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BY: The Daily Cat experts
Your cat’s sense of smell is about 14 times as strong as yours. One reason is that cats have double the number of smell-sensitive cells in their noses as people do, giving them a much more acute ability to detect odors. They also possess a special scent organ in the roof of their mouths, called the vomeronasal or Jacobson’s organ, which is why you sometimes see cats investigating smells with their mouths open.
Once a cat places its scent on something, such as by rubbing its head on a curtain or going to the bathroom on a carpet, the resulting odor can draw it back to the spot, leading to the behavior again. If you want to discourage that, you therefore need to remove the cat’s odor. For certain things, like clothing or linens, the effort is easy. Just put them in the washing machine. For carpeting, furniture and the like, the cleanup is not so simple.
The Humane Society of the United States suggests following these three steps:
1. Soak up as much of the waste as possible with newspaper and paper towels. A clever trick is to then place a few of these soiled items in your cat’s litter box, which can help reinstruct your cat to go in the right spot. It’s important to note, however, that inappropriate elimination can be a symptom of health issues, so check with your veterinarian if your cat repeatedly refuses to use its litter box.
2. Rinse the “accident zone” thoroughly with clean, cool water and allow it to dry. You may want to consider using a wet vac to help speed up that process.
3. Use a high-quality pet odor neutralizer, found at pet stores, to further rid the zone of the smell. Such neutralizers contain enzymes that help break down protein and bacteria. Smells that cats tend to avoid include vinegar, mouthwash, citrus oil and certain pheromones.It’s often a losing battle, however, to try to replace a cat scent with one of the above fragrances. I think it’s far more effective to fully clean away the offending, cat-attracting smell and redirect your cat to the desired area, be it the litter box, a scratching post or something else.