Removing Cat Stains and Odors

CatChannel expert Jeanne Adlon, professional cat sitter, discusses the best way to clean up after our furry friends.

Q: What is the best way to remove cat stains and odors?

A: As anyone who lives with one or more cats knows, you will have to clean up after them. We all wonder why they always seem to pick a new rug or a freshly made bed to have an accident on, especially when there’s perfectly good tile or wood floors nearby. Whether it’s a hairball, vomit or litterbox accidents, you need to have a supply of stain and odor removers on hand, especially if you have carpets.

When I do my house calls, I always keep my fingers crossed that I won’t find an accident on a rug or nicely upholstered furniture — and in all these years of caring for cats, I have found plenty. I remember one of my well-to-do clients has just installed a new beige wall-to-wall carpet. Of course on my first visit afterward, I was greeted by a huge hairball, surrounded by Sparky or Cosmo’s morning meal. Neither would ‘fess up, but since they both seemed fine, I wasn’t worried about them. Besides, passing a hairball probably made them feel better. The carpet, however, needed attention. My client must have anticipated a moment like this because she had an excellent stain and odor remover on hand.

There are many products for this purpose and most work well if the stain is new. Older stains can be difficult. However, some products will clean up the stain but not get rid of the odor, and that can be a problem with urine. I suggest you buy an enzymatic cleanser, which is more efficient at eliminating odors. Also, inexpensive and time-tested products, like white vinegar or club soda, are good for stain removal as well. For tough rug and fabric stains, ask for suggestions at your local carpet store or pet store.

Cats are very clean animals, but there is always the occasional accident. Good luck and here’s hoping you won’t be cleaning up messes too often!

Note to readers: I was very happy to see all the wonderful comments posted to my column about money-saving tips on food and litter. I encourage you all to post comments and share your ideas about the care of our feline friends.

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