How to Remove Cat Urine from Carpet

All urine smells, but there seems to be something stronger and more unpleasantly pungent about cat urine.  Whether your cat has had some accidents, or you have inherited a cat lady’s former abode, we’ll give you some tips on how to remove cart urine from carpet and how to prevent future accidents.

Fresh Cat Urine

  1. Blot up as much urine as possible with paper towels.  No not rub.
  2. If you have a wet/dry vacuum like a shop vac, use that to remove as much urine as possible
  3. Mix ¼ teaspoon liquid dishwashing detergent with one cup warm water.  Pour in spray bottle if you have one.
  4. Spray the solution onto the carpet or blot the solution on.  Do not over soak the carpet to avoid spreading the stain.
  5. If you have a ShopVac, use it to extract the cleaning solution.  If not, blot the spot with clean cloths or paper towels.
  6. Rinse the area with warm water and repeat extraction.  
  7. Repeat steps 1-6 until the stain is gone.
  8. Follow treatment with an enzyme based cleaner designed to remove pet stains such as Nature’s Miracle.

Old Cat Urine

If you can still smell urine and the carpet appears clean, chances are that the urine has soaked into the carpet padding or even into the flooring beneath the carpet and padding.  Use a blacklight to identify exactly where the stains are located.  You can try thoroughly soaking the affected area in enzyme cleaner and extracting with a shop vac.  If this doesn’t work, it is time to call for a professional carpet cleaning. 

How Can I Prevent the Cat from Peeing Outside the Litter Box?

Make the litter box an attractive elimination spot.  Cats need three things from their litter box: privacy, cleanliness, and space.

  • Privacy: cats prefer some peace and quiet for elimination.  Keep your cat’s box in a quiet low traffic area away from noisy fans or washing machines. 
  • Cleanliness:  your cat’s sense of smell is much stronger then a human’s; make sure to scoop everyday, and completely dispose of litter and wash the box out with unscented dish soap once a week.  
  • Space: many litter boxes are too small.  Purchase larger litter boxes without domed lids.  Fill litter up only half way, no more.

How Can I Prevent Cats from Marking?

Marking is a different behavior then regular urination. When cats are marking, they deposit a small amount of urine on vertical surfaces.  Why do cats mark? Cats are not pack animals.  In fact, they often prefer to avoid one another.  Marking with urine is a way for cats to let others know that they claim that particular territory.  Prevent marking by spaying or neutering your cat.  Not owning more then one cat, or increasing the amount of food dishes, water dishes, scratching posts, and litter boxes can also reduce or eliminate territorial behavior.  Many experts recommend one box per cat plus one more box, so if you have 2 cats set up 3 boxes.

Cats make great pets, but you must plan ahead to keep them eliminating in the correct areas.  Need more stain help?  See the COIT Spot Removal Guide.