Help! My flat stinks of cat pee! The UK edition.
May 21, 2012 2:44 PM   Subscribe

What can I do to clean up cat piss and stop a tom from coming in and spraying? Tell me about products you can buy in the UK which work.

I went away for a week, with a friend coming in twice a day to feed my 2.5 cats. When I came back this weekend it smelt of cat pee. This isn't the first time this has happened. Yesterday, I did what I usually do, vacuumed and mopped the floors. Usually, a good cleaning and my presence back in the flat has been enough to deter whoever it who's been spraying. But not this time...

When I came back from work today, the tom has obviously been back and sprayed again, and more, because it reeks.

I've wiped and mopped as much as I can tonight with a mix of vinegar and warm water (which has the added bonus that my house now smells like a chippy instead). But I don't have a great sense of smell, and I can't see where he's been spraying (apart from one suspicious drip down the bin, which could as easily be the result of a badly-aimed teabag).

Tomorrow, I want to do a more thorough clean (I'm assuming that he'll be back between now and then as well). I am going to buy a UV light from Maplin, they sell a few different ones, will any of them do?

And then I'm going to clean...

There's lots of information about different methods you can use, and I'm not sure what's best. I often clean with vinegar or bicarbonate of soda, so I'll happily use them for this, but I'm not sure if they are going to be enough.

Nature's Miracle is often recommended on Ask, but it doesn't seem to be sold over here. There are several different cleaning products from online shops in the UK that do seem to do similar things. Have you used any of the UK brands? Do they work? Are there any that you can buy in shops? I'd prefer to pick something up on my way home tomorrow. One site I was reading suggested a biological washing powder would work as well as any enzyme cleaner that's sold specifically for cleaning urine. Have you tried this?

He's only been spraying in the kitchen and the bathroom, on laminate and vinyl floors, kitchen cupboards and painted walls.

And once it's clean, how do I stop him from coming back and spraying?

I have two neutered female cats, Cat No. 1, the tabby, is 13 years old and is an attention queen, and Cat No. 2, the tortoiseshell, is 4 years old and is pretty laid back about life.

Cat No. 2.5 is a stray who refused to be caught when her owners were moving out and has been living in the backgarden for 7 years. She hasn't really let humans near her since, until recently. She gets feed by me and a couple of other neighbours, and when we had the cold snap this winter she started coming into my flat overnight. I assume she's neutered, or she's spent the last 7 years keeping her legs crossed as she's not had kittens.

Now, although she still spends most of her time outdoors, she's pretty much moved in. This has caused a bit of consternation from my cats, particularly Cat No. 1 who does not take well to Her World Order being disrupted.

I have a pretty strong suspicion about who's doing the spraying. There's a tomcat who's often in the garden and he is very talkative. He tends to keep out of my way, but I hear him a lot and I have seen him spraying outside near my catflap. This weekend he came into the flat a couple of times, but scarpered when he heard me moving. He seems young, maybe 2 at the most. Last year he seemed a bit timid, even around my fairly laid back cats, but now he's throwing his weight around a bit.

Is there anything I can do to discourage him from coming into the flat and spraying when he's here?

I don't lock the catflap, and I'm not going to start because, given the opportunity, Cat No. 1 expresses her emotions via a litter tray (well, not via, next too), and she has A LOT of emotions. Tomcat spray is (just about) more preferable to a cat who consistently misses the litter tray.

I'd prefer not to install a catflap with a sensor because my cats don't like wearing collars and I doubt I'd be able to get near Cat No. 2.5 with one. But I suspect I'm going to have to do it eventually, and Cat No 2.5 will either have to bow to authority or I'll make a shelter for her in the garden.

Before I do that though, is there anything else I can try? I was thinking about using Feliway to try and help everyone to calm down a bit about Cat No. 2.5 moving in. Will that help with the spraying?
posted by Helga-woo to Pets & Animals (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I bought a Sureflap catflap which works with my cat's microchip after I had the same problem. It fits into the same aperture as the standard Staywell catflap and all you do to set it is to push the cat through it and it'll read its microchip. This was the only solution that worked, as my cat won't wear a collar. In about 18 months of using it I've only had to change the battery once. If a cat should get in through a door or window, it'll open to let the cat out, but it won't allow a cat outside to pass through unless its microchip is stored in the catflap.

It was expensive, but worth every penny to keep out interlopers. (Our stray tomcat story had a sad ending - a neighbour trapped him and she took him to be neutered prior to rehoming but he had FIV and so was put to sleep.)

As for the smell, I bought a spray from Pets at Home that worked on the rugs and I cleaned the wooden floors with disinfectant.
posted by essexjan at 4:22 PM on May 21, 2012

This happened a lot in my inlaw's homes: stray toms went to visit their spayed female cats. One of them even gave her beaus guided tours inside the house, so they sprayed everywhere. Eventually, we bought a humane trap and trapped the toms, neutered them and released them again. Problem fixed.
posted by clearlydemon at 10:15 PM on May 21, 2012

Response by poster: Oh, I forgot to say, the tom isn't a stray. I don't know where he lives, but he does have a rather nice collar.
posted by Helga-woo at 11:50 PM on May 21, 2012

Best answer: I've had this problem too. We got a catflap that only works for our cat. We clean up the piss with white wine or spirit vinegar which works better than anything else I've used. And whenever I see the bad cat in our garden I throw water at it. It's taken a while but seems to have worked.
posted by rhymer at 1:21 AM on May 22, 2012

The smell of uric acid in a cat's urine is extremely hard to get rid of. Nature's Miracle works best for me. You can buy it at any pet store.
posted by sybarite09 at 5:46 AM on May 23, 2012

Response by poster: Any pet store? Not where I am, I'm afraid.

Vinegar had made a difference, and he doesn't seem to have come back yet, but I'm going to bribe a trusted friend with cake to make sure the flat passes the sniff test. Expensive cat flap is on the shopping list if this becomes more regular.
posted by Helga-woo at 12:41 PM on May 23, 2012

The best cat urine remedy I have ever found:
16 oz. (2 cups) hydrogen peroxide
2 tsp. baking soda
2 small drops liquid dishwashing soap (Dawn, Palmolive, etc.)

Mix gently until the baking soda has dissolved.

Pour it right on to your carpet and let it do its job. Vacuum up any residue the next day.

It gets rid of the scent so (everything else being equal) the cat won't be encouraged to spray there again.
posted by getawaysticks at 5:22 AM on May 24, 2012 [1 favorite]

After trying Nature's Miracle and some other fancy pet-cleaner, I've found that white vinegar works really well. At least now my apartment smells like salad dressing rather than cat pee, and it's fading. It got the discoloration out as well from where the cat was demonstrating his UTI.

I also have a Bissell Spotbot Pet that I use on furballs and pee alike, generally with water only. I ran it about half water and half vinegar.
posted by bookdragoness at 6:36 AM on May 24, 2012

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