What Does Cat Urine Smell Like?
If you’ve ever wondered what does cat urine smell like, you’re not alone. Cats and other animals share many characteristics, including the distinct smell they leave behind. To understand what makes a cat’s urine smell so bad, let’s look at the chemical composition of the fluid. Urea, a main component of cat urine, breaks down into two chemicals known as amines and mercaptans. Mercaptans are similar to compounds found in skunk spray. Ammonia is produced by bacterial decomposition of urea.
Normal versus abnormal cat urine
If your cat’s urine smells a little different than the smell of the litter box, it may be a sign of a health issue. The typical odor of cat urine is mildly pungent and acidic. Over time, many owners of cats grow accustomed to this odor and do not notice it when it changes. If your cat’s urine smells offensive, however, you should schedule an appointment with your veterinarian to rule out any underlying medical conditions.
The smell of normal cat urine is generally pale yellow or clear. The urine should be free of cloudiness, but if you notice a cloudy odor, the urine may be abnormal. A change in color is usually a sign of kidney or bladder issues. In addition, cats typically urinate less often than people. However, some cats urinate more than twice a day. Frequent urination does not always mean your cat has a urinary issue.
Ingredients in cat urine
Unlike dog or human urine, cat urine contains a high concentration of amino acids and other components that decompose to produce an unpleasant smell. These substances are called urea, uric acid, sodium and other electrolytes, and pheromones. Moreover, it contains bacterial waste products, including ammonia, which releases an unpleasant smell when it decomposes in the environment. Hence, it is essential to scoop the litter box after your cat defecates.
But if your cat pee has an unpleasant smell, you may want to avoid using DIY cleaning products. Ammonia-based cleaners are not recommended since they tend to aggravate the smell. Instead, try using a natural enzyme-based cleaner, which will kill bad bacteria and remove the odor. Cat pee contains mercaptans, which are compounds used in natural gas to detect leaks. Nonetheless, they will not remove the smell completely, so if you do have to clean up the area, it is best to use enzyme-based cleaning products.
Odor produced by ammonia in cat urine
Cat urine contains ammonia, a compound that has the characteristic smell of decaying fish. Ammonia is released during the breakdown of urea, the main component of urine. Urea is odorless when in its crystalline form, but it is converted to ammonia by the enzyme urease. Cat urine also contains high levels of felinine, a urinary amino acid that has no smell until it breaks down. During the degradation process, felinine produces odor-causing sulfur compounds known as thiols.
If your cat pees frequently, the ammonia smell may indicate a urinary tract infection. Symptoms of urinary tract infections include frequent bathroom trips, blood in urine, and more intense urine odor. Your cat may also be drinking less water than usual, leading to a stronger ammonia smell. If you think your cat’s urine smells like ammonia, you should consult your veterinarian to rule out a urinary tract infection.
Signs that your cat is dehydrated
While your cat should produce a normal amount of pee when it is well-hydrated, if you notice your cat vomiting or having a low appetite, there may be a problem. Dehydration can cause a vicious cycle, with your cat feeling weak and losing appetite. If you notice your cat urinating more than usual, see a vet right away. If you notice your cat’s gums have changed from moist and pink to dry and sticky, dehydration may be to blame.
Although most felines drink plenty of water without requiring a veterinary visit, there are some common symptoms of dehydration that you can look for to make sure your pet is healthy. A veterinarian will perform a physical exam and conduct laboratory tests to assess the severity of dehydration. In addition, blood tests will check for proteins and red blood cells. Urine samples will allow the veterinarian to determine the cause of dehydration. In some cases, your cat may need intravenous fluids, which are fluids that are administered through a needle. Intravenous fluids are a highly concentrated, sterile electrolyte water solution that is slowly absorbed by body tissues and blood stream.