Ghostly smell of a thousand cats!
July 9, 2012 7:47 AM   Subscribe

I am going slightly mad trying to figure out how to rid of the smell of a thousand cats from one section of my apartment. Please help me metafilter, you are my only hope!

Okay, so there is the smell of cats, not cat urine, just cats that permeates from an area in my kitchen near the fridge. It is driving me mad! I can spray down the area with vinger which seems to make the odor disappear for a couple days. After about two days the odor begins to reappear. Now the smell of a herd of cats is confined to just the kitchen, right near the fridge. I've pulled out the fridge, basically doused the area with vinger, looked for hair and the like behind the fridge, nada the area is clean.

I am losing my mind trying to rid the odor. I can spray everyother day if I have to, but that just seems like a cover up. I want the smell gone. Candles and air thingys don't overpower the odor.

Any ideas meta? I am going crazy over this smell.
posted by handbanana to Home & Garden (19 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Have you tried Nature's Miracle? It's expensive but works really well on pet odors.
posted by winna at 7:49 AM on July 9, 2012

What materials are present in that area - basically, what's covering the floor/the walls/etc.? That'll help us determine the best way to clean it. Also, seconding Nature's Miracle - expensive but pretty damned good.
posted by julthumbscrew at 7:51 AM on July 9, 2012

Check up inside the back of the fridge and under it. The backs of fridges are a magnet for pet detritus.
posted by phunniemee at 7:52 AM on July 9, 2012

If your fridge has a drip pan have you checked it for some sort of hair or other munge that might be getting blown into the rest of your apartment via that teeny fan. Not all fridges have an accessible drip pan, but it's often the secret grotty/smelly part of the fridge.
posted by jessamyn at 7:54 AM on July 9, 2012

Response by poster: Thanks for the tips on checking aspects of the fridge.

No, these are from the previous tenant. I would contact the landlord but a.) Dont want to seem like "that crazy tenant" and b:) dont like giving accesses to my apartment unless absolutely necessary.
posted by handbanana at 8:03 AM on July 9, 2012

I do not use Nature's Miracle. It is useless for my purposes. This is expensive-- very expensive-- but worth every cent. It has rid couch cushions of male cat urine. It has rid car upholstery of feral male cat urine.

Anti-Icky Poo. Get it on Amazon for some deals.
Treat first with P-Bath.

If you are going industrial, and I mean industrial (as in you can leave your house for a few days:

posted by oflinkey at 8:12 AM on July 9, 2012 [2 favorites]

Do you have a vent nearby? We discovered that our old kitty with non-functioning kidneys had been peeing down the air intake in the living room. (Major sad-face all around.) Cleaning that and blocking the area has made our whole house a much happier place.

So, yeah, I think you're not quite getting at the smell.
posted by amanda at 8:28 AM on July 9, 2012

Bac Out, which uses a suspension of living bacteria that consume organic sources of odor, has gotten rid of all the nasty smells I've tried it on, including those from the bare wood windowsill where the previous owner's cats used to sit all day and spray whenever they saw another cat in their yard.
posted by jamjam at 8:31 AM on July 9, 2012

Zero Odor. Used a lot of this when my oldest cat was ill.
posted by instead of three wishes at 8:37 AM on July 9, 2012

Is your kitchen floor done with those stick on linoeleum tiles from Home Depot? If so, the smell might be below them and no amount of cleaning the tops of the tiles will help. If they are individual tiles, see if you can heat one up with a hair dryer and pry up an edge without damaging it. Sniff underneath and see if that might be your problem.
posted by victoriab at 8:57 AM on July 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

victoriab may be onto something. To get animal smells out of anything, you'll need an enzymatic cleaner.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 9:02 AM on July 9, 2012

Response by poster: I do have those stick on tiles! Damn, that may be the cause, but others have awesome solutions worth trying before hand.
BTW, i am not afraid of going industrial on this problem. The smell is maddening, particularly in heat. So any suggestions of harsh chemicals is fine by me.
posted by handbanana at 9:14 AM on July 9, 2012

Seconding victoriab - if something has seeped under the tiles, there's not a lot to be done. We've occasionally had luck totally saturating the area with Nature's Miracle, then leaving it for a few hours before mopping it up, but that may damage the floor, depending on your substrate.
posted by julthumbscrew at 10:06 AM on July 9, 2012

Can you move your fridge somewhere else for a week and see if the smell follows, stays put, or splits? My first thought was that there are lots of places for a smell to get sucked into a fridge.
posted by anaelith at 10:07 AM on July 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

posted by emilynoa at 10:12 AM on July 9, 2012

If it's an old fridge, maybe also try vacuuming/cleaning the coils?
posted by clerestory at 11:36 AM on July 9, 2012

The only thing that has ever worked 100% for us is Zero Odor. Worth EVERY penny.
posted by ravioli at 12:33 PM on July 9, 2012

there is the smell of cats, not cat urine, just cats

I wonder if you might have mice, which have a mammal-y funk in general that I could imagine mistaking for cat smell. Any chance? You'd probably see their poop, so maybe not, but just throwing it out there as a definite recurring source of smell in houses.
posted by Miko at 12:52 PM on July 9, 2012

I would echo Miko here. Most of the time cats are scentless to people. The objectionable smells that come from cats are almost always litterbox smells. Pick up any random cat and sniff it: they are not smelly animals.

I'm not saying you don't have an odour problem in your place, but that whatever "cats" means to you here may be a red herring.
posted by zadcat at 6:36 PM on July 9, 2012

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