If you’ve lived with a cat for any period of time, you’ve likely dealt with stains on your carpet at some point. Whether you have woken in the night for a glass of water, only to step in a wet spot, or come around the corner with an armload of laundry and wondered what that warm squishy feeling was, there was a mess to clean up.
Urine and feces are protein based, so we’ll look at the best methods to get rid of the stains and smells left behind.
It is also a good idea to look into why Fluffy isn’t doing her business in her box, so we’ll address that too.
Helpful Hints To Remember
The sooner you clean the soiled area, the less time it will have to set and leave a permanent stain, and there will be less chance for bacteria to grow. Bacteria is a big reason for odors!
It is extremely important to make sure you remove stains and odors completely, as your pet will be drawn to any smell left behind and continue to use the area as his toilet. Never use ammonia to treat cat stains as it smells an awful lot like pee to a cat, and he will likely think the smell indicates a litter box.
If kitty has always used his litter box and this behavior of peeing or pooping outside his box is new, it’s a good idea to schedule a visit to your vet to check for underlying health issues.
No matter the route you choose to go, ALWAYS do a spot test before beginning, or you might just find yourself shopping for new carpet, or at the very least, rearranging your furniture.
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Homemade Stain Removal Remedy
Items you’ll need:
- Large bucket or pail
- LOTS of white cloth rags (colored rags can transfer dye) or paper towels, though these are less eco-friendly
- Distilled white vinegar
- Baking soda
- Spray bottle (optional)
- Rubber gloves (optional, but recommended)
- Disposable mask (optional) – a simple dust mask will do, or if you have respiratory problems, you can choose one with an odor respirator like this one, available on Amazon
The first thing you will want to do is remove as much moisture and solid matter as possible from the soiled area. This is as simple as dabbing the wet spot with a clean, dry rag and with gloved hands, picking up any clumps of poop.
Press or step on a folded rag (you will probably need multiple rags if the stain is fresh) until the cloth comes up dry. Placing a heavy book on top of the rag and then standing on it may help with soaking up more of the wetness.
Resist rubbing or scrubbing vigorously as this can damage your carpet fibers, causing breakage, and if this happens you risk pushing the stain further into the carpet.
In your pail, mix together 2 cups distilled white vinegar and 2 cups lukewarm tap water. Don’t use hot water as heat might cause the stain to set.
There are a couple of options you can use as to when to add the soda.
Add a heaping 4 – 5 TBSP baking soda to your water/vinegar mixture. (Slowly! The soda will fizz and it may bubble over if added all at once.)
Once the baking soda is combined, pour a generous amount of the liquid onto the stained area. Let it fizz and soak into the carpet for a few minutes and then blot, blot, BLOT until the stain has all come up onto your rag. You will probably have to use numerous rags to ensure it’s all clean.
Once you’ve removed as much moisture as you can and you don’t see anymore discoloration, sprinkle more baking soda on it and leave for a few hours until the spot is completely dry. The soda will help with any remaining odor.
When you notice it’s dry, vacuum up the baking soda residue and voila! You should have a carpet that looks like kitty never peed or pooped on it!
Pour the baking soda directly onto the stained carpet. Let it sit for 5-10 minutes and then pour the vinegar/water mixture onto the soda and let the effervescence do its job! The bubbling will loosen the nastiness from the carpet’s fibers and make it easier to remove.
Once the bubbling has slowed, you can begin your blotting. Follow the instructions from OPTION 1 to finish.
If you notice any stain left after either option, repeat. For older stains, you may have to repeat multiple times.
Commercially Available Solutions
There are a number of products on the market available at your local pet store, through your vet, or on the Internet on sites such as Amazon. These are usually tried and true for absolutely getting out the stains, and are usually much easier to put together and use than homemade options.
Odoban is an oxygen activated cleaner that penetrates color-fast carpet and washable fabrics to remove stains and odors and reduce re-soiling.
