Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Cat problems (again)

Bart has recently gone on a spree of ... shall we say, thinking outside the litterbox.

I tried the carpet cleaner on it a week or so ago, and it ultimately seemed to kick up yet more stink. Put Simple Solution on it... it didnt' seem to help much. I finally tried putting mothballs around the area to keep him from lingering there, but they smelled nearly as bad as the pee -- actually seemed to enhance the smell through some sort of odor-synergy, making it worse.

We started locking Bart in the bathroom with his food and water and the litterbox access behind the toilet (a hole to get to the furnace area under the stairs). Oddly, he didn't seem to mind as much as we thought -- he'd voluntarily go in there at various times of day to sit in the laundry basket with the blanket in it we'd set up for him.

I got on the web and found this stuff -- chemical, not enzyme -- called "odorcide" that professionals use to clean up "dead man" smell and other organic odors. The concentrate is something like $90 a gallon (but you can make 16 gallons with that). I found some at Red Hot Carpet Cleaners that came in a 16 oz package -- enough to make 2 gallons. I hung my hopes on that.

In the mean time, night before last when I got home, I heard a hissing sound coming from under the kitchen sink. It was wet. I felt around for where the leak was coming from -- apparently our water filter cracked. I had no idea how long it had been leaking, but the kitchen rug was wet. So after I got the water to the filter shut off, I went downstairs and found water in the room underneath the kitchen in the basement. Some in the ceiling, a lot in the rug in front of the closet and running over toward the furnace room. And a strong cat pee odor. Apparently he'd been doing it in there, too, and the moisture kicked it up. I spent most of the evening sucking about 5 gallons of water out of the carpet down there with the carpet cleaner.

The Odorcide came yesterday. Well, now I know why nursing homes smell like they do. I'm guessing they use this stuff. It's supposed to be some sort of spice smell, I can tell, with some gingery smell. I wish they'd just left the fragrance out of it. Unless that fragrance actually has something to do with how the fats and salts get broken down. And that's what it's supposed to do -- break down the oils and salts that other products don't.

I must say I'm not terribly pleased with the smell. I've used about half of it, and I'm wating for it to dry. We have fans and the dehumidifier going.

I got a brighter light for the litterbox area -- we're letting him roam free again and I'm hoping the week he spent in the laundry room has re-trained him that the litterbox is the place to go. It needs to be as inviting as possible, and the "preferred" places outside of the litterbox need to be made as un-inviting as possible. The CatScrams seem to work for the most part, but frankly I probably need a couple more of them.

Part of the problem is he needs to go through the area we're trying to protect to get to the litterbox. And no, we're not moving the litterbox. It's pretty much in the only place we're willing to put one. And he even used to pee right next to it -- so it's not that he didn't like going in there at all.

If this doesn't work -- I'm afraid Bart is going to have to make a premature exit from the world. I hate to do it, but I don't want to live in a cat pee home.


  1. Been There, Done Cat. You gave kitty a good life for a long time. It's too bad he's decided to do this (again), but he's had a very good run, and were he a wild cat, his life span would have been GREATLY shortened. Good Luck, bro.
    Mark the Wonder Geek. :P

  2. I am wondering how everything has turned out, regarding the odor.
    I am a certified Professional carpet cleaner,which I specialize in cat and dog odor removal. so if the odor hasn't come out,let me know and i can point you in the right direction for complete odor removal.

  3. The odorcide, we found out pretty fast, is why nursing homes smell the way they do. I think it ultimately did neutralize the smell -- but it left odorcide smell.

    My wife says it "smells like dead people." -- Indeed, they apparently use Odorcide to get out dead man smell. So I get the association.

    It's actually a spicy, kinda gingery smell that might not be so bad if it weren't for the associations with the smell of nursing homes.

    So, it worked... kind of. I really wanted something that did an instant chemical reaction with the oils and salts rather than having to wait a week for the enzymatic ones to work.

    The enzymatic ones, while they're wet, tend to enhance the odor as it breaks it down, probably due to evaporation -- just the being wet part.

    As far as what I've used, I've used both Nature's Miracle and, more recently, Simple Solution. The folks at the local pet store swear Nature's Miracle is better, but I can't imagine the enzymes are any different. I admit that's purely speculative, though.

    Anyway, for now it seems ok, and the Odorcide smell has faded dramatically. I wish you could buy it without the scent (unless the active ingredients are why it smells that way) -- since as far as I can tell it's the only effective chemical solution out there. If there's another I'd like to know what it is.

    We have a home carpet cleaner, which I've used on it. However, it has managed to pull dirt up through the padding to discolor the carpet as well since I literally saturated the area with solution and then slurped it up. So there's the whole issue of getting the dirt out of the carpet now without sucking more up. Using the cleaner in regular mode (that is, let it squirt and extract the way it's designed to as opposed to literally sucking a puddle of water through the carpet from the bottom.

    I expect next spring when the humidity comes back we'll find out whether or not the odors are truly gone.

  4. I found your blog while looking for history on Rutherford Bridge, and read this post...if the cat is still living, you might want to get him checked by the vet for bladder/kidney problems. These are common in male cats, and peeing outside the litterbox is a classic symptom. Our male cat died from these problems, and I wish I had done more to help him, as it was an agonizing death.

  5. Oh, he's still alive. I should do another post about it. We have the problem mostly solved, I think.

    Yes, it is true that adult male cats often have this problem and it is often due to kidney and uretha tract problems.

    I don't think that's the case here, though. It seems to be an "I don't like something about the litterbox" problem. Look for a new post (late July 2007) on it.