Spending time outside in your yard is a great stress relief -- until the unmistakable odor of a stray cat's marking assaults your sinuses. Removing the smell entirely may require repeated attempts, as even the remotest scent of urine will draw cats back to the spot again and again.
Locate the Offending Stench
Stinky, sticky and strong, cat urine proclaims an area as part of a particular cat's territory. If an outdoors cat takes a liking to your yard, he'll announce his pleasure by lifting his tail and giving certain sections a spritz. He may, as well, prefer your rhododendrons as his personal litter box, intensifying his odor in the yard -- depending on his diet, it can be grossly pungent. Locate every area that smells like urine and make note of it. You'll need to remove all instances of this smell to make your yard breathable again, and discourage strays from repeating marking.
Grab your cleaning gloves, unravel the hose and bring out scrub brush and bucket of soapy water. Cat urine is sticky stuff, and you'll need to scrub every bit of it off your patio furniture, house siding and BBQ grill. Water is your friend. Douse all the areas generously with the hose to dilute the urine you can't scrub away, such as in the soil or on your bushes. Keep watering until you can't detect any more urine scent.
Neutralize the Odor
Cat urine is a stubborn substance; that smell is meant to last, even if the liquid washes away -- be sure, cats can smell it long after you can't. To completely remove the smell, you must neutralize it at the microbial level. Most pet stores sell enzyme-based pet odor eliminators designed to completely break down and eliminate odor from pet urine and stop the animal from returning to the spot. Find a product designed for outdoor use and follow the directions on the package closely to fully remove lingering odors from around your yard.
Once your yard is smelling fresh and clean again, keep it that way by preventing roaming cats from making themselves at home. Keep all trash tightly lidded and bagged to avoid drawing hungry strays, and make sure all fencing and lattice is secure. Cats hate certain smells -- such as citrus, coffee grounds and oil of lavender -- so use them to your advantage by placing the offending scents around your yard. Cover exposed soil with large rocks to discourage digging and using your flower bed as a litter box.
Jane Williams began her writing career in 2000 as the writer and editor of a nationwide marketing company. Her articles have appeared on various websites. Williams briefly attended college for a degree in administration before embarking on her writing career.