It was named a ‘Safer Choice’ award winner by the EPA, so if you’re concerned about the environment, your home, and the planet, this might be a good choice for you.
Odoban has been shown to work effectively on new stains, as well as those that have been around awhile, so it basically covers anything your pets can throw at you. Although hopefully they’re not literally throwing…
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Spot Shot is an effective cleaner, as well as a odor-neutralizer and eliminator.
Like the other products mentioned here, it also works to discourage re-soiling, which is very important so your pet is less likely to use your carpet as his bathroom.
It works on stains old and new and requires no scrubbing.
As with all the remedies listed, you do need to do a fair amount of blotting, but this will save the fibers in your carpet.
Spot Shot is certified biodegradable, has no phosphates, and comes in recyclable packaging.
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Reasons For Kitty Not Using The Litter Box
The first, most logical thing to do, is to make sure you’re keeping your pet’s litterbox clean. A cat won’t use a box that is full of clumps and has an unpleasant odor. Some felines are more finicky than others, so what might work for one cat might not fulfill the requirements of a more high-maintenance pet. And let’s face it, it is a cat’s prerogative to be a diva.
Eliminating Behavioural Problems
Cat Spraying No More is a product developed by a Veterinary Technician who adopted a cat who’d been left with a few others in an abandoned house. She took this kitten home and quickly realized he’d been used to using the whole house as a litter box and needed some serious re-training (if he’d ever even had any at all!)
Cat Spraying No More is a set of techniques developed to work with your pet’s own instincts to address the problem, find out why it’s happening, and make Fluffy want to use his box.
You get a load of information, and we’ve heard many success stories from cat parents who were at their wits’ end before trying it!
Check out Cat Spraying No More here and see if it might help your cat’s peeing-everywhere behavior issues.
Another reason your feline friend might be soiling your carpet is that she simply can’t make it. In this case, it might help to look into the food she’s eating to make sure she hasn’t developed an intolerance, which can cause urgency. Schedule a visit with your vet to talk about kitty’s dietary needs.
With age (although the problem is not always related to senior cats) can come a number of health issues, among them, bladder or fecal incontinence, kidney infections, and diabetes. All of these can cause trouble to your pet’s digestive system. Again, make a visit to your veterinarian to discuss how you can make your pet more comfortable, any medications she might need, and the best course of care for her.
Older cats can be slower too, so more than one litter box might make it easier to get to at least one of them in time.
It could be that kitty simply does not like her litter box, or the litter you fill it with. You might have try a few to find one that works best for him. We’ve written an article about just this, to help you with your decision.
The smell left behind can be damaging to your family as well. It can cause respiratory problems as well as other issues that can have ill effects on your health.
Contrary to popular belief, it’s not only a cat’s dander and fur that can contribute to allergies. Allergic people often have lowered immune systems and the ammonia in a cat’s urine can be a trigger.
Individuals with breathing problems, such as chronic bronchitis, COPD, and asthma need to be particularly concerned about ridding their homes of cat pee odors. We’re talking about STRONG odors. Not the occasional oopsie.
Maybe you’re a landlord whose tenants have moved out and during their tenancy they didn’t clean up after their pet. Now you’re left to deal with the problem. If the home reeks of cat urine and you suffer from a breathing problem, you can be at risk of worsening symptoms due to the high ammonia content in cat pee. In extreme cases, hazmat teams have been called in to clean a house where cats have peed on the carpet over a period of years and never been cleaned up after.
In extreme cases like this, it will probably be in everyone’s best interest to remove the carpets and underlay, and possibly the subfloor too. It will be an expense, but it might be the only way to permanently rid your home of the smell and health dangers left behind.
Whichever of the cleaning options you choose (it might take more than one!), the sooner you get to the stain, the easier it will be to get rid of. With a little patience and some time (you KNOW your kitty friend is worth it!), you should be able to remove even long-standing spots and odors.