Having a cat is wonderful. They’re beautiful, elegant creatures with inquisitive personalities and plenty of sass! However, there are moments when our cats leave us feeling frustrated and annoyed, such as if your cat urinates on your couch. They may do this accidentally when feeling sick, when feeling threatened, or as a means to mark their territory.
Whatever the reason, I think we can all agree that the smell of cat pee is rancid. And that’s not to mention it is highly unhygienic having a cat pee on your couch and other surfaces around your home.
Besides, if any remaining smell of cat urine lingers, your cat will be more likely to urinate there again in the future!
This makes it super important that you clean the urine from your couch properly. In this article, I run through how to get cat pee out of a couch and recommend a few different methods you can try. I also share some prevention techniques so you won’t have to clean cat pee from the couch ever again!
How to Get Cat Pee Out of the Couch?
If your cat pees on your couch, try not to panic. Your furniture isn’t ruined, it just needs a little cleaning and TLC! I am going to run through a few different options with you, but whichever you choose ensure you do a thorough job so all traces of urine are eliminated.
First and foremost, you need to try and soak up as much of the urine as possible if it is still wet using a cloth of some kind. If the urine is already dry, you can skip this step, but ideally, always try to clean cat pee up as soon as possible as dried spots are harder to clean.
Once you have done this, you have a choice of a few different products you can use to remove the rest and get rid of that foul ammonia smell. Many of these items are DIY options that you will already have in your home. Alternatively, an enzymatic cleaner from your local pet store will also do the job. Here is a look at all your available options in a little more detail.
1. Baking Soda
Most of us have baking soda lurking in a kitchen cupboard. For this reason, it is my go-to whenever my cat has an accident or needs to get a stain out of something promptly. This product is amazing at soaking up and removing both odors and stains and is therefore great for this type of situation.
To use baking soda to get cat pee off your couch, follow the below steps:
- Sprinkle a generous layer of baking soda over the area your cat has urinated.
- Let the baking soda sit there for around 30 minutes.
- After 30 minutes is up, use a vacuum to remove all the baking soda from the couch.
- Repeat the above steps until your couch no longer smells like cat pee.
If you are using baking soda, you must keep your cats locked out of the room while you do it. For one, they could end up getting the powder everywhere and making a mess. More importantly, baking soda can be dangerous for cats when inhaled, so you need to ensure you keep them out of the way.
Vinegar is another good way to get cat pee out of a couch. It is a highly acidic liquid, and this acidity kills the bacteria which are responsible for cat pee smelling. Additionally, the acidity counteracts the alkali urine to create a more neutral substance and smell.
To use vinegar to get cat pee out your couch, follow the below steps:
- Mix equal parts water and vinegar together and pour this mixture into a spray bottle.
- Generously spray the area of your couch that your cat peed on with this mixture.
- Allow the mixture to dry completely, before repeating if necessary.
While this is an effective solution that removes the stench of cat pee, it does leave your couch smelling like vinegar instead! I think we can all agree this is much better than urine, but far from ideal nonetheless.
3. Baking Soda and Vinegar
If you have both baking soda and vinegar in your cupboards, another option is to try these two substances together. This is a great option if baking soda alone isn’t doing the trick, but you don’t want your couch smelling like vinegar!
To use a combination of baking soda and vinegar to get cat pee out the couch, you need to:
- Mix one part vinegar with one part water and place this solution in a spray bottle.
- Generously spray this solution on the area of your couch that your cat urinated on.
- Let this sit for 10 to 15 minutes before gently blotting off the excess with a dry towel.
- Sprinkle a generous amount of baking soda onto the area.
- Let the baking soda sit on top of the vinegar for 3 to 5 hours.
- After this time has passed, use a vacuum to remove all the baking soda.
This method is ideal as the vinegar kills the bacteria and neutralizes the alkaline urine, removing the odor. Baking soda then further helps to remove any lingering odors that haven’t been removed by the vinegar and remove urine stains. It will also absorb and remove the smell of the vinegar itself! If needed, you can repeat the whole process over again.
4. Enzymatic Cleaner
If you have no luck with doing a DIY job, head to your local pet store and purchase an enzymatic cleaner. Enzyme-based cleaners essentially work by speeding up chemical reactions. They break down molecules into smaller and smaller pieces that bacteria can then consume. These are then eaten by bacteria, digested, and released as harmless and odorless carbon dioxide gas.
