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Cat Litter Smell.
Old 10-30-2009, 08:14 AM   #1
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Cat Litter Smell.

My neighbour asked me advice on swapping a front door on their home last week and as soon as he opened the front door I could smell a strong cat litter odor. I remember helping him once before when his central vac clogged up about 3 months ago and it was the same smell. In conversation I asked about how there new furnace install went and what type of filter they went with and was told, “we went with the ones you can buy at the local hardware store really cheap and just dispose of”. I know from experience that these filters only catch debris that can harm the furnace motor etc. it does nothing for filtering the air in the house.
This made me think, does our house smell, do they not notice the strong odor, do there friends that visit not notice it?

How can I, or do I bring to there attention that this isn't healthy without offending. Even though they've been neighbours for 25 years, I don't know how to say it without offending. My wife tells me "it's none of my business". I’ve thought of different approaches but again, they’re very frugal and they’d take it that I’m saying…..Your House Smells!
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Old 10-30-2009, 08:27 AM   #2
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Oooo.....that's only a little less offensive than saying "Your baby is ugly!"

I can't think of a tactful way to say it. Even if you could, I doubt that they would do anything about it.
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Old 10-30-2009, 08:30 AM   #3
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I think your wife is right. Plus, I doubt it's the furnace filter. More likely to be boxes not cleaned regularly. Also, if their cats are not "fixed" the smell will be very strong, especially if they have male cats.

If you have pets, you might mention how you deal with pet odors. Or perhaps give them a coupon for kitty litter if you see one in the paper.
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Old 10-30-2009, 08:31 AM   #4
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It may not just be the litter you are smelling. Cats (and dogs) are famous for peeing where they are not supposed to. I've found the enzyme neutralizers to work the best and a black light to be the best tool for finding where to put the cleaner. Nature's Miracle is one brand that I have used.

The hard part, of course, is letting your neighbor know without offending them. I'll let the board diplomats weigh in on that.
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Old 10-30-2009, 09:02 AM   #5
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Yes, it sounds like a dirty litter box and possibly a bit of cat oopsies around the house. I imagine your neighbor is used to the smell and unless you plan to live with them, saying anything about it will probably be offensive.

I think everyone's home has a particular smell. When we go to people's houses, that's the first thing I notice. Some seemed soaked with scented candles and others with pet smells. Of course there are the grandparent houses that always seem to smell like moth balls.

My house....shoot, it smells just fine........to me that is.
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Old 10-30-2009, 09:16 AM   #6
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I've got that problem. I don't want any one to come over because of it. Unfortunately, I need to rip out carpet and seal the subfloors to resolve it - as soon as I get FIREd so I can tackle all those jobs. Sick animals, then the smell tells them it is ok. Arrrgh!

They either already know or don't care. This is in the realm of you can't make some one else adhere to your standards or beliefs so let it go and don't go there again. The smell is unpleasant but not necessarily unhealthy.
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Old 10-30-2009, 09:32 AM   #7
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I have a friend who had some strange ideas about letting her dogs "go" inside her house, which has all wood floors. Granted 1 of the dogs was elderly and had extreme mobility problems, but the other 2 were completely mobile at the time.
I never saw her reprimand any of the dogs for going pee or poo and she was pretty lax about letting them out periodically as a preventative measure.
I used to go over to her house for periodic girlz' sleepovers, but the smell of the dog urine got so bad my sinuses clogged up within 5 minutes of being inside.
I told her about my sinus reaction as gracefully as I could. She asked me if the house smelled. Yes.
Next time I did a daytime visit, I brought her some thin mattress pads for the older dog, which now had complete control problems. I even suggested setting aside a downstairs floor area with no wood floors or carpet for the older dog.
She nodded her head, acknowledged the problem, and went right on with her ways. So I let it drop.
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Old 10-30-2009, 10:01 AM   #8
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One time while we were sitting on our porch having a case of beer I joked about how much garbage they put out each week. The reply was "we have so much cat litter that it almost takes up a whole bag. As others have mentioned it may not be the cat but regardless, if my house smelled as theres did I would want someone to pull me aside and tell me since I know you a home owner can get used to smell over a long period of time and not realize it.
We have a Yorshire Terrier and they don't shed nor do they smell much if washed on a regular basis, in our opinion that is. I do know that our previous Yorkie did pee on the carpet and that did have an odour that we did notice. We ended up removing the capet replacing the wood sub floor and applying a coat of varish right before the wood floors were installed and that was the only way to get rid of the smell.

