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jca's avatar

What are some good ways to get a "cat smell" out of a house?

Asked by jca (29291 points ) June 11th, 2012

I am having a party in a few weeks. I’m painting some rooms, and I have no carpeting in my house at all. Nevertheless, I feel like my house may smell like cats. I am planning to wipe the walls and wash the curtains. The couch cover is removable and is won’t be put on the couch until the last minute.

Is there anything else I can do to ensure, or to try to ensure that the house does not smell like cats? Or, if there is a cat smell, is it inevitable?

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18 Answers

Aethelflaed's avatar

Are you using some kind of enzyme stuff like Nature’s Miracle?

jca's avatar

@Aethelflaed: I can. I am open to any and all suggestions. It’s not a urine smell, I’m just worried about a general “cat” smell.

digitalimpression's avatar

Personally I wouldn’t worry so much about it. If they don’t like a mild cat smell they can bugger off. But that’s just me.

It’s very odd that you say it smells of cats when you have no carpet and the catbox is (i assume) always cleaned out.

If they are long haired cats they can shed and get their dander in all sorts of lovely places; in the vents, in the couch, under the couch, in all the nooks and crannies.

A strategically placed, and correctly timed candle lighting will knock out any odor though. Never underestimate the power of candles. =)

SpatzieLover's avatar

Before having people over that I know may be sensitive to cat dander/odors I bathe my cats. I have 4…so it’s no easy chore. However, that is my remedy for keeping the home and the cats smelling fresh. It also cuts down on the hair around the home. I tend to do this quarterly anyway, so sometimes prior to guests (a gathering or party) all I need to do is use a spray conditioner (specifically for cats) and the furminator to de-hair and spruce them up a bit.

Next, prior to having a gathering, I take the litter boxes, empty them thoroughly, wash them in the shower, then put in a new pad & pellets into each one. I use dust free, smell free litter boxes.

I wash any of their blankies/pillows ( I have dogs, too) just prior to company arriving. Then I tape roll after vacuuming to be certain I’ve gotten any stray hairs.

wildpotato's avatar

The only thing I’ve found that really works is HEPA filters, and they work amazingly well. Expensive solution, though.

Judi's avatar

You can go to a rental place and rent an ozone machine. It might help for a while, but you need to be out of your house for several hours while it’s running.

syz's avatar

There are actually paints now that claim to help with room odor – I’ve never used them, so I can’t speak to the effectiveness.

Aethelflaed's avatar

@jca I would use some Nature’s Miracle (maybe dilute it 1:1 with water in a spray bottle), and just spritz liberally anywhere that is too fragrant.

Also, anytime I’m worried I might not be smelling something, I get a friend to come over and give my place a good sniff. And then maybe we drink…

JLeslie's avatar

Aside from airing out the place and some of the other suggestions above, I recommend pinesol when you clean before your guests arrive. The original scent smells clean to me. I don’t use it every time I clean as I like to use natural products the majority of the time. But, if I make fish, or the trash went bad before I took it out, the next time I wipe the counter and stove and mop the floors (which are totally unrelated to the actual smell that might be bothering me, I use pinesol. Not full strength, it’s diluted in water. I feel like it takes away any smell I don’t like. If you don’t want it to smell like pinesol do it the day before. Other fragrance sprays and candles I am not keen on at all., I don’t like the house to smell perfumed or covering something up, just me. Although, I don’t find it offensive at all if I go into someone else’s house who uses potpourri and candles.

My sister has cats and her apartment never smells like a cat. One bedroom NYC apartment. She cleans the little box well every week. Not just change the litter, but also white the litter box clean with soap and watee, sometimes something stronger. She has long haired cats.

Response moderated (Unhelpful)
flo's avatar

Try putting bleach soaked material in a saucer or something for a day. I don’t know if it will work for cat smell necessarily though.

YARNLADY's avatar

I would hire a professional service to clean the floors, walls and furniture. They use pet deodorizers/neutralizers that are very effective.

josie's avatar

Let the cat live outside. Cats are predators, that is where they are most at home. Put a pet access in the garage door where they can take refuge from the elements. Put their food there in case they are not successful hunting on their own. Cats love to be free. They do not have the same relationship with humans or the wild as dogs do, dogs being scavengers.

jca's avatar

@josie: That wouldn’t work for several reasons. One, where I live, I would get in trouble for doing that. Two, one of my cats was just injured in a fight with a stray cat about a week ago, to the tune of over $300 at the vet. My cats are very territorial and wouldn’t tolerate other cats or dogs coming into their yard. Three, they might get injured by another animal, like a raccoon (I had a cat get killed by a raccoon once – they were in a fight and the raccoon punctured the cat’s lung. The cat had a hole in it’s chest and had to be put to sleep). Four, the cats might get hit by cars. I had that happen to two cats and learned my lesson about leaving them out for too long. Five, they would also be more susceptible to fleas.

Kraigmo's avatar

To really get rid of cat smells, wash stuff with Vinegar. If you have any throw rugs, soak em in the stuff. Rub a vinegar wipe along the edges of all floorings. As for the floorings themselves, just use Murphys for wood, or any old detergent for tile. For nontoxic detergent, Dr. Bronners is fine. Do the vinegar wash soon, or else your house will smell like an Easter egg party. Cats rub their noses and heads on things that are about a foot tall, so look around in areas of the house at that height that have dirt on them. Chances are the cats put that dirt there, and there’s dander and cat oil in there, so yeah, wipe all that stuff up. The night before the party, give the cats themselves, shampoo baths. Judge the temperature with your inside wrist, where the skin is sensitive. And make the water slightly hotter than room temp. You probably already know all that, just mentioning it in case. Change your air conditioning’s filter (or clean the filter) then run it for a good 24 hours after you clean the house up.

fremen_warrior's avatar

You can always let a family of skunks use the house for a few days – believe you me, nobody will ever suspect you even HAD cats after that.

On a more serious note, open all windows and spray the place with air freshener. Vinegar helps too.

YARNLADY's avatar

@fremen_warrior How true. We have a family of skunks living near us because a neighbor puts food out on her front porch for the abandoned cats that live in our neighborhood. Skunks and other critters eat most of it.

elsamay30's avatar

Male cats leave an awful smell if they are not neutered once they get to about 6 months old. I experienced this and once neutered, the problem vanished. Having cats should not generally make your house smell

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