The smell of cat urine is especially pungent -- a good sniff of your surroundings on a warm day will let you know when the neighbor's cats have paid a visit. Removing the smell of urine helps prevent recurrences, especially since cats are likely to return to places they've previously marked. With enzyme-based cleaners and certain deterrents, you can keep cats at bay and your outside air smelling fresh.
Spray It Isn't So
According to a Cornell University veterinary website, cats tend to spray vertically, often by backing up against your foundation, deck or favorite lawn furniture. To exacerbate the situation, cats will normally return to where they've sprayed for a repeat performance. Clean the affected area thoroughly with warm soapy water, and rinse well. Enzyme-based cleaners break down the bacteria in cat urine and help relieve the smell. White vinegar will help neutralize the smell on plastics, especially on children's toys, on which you might prefer not to use chemical cleaners. Scrub the items well with soapy water, rinse well, apply the vinegar and rinse again.
Back Against the Wall
It's fairly easy to spot a urine stain on your foundation wall. If you suspect a cat has paid a visit but you don't see the stain, try using a black light after dark. Clean concrete with an equal mixture of bleach and water. Mix bleach and water in a mop bucket, scrub the area well, and rinse. Always wear gloves when working with bleach, and never leave bleach on any area for an extended period of time. Rinse quickly and well. Repeat the process if the smell of urine lingers.
Shrubs, Trees and Grasses
Cats love shrubbery, and some of them love to urinate on it. The smell of urine will cling to your shrubs and bushes, especially if they grow warm from direct sunlight. Many enzyme-based cleaners are also plant-based and therefore safe for use on grasses, trees and shrubbery. Check with your local nursery or home improvement store for additional suggestions about products that are safe for your greenery. Consider surrounding your plants and bushes with pine cones or stones, as these tend to be uncomfortable to feline feet. These deterrents can keep your plants out of the line of kitty's fire.
Deterrents and Attractors
Once you've cleaned and neutralized urine-sprayed areas, you can take steps to make sure cats don't return for an encore. Add deterrents such as motion-activated sprinklers, or use far less expensive options such as orange peels or lemon peels, coffee or cayenne pepper. You'll have to reapply coffee and pepper after each rain, and new citrus peels should be added often. Remove bird houses and feeders, as cats enjoy eying birds and will likely be attracted to your yard if birds are visiting.