How to Get Rid of Cat Spray Smell: Tips to Get Rid of Cat Spray Smell and Reasons Why They Urinate Outside of Litter Box

Cat spray, also known as urine marking, is a behavior that some cats use to mark their territory. Use a paper towel or cloth to soak up as much of the urine as possible, then clean the area with an enzymatic cleaner specifically designed to break down cat urine. Enzymatic cleaners are effective at removing odor and can be found at most pet stores.

Tips to Get Rid of Cat Spray Smell

Use a Black Light

A black light can help identify all areas where a cat has sprayed. This is because urine stains will glow under black light, making them easier to see even if they are not visible under normal lighting. Using a black light can help ensure that all affected areas are properly cleaned, which can help prevent the cat from returning to those areas and spraying again. In addition, you can purchase a black light at most pet stores or online.

Steam Clean

Steam cleaning can effectively remove the cat spray smell from carpets, upholstery, and other fabrics. Steam cleaning uses hot water and steam to deep clean and sanitize surfaces, which can help remove odors and stains. When steam cleaning, it’s important to use a machine specifically designed for the task and an appropriate cleaning solution. 

Some steam cleaners come with attachments designed for use on upholstery and other fabrics. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions, and test the steam cleaner on an inconspicuous area first to ensure it does not damage the fabric. After steam cleaning, thoroughly dry the area to prevent mold or mildew growth.

Avoid Ammonia-Based Cleaners

Avoiding ammonia-based cleaners is important when getting rid of the cat spray smell. This is because the ammonia in the cleaner can worsen the odor, as it can smell similar to cat urine and attract the cat back to the sprayed area. Instead, look for cleaners specifically designed to remove cat urine odor

These cleaners are typically enzymatic, which means they break down the proteins in the urine that cause the odor. For example, enzymatic cleaners can be found at most pet stores or online and are safe for use around pets. Following the manufacturer’s instructions when using any cleaning product, including enzymatic cleaners, is important.

Use a Commercial Odor Eliminator

Using a commercial odor eliminator can be a helpful tool in getting rid of cat spray smell. These products are designed to eliminate pet odors, including cat urine, and come in various forms, such as sprays, gels, and powders. When choosing a commercial odor eliminator, look for one that is enzymatic and safe for use around pets. 

Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully, as some products may require several applications to eliminate the odor. It’s also important to note that odor eliminators are not a substitute for cleaning but a supplement to help eliminate any remaining odors after cleaning.

Consider Professional Cleaning

Suppose the cat spray smell is particularly strong or has soaked into porous surfaces like walls or floors. In that case, it may be necessary to consider professional cleaning services to remove the odor fully. Professional cleaning services may use specialized equipment, such as ozone generators, to neutralize deeply embedded surface odors. They may also use industrial-strength cleaners and odor eliminators to remove the smell completely. 

When choosing a professional cleaning service, be sure to ask if they have experience dealing with pet odors and if they use pet-safe cleaning products. It’s also important to note that professional cleaning can be expensive, so it’s a good idea to get a quote before committing to the service.

Reason Why Cats Urinate Outside of the Litter Box

Medical Issues

  • Urinary tract infection (UTI): A UTI can cause pain and discomfort while urinating, leading a cat to avoid the litter box. Other signs of a UTI can include frequent urination, blood in the urine, and excessive licking of the genital area.
  • Bladder stones: Bladder stones can cause pain and discomfort while urinating and may result in a cat avoiding the litter box, according to the Small Door Veterinary. Other symptoms of bladder stones can include frequent urination, blood in the urine, and difficulty urinating.
  • Kidney disease: Cats with kidney disease may urinate more frequently or have accidents outside the litter box. Other symptoms of kidney disease can include increased thirst, decreased appetite, and weight loss.
  • Diabetes: Cats with diabetes may urinate more frequently and in larger amounts, leading to accidents outside the litter box. Other symptoms of diabetes can include increased thirst, appetite, and weight loss.
  • Arthritis: Cats with arthritis may have difficulty accessing the litter box or experience pain. This can lead to litter box avoidance and accidents outside of the box.

Litter Box Issues

Litter box issues are a common reason cats may urinate outside the litter box. Here are some possible reasons why a cat may avoid using the litter box:

  • Dirty litter box: If it is not cleaned frequently, your cat may avoid using it. It’s recommended to scoop the litter box at least once a day, completely change it, and clean it at least once a week.
  • Unappealing litter box location: If it is in a busy or noisy area of the house, your cat may refrain from using it. Additionally, your cat may feel trapped and uncomfortable if the litter box is in a small or confined space. Consider moving the litter box to a quiet, private area.
  • Incorrect litter type: Some cats are particular about the type of litter they use. If your cat is avoiding the litter box, experiment with different types of litter to see if your cat prefers a certain type or texture.
  • Litter depth: Some cats prefer shallow litter boxes, while others prefer deeper boxes. Experiment with the litter depth to see what your cat prefers.
  • Litter box size: If your cat is larger or older, it may have difficulty accessing a small litter box. Ensure the litter box is large enough for your cat to use comfortably.
  • Negative associations: If your cat has had a negative experience in the litter box, such as a painful bowel movement, they may associate it with discomfort and avoid using it.
  • Too few litter boxes: If you have multiple cats in the household, there should be one litter box per cat, plus an extra litter box. This ensures enough litter boxes are available and reduces the likelihood of competition for the box.


Stress can be a significant factor in a cat’s behavior, leading to various negative behaviors, including aggression, excessive grooming, and inappropriate urination or defecation. Cats are creatures of habit, and environmental changes can be stressful. For example, moving to a new home, rearranging furniture, or bringing new items into the household can cause stress.

Boredom and lack of mental stimulation can lead to stress in cats. Cats need physical and mental stimulation to stay healthy and happy. Conflict with other pets in the household can cause stress for cats. Even if the cats do not fight, the mere presence of another cat can be stressful.

Cats are naturally solitary animals and need privacy to feel safe and secure. They may become stressed if they do not have a private space to retreat to. Pain or discomfort caused by a medical issue can cause stress in cats.