It may just be my perception, but it seems like cat pee has a distinctly 'Cat' smell that is different from other pet urine. It seems to have a stronger smell that lasts longer, than other urine smells.

What is it about cat urine that gives it the extra strong and long lived odor?


3 Answers 3


Cats are descended from desert dwelling animals and have their kidneys concentrate the urine very strongly to recover water. This is why they tend to have kidney issues in old age.


This table from Cornell University lists the specific gravity of urine for dogs, cats, and large animals.

Canine sg usual range 1.015-1.045. Feline sg usual range 1.035-1.060. Large animals sp usual range 1.015-1.030

Cats usually have the highest urinary specific gravity. Since urine is composed of water and waste material, a higher specific gravity means that cat urine has a higher amount of waste material (the smelly stuff) per volume excreted.


Ammonia is root of the odor in cat urine.

Ammonia as a solid crystallizes into symmetrical cubics. It's also miscible with water and can be boiled off.

In animals it typically binds with an acid and becomes urea and is a key component to reduction of pH levels in organisms.

Vinegar helps to break down urea into its base components for cleaning purposes. Baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) neutralizes any acid. Bulk sodium bicarbonate can be purchased as soda ash and is relatively inexpensive compared to grocery store baking soda. Pool supply retailers will carry this as it is used to reduce acidity level in swimming pools.

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