Cat Urine – Everything You Need To Know

What is urine?

Urine is a fluid which contains water and waste products that are secreted by the kidneys and stored in the bladder until it is voided (discharged) via the urethra. The purpose of urine production is to eliminate excess water and water-soluble wastes from the body.

The urinary system contains the upper urinary tract containing the kidneys and ureters. The lower urinary tract, containing the bladder and urethra.

Why does cat urine smell so bad?

There are several reasons why cat urine smells. Firstly, cats evolved as desert-dwelling animals and their body needed to be able to survive on low amounts of water, as a result of this, a cat’s urine is much more concentrated than that of humans and the more concentrated the urine, the stronger the odour.

Adult cats’ urine contains a sulphur-containing amino acid known as felinine, the hormone testosterone stimulates the production of felinine once the cat reaches maturity. Males and females excrete this chemical, however, males excrete more, especially intact males. Felinine is odourless until bacteria begin to break it down, at which time it produces its characteristic pungent smell. It is believed that felinine is a precursor to pheromones which serve to attract members of the opposite sex and to mark the cat’s territory.

Interestingly, rats and mice are repelled by the smell of cat urine. However, rats infected with toxoplasmosis become attracted to the smell. This, of course, makes them more vulnerable to predation by cats, helping the parasite to spread to its natural host (the cat).

Food and medication can also have an impact on the smell of cat urine.

How to clean cat urine

In order to successfully remove urine, you need to use an enzymatic cleaner in order to break it down. Common household products and detergents may temporarily mask the odour, but they will not remove it.

  • Blot up as much urine as you can with paper towels.
  • Sponge the stain with warm water to dilute it as much as possible.
  • Continue to remove as much moisture as possible with paper towels.
  • Use an enzymatic cleaner, following the manufacturer’s instructions.

For more information on cleaning cat urine, read here.

What colour should cat urine be?

Cat urine should be a similar colour to human urine, a clear, amber/yellow colour, however as a cat’s urine tends to be more concentrated, you may notice it is darker in colour to human urine.

Keep an eye on litter trays because the urine (and feces) can help you to spot potential problems. Pink/red urine is a sign of blood in the urine (hematuria).

Urine should also be clear, cloudiness may suggest an infection (pus in the urine known as pyuria) anywhere along the urinary tract.

While fresh urine has a urine smell, which is generally unpleasant to people, any foul odours are not normal. Any of the above symptoms should warrant further investigation with a veterinarian.

Urinalysis (UA) is a test performed on the urine to check for a number of diseases such as diabetes, infection and kidney disease, to name a few.

How many times a day does a cat urinate?

This is a tricky question to answer as cats can be very private with their toileting habits. The type of food your cat consumes may also make a difference to urine output. Wet food has a higher water content than dry food. He may either pass small amounts of urine frequently or not pass any at all. There are several possible medical problems that cause either frequent urination or problems urinating including diabetes, bladder infection, cystitis, bladder stones, urinary crystals and urinary obstruction (which is a medical emergency).


  • Julia Wilson is the founder of Cat-World, and has researched and written over 1,000 articles about cats. She is a cat expert with over 20 years of experience writing about a wide range of cat topics, with a special interest in cat health, welfare and preventative care. Julia lives in Sydney with her family, four cats and two dogs. Full author bio