my cat's breath smells like Drakkar Noir
February 27, 2011 3:39 AM   Subscribe

Our extremely friendly outdoor cat came inside reeking of cologne. This was two days ago, and it's still across-the-room strong. How do I clean this off?

Oddly, it doesn't seem to bother him, or the other cat, or a neighbor cat. However, two days later and he still smells like he's ready for a night of clubbing. We'd would prefer to avoid full-on bathing, as it's a bitter winter for late February and he hates water.

I know that there exist dry-bath powders for animals, do they work for this sort of thing? what's in them, are they replicable with common household powders?
posted by Prince_of_Cups to Pets & Animals (16 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Try a bath in canned tomato juice. Treat him like he's a skunk. Seriously - it'll work.
posted by item at 3:55 AM on February 27, 2011

(or not like he's a skunk, but like he was sprayed by one. Yikes.)
posted by item at 3:56 AM on February 27, 2011

I don't have a cat and have never tried this, but, since the scent of cologne is generally soluble in alcohol, you might try putting some ethyl alcohol in a spray bottle and spraying the cat. Sources of ethanol include grain alcohol, vodka etc. Alternative, Febreeze (that is safe for humans and felines, right?). Alcohol will dry quickly, especially if you spray him and then rub him down with a towel.

On second thought, anything involving spraying a cat sounds extremely risky.

Also: where is the cute kitty picture?
posted by sciencegeek at 4:41 AM on February 27, 2011 [1 favorite]

50/50 Vodka and water will stop the cat from stinking, probably, and also keep him from getting drunk and smelling like a wino. You want to prevent him from licking a lot of vodka off of himself, because alcohol is bad for cats. I would spray it on a washcloth and scrub at his fur with it. I'm not sure I'd altogether recommend it, though, given that alcohol is bad for el gato.

You might consider something like these bathing wipes. We have some of those, and we put one in the microwave for just a few seconds (we have the Bramton ones, I think, and it says you can do that) so they're warm. Kitteh doesn't seem to mind.
posted by Medieval Maven at 6:04 AM on February 27, 2011

Don't spray the cat with alcohol or Febreeze!!! Give the cat an actual bath and keep him inside until he's dry.
posted by crankylex at 6:15 AM on February 27, 2011 [4 favorites]

My guess is the smell is from some waterless cat wash which some kind stranger used on him. Tomato juice works for skunk smell (I've done it to dogs, never cats), but if you can't imagine safely (for you) dousing your cat, I'd recommend against it. Cover kitty in baking soda, brush him or her and then vacuum up the baking soda he sheds all over your house. It'll deordorize your carpet too.
posted by crush-onastick at 7:14 AM on February 27, 2011

Removing skunk smell with tomato juice is a myth. It merely covers up the smell. There is, however, a mixture that works fairly well, and I imagine it will work on your over-cologned cat. Mix the following:

1 quart of hydrogen peroxide
ΒΌ cup of baking soda
1 teaspoon of dish soap

Bathe the cat in it, being careful to avaoid the eyes. Let it sit for a few minutes, then rinse well. A repeat application may be needed (in the case of skunk smell in particular).

This came in handy very often when I worked in a 24 hour animal hospital in an area with a high skunk population. Trust me, it works much better than any alternative.
posted by Rock Steady at 7:27 AM on February 27, 2011 [7 favorites]

Please don't spray your cat with alcohol or Febreeze (!!!). What an amazingly horrible idea.
posted by Lobster Garden at 7:29 AM on February 27, 2011 [6 favorites]

Hydrogen peroxide induces vomiting in cats. Seconding everyone who says that a proper bath is the way to go.
posted by Houstonian at 7:52 AM on February 27, 2011 [1 favorite]

Some advice on the bath, whatever you use, since I'm having to bathe mine for a reason that is far less amusing - dry skin.

Place a pitcher of warm water in the tub. Put cat in tub. If you have sliding doors on your tub, all the better, since your cat will try to escape. Close the doors on yourself as much as you can so your cat can't squeeze out. Doors or no doors, have someone back you up to discourage the cat from escaping.

Don't pour the water directly on the cat - that seems to be quite unpleasant for them. Rather, use the washcloth dipped in the water to squish the water on him. Apply your cleaning solution, shampoo, whatever it is. Rub in to get to the skin underneath the hair. You'll need to do much more work if your cat has longer hair. Rinse with the washcloth procedure. Wrap your cat in a towel and dry as much as you can; but understand that the cat will probably run off to a safe place to groom and dry off. I brush the cat after she's dried off a bit to help with the grooming.

Who sprays a cat with cologne?! Water, I understand. Cologne? Your neighbors deserve a talking-to.
posted by paindemie at 8:50 AM on February 27, 2011

right, pictures!
Schuster, hanging out with us on the porch
Schuster, interrupted at study

Interesting thought on the smell being a waterless catwash. It was very cologne, almost perfume quality the first evening. Now it is fading into dryer sheets.
I thought he just got friendly with someone heading out for the night and they freshened him up too. His breath is terrible, we're considering whether dental work would help with that.
posted by Prince_of_Cups at 10:03 AM on February 27, 2011 [2 favorites]

Just give the cat a bath-- that's really the best way to get rid of the smell. Use a mesh bag to help keep the kitty calm and to keep it from killing your arms in the process. Then dry him as thoroughly as you can, and keep the temperature in your house up until he is thoroughly dry. Don't let him out with damp fur, of course.
posted by pickypicky at 11:44 AM on February 27, 2011 [1 favorite]

Have you tried wiping him down with a damp face cloth? It's surprisingly effective at getting rid of weird cat smells. Their fur is a good insulator so it's difficult for moisture to get inside it, so chances are high that the scent is mainly sitting on the surface too. You'll get him damp all over but not much more than a good licking, which is less stressful for the cat (he may even enjoy the being licked sensation) and dries much faster than a full on bath.

A bath would be my next step if this didn't reduce the smell enough to be liveable, but I've never had to go that far and I had a cat that liked being covered in weird smells.
posted by shelleycat at 12:41 PM on February 27, 2011

You can give a cat a bath. I've done it, and I know that Schuster is a lot less fighty than Iggy Pop. Warm rinse + pet shampoo + rinse, and you've got yourself a destinkified kitty, for the low-low price of some blood and/or dignity.

The cat will forgive you in 24ish hours. Hopefully.
posted by pmb at 4:53 PM on February 27, 2011

I don't think this particular problem is worth the hassle and drama involved in giving the cat a bath (last time I tried it, the cat clung to me out of terror and I got completely soaked and scratched all to hell). I've always had good results with the wet towel technique; use a hand or kitchen towel, wet it with warm water, wring it out a little, then rub down the kitty with it. If you like, you can follow with a dry towel. That should deal with a lot of the reek.
posted by WorkingMyWayHome at 8:41 PM on February 27, 2011

I also vote for a damp, warm washcloth. The scent is already fading and that will help it along without totally freaking out the cat.
posted by deborah at 9:13 PM on February 27, 2011

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