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How To Get Rid of Cat Smell In The House: 5 Practical Options

kitten at home

There are times in every cat owner’s life when they realize that their house smells like their cat. That awareness can be frustrating and perhaps even embarrassing. Cat smell has a notorious reputation for being difficult to get rid of. Whether you want to have guests over or are living with an illegal pet in a rental (don’t worry, we’ve all been there), there are valid and pressing reasons to want to eliminate cat smells from your home.

The good news is that cat smells are not as invincible as some people make them out to be. Here are five practical options for getting rid of cat smells in your house.

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The Top 5 Ways to Get Rid of Cat Smell in the House

1. Manage The Litter Box

Cleaning cat litter box
Image Credit: Zoran Photographer, Shutterstock

One of the easiest ways to reduce cat smell in a home is to manage the litter box. That doesn’t mean simply changing it out regularly (but that is a big part of it) but making sure that the litter box is working effectively. Cats are notoriously picky about their boxes. If you move its location, change the litter, or forget to scoop it out, it can cause the cat to sneak off and do its business elsewhere. Finding a perfect litter box set up for your cat can be a tricky process of trial and error, but once you figure it out, it will contain the smell much better.

If you find that your cat is not using its litter box, try changing the litter. Change the location of the litter box. Change the style of the litter box. If you have multiple cats, it is recommended that each cat has its own box. Eventually, you will find that your cat does its business regularly in its box and nowhere else. It just might take some time.

Oh, and don’t forget to scoop the box every day. That helps too.

Pros
  • Effective
  • Makes cats happier
Cons
  • Trial and error
  • It could take a while

2. Treat Cat Areas With Enzyme Cleaners

person spraying on sofa
Image Credit: Natalia Fedchenko, Shutterstock

Enzyme cleaners are special products designed to break down and eliminate biological waste from cats and other animals. Other cleaning supplies like vinegar and bleach work by killing bacteria and viruses, but they might not be able to break down harmless enzymes that your cats leave behind. Enzymes might not make you sick, but they sure can make your home smell. Cleaning with enzyme cleaners specially geared towards cats can help break down the invisible build-up of odor-causing agents.

Most enzyme cleaners can be purchased in a spray form or a concentrated jug allowing you to use it as you see fit. Prices run anywhere from $20 to $50. The only issue is it adds yet another layer of cleaning to your life.

Pros
  • Breaks down the smells at a micro level
  • Works great
Cons
  • Costs money
  • More cleaning

3. Run An Air Filter

LEVOIT Air Purifier

There is a large market that revolves around air filters for pet owners. There are various products, from air purifiers to countertop air filters, that can help circulate and clean the air in your house. Many odors are caused by tiny, even microscopic, particles in the air that come off your cats. A HEPA air filter will help cycle those particles out of the air and heavily reduce odor.

The only problem is that the pet-grade HEPA air purifiers can be expensive. If you can’t get a separate air filter to run in various locations around your house, at least change out the air filters in your ducts more regularly. A clogged and dirty air filter can also contribute to lingering cat smells.

Pros
  • Clean air throughout the house
  • Designed to kill pet odor
Cons
  • Expensive

4. Use Baking Soda

Baking soda
Image Credit: evita-ochel, Pixabay

No article about eliminating bad smells would be complete without mentioning baking soda. Baking soda is a silver bullet that helps with nearly all odor elimination, including cats. The trick with baking soda is that it is most effective when the underlying causes of the smell have already been dealt with. For example, if you are trying to get rid of the cat pee smell but your cat is still peeing on the floor, it won’t work. Similarly, if you are trying to get rid of the cat dander smell but aren’t filtering the air or treating it with enzymes, the results will be poor.

However, if you are reducing the underlying causes of the smells, baking soda is a super-effective way of pulling the residual smell out of the air. Simply place cups of baking soda around the affected area or even sprinkle it into your carpets and furniture. Baking soda does take time to work so it will not be an immediate solution. But tried and true baking soda always works in conjunction with other methods.

Pros
  • Cheap
  • Easy to do
  • Works like a charm
Cons
  • Requires a combination with other methods
  • Takes time to set in

5. Clean Up Cat Hair

white cat shedding
Image Credit: DreamBig, Shutterstock

Cat hair and pet dander can cause a residual smell to build up over time. Cleaning a cat’s litter box and putting out baking soda will help cut down on the smell, but it might not eliminate it completely. If you have a cat that sheds a lot or leaves hair in its commonly used areas, that hair is contributing to the smell. Cleaning up cat hair from around the house is a crucial step in getting rid of cat odor entirely. If there is cat hair around, there is cat odor.

Vacuuming up the hair, picking it up by hand, or buying a special product designed to pick up cat hair are all effective ways to get rid of the odor-causing particles in your home. The only trouble is tracking down the cat hair on a regular basis. Some cats shed—a lot.

Pros
  • Cuts down on odor quite a bit
  • Fairly easy to do
Cons
  • Requires regular upkeep
  • Finding cat hair can be annoying

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What Is The Best Way To Avoid Cat Smells?

The best way to avoid cat smells in your house is to manage the litter box. Cat pee smells atrocious, and it can be nearly impossible to get deep-seated cat pee out of whatever it has contaminated. Having a clean litter box that your cat enjoys using and uses regularly will help immensely in cutting down any odor.

If you do find your cat doing its business outside of the litter box, be sure to clean the area immediately and thoroughly to prevent the smell from setting in.

What Not To Do When Trying To Eliminate Cat Smells

Do not try to simply cover the smell up. Using sprays or candles to hide the smell won’t work. While it might help trick you into thinking the smell has been dealt with, it will not hold up to scrutiny over time. The only way to truly get rid of lingering odors is to identify and eliminate the underlying causes. Trying to cover up the smell without dealing with the problem itself will not be successful.

Tips For Cleaning Up Cat Pee

The best way to clean up cat pee is to mop up as much of the physical pee as possible as soon as it happens—this applies to any surface. Even if the cat pees on a soft surface like a couch or a rug, you need to soak up as much of the urine as possible as quickly as possible. Use a hand towel, bathroom towel, or paper towel in the area. Spending extra time mopping up will help the result immensely.

After you have gotten up as much of the urine as possible, it is time to clean the area. It is recommended to use one of the enzyme-based cleaners we mentioned previously to ensure that the smelliest parts of the urine break down. Enzyme cleaners coupled with plenty of water and a little soap should take care of the issue, as long as you do not let it set in.

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Conclusion

Cat smells can be frustrating and stubborn, but they can be dealt with. Using a combination is sure to breed results. Finding the source of the smell and treating it with an appropriate method will ensure that your house will no longer smell like cats and can go back to smelling the way you want it to.

Related Read: How to Get Cat Poop Stains and Smells Out of a Couch: 8 Potential Methods


Featured Image Credit: OlenaPalaguta, Shutterstock

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