How Do I Tell My Friend Her Place Smells Like Cat Pee?

How does one keep the pet stank out of the house, anyway?
Publish date:
December 26, 2012
shoppables, home, pets, cats, cat pee, litter boxes

I recently visited the apartment of a friend for the first time and got a narsty whiff of excessive cat pee. I was only there for about 5 minutes to drop something off, and I don’t know her all that well, so I don’t even know if she has cats. It’s one thing to break it to a close friend that her apartment reeks. It’s another thing entirely to unload your opinions on an acquaintance/stranger whose emotional intelligence has yet to be revealed to you. I’m kind of a pussy when it comes to this sort of thing, so I’d rather not say anything at all and pray that I never have to go over there again. But is that really the best way to handle this situation?

My former cat, Joga (named after Björk’s song, which matches her personality dead-on), now belongs to my parents in a feline-owner switcheroo stealthily pulled off by my mom. She once read in some crazy Russian newspaper that cats are very handy in lowering high blood pressure, and asked if she could “borrow” Joga for a couple of weeks to test out her new “scientific” discovery. I lovingly obliged, sending the cat off to Pennsylvania, and yada yada yada, she still lives there like a fat furry princess two years later.

But when Joga still lived with me in my pathetically cramped apartment, I’m proud to say my living quarters were never cat-pee-scented. None of my friends ever told me either way or anything, so maybe I’m just as naïve as the current cat pee offender. My lovely circle of friends can be brutally honest sometimes though (Recent comments I've received: “Your hair is super fried, but you could sorta pull it off if you were dressed like a surfer chick,” “I hate your outfit, nothing matches,” and “I have never seen you NOT dress slutty.”), so I’m going to assume they would have told it to me straight.

Since we’re on the topic of pet odor, let’s say you have a cat and you want to get to the root of the problem. How does one keep the pet stank out of the house, anyway?

I consulted my friend, a crazy cat lady who has not one but TWO cats (a ballsy move for New York City, imho) for advice. In all the years I’ve known her, her apartments have always smelled so fresh and so clean you’d never even know she had cats (of course, you’d know if you were Facebook friends with her, bitch posts photos of her cats and other random cats like it’s her JOB). Here is what she told me:

1. Clean the litter box every day. If you’re lazy, do it AT LEAST every other day.2. Use Arm and Hammer brand cat litter, it’s awesome.3. Mix in an odor-neutralizing powder in the litter (Arm & Hammer makes this stuff, too).4. Place an odor absorber near the litter thingy.

5. Dump the entire box of litter and wipe down the litter box and any affected area as often as possible. Once a month MINIMUM.6. You are what you eat. Feed your cats high quality food for nicer-smelling droppings.

7. Invest in litter box “furniture.” It can be pricey, but so worth the feeling of someone coming in and asking, “Where on earth is your litter box?”

For the price, I’d expect a rhinestone-encrusted model to match my iPhone, but it’s much classier than looking at a cat toilet that doesn’t flush.

This is pretty basic advice if you ask me (except for #5, which I never did. It’s really gross and I hate it, but you should do it), but for some reason some people just don’t get it, or maybe their sense of smell isn’t that great and they think it’s all good or something.

Now, some cats are gonna be dicks and disrespect your authority by refusing to cover up their daily deeds in the litter box, or they’ll leave little presents lying around for you in your household. If you are one of these people, these rules don’t apply. All I can say is I’m sorry and don’t piss off your cat, whatever you do. Good luck.

If you’re paranoid about your place smelling off, sans or avec pets, just use common sense and bomb it with air fresheners. Just do me a favor and use fancy stuff (Yankee candles = NO) so it looks like you know how to accessorize rather than trying to hide something.

Anyway, back to my friend with the cat pee issue she is seemingly unaware of. I have thought long and hard about this and I still don’t have a solution. I could get all passive-aggressive-like on her and share this article on Facebook, hoping she sees it and magically realizes it’s about her. Do you have a better suggestion?