The Best Way to Clean Up After Your Cat’s House-Soiling Accidents

Cleaning up "accidents" is a race against time and chemistry. The longer urine sits, the more time it has to soak in to a surface. Even if the stain is lifted, the uriniferous smell may remain unless you clean up the mess the right way. It is extremely important to completely eliminate odors of previous house soiling – so that your cat's supersensitive nose can't detect it. Otherwise, he (or she) may hit the same spot over and over again.

Urine Stains

Mop up the puddle as quickly as you can, especially on carpets. You don't want the urine to seep into the carpet pad – otherwise the smell will always be there. Use absorbent material, such as a sponge or paper towel, to sop it up and be sure not to make the situation worse by spreading the urine around.

Getting the odor out is extremely important because the odor signals that the area is an "acceptable" toilet.

There are many products available to get out pet stains and odors. These are typically pet bacteria/enzyme digesters designed to eliminate stains and odors completely. (Products such as Nature's Miracle® work well on both.) Use enough of the digester to penetrate the carpet pad. Let it sit for as long as the directions say – it takes time for digesters to break down the urine.

Cover the area with plastic and step on it several times to make sure the area is well saturated. Leave the plastic on, so the area does not dry out before the digester has had time to work.

A home remedy is to sponge the urine stained area with equal parts of white vinegar and warm water. To ensure there is no after-odor, try mixing lavender oil (about 10 to 12 drops, depending on the size of the stain) with 1 cup of bicarbonate of soda. Sprinkle the mixture on the targeted area; let it sit for a couple of hours, and then vacuum.

Fecal Stains

The same principles apply to cleaning up fecal matter, except that you want to be careful scooping up the poop. The concept, of course, is to get it all up without pushing any into a pile of the carpet or spreading it further than you have to. Try using a spatula (one you don't ever expect to use again) or a piece of cardboard.

Use paper towels or coffee filters to absorb any moisture. Then sponge the area with warm water (ring the sponge of excess water). Finally, apply a digester to the spot.

Older Stains

Unfortunately, getting old stains out of carpet ranges from the very difficult to the impossible. You can give the enzymatic digester a shot, but if the area has been "hit" many times by a pet, the digester may not work. If this is the case, try the following:

If this doesn't work, you may need to remove that section of rug and replace it with a patch taken from a hidden area of the rug (such as under the couch). Remember that you have to replace the pad underneath as well. This is one reason why tiled or laminate flooring and pets go together so well.

Cleaning Up Vomit

Vomit presents a special challenge because it is very acidic. If not cleaned up quickly and well, the color of your carpet or floor may change. You should treat the area with a professionally manufactured carpet detergent and then rinse it with hot water.