Repairing Cat Pee Damage

I am on vacation and am cleaning my mother’s house and throwing stuff out.

The cat has stained the hardwood floor by the front door. (Franky the whole house smells of cat pee.)

So presuming I inherit the place (but not the cat), how can a contract repair the stained area? Will resanding work, or something more elaborate?

Cat pee tends to impregnate itself into pretty much everything it comes in contact with, in my experience (one of my former cats used to pee on things – he was a wonderful cat, and I miss him very much, but that one problem drove me crazy). There are many products and processes that claim to get it out, but I have yet to see one that actually does it completely. The smell is always there on some level.

If it penetrated the wood enough to stain, I suspect you’ll have to sand a whole lot off to get rid of it. If it went into the cracks in between boards, even that might not completely work. If it’s not too big of an area, it’s probably better to just replace it. Or if you don’t mind painting it, I guess you could seal it really well with something like Kilz and then paint. But the default with cat pee is to replace the affected item.

I have tried many many products, but the absolute best mix I have found for carpet areas is to put 24 oz of water into a plant sprayer along with one solid tablespoon of Oxyclean and about an ounce to an ounce and a half of Febreeze (which is available in refill sized bottles at Walmart).

Solidly soak the area, starting from the outside of it so that the urine isn’t simply driven out by the spray.

May require more than one application, two or more days apart because it’ll take a day or two to dry out.

Don’t put in too much Oxyclean, or it will leech out all over the sprayer and clog it up.
When you mix, DO NOT put the top on it for at least 10 minutes. The Oxyclean tends to foam a little and out-gas for a little longer, so if you seal it up too soon, you’ll only come back later to find that your plant sprayer has burst and leaked all over.

I actually had a book stained by urine only on one end near the binding. I didn’t want to throw it away, so I sprayed the stained area lightly with this solution and then covered with baking soda. Left for about a week upright between two other books. No ongoing smell. OTOH, I did throw away a couple of other books that were less valuable.

As a landlord I can tell you that cat pee is one of the toughest things to deal with. I’ve never had to deal with it on a hard wood floor, but I suspect the approach is the same as for carpeting.

Basically you’re going to want to throw everything you’ve got at it. First of all get yourself a black lite. Cat pee will glow green - so will human pee and a lot of other things - but you will want to mark all the problem areas. I would probably start by saturating the areas with plain water and suck it up with a wet vac. The idea is to suck up as much pee as you can. Then apply an enzyme cleaner specially designed for cat pee - Chimera’s Oxyclean approach might work just as well. Don’t just put it on the surface. Pour it on and let it soak in. Be aggressive. All this moisture will tend to raise the grain of the wood, but that has probably happened already from the pee. Let everything dry and see if you’ve done any good. It wouldn’t hurt to repeat the above process.

You can try to bleach the stain with oxalic acid (try Woodcraft). Finally sand it all down, and apply two or three coats of polyurethane. Make sure you work it into the cracks and seams.

All that’s a lot of trouble, and it’s not guaranteed to completely solve the problem. Really, the most effective solution is to tear out everything that’s been peed upon, right down to the sub-floor. Good luck. Let us know how it goes.

Generally, it’s pretty hard to sand & refinish a small part of a hardwood floor, and have it match the rest of the floor. You usually have to sand & refinish the whole floor. (But often, it’s about time to do that anyway.)

The cat just crapped on the carpet. I suspect a suicide attempt. (In truth I will take her to the vet.)

Thank you all.

When a cat does this, one who has been litter-trained, its his or her method of objecting to something you’ve done, are doing, or just your very presence (as the cat does not know you). take the cat to a vet if you will, but probably nothing physically wrong with the cat. The cat’s upset over something.