What Causes the Very Strong Ammonia Odor in Cat Urine?

Our question this week was:

One of my two cats has a very strong ammonia odor to his urine. What can I do to help him? Is it a sign of illness?

Kathy Baldwin


Hi – thanks for your email. Some cats will have stronger smelling urine than others. It is generally not a sign of illness as long as he is eating well, drinking well and otherwise acting normal.

Here is something you can do: Sometimes increasing his water intake may dilute out the urine making is smell less strong. That may help.

You can increase a cats water intake by topping off water bowls, adding more water bowls around the house, adding ice cubes to the water bowl (some cats will be interested and come drink), using a water fountain (such as the Drinkwell brand is a very nice product and/or feed canned food. Canned food contains a lot of water and therefore can also help dilute out the urine.

If your cat is having any abnormalities, I’d recommend that you have him checked by your veterinarian. He may want to do a urinalysis to ensure that his urine is “normal” and that there are no underlying abnormalities.

An article that might be helpful to you is on our Petplace.com “What is a Urinalysis?”

Best of luck!

Dr. Debra

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