Sunroom - smells like cat urine but no cat!

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  #1  
Old 02-19-07, 08:25 PM
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Sunroom - smells like cat urine but no cat!

We have recently added a new "sunroom" to the back of our home. All new materials were used. Sheetrock walls and ceiling and plywood floors. I textured, primed and painted the walls and ceiling with Lowe's primer and paint.

As the weather has warmed up we started noticing a bad 'smell'. As it has warmed up more the 'smell' turned into a STINK. It smells like cat urine.

I pulled all the kids toys out to elliminate them as the source of the odor. I have used a black light to see if something got in and used our room for it's own purpose but cannot find anything. I went ahead and used an enzyme and sprayed the plywood, just in case.

I have stuck my nose over most of the surfaces to see if I can find a 'spot' that is worse than others - nothing. When we open all the windows it clears out. When they are closed, it comes back by morning.

I am out of ideas. Please help.
 
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Old 02-20-07, 04:41 AM
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What smells, the floor or the walls?
Is the floor still unfinished plywood?

Is it more like ammonia, or actual cat urine (which is pretty...unique)?

Where was the plywood purchased? Was it stored outside there?
 
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Old 02-20-07, 06:09 AM
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What smells, the floor or the walls?
- It is a small space. I am not certain. When I have let it 'air' out the smell is faint but still seems to be an all over smell. I cannot detect a stronger odor from the walls versus the floors.

Is the floor still unfinished plywood?
- yes. I have wondered if it could be the plywood (not wafer or particle board) but I have used the same type product before without noticing this strong an odor and this definately does not smell like the typical wood smell.

Is it more like ammonia, or actual cat urine (which is pretty...unique)?
- It might not exactly smell like Cat, but it is more like Cat than a bottle of ammonia. It is so strong that with only minutes of exposure I walk away with a headache.

Where was the plywood purchased? Was it stored outside there?
- Lowe's - where it was stored inside. The wood was stored outside after purchase, covered with a heavy tarp, for a couple of days. Also, I should add, during construction we had heavy rains for two days. Though we tried to cover and protect the floor it got pretty wet. We had to cut some out that bubbled up. We do not have any areas that are bubbling now.
 
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Old 02-20-07, 06:27 AM
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Were the paint and joint compound new? Did they have any odd odors?
 
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Old 02-20-07, 07:30 AM
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Were the paint and joint compound new? Did they have any odd odors?
- They were purchased new at Lowe's also. They did not smell 'spoiled' like old paint.
 
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Old 02-20-07, 02:22 PM
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Have you gotten on your hands and knees to do the sniff test? You won't be able to isolate the source just walking into the room.

Did you build this room yourself or have it built?
 
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Old 02-20-07, 04:01 PM
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Have you gotten on your hands and knees to do the sniff test?
- Yes, several times.

Did you build this room yourself or have it built?
- a friend built it and I helped.
 
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Old 02-21-07, 05:55 AM
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Have you ruled out something in the crawl space?

Sorry for all the questions but you have us stumped.
 

Last edited by marksr; 02-21-07 at 07:02 AM. Reason: typo
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Old 02-21-07, 06:32 AM
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I would suspect that you actually have cat piss in your nice new room. They will sneak in and spray/mark their territory. Probably got in while it was under construction?? Just the other day I left my enclosed trailer door open and a cat got inside and spray/marked it good, the odor will almost knock you back when you swing the door open. Last time this happened to me a cat had gotten into the cab of my truck and marked it (I always roll the windows up now) that was three years ago and I still get a faint whiff every now and then. Might want to do a google search to see what is out there to get rid of it. I am heading for my local Pet Smart store to try some of their Nature's Miracle "Just For Cats" found worldwide at most pet stores. It's an enzymatic neutralizer which works by breaking down urine proteins by thoroughly soaking the areas affected and allowing to air dry. At least that is what the google search turned up, its worth a try I guess.
 
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Old 02-21-07, 09:05 PM
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Originally Posted by marksr View Post
Have you ruled out something in the crawl space?

Sorry for all the questions but you have us stumped.
- yes, there is a clear veiw of the area underneath.
 
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Old 02-21-07, 09:14 PM
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I would suspect that you actually have cat piss in your nice new room. ..Try Nature's Miracle...

- Well, I tried that again last night. In fact I poured the entire 64oz bottle into my garden sprayer and sprayed down the entire floor. It does seem to have helped - some. It appears to be completly dry. A fan was in the window all night and through the day which was about 80 degrees and low humidity. There is a definate odor remaining.