When choosing an enzymatic cleaner, look for one that is specifically intended for urine. This will have the right enzymes that target the molecules found in cat urine, thus removing its nasty odor and any unsightly stains along with it. As every product is different, follow the instructions on the bottle for the best results.
What Cleaning Products Should I Avoid?
I have given your four products that successfully remove cat urine from your couch above. However, it is also worth noting what cleaning products and methods you should avoid. These can end up making the issue worse or damaging your couch!
- Ammonia: You know that horrible smell we associate with cat pee? That smell is actually ammonia! Avoid all cleaning products with ammonia in – although they likely won’t make the smell worse, your cat may mistake it for urine and keep peeing in the same spot.
- Bleach: Bleach could likely remove any stains and odors from your couch, but unfortunately it could completely damage your couch as well. It is super strong and is a product best avoided, especially with little cats around.
- Steam Cleaners: Never steam clean your couch as the heat can end up pushing the urine particles further into the material. This makes any stains and odors harder to remove. Instead, stick to using a regular vacuum.
Why Do Cats Pee on Your Couch?
Now we have sorted the issue and cleaned up all remnants of cat urine from your couch, we need to take a look at why cats exhibit this behavior in the first place. Understanding the cause can point us in the right direction of preventing it from happening again in the future.
Generally, there are three main reasons why your cat might pee on your couch; either they (1) are experiencing issues with their litter box, (2) suffering from certain medical conditions, or (3) spraying to mark their territory.
Litter Box Issues
Most cats are well litter trained and like peeing inside their litter box. It is instinctive for cats to bury their waste, and cat litter allows them to do this. They also like having one private spot to do their business that is out of the way of any commotion.
Therefore, the first place you should look if your cat is peeing on your couch is to their litter box. The chances are that something is wrong with it. Cats are very finicky creatures, so there could be a whole host of minor things that you aren’t quite getting right. For example:
- Litter Box Size: As a general rule of thumb, your cat’s litter box needs to be around 1.5x the length of its body. This should give them enough space to move around comfortably and do their business without feeling squashed and claustrophobic.
- Type of Litter Box: There are many different litter box types, including top-entry designs, enclosed hooded litter boxes, and low-sided litter trays. Make sure the type you use is right for your cat. For example, litter boxes for high spraying cats are best enclosed, whereas seniors prefer large low-entry designs.
- Type of Cat Litter: There is a range of different cat litters on the market. Clay is the most commonly used, but this high-dust and often high-perfumed litter may deter some cats. Opt for a low-dust, fragrance-free cat litter where possible.
- The Number of Litter Boxes: Do you have more than one cat? If so, you cannot let your cats share a litter box! They need to have one each, plus ideally one extra. For example, someone with three cats should have four litter boxes.
- Position of the Litter Box: Litter boxes need to be placed somewhere that is easily accessible yet quiet and private. Ideally, this needs to be a low-traffic area that is away from your cat’s food and water bowls.
- Ease of Entry: If your cat can’t get in and out of their litter box easily, they won’t use it! Kittens and senior cats are best suited to low entry designs for this reason. On the other hand, be careful getting a top entry litter box for large or overweight breeds.
If your cat has suddenly stopped using her litter box and started peeing on your couch or anywhere else that she shouldn’t, it could be a sign of a medical condition. There are a whole host of possible diseases and disorders that are linked with failing to use the litter box. Some examples include:
- Arthritis: This is an inflammatory joint disease that typically affects older felines and makes movement painful. This could mean it hurts them to climb in and out of their litter box, or perhaps the journey to it is too long, so they pee somewhere more comfortable… the couch!
- Urinary Tract Infection: UTIs make cats need to urinate more frequently, so it is more likely for a cat with a urinary tract infection to have an accident wherever they’re sitting. In some cases, this could be your couch. Moreover, UTIs make urination painful, making your cat less likely to use their litter box as usual.
- Bladder Stones: You’ll likely notice if your cat has bladder stones as there is usually blood in the urine and they’re straining to urinate. It is extremely painful and an emergency condition that needs prompt treatment from a vet.
- Feline Cognitive Dysfunction (FCD): FCD is common in senior cats as the brain starts to deteriorate, leading to changes in memory and decreases awareness. As such, cats with FCD may forget where their litter tray is in your home, or forget how to use the litter tray entirely!
Many other medical conditions are also related to litter box problems, so it is a good idea to take your cat in for a checkup. They can rule out these issues or offer treatment where needed.
Marking Their Territory
Sometimes cats pee on your couch to mark their territory. When this is the reason for this behavior, your cat pees deliberately. They will lift their tails high in the air and point the butts towards your couch. As they are peeing, you might notice their tails shake and quiver.
