What Smells Like Cat Pee But Isn’t?

Have you ever been in a situation where you smell a strong, pungent odor that you can’t quite place, and you think to yourself, “This smells like cat pee, but it can’t be?”

As per CatsanCat urine has a strong ammonia smell that may linger on soft furnishings and surfaces in the home Male cats tend to have stronger-smelling urine than female cats.

It’s a common problem that many homeowners face, as the smell of cat urine can be difficult to remove and can be a source of embarrassment or frustration.

Smells Like Cat Pee
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However, it’s important to remember that there are other things that can also produce a similar smell, but are not actually cat urine.

In this article, we’ll discuss what might be causing the strange smell and how you can determine the source of it, so you can address and eliminate it from your home.

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Possible Causes of a Smell Similar to Cat Pee

  • If you detect a musty, damp smell in your home, it could be indicative of bacterial or fungal growth. These organisms thrive in moist, dark environments and can produce a pungent, noxious odor. To prevent the growth of these organisms, it is important to keep your home dry and well-ventilated.
  • Some cleaning products and other household items, such as paints and solvents, can give off a smell that is similar to cat urine. This is especially true if they have been mixed with other chemicals or left to sit for an extended period of time.
Smell Similar to Cat Pee
Fevziie Ryman – iStock
  • Some plants, such as lilies and other members of the lily family, can produce a smell that is similar to cat urine. This is due to the presence of certain chemicals in the plants that can give off a pungent, ammonia-like smell.
  • A malfunctioning furnace or HVAC system can be a source of unpleasant odors, such as the smell of cat urine. This is often caused by a build-up of dust, dirt, and other debris within the system, which can be released when the system is activated.
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How To Determine the Source of the Smell?

In order to identify where the smell is coming from, make sure all windows are closed before conducting any verification process. It will help keep other external odors out while allowing existing ones concentrate within the area being investigated, thus guiding towards potential sources more easily when inspected closely.

  • Check for visible signs of cat urine, such as stains or wet areas. If you see any evidence of cat urine, it’s likely that this is the source of the smell.
  • Inspect the area for any potential sources of the odor, such as plants or cleaning products.
  • Scrutinize any items that may be emitting a strong, pungent smell and attempt to pinpoint the source.
  • Consider the source of the smell and whether it is linked to any appliances or systems in the home.
  • If the smell is emanating from a particular area or appliance, it could be the root cause of the issue.

How To Address and Eliminate the Smell?

Once you have determined the source of the smell, you can take steps to address and eliminate it. If the source of the smell is cat urine, thoroughly clean and disinfect the affected area to remove the odor.

Eliminating The Smell
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If the source is another substance, such as a chemical cleaner or plant, remove or dispose of it properly. If the source is related to a malfunctioning appliance or system, have it repaired or replaced by a professional.

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How can I tell if the smell is actually cat urine or something else?

One way to determine the source of the smell is to try to locate the source. If the smell is coming from a specific area or object, you may be able to identify the cause based on the location or appearance of the source. If the smell is more diffuse or difficult to locate, you may need to conduct further investigation or seek the help of a professional.

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How can I get rid of a smell similar to cat urine?

As per WikihowEnzymatic cleaners, like Nature’s Miracle, contain special biological enzymes that break down the proteins in urine.” If the source of the smell is identifiable and can be removed or cleaned, that is the best solution. If the source cannot be found or removed, or if the smell persists after cleaning, you may need to use an odor-eliminating product or seek the help of a professional.

Are there any health risks associated with smells similar to cat urine?

In some cases, odors resembling cat urine may be caused by mold or other substances that could be hazardous to your health if inhaled. If you are worried about the potential health risks associated with a smell similar to cat urine, it is recommended that you consult a medical professional or environmental health specialist for advice.

Can smells similar to cat urine be harmful to pets?

It is possible that some substances that produce smells similar to cat urine could be harmful to pets if ingested or inhaled. If you are concerned about the potential impacts on your pets, it is advisable to keep them away from the source of the smell and seek the guidance of a veterinarian if necessary.


In conclusion, while cat urine is the most common culprit of a smell like cat pee, it is not the only potential source. By pinpointing and tackling the source of the smell, you can effectively eliminate it and improve the air quality in your home.

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Don’t let a mysterious, cat pee-like odor ruin your home’s atmosphere. Take action to identify and eradicate the source of the stench.


  1. Banik, C. (2020, September 24). Volatile Compounds Emitted from the Cat Urine Contaminated Carpet before and after Treatment with Marketed Cleaning Products: A Simultaneous Chemical and Sensory Analysis. MDPI. Retrieved December 24, 2023, from https://doi.org/10.3390/data5040088
  2. Odorant volatile sulfur compounds in cat urine: occurrence of (+/−)-3,7-dimethyloct-3-sulfanyl-6-en-1-ol and its cysteine conjugate precursor. (2014, October 6). Retrieved December 24, 2023, from https://doi.org/10.1002/ffj.3216

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