Can I seal it up? I was thinking of using a floor paint to seal up the smell and move on with life. Do you know if I will solve problems or create more with that tact? I know I will put down some type of rolled flooring in the future but I do not have the funds to do it right now. Is there anything I should do now to help down the road when I glue the rolled flooring down?

Thanks for everyone's thoughts and help!
 
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Old 04-20-07, 02:03 PM
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Same Problem

We have the same problem in our house. We live in NH and repainted a room late February. We also used Lowe's primer and ceiling paint.

Now that the weather has warmed, we've got the exact smell you described, under the exact same circumstances.

Today, I sprayed the walls with Febreeze. It's not even touching the problem.

It is driving me nuts! Any luck?
 
  #13  
Old 04-20-07, 02:37 PM
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It may be that the off gassing of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) has been increased due to the increase in temperature and sunlight. VOCs are common in many building materials, adhesives, paints, home furnishings, and other products. Off gassing is toxic. Some people are more sensitive than others. Headache is just one of many symptoms secondary to VOC off gassing. Open windows and turn on fans to exhaust the fumes from the room.

Learn more about VOCs: http://www.epa.gov/iaq/voc.html
 
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Old 05-09-07, 02:27 PM
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Unhappy Similar problem

Did you install new windows?

We just installed new windows ($8000 worth) - really nice wood windows, double paned with aluminum trim outside. Unfortunately they reek of cat urine and we assumed the cats sprayed them. I've used several microbial odor "digestors", neutralizers, and cannot find the source of the smell. The smell is much less, but there is still an odor in the air of the room.

Also, every single screen (and there are 10 screens of different sizes) really smell - even after treatment with the above products and vinegar. It is as if the odor has permeated ever pore of the aluminum frame and screen material.

Any ideas on how to deal with this nauseating situation?
 
  #15  
Old 05-10-07, 11:47 AM
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Sunroom Smell

Just in case, do you have any landscaping around the room? We had a room that smelled and I searched and searched for the cat pee spot. I finally discovered that the bushes ouside one of the windows-they were low windows, was one of those bushes that smells, like cat pee. It didn't always smell, and at times was worse than others. Even after I closed the window, the smell would be there for a while. Worth a shot!
 
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Old 05-10-07, 11:50 AM
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Sunroom smell

Sorry, forgot something. In a different room-different house-we had cat pee, and dog pee, etc. on carpet, pad to floor. When we took the carpet and pad our. I cleaned the floor with bleach water. Let it dry and painted 3 coats of the oil based smell and stain proof KILZ. We put a wood floor over it, and I haven't smelled anything since! And I have a sensitive nose. It's been two years!
Good luck!!
 
  #17  
Old 05-14-07, 07:57 PM
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Similar problem

Recently my basement (where I sleep in the house) has been overcome by what smells very similar to cat urine. What I've found is that some mold can also cause this type of smell. Make sure you don't have any around the plywood as that could be the cause... If you find anything that helps the smell please post it :-)
 
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Old 05-14-07, 10:35 PM
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Good point about mold and mildew and the different odors as it presents itself. Also, canned lights with surrounding insulation can produce some urine/fishy odors. Conclusion: Not enough significant details to provide educated guess to poster. Failure of reply from poster leaves us in the dark.
 
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Old 08-14-07, 07:26 PM
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Same problem....

We have the same problem - no cat but the distinct odor of cat urine. It all started a few days ago, soon after we used a rented carpet cleaner to clean our daughters room. The carpet was long overdue for a cleaning but never smelled bad. Now there is a very strong cat urine smell coming from the room, even though we don't have a cat and have lived here for 3 years. Any chance the previous owners had a cat and we reactivated the smell with the carpet cleaner?
 

Last edited by twelvepole; 12-04-07 at 05:09 PM. Reason: Nonprogressive language edited
  #20  
Old 12-04-07, 04:34 PM
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I just moved into an apartment and the front hallway, which is completely bare, smells terrible. It has the distinct odor of cat pee, which we thought we could remove... but it turns out that the tenants previous to us didn't have any cats, and lived with the smell for a whole year! Previous to that they renovated this apartment, and i suspect that something happened when they were laying down the floor. The odor comes in waves that can be quite strong at times and my roommate gets nauseated because of it. What is going on? Where is this smell coming from? Could it be a "volatile organic compound" VOC? I am worried that we are inhaling toxic mold, or some kind of toxic off-gassing. And is there anything we can do short of removing floorboards? Our super poured bleach on a certain area, but that doesn't seem to have done anything.
WHAT CAN WE DO?
 
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Old 12-05-07, 03:49 AM
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Welcome to the forums!

