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I have a female spayed cat in my flat for the last eight months. She used to be stray, I took her in when she was about six months old. So she's about 1,5 years old.

This past month I have noticed that her urine smells very strongly of ammonia - a much, much stronger smell than it used to be. I have NOT changed the type or brand of her litter (I use Ever Clean Multi Crystal), I have NOT changed her eating habits.

I have noticed that lately she likes to drink more water than she used to, but I consider that normal, since it's been getting very hot around here. I also take care to always have water out for her.

What could be causing this smell?

Also, today she has -for the very first time ever- defecated and urinated outside her litter box (in another corner of the bathroom, where her box is). I know this may be due to the fact that her litter box smells much stronger than it used to now, just mentioning it in case there's another connection. Any feedback on this also appreciated.

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3 Answers 3

up vote 5 down vote accepted

Drinking more water, urine smelling strongly, defecating outside the litter box - all of those signs sound like she's sick. Could be something smallish and easily fixed with a few antibiotics, could be something bigger. Maybe it's something with her kidneys?

My advice: take her to the vet to find out what it is and how it can be treated. I think this is something that can be easily corrected if you act on it now, but I'm just another cat-mom, not a veterinarian.

See if you can determine

  • is she urinating more, less, or about the same?
  • is she eating more, less, or about the same?
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Ammonia is present in urine as a by-product of meat consumption, so its presence is entirely natural. The usual reason for an increase in the smell of ammonia in urine is hydration related. The more concentrated the urine, as a result of lack of water in the system, the stronger the smell.

So, the heat situation could be the reason for this, but cats are not big drinkers and I would be suspicious of this as the root cause. Right now this smacks of dehydration and that may be a sign of another problem, potentially serious. I would arrange a visit to the vet as soon as possible just to be safe.

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Urea, present in the urine of mammals, naturally degrades into ammonia.

In solid form it is shelf stable, but in solution it is hard to keep from degrading. There are also bacteria and enzymes that are fairly widespread that hasten this decomposition. Even if it is just damp the decomposition can take place.

The strong ammonia smell would suggest an increased load of urea in her urine, increased drinking and peeing could indicate some problem with the kidneys, or metabolism... I'd suggest a vet visit too.

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