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Cat Peed On My Cushion – Now What?

If you have discovered cat pee on your cushion, chances are you are unhappy, trying to understand why, and looking for ways to stop this from happening again…

Why did my cat pee on my cushion?

Most likely, it’s just because the cushion on your new couch smells disturbing to your cat. Cats are, by nature, very territorial, and in the areas that they have claimed as their own in the wild, they will mark everything with their scent. If a predator or potential prey enters this area, their smell will instantly single them out.

In the home, unfortunately, this can be very frustrating, but you can help by cleaning the area thoroughly with enzymatic cleaner and once it air-dries, spend some time with your kitty on the couch so that some of their scents transfer naturally.

Cats have scent glands in the paws, on their faces, and other places on their bodies, so the more time that they spend there, the more the cushions will smell like them, without your cat having to resort to spraying the cushion to transfer their scent more destructively.

How can I prevent my cat from peeing on my cushion?

Three pillows on top of a couch seat.

Three pillows on top of a couch seat.

You can either spend lots of time with your cat on the couch so that it begins to smell like them naturally, or you can adopt a few other strategies that might help.

A plastic couch cover, for instance, is a good idea, and you can spray a little citrus oil on the cover and this will further repel your cat – they don’t like citrus at all!

Beyond this, you can always close the doors to the room, but typically a cover is going to be the easiest and most effective method aside from playing with your cat on the couch to transfer their scent to it naturally.

How can I clean up the cat pee on my cushion?

While you could use detergent, that won’t clean it – it only covers the smell and when the cat pee dries, it will be back again with a vengeance. Your best approach is to blot up what you can and then clean the rest with an enzymatic cleaner.

This cleaner will break down uric acid components in the urine so that it may be properly cleaned and after 2 to 3 cleanings, you should be able to get rid of the smell completely.

Will the pee smell ever go away from my cushion?

Yes, the smell will go away, but depending on the saturation this can take many cleanings. Cat urine is tenacious stuff and left alone, it can last virtually forever. Thankfully, if you use a cleaner that employs enzymes, then this will clean the urine on a more granular level, breaking it down and making it more manageable.

Just bring your patient ‘A-Game’, as it can take 2 to 3 cleanings or more, depending on how badly it has been sprayed.

Does my cat know I am unhappy with it peeing on my cushion?

Cat beside a yellow pillow on top of a couch.

Cat beside a yellow pillow on top of a couch.

Your cat won’t understand why you are suddenly so anxious and aggressive. To them, they are just adding their scent to an item in their territory, and they don’t see what the big deal is. This is why you do NOT want to punish them – your cat won’t understand your motivations and will become distrustful of you.

You’ll want to clean the area thoroughly with an enzymatic cleaner, allowing the cushions and covers to air dry, and after that, it’s best to spend some time with your cat on the couch so that their scent glands can mark the couch in a way that you won’t smell it so that they won’t feel the need to spray it again!

Should I discipline my cat for peeing on the cushion?

No, you should not discipline your cat for peeing on the cushion, as they don’t understand that they have done something wrong. In fact, to your cat, spraying is just a way to transfer their scent and neutralize the ‘unfamiliar and threatening’ smell of the new couch.

Check the litter box to make sure that it is clean after you’ve cleaned the cushion with an enzymatic cleaner. Use enzymatic cleaner only, unless you don’t have any handy, in which case a 50/50 mix of vinegar may also be used – just keep in mind that this takes a very long time to be effective.

With enzymatic cleaner, you can clean it more efficiently and after that, a couch cover and a little citrus spray can help to keep your kitty away from the couch.

How do you neutralize cat urine?

Uric acid is present in your cat’s urine, and compounds called mercaptans are there as well, decaying and creating a milder version of the same smell that comes from a Skunk! This means that you need to go ‘heavy duty’ with your cleaning methods and an enzymatic cleaner is going to be your best bet.

Unlike detergent, which will only cover the smell for a day or two, the enzymatic cleaner will break down and separate components in your cat’s urine, making it easier to effectively clean throughout 2 to 3 cleaning sessions.

White vinegar, diluted 50/50 with water can also help, but it’s a much slower solution than the inexpensive and readily-available enzymatic cleaner that you can get at your local stores.

How can I Identify all the stains on my cushion?

Sometimes a light bit of spray will end up near a concentration and it’s easy to miss without a sniff, as it quickly dries. As such, it’s a good idea just to play things safe by cleaning the entire surface that has been sprayed with an enzymatic cleaner.

Alternately, you can quickly identify missed areas with a sniff of even a bright light might help you to stop discoloration, but it’s generally easier (especially on your nose) to simply expand the area of the surface that you are cleaning to get any spots that are harder to see.

Does the cat pee smell get worse over time?

Yes, the cat pee smell worsens over time, and if you’ve ever gone into an old home, garage, or storage unit where cats have sprayed, then it’s not a smell that you’ll easily forget. This is because cat urine contains compounds known as mercaptans, which will decay along with bacteria present in the urine.

The result is a ‘watered-down’ version of the same ‘chemical soup’ that you get from skunk spray and it is extremely hard to clean. You can get rid of it, however, but with older cat urine it’s going to take a lot of cleanings with an enzymatic cleaner.

If you have the patience and the cleaner, however, then you can remove it, so be sure not to throw out any expensive items before you’ve tried this.

Do cats usually always pee in the same spot?

Yes, cats usually pee in the same spot after you have cleaned it, typically because it is not completely cleaned. Cats have very strong olfactory senses, and even a trace of their urine is going to be detected and your cat is likely to ‘refresh their scent’ in the very same spot.

This may also occur if you’ve tried to clean the area with an ammonia-based cleaner. Ammonia can be made with urine and so to your cat, some other animal has come along and ‘marked’ their spot – your cat will naturally ‘refresh’ their scent and you’ll have a vicious cycle of spraying.

Clean the area with an enzymatic cleaner, avoiding ammonia and toxic bleach options, and let it air dry. After that, a few sprays of citrus oil will make everything smell nice to you, but it will smell unpleasant for your cat and should help to keep them from spraying there again.

Lindsey Browlingdon