As a renter you are limitted to what you can do. I'd stay after the landlord to get the smell removed and if he can't, I'm sure that would be grounds to break the lease and move.
 
  #22  
Old 02-18-08, 04:57 PM
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Flowers could be the culprit

Recently I noticed a urine odor that would come and go in different locations in our home. We dont have a cat and our dog has not made a mistake since he was a pup. We also have a tile floor, not carpet. So finding this odor was driving me crazy.

I believe it was caused by dead flowers, as my wife likes to display flowers occasionally. Recently my son sent a nice bouquet of flowers to my wife for her birthday. Between this bouquet and several other vases filled with flowers, I believe this odor started and got worse as time passed.

Well, we removed all the flowers and from that time on, the smell disappeared. However, I also cleaned the A/C filter, but my wife said that the flower store has a similar smell. So my bet is on the flowers.
 
  #23  
Old 02-18-08, 05:16 PM
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How about a product for the crawlspace?

I recently trapped (humanely) three cats that I think had been frequently hanging out under my house. Even before this recent episode, I had found dead squirrels and cat-like excrement in the corners of the house. Thus, there's been activity under there. Every now and then I get the smell, too. Is there a product designed to be applied to the dirt under my crawlspace to neutralize whatever's down there?

(I know I shouldn't have a dirt floor in my crawlspace; the old one was awful and I had to rip it out. As soon as I clear out some debris I'm going to cover it in plastic).

Thanks,

Chris
 
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Old 02-19-08, 04:15 AM
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Hey Chris

Fresh air circulation is almost alwyas the best method to remove odors.
 
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Old 05-10-08, 08:46 PM
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Sunbroom Smells

Thank goodness I found this website dicussing the smelly sunroom. We too had a sunroom built about 2 years ago and have the same nasty smell. The smell we have is worse after it rains and hardly noticable when it is dry outside. The sunroom is on part of our existing concrete patio. It was built using two exterior walls after the vinal siding was removed and finished with sheet rock and then painted. I have pulled the carpet back along with checking under the shingels on the roof and all places are dry. We are built on a slab and there are no plants in or around the sunroom. We have a potty trained dog but never any cats. We have contacted the sunroom company who inspected and re-inspected all their work and can find no answer. I think my next step is to pull the carpet and padding completly out and see if that helps. What about this "volitle organic compound" I've seen written about? Anyone have any answers?
 
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Old 05-19-08, 08:03 AM
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Sunroom-smells like cat urine but no cat

Are the window screens on the inside with wind out windows?
We had new screens installed on the inside of our windows, and when the sun hits the glass, the screens give off a weird smell.
I suppose you could say it is a little like cat urine, but it is more like human body odor (armpits).
We are replacing our screens.
 
  #27  
Old 05-19-08, 02:31 PM
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Originally Posted by davibrew View Post
We have the same problem - no cat but the distinct odor of cat urine. It all started a few days ago, soon after we used a rented carpet cleaner to clean our daughters room. The carpet was long overdue for a cleaning but never smelled bad. Now there is a very strong cat urine smell coming from the room, even though we don't have a cat and have lived here for 3 years. Any chance the previous owners had a cat and we reactivated the smell with the carpet cleaner?
Absolutely you could have re-activated previous cat urine if it was not correctly cleaned in the first place when the cat urinated.

Unfortunately while there are many ways to attempt to remove the smell, you may need to replace the carpets and pad underneath. I'd advise pulling up the carpet to see the condition of the pad and then making that decision.
 
  #28  
Old 06-06-08, 10:02 PM
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urine smell but no cat too...

I was thrilled to find this thread on the urine-smelly rooms but no cat...off and on for a couple of years I've noticed my son's room smelled like urine, faintly, and assumed it was where he had had an accident and the smell had just not ever really gone away despite spraying products made to eliminate urine oder and rug cleaner...but my son is now 9; I'm sure he has not peed on the floor in many years, and the pee smell is much stronger now than it was before...and it comes and goes in intensity...sometimes very strong (even if he has not been home for several days).

I bought my house 5 years ago, and the previous owner had two elderly dogs. However, there are stains where they had accidents in the hall, but not in my son's room, and the hall does not smell.

sometimes I think the smell comes from my air ducts, but then why does it smell only in one room? under my house the ground is always damp, but it doesn't smell like urine or even mold or mildew under there...just a good earthy smell. And I don't think cats or other animals could get in there and I've seen no evidence of anthing. clothes mildew easily in my closet if I leave the door closed, but it doesn't smell like pee.

