He peed in the vent. What do I do now?
July 28, 2008 1:22 PM   Subscribe

My cat is peeing in my vents! How do I get the smell out before winter?

I caught my beloved cat, Cincinnati, peeing into a floor vent of my rented house. This is an older home (built circa WWI), but I believe the ventilation/air ducts/heating/whatever you want to call it system has been updated fairly recently.

He is going to the vet on Wednesday, so hopefully it won't continue happening, but I think my roommates will have choice, unpleasant words for me come cold weather in a few months.

Can I just pour vinegar into that vent? Will I break the air?
posted by palindromic to Pets & Animals (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
My cat did this while he was living with my mother for a few years. There was nothing physiologically wrong with him; he was just acting out and marking his territory because there were other cats in the house.

Vinegar won't help much at all. You'll need to go to a pet store and get one of the commercially available pet urine odor neutralizers. I'd recommend spraying it into the vent with a misting spray bottle, if you think you can do it without damaging the heater. That is what we did, and it worked pretty well. I do not think there is a perfect solution, however.
posted by yellowcandy at 1:51 PM on July 28, 2008

I'd recommend using something that has some enzymes in it. Check with your local pet store and see what they say. The enzyme odor remover works pretty well at breaking down the smell. Keep in mind it may take a few applications to get it as clean as possible.

I think in the best case you'll still have some smell but it will be much less.

Good luck !

posted by sandpine at 1:54 PM on July 28, 2008

I swear by Nature's Miracle for removing pet odors (in carpet at least). Check if its safe first, but I'd just dump some down the vents.
posted by wongcorgi at 2:01 PM on July 28, 2008

If you have a UV lamp (blacklight) the tainted areas will glow a bit, which can be useful in apportioning the aforementioned pet urine odor neutralizers.
posted by StickyCarpet at 2:03 PM on July 28, 2008

That is:

Is it just me, or is it odd that the advice so far has been offered by yellowcandy, sandpine, wongcorgi, and StickyCarpet? Sounds like a long history of flooring accidents.

In addition to what has been said, if your vents are not being used for A/C now, I would recommend covering them or doing something else (predator scent?) to prevent them from being marked by your cat again. Don't think the vet, or masking sufficient to reduce the scent to humans, will be enough to ward him off.
posted by Clyde Mnestra at 2:11 PM on July 28, 2008 [2 favorites]

I have had excellent results cleaning with an acid cleaner (like grout cleaner or acid toilet cleaner), in a 50:50 dilution. And my cat is from hell. Scrub as far down as you can reach.
Good luck.
posted by bolognius maximus at 2:13 PM on July 28, 2008

The only thing I've ever found to get cat odor out reliably is some stuff called "Animal Odor Eliminator." It comes in what might be the least branded packaging ever designed -- white bottle, black block text. Google will find it for you from a variety of places. It actually works.
posted by rusty at 2:15 PM on July 28, 2008

Response by poster: Clyde Mnestra;
That is good advice, but I do think the little dear has a bladder infection for a variety of other reasons. I've had wicked, pissing cats before, and Cincinnati just doesn't fit the bill.

I was really hoping to do this with non-industrial chemicals, but it appears that sometimes good ol' American chemistry is just the trick.

I will probably end up trying a variety of these and see which works best. Really, my chief concern is that I don't think liquids are really supposed to go into the vent en masse.
posted by palindromic at 2:44 PM on July 28, 2008

Anti-Icky Poo. Get it on Amazon, where it is cheaper.
posted by oflinkey at 4:12 PM on July 28, 2008

My kid, who had 10 cats (don't ask), did the experiment with everything on the market,and she reports Anti-Icky Poo is the way to go.
posted by unrepentanthippie at 6:47 PM on July 28, 2008

I had good results with Nature's Miracle for this same problem. I pulled the register (grill) out of the floor and after mopping up the excess wiped it down with Nature's Miracle. I only have this problem in the winter and turn the registers upside down to discourage it from happening. Cold and icy outside; inside- a hole with warm air blowing on your bum... hard to blame her really.
posted by pointilist at 11:15 PM on July 28, 2008

Best answer: PointyCat peed on the floor in the kitchen and due to slanty floor, it got under the oven. Rather than dump the Nature's Miracle all over, I soaked an old flannel cloth tied onto a yardstick and rubbed it under the oven. It seemed to work well, so maybe mopping will work in the vent, too.
posted by pointystick at 7:13 AM on July 29, 2008

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