I have a cat. Her name is Sadie. Like most cat owners, I love here like a child. We adopted her from the Humane Society about 10 years ago. For an unknown reason, she was fully declawed and missing her front four fangs when we adopted her. Needless to say, she is a defenseless house cat who spends her time sleeping and begging for food. Occasionally, she goes on the deck but never travels more than 15 feet away from the house.
Anyway, from day one we had problems with Sadie peeing outside of the litter box. The Humane Society did not mention this problem and we thought it would pass as she settled into her new home. She only urinated on an old cushion and a blanket so it wasn’t a big deal. We just tossed the cushion and washed the blanket and all was good. The urination problem went away with a visit to the vet.
Eventually, we moved from an apartment into a house which was carpeted. Nice carpet for the time. Sadie’s urinary problem sparked back up and that nice carpet became a very expensive litter box. Her pee spot was in the family room where we spent most of our time. The smell was unbearable to the point where I spent hours researching a way to fully get the urine out of my carpet.
One method I found that purportedly got rid of the urine and smell was vinegar and baking soda. The typical suggestion was to mix vinegar and water in a half and half solution. Pour it on the area containing the urine and then sprinkle on baking powder while scrubbing the surface.
Does vinegar remove cat urine? Cat urine produces a distinct ammonia smell when it dries. It is something you want out of your living area immediately once the smell becomes apparent. Unfortunately, vinegar will only temporarily remove the smell of cat urine from carpeting. I have tried vinegar and baking soda, vinegar and water, only baking soda, and straight vinegar out of frustration. The vinegar and/or baking soda will temporarily overpower the smell making you think it has been neutralized. If you take a good whiff of the spot a few hours later, you’ll get an unpleasant combined aroma of vinegar and urine.
The problem with carpet is that the urine will soak to the padding and possibly the sub-floor. It is likely impossible to remove all of the urine, especially if it has soaked in deep. We ended up having to replace the carpet after trying about a dozen products and hiring a professional carpet cleaner.
Note that people state that enzyme pet stain cleaners (see below) do work on carpet. These type of products may be worth a try before going to the extreme of replacing your carpet. We have not used these products so we cannot comment on their effectiveness.
Hard surfaces are a different story when it comes to cat urine. I have never had difficulty removing cat urine from a surface like hardwood floors or tile using vinegar and water. Create a mixture of two parts water to one part vinegar and add it to a spray bottle. Blot the urine up with a rag or paper towel. Liberally spray the remaining urine and wipe the area clean.