Why Male Cat Urine Smells So Bad

by Rob Hainer, Demand Media
    Your male cat might skip the litter box and mark your furniture instead.

    Your male cat might skip the litter box and mark your furniture instead.

    Your sweet little fur ball welcomes you home from work with a loving purr and a quick leg rub with his body. However, the stench of his urine can drive you away from your home, and him. Male cats need to make their presence known with their strong pee smell.

    Cat Urine In General

    Cats are well designed to survive in a variety of situations, and one of their talents is the ability to use water effectively. Their bodies squeeze every last ounce of moisture out of their food, which means they don't have to drink as much water as other animals, such as dogs. It also means their urine is super concentrated, darker than that of most animals. The concentration of waste gives the urine of all cats a strong smell.

    Males Make It Worse

    Males get a double dose of the stinkies. In addition to their concentrated urine, they produce powerful hormones and pheromones that they turn loose in their pee. Male cat urine is full of testosterone, signalling to nearby males to stay away and letting females know there's an available fella nearby. It also contains felinine, an amino acid that is basically a pheromone signal designed to attract the ladies. These urine extras aren't found in neutered males or female cats, but they serve to make non-neutered male kitty pee reek for days.

    Urinary Tract Problems

    While your feline friend's urine might smell on a daily basis, a change in the scent can signal a problem in his urinary tract. If it starts to smell more like ammonia or you notice him going to the litter box more often than normal, scoop him up for a quick vet visit to check for a urinary tract infection. The treatment can range from antibiotics to surgery to bladder stone removal.

    Why They Spray

    Even when your male cat is litter box trained, he's likely to spray other areas of your home occasionally. Tomcats are hardwired to stake out their territory, protect it from other males and to find as many girlfriends as possible. If they ever catch a whiff of another cat, which could happen just by you opening your door and letting the scent of a neighbor's kitty waft in, your male is likely to begin marking what is his. Cat urine smell is difficult to get rid of, but pet stores carry many products designed specifically to counteract the smell, or you could scrub the area with baking soda and dishwashing liquid followed by some white vinegar.

    About the Author

    Rob Hainer began writing and editing for newspapers in 1992. He began his career as a photojournalist in the Army, and studied journalism at the University of Missouri. He worked as a copy editor and reporter at "The Marietta Daily Journal," the "Spartanburg Herald-Journal" and the "New Haven Register."

    Photo Credits

    • BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images