fish and foods cooked with garlic, onions, or asparagus.
Note: If you suspect the smell of sulfur is because of a medical condition, the smell should be temporary, and it’s best to consult with a certified vet.
Medication for diabetes may cause your cat’s pee to smell like sulfur. Diabetes is treated using sulfa drugs; sulfa drugs often tend to affect the cat’s chemical balance, which may force excess sulfur chemicals to leave the body in the form of urine.
Other types of medication that may cause cat urine to smell like sulfur include antibiotics and supplements like multivitamins.
#3. Cat Urine Smells Like Burnt Rubber
When cat urine smells like burnt rubber, it indicates your cat is marking its territory. By nature, cats are very territorial and will get stressed when another cat infringes on their territory. As such, they spray around to mark their territory and communicate to the offending cat that that particular domain is already taken.
In most cases, when the cat sprays, their urine will have a dark hue, thick consistency, and it will have a characteristic burnt rubber smell. In some cases, the urine smells like burnt plastic. This urine will crystalize if left uncleaned.
Some of the typical spots cats like to spray include atop sideboards, on curtains, beside or on the cat’s bed, and the floor near doors.
#4. Why Cat Urine Smells Like Fish
If your cat’s urine smells like fish, it could be an indication of an underlying condition that will require qualified medical attention. Some of the reasons why your cat’s urine smells like fish include:
- Diet and Dehydration: Cat urine will contain some of the food chemicals ingested by the act. Dehydration can also cause and aggravate the fishy smell in your cat’s urine. Ensure your cat is drinking enough water to dilute the cat’s urine odor
- Urinary Tract Infection: This is a bacterial infection that can cause cat urine to smell like a fish. Also, the cat may likely experience pain during urination as an added symptom. It is best to visit a vet to have your cat checked.
Other Infections That Cause Cat Urine Smell Like Sulphur or Fish
- Bladder infection
Why Cat Pee Odor Seem To Get Worse Over Time
What is worse, cat-urine odor gets worse with every passage of time. It is often why many homeowners fail to notice urine spots outside the litter box until the air quality in the house is unbearably compromised, setting off a frantic search for the offending stain.
After prolonged, continued decomposition, the stain begins to give off mercaptans, which are the same compounds that give skunks’ sprays their defensive smell. They are common in many animals’ fecal matter.
Why Does My Cat Urinate Outside The Litter Box?
It can be a real challenge to identify the urine-soaked spot in your house. Cats are naturally sneaky pets and will spray urine in the unlikeliest of places.
When immediately fresh, cat urine may not necessarily have a strong odor. However, over time, it decomposes, giving off an awful smell in your home.
How To Reduce Cat Pee Smell
Cat urine odor results from spraying during turf wars when many cats live in the same home or the same neighborhood. Turf wars make your cat feel threatened and stressed, needing you to do extra cleaning to eliminate the urine smell.
To address the psychological health of your cat, ensure your pet feels protected from foreign cats and predators, brush off its loose hair, create a friendly bond with your cat and find ways to alleviate its stress levels.
However, there are numerous reasons why your cat urine smell might smell worse than usual. Read this article to learn more on how to deal with strong urine smell.
Other ways to fight cat urine odor include:
- Invest in a good litter box: This is the first step to stop cat urine odor at its source. You can purchase a hooded litter box made of old clay not to absorb vat urine odor. Also, make sure you use enough litter for your cat to have enough depth to cover its waste.
- Scoop the litter more often: It has to be a commitment to keep the litter box clean. A cat is quite a clean animal and will look for places to spray if the litter box is not kept clean. Be sure cats do not enjoy a smelly litter box.
- Use gas-absorbing agents like zeolite rocks: The honeycomb structures in these rocks help absorb gases like ammonia and reduce cat urine’s displeasing impact in the litter box.
Cleaning Urine Stain: Why It Is Difficult
Despite attempts to wash it off, a lot of urea remains behind. It continues to decompose because urea has low solubility in water, making it difficult to wash it off after it has dried.
Also, the pheromones present in cat urine are fatty acids that do not readily dissolve in water. Pheromones make cat urine more sticky and stubborn to get rid of fabric using many cleaning agents.
Urobilin is the chemical compound that stains carpets and fabrics, giving cat urine its awful color, and which is hard to eliminate using conventional cleaning soaps.
Conclusion: What Does Cat Pee Smell Like?
Cat urine odors can vary greatly depending on your cat’s health, current state of mind, sex, and even cat breed. Under normal circumstances, you can expect their urine to yield a strong pungent smell akin to ammonia. However, when they spray, the pee odor might be akin to burnt tires or burnt plastics. Essentially, there are numerous distinct smells your cat urine might smell.
Nonetheless, the foul smelling cat urine should not deter you from keeping a cat as pet. Luckily, there are numerous cat lovers around the world.
It is estimated there are over 94 million cats in the US alone and that one in every three homes keeps a cat as a loving pet. So, you can be sure the problem with cat urine is not limited to just a handful. At the same time, having cats in our home is not just good. It is lovely and should never weigh negatively on our at-home comfort.
The best way is to accept and embrace that the love, loyalty, and companionship we get from our cats come at some nominal cost. It will require that we observe the nature of our cats, their health, behavior, preference, dietary plans, and interaction with other cats. We also have to create a clean and safe environment in our homes to deal with cat spraying.
Stress can be a significant cause of your cat spraying around the house, despite having many litter trays, Feliway spray, and hiding holes for your cat in different places in your home. Other factors that may cause cat urine to smell like fish include:
- Dehydration in your cat
- Body infection
- Bladder problems
- Hormone disorders.
Unfortunately, shouting at the poor kitty will not help no matter how the cat-urine problem frustrates you. Further stressing the cat will only exacerbate the already embarrassing situation. Additionally, your cat will return to pee at the same spot, mainly if the stain and odor are not eliminated.
The most crucial part in dealing with cat pee odor is understanding your cat’s behavior to determine the stress triggers causing it to urinate outside the litter box. Stress, illness like UTI are some of the reasons why your cat is spraying in strange areas of the house.