How to Remove Cat Urine From Shoes

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How to Remove Cat Urine From Shoes
Image Credit: Oleg_Chernyavsky/iStock/GettyImages

Cats are a joy to have in your home, but if your cat stops using the litter box, the result is an unpleasant odor that can seem impossible to remove. With the right cleaning supplies, you can remove cat urine from clothes by pretreating them and cleaning them in a washing machine. However, depending on the material from which your shoes are made, this may not work without damaging your shoes. Fortunately, there are some steps you can take to remove the odor and save your shoes.

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Cleaning canvas shoes

If your shoes are made of canvas or another fabric, you may be able to remove the cat urine smell in a washing machine. (If you have special inserts, check the label, as you may need to wash these by hand.)

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  • Blot your shoes.​ If the shoes are still wet, use paper towels to soak up the excess urine. Avoid scrubbing the shoes, as this can embed the urine deeper into the fabric.
  • Pretreat your shoes.​ Once you have blotted up as much urine as possible, pretreat the shoes to neutralize and remove the odor. An enzymatic cleaner for pet messes is one of the most effective ways to do this, as the enzymes break up the compounds in the urine that cause the foul smell. Spray the urine and allow it to soak. Check the product label for specific instructions. If you don't have a cleaner on hand, you can also make a paste with baking soda and water, apply it to the stained part of your shoes, and leave it to soak for 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Wash your shoes.​ Then, wash your shoes in the washing machine with cold water and detergent. You can also add more enzymatic cleaner.
  • Air dry and repeat as needed.​ Then, air dry your shoes and repeat the process if any odor remains.

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Leather shoes and cat urine

If you return home to find your leather shoes have cat urine on them, you need to act quickly to remove the stain and odor, and unfortunately, it isn't as simple as putting them in the washing machine.

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  • Blot your shoes.​ As with canvas shoes, start by blotting up any excess urine.
  • Use a cleaner.​ Next, clean the leather. An enzymatic cleaner is the most effective way to remove cat urine odor, but not all cleaners are safe to use on leather. Consider a product such as Trinova All Natural Pet Stain and Odor Remover, which is safe to use on any surface that you can dampen with water. Check the label closely and follow the application instructions. You can also use a homemade solution of half white vinegar and half water to spray on the stain.
  • Blot again and air dry.​ After the cleaner has soaked for a few minutes, blot away excess moisture and allow the shoes to dry. Keep in mind that with any cleaner, there is a risk that the leather will become discolored.
  • Apply a leather conditioner.​ Once the shoes are dry and you confirm that the stain has been removed, apply a leather conditioner to your shoes.

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Stop inappropriate urination

Take steps to ensure your cat doesn't continue to urinate on your shoes. First, rule out any medical conditions that may be causing your cat to urinate outside of her litter box, such as a urinary tract infection or joint pain that prevents her from climbing into the litter box. If there is no physical reason for the behavior, take steps such as cleaning the boxes more often, adding an additional litter box, or trying different types of litter.

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