My bedroom REEKS of cat pee, and I don't own cats!!! - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 12 Old 09-29-2013, 06:48 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I am at my wits end. I can't stand this smell anymore. Our management had 2 months to prepare our house for us to move in. A few days before we were supposed to move in, they called us and said they hadn't shampooed the carpets yet, so we couldn't move in for a few days. My husbands schedule wouldn't allow us to postpone the move so I just told them not to worry about it...it couldn't be that bad. Well when we moved in we realized the carpets had tons of pee stains everywhere, and our neighbors told us the previous occupants had a dog. The stains never gave off a smell. We started noticing that every once in a while our back door would suddenly reek of cat pee, and take a week to dissipate. As soon as the smell would disappear, it would come back strong again. I have seen an unfixed male spraying our neighbors house before. The other day I rearranged our bedroom, and now the spot where we moved our bed over REEKS of cat pee. Literally overnight our bedroom smells so bad I get headaches. I don't want my babies breathing this air, febreeze won't help, and our management could care less. We are dirt poor and can't afford to rent a carpet cleaning vacuum. We do have two very well trained spayed dogs, but this smell is that of an unfixed male cat. WHAT do I do???


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#2 of 12 Old 09-30-2013, 09:18 AM
 
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Is the smell of cat urine coming from inside or outside the home?  You mention the outdoor cat and the indoor dog stains, but I am unclear where the actual smell is emanating from.

 

If it is coming from outdoors, you're going to want to deter the cat from coming into your yard.  Lots of suggestions are available at this link

 

If it's coming from indoors, you'll have to use an enzymatic cleaner (like Nature's Miracle, usually available at pet supply stores for about $10) to neutralize the smell.  The issue you'll have if it's inside is that the urine has had time to soak into the pad underneath the carpet (and perhaps also the subfloor) so it may take several applications of the enzymatic cleaner to truly neutralize the smell.  I know you mention cost as a factor, but most carpet cleaning vacuums cost around $30 and it very likely may take enough bottles of Nature's Miracle to neutralize the smell that it may cost the same amount in the end.

 

In my opinion, if you're suffering ill health effects from the smell and if the smell is coming from inside the home, you need to look into your lease terms and see if you have any leverage to negotiate breaking your lease without paying your early termination penalty.  Cat urine is notoriously difficult to eliminate, especially if it has been sitting long enough to sink into the subfloor.  The only way to eliminate it fully that that point is to rip up the carpet, seal the subfloor, and buy new padding and carpet....something that your management company seems to know and that is why they're blowing you off on your complaints.

No easy answers here, but those are your basic options, IMO.


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#3 of 12 Old 09-30-2013, 11:07 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the response. The smell is coming from inside the home. We are still not sure if the cat pee smell by the backdoor is from inside, outside, or both, but the smell in the bedroom is definitely inside. Any idea why the bedroom smell would suddenly appear overnight? 
That is my fear, that the pee is not only in the carpets, but also beneath. Not only the pee that we can smell, but also the stains that are throughout the house. Do you think if we were able to rent a carpet cleaner, that it would be enough to get rid of the smell since it is deeper than just the carpets? Thanks again.


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#4 of 12 Old 09-30-2013, 04:40 PM
 
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It really would be a gamble to see if the carpet cleaner would be enough to get rid of the cat smell.  I think it's a necessary step at this point, regardless.

 

Cat urine smell, especially male spray (which is much more malodorous than female spray, IMO) is really rough and very pungent.  If it has been sitting a while or was prolific when it was being made, I can about guarantee that at the very least it's in the padding, if not the subfloor.  It's nearly impossible to gauge at this point until you attempt to steam it out.

 

If steaming it doesn't eliminate the cat smell, then I would look into breaking your lease and finding a new place - I know it's a drastic step and may not be a viable option, but this may be a last resort.  If it comes to this, I would write a letter documenting your experiences.  Be as specific as possible using dates and saving the receipt from the carpet cleaning.  Also write the steps you want them to take and the steps you will take if they don't respond or keep blowing you off.  Keep your letter short and succinct and send it via certified mail to the management company.  The eventuality here is either your management is going to kowtow to you and replace the carpeting since you've done due diligence by cleaning the carpet, or they're going to continue to fight it tooth and nail and attempt to withhold your deposit.  If the second one happens, then taking the steps of documentation should make for an easier fight in small claims court, should it come to that.

