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August 24, 2010 10:41 AM   Subscribe

Recommend a blacklight for a party -- a cat pee finding party!

My cats, well into adulthood, and without apparent cause, have started to pee everywhere. In addition to the vet visits with bloodwork and urinalysis, the Cat Attract litter, Feliway diffusers, special prescription food, litter boxes all over the damn house and fucking transdermal cat ear Prozac, we need to start finding all the secret pee pee spots, for attaching with Anti-Icky-Poo. All this to say, can you recommend a blacklight size/shape/etc for finding urine? Since they have already driven me into penury, I am reluctant to spend more than necessary.

(Yes, that is the list of things we have already done. Yet, yesterday morning, I stepped in a cat pee bathmat. I am losing my mind.)
posted by chesty_a_arthur to Pets & Animals (14 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
 
A little LED blacklight flashlight from the hardware store will do just fine. Cost about $6.
posted by brain at 10:47 AM on August 24, 2010


Only advice I can offer is a "black light" light bulb in a regular flashlight does not work to find cat pee, in my party experience.

Good luck. I know the pain your foot feels.
posted by SuperSquirrel at 10:57 AM on August 24, 2010


From what I've heard, the blacklights marketed specifically for finding cat pee are overpriced and exactly the same as any other blacklight. So avoid those.
posted by amro at 10:59 AM on August 24, 2010


I feel for you so much. I have never used a black light. Instead, I have always Assumed The Position, which is face in the floor, on hands and knees, and went over the floor inch by inch and sniff by sniff. Are they just hitting the floor or are they going after furniture too? Check any grouping of fabric, stacks of papers, magazines piled together, plastic bags bunched up, no spot is too boring for cats to pee on. Do you have carpet? I hope you don't have carpet. If you're interested, I have advice for re-establishing litter box habits in problem urinators. My email is in my profile.
posted by crankylex at 11:06 AM on August 24, 2010


Get the room as dark as possible for your blacklight inspection. Turn the lights off, close the door, cover the windows even if it's night. Cat pee can be pretty faint under any blacklight, especially if it's in a carpeted area.
posted by Metroid Baby at 11:06 AM on August 24, 2010


Minimal carpet, fortunately! Thanks for your advice, all.
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 11:21 AM on August 24, 2010


Bah. United nuclear sells blacklight flashlights but it looks like most of the powerful ones are sold out right now.
posted by rmd1023 at 11:35 AM on August 24, 2010


Home Depot sells blacklight compact fluorescents with a standard edison base, like this.
Put it in a lamp you already own.
Be careful not to break it while you are wandering around in the dark
that will only be relieved by the bright glow of old urine.
posted by the Real Dan at 12:04 PM on August 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


Use a blacklight fluorescent tube (or possibly a compact fluorescent). The incandescent blacklights are useless, and the LED blacklights don't throw enough light to be as good, but can throw enough UV to damage your eyes without you being aware.

You can get little hand-held fluorescent lamps that run off 4 AA batteries, they're cheap and effective.
posted by -harlequin- at 12:11 PM on August 24, 2010


Also keep in mind that cat pee is not the only thing that glows under black light. So don't freak out if there's a lot of glowing going on, there's a chance that not everything you see is pee.
posted by platinum at 12:48 PM on August 24, 2010


I've been through this and may be able to offer some suggestions; cat pee does indeed fluoresce, but it is very faint, even under ideal UV conditions. So, if possible, stay away from fluorescent blacklights as they tend to cover a broad area with a dim UV light, and instead look for a UV flashlight from a hardware store.

Ideally, try to find one that uses multiple (9 I think) LEDs and regular batteries. This is important, as they often come with coin cell/ watch batteries that can die relatively quickly. Regular batteries will give you a consistent and bright circle of light over a much longer period of time. (the one I got cost about $10, so don't pay a fortune for one of the specialty devices. I believe I got it at Tru-Value or ACE hardware)

When trying to find the pee, your best bet is to use your nose first. Try to find the general area you suspect, and then begin to narrow the search area. What you are looking for is a very faint line that traces the edges of where the pee was sitting. It can be really hard to see the first time, so be patient.

Once located, we tend to favor Nature's Miracle for the cleanup.

One other thing that might help; one of our cats has both diabetes and chronic renal failure, so the poor guy is really predisposed to just drink tons of water and then lose control unexpectedly. We were able to mitigate this by a lot through the use of adult (human) urine control pads. We picked them up at Target and put them into a couple of big tupperware type bins placed strategically throughout the house. Once he discovered that he was never more than a room away from an absolutely clean litter box, his rate of accidents went down to almost nothing.
posted by quin at 12:57 PM on August 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


Go to Photon Lights and get one of their lights with a UV bulb:
http://www.photonlight.com/products/Specialty-UV-%7B47%7D-Ultraviolet-%26-Blacklight-LED-Flashlights.html I like the Freedom Micro but you can probably get by with the cheapest one they make, the Micro-Light II.

I am just a happy customer who has bought a lot of their lights for me and others.
posted by wenestvedt at 12:58 PM on August 24, 2010


I think this is what I bought at a pet supply store, though I don't remember it costing more than $10. Works fine. This looks similar and cheaper.

In addition to platinum's warning that many things other than cat pee glow under a black light, I'd note that cat pee doesn't seem to glow equally well on all surfaces. I've found that it shows up really well on my futon cover, medium-well on the wall-to-wall carpet in my former apartment, and not at all a certain IKEA rug I used to have. Definitely use the black light in combination with your nose to identify problem spots.
posted by Orinda at 4:57 PM on August 24, 2010


A friend of mine's healthy indoor cats started peeing all over the place for no apparent good reason.

It turned out someone had moved into the neighborhood with a couple of outdoor cats who were peeing around her house, especially on her doorsteps, and that she was tracking it in, along with everybody else, and the cats were peeing to compete against this threat to their territory.

The bathmat thing made me think of it, because they peed particularly persistently wherever people wiped their feet shod or unshod, or had placed their shoes, and just inside the doors to the house.
posted by jamjam at 5:18 PM on August 24, 2010


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