“That’s weird. Why do my shoes smell like cat pee if I don’t have a cat? Is there a sneaky little feline neighbor that comes inside my house with the intention to mess with me? Or is there a feline divinity that’s for some reason very unpleasant with me and this is her way of punishing me for not adopting a cat yet?”
You can use the words of one and only Michael Scott and say, “I’m not superstitious, but I’m a little stitious.”
It’s one thing to own a cat and have to deal with a feline pee situation on a daily basis. But, we’re talking about something entirely different when smelling this specific scent when you find yourselves nowhere near cats.
But you may relax! If you’re wondering why your shoes smell like cat pee when you obviously don’t own a cat, you should know that you’re definitely not alone in this. Many people are struggling with this unpleasant situation, trying to find meaning behind it. As well as the solution for it.
So, if you also want answers right meow, this article will give them to you! Whether you have a cat or not, by the end of your reading, you’ll find a way to get rid of that nasty urine odor. You have our word!
Why do my shoes smell like cat pee? 4 possible reasons
1. A cat actually peed in your shoes
If you have a fluffball of your own, a pretty obvious thing to assume is that a cat peed in your shoes. This can be very frustrating to cat owners, especially if it happens a lot.
However, you have to understand the root cause of it before you go on and have a serious discussion with your little feline.
The first reason why your cat peed in your shoes is that she might be dealing with a severe health condition, such as a urinary tract infection (UTI). If you notice your cat began to pee in your shoes, it’s best to take her to the vet immediately.
Another reason why she’s peeing in your shoes is that she’s trying to tell you something. When a cat is threatened by our presence or doesn’t want her owner close, she can start urinating on his personal things to mark her territory.
This behavior should be treated since it can grow into something much bigger and harmful. In both cases, it’s best to consult the vet for advice.
2. Your feet are sweaty
If, however, you don’t have a cat, and you’re confusingly wondering, “Why do my shoes smell like cat pee?”, the main culprit could be your sweaty feet.
There’s a medical term for excessive sweating which doesn’t have to be caused by warmth or exercising, and it’s hyperhidrosis. This condition is divided into two types: primary and secondary hyperhidrosis.
For primary hyperhidrosis, the cause is still unknown. However, for the secondary, the cause is rooted in a certain health problem. It can be diabetes, a disorder of the nervous system, low blood sugar, menopause, or certain infections.
If you’re dealing (or suspect you could be dealing) with any of these medical conditions, it’s best to consult your doctor to see how it can be solved or treated.
3. The materials of your shoes are breaking down and decaying
The third reason why your shoes smell like cat pee is if your shoes are worn down and the material they’re made out off is decaying. This especially happens when the polyurethane components break down due to exposure to water.
Many shoes are made out of porous materials which hold onto moisture if the shoes come in contact with water. So, the “feline pee-like smell” is due to the release of ammonia, and it occurs when the shoes aren’t dried properly.
This, combined with sweat, produces an awful odor reminiscent of cat pee.
4. There are bacteria growing inside your shoe
And the last reason why you might be wondering, “Why do my shoes smell like cat pee?” might be because there are some nasty bacteria growing inside of them.
The foam in the padding of some footwear can be extremely rough, which is a great place for bacteria to accumulate and grow. The bacteria and the foam together produce an acidified chemical whose smell is similar to cat pee.
It’s important to note that bacteria love moist areas. So, it’s always important to ensure your shoes get properly dried.
How to get rid of the smell? 6 effective tips
1. If there’s any, remove the cat pee and clean your shoes
If you have a cat, and you’re certain that nasty smell is her doing, make sure to remove all the cat pee residue and properly clean your shoes.
You’ll do this by mixing some water, white vinegar, and some dish soap of your choice. Use a brush or an old toothbrush and scrub the insides of your shoes. Obviously, if your cat peed over them as well, make sure to scrub the outside to get rid of the yellow stains. Then let your shoes air-dry and that’s it.
If the urine smell persists, pour a generous amount of vinegar into a big bowl and add some baking soda. Then, soak your shoes for 15 minutes and later thoroughly wash them off.
After they’re dry, to get rid of the strong vinegar smell, sprinkle some baking soda inside and leave it for 24 hours. Or use a drop or two of any essential oil, just make sure you don’t overdo it.
2. Dry your shoes so they’re no longer wet
Sure, it’s amazing to “feel the rain on your skin” since “no one else can feel it for you.” However, don’t let the rain ruin your shoes. If you do get wet, make sure to dry your shoes immediately when you come home.
If the weather is nice, let your shoes sun-dry. If not, find a way to completely dry your shoes. Avoid using the dryer since the heat and all that tumbling around can seriously damage your shoes and their fit.
Instead, you can dry your shoes by using old newspapers. First, make sure your shoes are clean. If they only got a bit of rain on them, that’s fine. But if there’s mud and other debris, you’ll have to clean your shoes first.
Then, remove the insoles and laces and dry those separately. After that, stuff your shoes with newspapers, making sure the areas with excess ink are hidden, so they don’t leave any marks. Finally, wrap your shoes with a towel and leave them to dry.
You can leave them next to a fan to speed up the drying process, and also switch the damp newspapers for dry ones as needed.
3. Throw away your shoes if they’re overly worn down
Almost anything in this world has an expiration date. Even shoes. I know it can be hard to say goodbye to your favorite pair of footwear, but sometimes there’s nothing else to do than that. No matter how good and expensive your shoes were, after some time they’ll start to wear and tear.
And this should be your sign to let them go. If you continue wearing them, they’ll only get worse, and they’ll do you no good. Not to mention that the cat pee smell will also worsen.
So, be brave and dispose of them. And hey, look on the bright side. That can be your excuse to go shopping for a new pair of shoes!
4. Spray enzymatic cleaner in and on your shoes
To end your agony, buy an enzymatic cleaner such as Pet Stain & Odor Miracle Enzyme Cleaner and spray it on your shoes. This cleaner is formulated with the intention to break down any stubborn stains like urine, vomit, or feces and to remove any nasty odor.
To remove the stain and the odor, spray this cleaner in and onto your shoes. Leave it for around 15 minutes to do its job, and then blot everything up with a clean cloth. Then, let your shoes air dry for a day or two. And that’s it!
5. Get rid of the bacteria growing inside your shoes
It’s important to note that the enzymatic cleaner will not destroy the bacteria that grow in your shoes. To do that, you will have to use some disinfectants.
There are shoe disinfectant sprays you can buy online or in stores, or you can use baking soda and vinegar.
6. Don’t wear the same shoes every day
Last but not least, make sure you don’t rely on the same shoes every day. I know we all have a favorite pair, and we find it hard to wear anything else, but it’s good to switch things up a bit here and there. By doing so, you’ll ensure your shoes have some time to air dry and properly vent.
Even if your shoes don’t seem like they’re wet, remember that the material inside soaks up the sweat and moisture, producing a fertile ground for bacteria to grow.
So, it’s best to have at least two pairs of shoes to alternate between. When you’re wearing the first pair, you can sprinkle some baking soda in the second to disinfect, and vice versa.