 

Of course, it would be my hope that simply cleaning the carpet would help, but as someone who purchased a home with a strong oily  "Beagle fur" smell in the carpet, I can tell you that no amount of steaming it (we did it twice) or painting the walls (we did that once) helped...when the humidity and heat rose in the house you could still "smell Beagle" (albeit more faintly) nearly 10 years later.  In our case, it was clearly in the padding and/or subfloor.  Cat urine is a much more egregious smell than Beagle fur, so this is why I think your eventuality may entail moving and/or lease breaking.


I'm Brooke!  I'm a breastfeeding advocate and IBCLC.  Homeschooling mama to my girls, Maiya (4/2009) and Jenevieve (2/2011) and my new baby boy, River (9/6/2013).

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#5 of 12 Old 09-30-2013, 05:05 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks so much for your reply, I appreciate it. I can't believe you still smelled beagle for 10 years!! That's crazy! When we can, we will try renting  a carpet cleaner and hopefully it works. Thanks again!


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#6 of 12 Old 09-30-2013, 06:25 PM
 
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In the meantime, dry sprinkling baking soda where the worst smell is and even leave a pie plate of it out in the room.  Or activated charcoal.  Not permanent fixes, but just something to get you through.

 

IME, Rug Doctor is pretty decent.  Make sure to check the machine for cleanliness before you walk out of the store.  I took home a dirty one once, won't make that mistake again!  Use the teesniest bit of soap or skip soap altogether and just fill the machine with straight white vinegar.  The enzyme mentioned previously is a good one, as is Bac-out.

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#7 of 12 Old 09-30-2013, 06:33 PM
 
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You need to either pressure the management or prepare to spend $40.

 

Buy big bottle of Nature Miracle . It is $17.92 for a gallon.  Pour liberally on all the cat pee stains. Let it dry. Do not bother with backing soda or carpet cleaner wihout Nature Miracle first! It has enzymes that destoys the pee!

 

Rent a carpet cleaner machine . Local grocery store would have it for $19.99 for a day with a coupon or barrow one from a friend.

 

Clean the carpet.

 

Done.

 

I have 2 cats, so I really know.

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#8 of 12 Old 09-30-2013, 06:50 PM
 
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Get a cheap black light to identify the spots. Pour 50% vinegar on each spot. Blot dry. Once dry sprinkle with baking soda then spray with 90% Hydrogen Peroxide mixed with just a little bit of dish soap. Scrub the baking soda and hydrogen peroxide into the carpet. Let then dry, then vacuum. That will hopefully get rid of the smell.

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#9 of 12 Old 09-30-2013, 07:02 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you! These are all really helpful! Can't wait to get my house stink free!


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#10 of 12 Old 11-01-2013, 06:33 AM
 
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Have you had any luck getting rid of the smell? 

 

I have 4 cats and one of them is an anxious soul and he sprays everywhere at times.  It is tough to get urine odor out of carpets if it has been absorbed into the padding.  It is possible though.  I've used Nature's Miracle but can't stand the fabric softener like smell.  Mostly, we use a mix of citrus vinegar (made by soaking orange, lime or lemon peels in white vinegar for about a month and then straining), baking soda and sometimes a mild dish detergent.  Be careful with hydrogen peroxide as it can bleach carpet.  I use a small carpet cleaning vac (I think it's a Bissell) to deep clean trouble spots but mostly do it by hand.

 

What has your landlord said about this?  I would push them about this as they should have prepared the place better.  What are the laws in your state? 

 

I wish you the best.


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#11 of 12 Old 11-16-2013, 10:32 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I haven't had any luck in eliminating the smell, but I figured out what it is and it's not so constant. After quite a few times of my daughter spilling water, I figured out that's the trigger to the smell. I should have realized it sooner, but it seems that if we spill water, no matter how much we try to blot it dry, it releases old odors. There are countless other upkeep and safety complaints we have notified them about and they do nothing or the bare minimum. So, we decided that when we get our tax return we are going to use part of it for a down payment for a new place. It sucks to move (again!) but I think it is a good decision and I am looking forward to it! We are going to be careful this time around by making them sign for whatever repairs they promise to make before move-in, and we are never going to have carpets again lol!


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#12 of 12 Old 11-19-2013, 06:53 AM
 
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It might be dog pee too. When we bought our house this summer, the house didn't smell weird. Only after we moved in we started noticing pet urine smell in the formal living room/dining room (one big carpet there). I then learned from the neighbors that the old owners had a large dog who used that carpet as wee wee pad. I've tried about everything but frankly with it being in the pad little can be done but ripping out the carpet. Vinegar with citrus is doing the trick for one week before the smell returns. We'll replace the whole ground level with hardwood next year, until then it's weekly cleanings. It's nasty. (and our state doesn't have a regulation that we could ask for money from the previous owners for hiding such a major defect. liars! when we sold our old house we disclosed everything.)

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