This behavior is called spraying and is very different from the types of urination linked to litter box issues or medical conditions. In fact, a cat that is spraying will usually continue to use their litter box as normal and only release small amounts of urine onto your sofa and other furniture.
The reason cats use urine to mark their territory is that it contains a huge number of pheromones. When spraying, their pheromones are deposited onto the object that your cat and any other felines in the vicinity will be able to pick up on. As all cats have unique-smelling pheromones, they will know precisely who the urine has come from.
In most domestic environments, spraying is a sign that your cat feels threatened and stressed. For example, they might feel threatened by:
- Other neighborhood cats that are nearby or coming into your home
- Another animal in your own house that is infringing on their need for space
- Stressful changes to their environment such as moving home or a new baby
- An illness or other medical condition that is causing stress
On the other hand, your cat might be spraying in an attempt to attract a mate. Their pheromones are a form of scent communication they are putting out into the world in the hope to attract the opposite sex. This explains why urine marking is more common in felines that have not been spayed or neutered. In fact, spraying only occurs in 10% of neutered cats.
How to Stop My Cat Peeing on My Couch?
Cleaning cat pee out of your couch is an important skill for cat parents to master. But wouldn’t it be nice if you could stop your cat from urinating on your furniture ever again? While I can’t guarantee that, here are some of my top tips for prevention that could nip this behavior in the bud:
- Clean your couch thoroughly: Cats have a sense of smell that is astonishingly 14 times stronger than that of humans. Therefore, you need to clean your couch thoroughly after all accidents to ensure you completely remove the smell. Otherwise, they will associate your couch with going to the bathroom and may continue using it as their toilet.
- Keep their litter box clean: Cats love to keep themselves clean and many cats refuse to use their litter box when it is too dirty. They will then look for somewhere else to pee, which could be your couch! Therefore, ensure you scoop all waste away daily and replace all the litter at least once per week to keep it fresh.
- Choose a bigger litter box: Many of us have the wrong size litter boxes for our cats and don’t even realize it! One tell-tale sight is if you see your cat peeing over the edge of the litter box, though they could look for a new toilet entirely… such as your couch! Choosing an extra large litter box or other size-appropriate option could help encourage them to use it.
- Check other litter box parameters: Is your cat able to access their litter box easily? Do you have enough litter boxes in your home for at least one per cat? Do your cats like their litter? If you answered “No” to any of these questions, you’ll need to have a rethink. Ensure you have the right litter box for your cat and they’ll be more inclined to use it.
- Get your cat neutered: If your cat is spraying urine on your couch on purpose to mark its territory, you should consider getting your cat neutered if you haven’t already. Spraying is linked closely with mating and how cats communicate to one another that they’re looking for a partner. Getting your cat neutered should stop this behavior.
- Take a trip to the veterinarian: Many cats stop using their litter box due to medical problems, and could choose your couch as their new toilet! If you notice a sudden behavior change – especially if in combination with other symptoms – go to the vet. If this behavior is a result of a medical condition, treating the disease should stop it.
- Help to reduce stress levels: Stress is another common cause for urinating on your couch. Try to make your home as cat-friendly and stress-free as possible by providing lots of elevated and enclosed spaces for your cat to retreat to. You can also help by sticking to a consistent routine and introducing any changes gradually.
- Use a pheromone diffuser: Pheromone diffusers can be bought online or from your local pet store. They release cat pheromones into your home which helps your cat to feel less stressed and anxious. The happier your cat, the less likely they will pee on your couch.
- Use a physical deterrent: If all else fails, you might want to consider purchasing a physical deterrent on the ground next to your couch, such as double-sided tape or foil. They hate the feel of this on their paws so should keep their distance from your couch.
- Purchase a couch protector: Alternatively, a protector might be a better option if your cat is still urinating on your couch despite trying all my above tips. These can cover the part where your cat continues to pee or the entire thing. They’re also great at preventing damage from your cat scratching leather furniture, hitting two birds with one stone!
MY FINAL THOUGHTS
Having read this article, you should know how to get cat pee out of a couch. Use one of the methods mentioned above for the best chance of success. Also, implement as many prevention methods as possible; prevention is much easier than cleaning up the urine itself.
Remember, you might need to repeat the cleaning process a few times over for all nasty odors and stains to be completely removed. However, this is well worth the extra time and effort as it could prevent your cat from urinating in the same spot again!