I know I need to remove the carpet, but still, I'm wondering what harmful toxins is my son breathing? how do I find out what this really is? I don't even know what kind of house professional to call.

could it be mice somewhere? I don't ever hear anything in the walls, but the smell is coming from something and I WANT TO GET RID OF IT!

sorry for the long post but I'm hoping someone else has other ideas.
 
  #29  
Old 06-07-08, 05:00 AM
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Welcome to the forums maxsmom!

Is the odor stronger when the weather's damp?

I don't know for sure about urine odors but smoke odors can come back during damp weather unless sealed - that's why with smoke remediation, anything that can't be throughly cleaned or replaced, gets sealed. The best odor sealer is pigmented shellac.
 
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Old 06-07-08, 06:39 AM
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thanks for your reply...not sure if smell is worse when it is damp, but certainly did have the smell last year too when we had a long drought, so don't think it is only damp-related
 
  #31  
Old 12-31-08, 03:17 PM
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cat urine

We just built a house that has a small storage area with an adjacent crawl space and nasty male cat urine odor. We do have 2 neutered females that we have had for years and never any odor problems or inappropriate urination. The smell is so bad it can knock your socks off when you open the door. I do suspect a Tom cat may be marking his "territory" on the ourside foundation of the house which is poured concrete and stone. When I sniffed around the dirt outside however, I smell nothing. No evidence of cat pee or poop in the crawl space either which is lined with plastic sheeting. An ionic breeze minimizes the odor, but not all the time.

I will search about the possible mildew connection in case it is not cat. Very interesting possible alternative. If it is not a cat, then is this something that the contractor should be aware of? Is it likely that he can or will fix it?

Help!! This is our "dream" house and the odor is a nightmare.

Thank-you for all of the posts on this stinky topic.

Happy New Year All and God Bless You
 
  #32  
Old 01-01-09, 05:20 AM
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Welcome to the forums Eva!

It might be possible that some type o animal got trapped in the wall and is decomposing
If that is the case, the builder would be responsible for rectifing it.
 
  #33  
Old 01-01-09, 05:58 AM
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I recently bought a foreclosed home. It has a finished basement and it smelled like cat urine too. It was cold and damp because the heat was shut off and the pipes were winterized. I think when they drained the water heater,they drained it on the floor. I found cat toys so I know they had a cat. After we got the heat running and the moisture went away,the smell was gone too. Maybe the smells come from the moisture.
 
  #34  
Old 01-07-09, 10:16 AM
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Cat urine/ammonia smell in basement

Just wanted to post that you're not alone!!

I am having a similar problem. I had been smelling a strange smell in our finished basement (carpet). Thought one of the cats had an accident or something. Bought a black light...couldn't find any indication that it was cat urine. Bought Nature's Miracle anyway and was going to steam clean the carpets with that. While giving the carpets the sniff test...I discovered the carpet was wet! Discovered a plumbing leak in ceiling above.

Fast forward to now. We removed the carpet, damaged (moldy) drywall, sprayed microban, reinstalled drywall, installed travertine floor throughout, painted, etc. We removed moldy drywall that wouldn't have been damaged by this incident, so it must have been there from another indicent.

After spraying the microban the basement smelled great...no more mold!! I was so happy. Well....Monday evening while putting stuff back together in the basement after construction, I noticed the ammonia smell AGAIN!! I sniffed below the drywall at the tile (no trim installed yet) and smelled a very strong ammonia odor. It is in the corner of an alcove in our basement. I have determined that it is about 4' of the foundation wall between the house and garage....and about 2' of an interior wall. The interior wall is part of a storage area...there is no smell in the storage closet at all. I just don't get it. I think we're going to call an environmental specialist to see if they can shed any light. DH thinks it has to be the cats, but there is no evidence of cat urine on the tile floor. I went ahead and cleaned the area with nature's miracle...but it still smells. So here we have this very nice finished basement that smells like cat pee....isn't that lovely!

I wonder if the OP ever found a solution.
 
  #35  
Old 01-16-09, 01:17 PM
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I am currently experiecing the same PROBLEM!

It smells like cat urine in my crawl space and is coming up through the HVAC. Facts about my situation are as follows so PLEASE is anyone has any idea PLEASE PLEASE respond.

Built the house new and moved in 9 months ago. During constructions had the crawl space incapsulated and conditioned by professional. As soon as summer was over my wife began to complain of a smell in the downstairs like something died. Soon after realized the smell was coming from the HVAC vents. Called the HVAC guy to come take a look and realized that the crawl space had a strong Ammonia smell and it was getting in the duct work. HVAC guy could find nothing. My crawl space is completely incapsuladed with the pool lyner type material and the only entrance is in the garage. So the HVAC called another professional (crawl space concepts) out to take a look. The second professional has no idea.

