Cat pee isn’t just disgusting, it can harm your health, too. The dangers of cat urine aren’t always obvious, though. No doubt you realize that cat urine, like all human and animal waste, carries bacteria that could cause illness.
So you dutifully wear gloves when cleaning up kitty’s “accidents” and while washing the mops, sponges and other items you used to clean it with. ( By the way, cleaning your mops and other items with bleach kills bacteria, but apply bleach only after thoroughly rinsing out all traces of urine with plain water to avoid risk of producing noxious fumes). No problem there. Or is there…?
It’s easy to assume that once the urine stain and germs are gone, that lingering odor is nothing but a harmless nuisance. Remember, though, that odors are composed of microscopic particles of the thing that caused the odor. So by inhaling cat urine smell, you’re actually inhaling cat urine. Just the thought is enough to make you sick, right? Wait, it gets worse…
Ammonia’s Effect on Respiratory Health
Cat pee contains a particularly high concentration of ammonia. Although this is a natural compound containing nothing more than nitrogen and hydrogen, it’s not exactly good to breathe. The good news is that most cat caretakers won’t need to worry about this. A corner of the living room carpet that smells faintly of kitty piddle isn’t going to harm healthy lungs.
The risk occurs when either there’s a very strong odor of cat urine in the room or when someone in the household has a respiratory condition, such as asthma or COPD. The amount of ammonia in a room that reeks of cat pee can irritate and eventually harm healthy lungs. Lungs that are already compromised, such as in someone with asthma, may be irritated by even a mild odor of cat urine, especially if they’re frequently exposed to the odor.
Odor’s Effect on Mood
Scent has a very powerful effect on our mood and behavior. Just think of the way a certain scent–like a particular perfume or food–can bring memories flooding back. Clinical research has shown that the scent of lavender can reduce agitated and aggressive behavior in those with mental health issues, such as dementia. Why am I telling you this? Because the dangers of cat urine smell don’t stop with your lungs.
In the same way pleasant scents improve our mood, bad smells can make us unhappy and irritable. Even when you’re used to it, cat urine odor definitely qualifies as a bad smell. Let’s put it this way, which would put you in a better mood–coming home to the smell of cinnamon buns or cat piss? So if you find yourself, your partner or your kids to be irritable and just plain ill-tempered in a room with lingering cat urine odor, it may be the nasty smell that’s ruining the mood.
There is one small exception here, though. Your cat’s litter box should always have a faint smell of urine. So faint that only your cat, who has a highly sensitive nose, can smell it, but you cannot. All it takes to ensure this is not cleaning the litter box with bleach, Pinesol or any other strong chemical that will strip out any odor.
Floors, furniture and other areas, however, should be totally odor-free. Traces of urine odor can cause your cat to come back to the soiled area and strike again. To get your cat to stop urinating outside the litter box and to save your health and mood, you’ll need to neutralize all cat pee smell in the house. For a detailed guide to the causes of inappropriate urination and effective methods for eliminating that nasty cat pee odor, check out Cat Urine Problems Eliminated.
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