The first time a feline owner encounters an out-of-the-cat-litter-box experience, she probably uses whatever cleaners she has on hand. Initially, it appears she's cleaned the cat urine odor and stain from the location. However, in a matter of hours or days, she still smells the cat urine odor in the "clean" spot and can't figure out why it's still there.
You can effectively clean cat urine odor spots and get rid of the odor permanently, but you can't use the cleaners you have for other common household stain problems. This article outlines why only enzyme cleaners are effective in removing cat urine odor and stains.
Cat urine is composed of five different bacteria strains. Two of the identified bacteria strains are in cat marking scent, while the others are in the cat urine, the spray, and the uric acid. The bacteria is the main culprit responsible for the eye-watering, stomach-clenching cat urine smell. Cats usually don't lap up water in great quantities like other animals, so their urine tends to be extremely concentrated. This concentration of bacteria results in the strong smell that is unique to cat urine.
Regular household cleaners aren't designed to eradicate the bacteria in cat urine because they don't contain enzymes. If you clean up a cat urine puddle with a commercial household cleaner, you'll wipe up the puddle, but leave the bacteria behind. The odor remains and you feel frustration and anger.
But it's not hopeless. The answer is to purchase a good quality enzyme cleaner that specifically targets pet stains and odors.
Enzyme cleaners work by literally eating the bacteria in the affected area. The enzymes react to the bacteria by consuming it. When the bacteria is removed, the cat urine odor and stain is truly gone, and the smell is removed. Without the smell of the cat urine stain around, your cat is no longer encouraged to use that particular spot for her out-of-the-litter-box experience.
When you find a cat urine puddle, wipe up the puddle as much as possible. Be sure you check far and wide, in case the urine splashed or ran down an uneven surface. Then, spray or pour the enzyme cleaner onto the cat urine puddle area and let it dry. This gives the enzymes a chance to work on the bacteria and remove it. If the surface you're treating has cracks and pits, pour or spray directly into the crevice to make sure the enzyme cleaner encounters the bacteria.
Depending upon how old the cat urine puddle is, you may need to do more than one treatment. The older the puddle, the more treatment you'll need to do. Give the cleaner a chance to work by leaving it on the surface to dry.
You can usually find a variety of enzyme cleaners at your local pet store. My personal favorite is Dumb Cat Anti Marking and Cat Spray Remover. Before you purchase any enzyme cleaner, be sure to check the bottle's contents. Many enzyme cleaners use blood enzymes, which is not effective on cat urine. Dumb Cat uses enzymes that specifically targets cat urine bacteria.
Not only can you use enzyme cleaners on floor and furniture surfaces, but you can also use them as a laundry pre-soak if kitty happens to nail clothes or bedding. I also use an enzyme cleaner as a pre-soaking agent when I'm deep scrubbing my cat litter boxes every week. As the cat scratches in the box to cover her deposits, she creates cracks in the box surface. By pouring some enzyme cleaner in the cat litter box and letting it soak into the scratches, you eliminate accumulated cat urine odors that eventually discourage your cat from using her litter box.
Good luck and happy cleaning!