I need help!!!! Thanks in advance for any suggestions or ideas. Jack
 
  #36  
Old 06-23-09, 05:32 PM
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Cat pee smell

I had the same issue when I first moved to NC. I rented this FAB little apartment close to my job. Every time I walked into my apartment I would go "Good Lord it smells like cat pee!"

I eventually found out that it was the bushes right outside!!!

My husband and I just closed on our first house, and I didn't realize it when we first went to look at it, and didn't notice it until we fell in love and put our offer in and was accepted and the loan approved, and wouldn't you know it, those same bushes are in front of our house!

I told my husband that they have to be removed ASAP!

The ones that are in front of my house are boxwood bushes. I hope this helps!
 
  #37  
Old 06-23-09, 07:18 PM
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Originally Posted by RIDavid View Post
I recently bought a foreclosed home. It has a finished basement and it smelled like cat urine too. It was cold and damp because the heat was shut off and the pipes were winterized. I think when they drained the water heater,they drained it on the floor. I found cat toys so I know they had a cat. After we got the heat running and the moisture went away,the smell was gone too. Maybe the smells come from the moisture.
You're partially right here, moisture or changes in humidity can reactivate a smell as mentioned. Perhaps there is not kitty now, but in the past there might have been. In the summer when the heat goes off, and humidity rises, this is what brings old smells back to life....

Bill
 
  #38  
Old 04-12-10, 08:26 AM
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Lightbulb Ding Ding! It's Boxwood!

I have been trying to figure this one out for YEARS. Why every time I go past certain areas after it rains, they reek of cat pee. I'm talking large stretches of land... no cat could accomplish such a feat. Walking in a park or on sidewalks smells like a litter box. A really big really unclean litter box.

Also explains why MY litter boxes smell less when the windows are closed.

ANYway... after stumbling upon this thread and other similar ones and seeing mentions of boxwoods I remembered that the places I thought of had lots of shrubs. Some ppl pointed out tho how common boxwood is, and that they had some that never smelled. Odd.

I did a little research and it seems there are two primary kinds of boxwood commonly used-- and the smell is how to tell them apart!

There are many cultivars of Boxwood from both Common Boxwood and Little leaf Boxwood with a broad range of sizes, shapes, and even colors. The Best way to to tell the difference between the two are by smell. Common Boxwood has an unpleasant odor that emanates from the stems when they are bruised.
--source--
The Not So Ubiquitous Boxwood

Just sharing in case anyone else googles their way here. I did a search for "boxwood smell" and got tons.

One poster elsewhere says he calls them "litterboxwoods"
http://www.viewpoints.com/Pets--3343...outside-/posts

Note to self: next apartment complex should be boxwood-free (ok or the unstinky kind)

HTH
 

Last edited by bethk; 04-12-10 at 08:32 AM. Reason: added additional link
  #39  
Old 05-27-10, 05:14 AM
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I have a very similar situation, but with some differences...

I moved into this rented condo two months ago, but didn't notice the odor until two days later. The condo sits on a slab; there's no basement or crawl space. The smell, which I immediately recognized as urine, is definitely coming from the carpet, and only in some areas but not others (I did the hands-and-knees sniff test). The largest area was about 4 feet by 5 feet, so I immediately realized this was no pet accident. But there is absolutely no stain whatsoever, so it would appear that the problem had been treated to some degree before.

Without even mentioning it to the landlord, I began treating it myself, using Rug Doctor's 'Urine Eliminator.' Following the directions carefully, after pouring the stuff on the carpet as evenly as I could, I placed dampened white towels over the area and let them sit for 12 hours. Sure enough, the towels became saturated with a distinct urine-colored stain as the Urine Eliminator did it's work. Over the course of three weeks, I used TEN bottles on this one area. And although the odor is still slightly noticeable sometimes but not others (I don't understand that), it seems I've been largely successful.

But there are one or two other much smaller areas that I haven't treated yet. I've been wanting to rent the Rug Doctor machine to make sure the carpet is as clean as can be, but after reading here that it's possible such a machine could 'awaken' the odor again, I'm debating whether I should rent the machine.

Any comments/suggestions?
 
  #40  
Old 05-29-10, 10:27 AM
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Welcome to the forums Dave!

I'd talk to the landlord about the issue. I'm sure he appreciates any free work you do but.....

Moisture, humidity can make odors more prevalent. In homes with smoke/fire damage, if all the smoke damage isn't completely cleaned, removed or sealed with the proper coating - the odor will come back. A house improperly treated smoke/fire damage will often have the smoke odor return on rainy days I suspect the same would be true with pet and other types of odors.
 
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