As I mentioned if I were in there shoes I would want to be told and I would ulitimatly install something in the way of a Pure Air system between the return air and furnace to remove most if not all of the odours. The way I look at it is they really won't care or they don't want the added expense of the air filtration system being installed.

Should I still take my wife's advice and mind my own business?
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Old 10-30-2009, 10:16 AM   #9
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Since there is absolutely NO tactful way to approach this, personally, I'd just say nothing to them and just avoid their house totally. They, obviously, consider it a small price to pay for their animals.
I had a crazy Aunt (an incredibly beautiful woman who is as selfish/self-centered and lazy as all get-out) that had like 15 cats and the house reeked I'm told. I successfully avoided going over there during that period, and, when the cats were gone years later, enjoyed a meal there with no cat smell. And knowing this Aunt she just didn't care if the house reeked (like I said, she's self-centered and wouldn't care if you smelled anything)...some people are just like that.

Bottom line: I'd listen to your wife and say nothing to them.

For cat poo smell: When I got my cat someone suggested I feed him Science Diet as that cuts the odor, and I did...and it worked. No poo smell in my house.
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Old 10-30-2009, 10:29 AM   #10
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I don't think air filtration will help all that much. You have to get to the source and seal it. I think it would be better if subfloors and underlayments were sealed from the start. That way, things can actually be cleaned when accidents happen. As it stands, a good sealer (one with shellac) is the only way to get rid of the odor that has gotten to the subfloor - or replacing it. Both require a major remodel effort and expense. I am about to start cutting and ripping out carpet in the center of rooms just to get some of the source out.

I did work with the animals and did not want this to happen. Once it does, the real remedy is significant. I've done all the cleaners, enzymes, etc but if it gets to the unsealed subfloor, then there's no cleaning it up.

I don't see much point in bandaids that won't do much - expensive and not effective. I clean as I can but there is a certain fatalism until I can really get the job done properly. Some people don't seem to mind, but I do and don't need anyone to tell me I have a problem. I know all too well.
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Old 10-30-2009, 10:40 AM   #11
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When we were looking for a home in atlanta, one of the houses we looked at several doors down from the one we eventually bought, we referred to as the "cat pee" house. The home was empty and you would think that the real estate agent would have recommended that they do something about the odor... Well that home never sold. Homeowners decided to rent it out and I honestly don't know if they ever corrected the problem, how do you bring it up in conversation? Interestingly, one of our cats like to "hang out" in their front yard...

Jim
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Old 10-30-2009, 10:52 AM   #12
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I don't think air filtration will help all that much. You have to get to the source and seal it. I think it would be better if subfloors and underlayments were sealed from the start.
I agree that it won't solve the problem but I believe it may help considerablty. My wife and I say that it smells like cat litter and there laundry room contains the cat litter which is about 15 feet from the front door but we have no proof of it.

It still remains, do I keep my mouth shut and not say anything or be a good neighbour and bring this problem to there attention in hopes that they can address the issue?

We are considering intalling the item below in our home. Maybe some HVAC members can give me there thoughts on this?



Lennox Pure Air
An air purification system unlike any other
Industry-leading air purification technology
Only single indoor air quality system to attack all three classes of indoor air contaminants –Small, breathable particles such as dust, dirt, pollen and allergens –Airborne mold spores, bacteria and viruses –Odors and chemical vapors
Removes particles ranging in size down to 1 micron
Removes bioaerosols ranging in size down to 1 micron
Removes and destroys approximately 50% of household odors and chemical vapors in a 24-hour period (based on laboratory and field studies)
Standard model uses a MERV 9, 4" pleated filter
."
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Since there is absolutely NO tactful way to approach this, personally, I'd just say nothing to them and just avoid their house totally.
If the roles were reversed and you didn't notice the smell, would you want a friend/long time neighbour to bring it to your attention in a tactfull way?
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Old 10-30-2009, 10:58 AM   #13
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If you have a wireless access point and your neighbor can pick up the signal maybe you could configure the SSID to be something like DoesYourHouseSmellLikeCatPee.

Sorry, couldn't help myself -- borrowed from this thread Sharing Wireless Broadband
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Old 10-30-2009, 11:16 AM   #14
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We've been cycling through a succession of old cats - three so far. As they get older and more feeble they end up being pretty much inside only animals. They also get extra attention and what I call a Golden Ticket. Golden Tickets are earned by people and animals over long time and experience. A Golden Ticket is a pass for not making it all the way into the litter box or throwing up in the center of the oriental carpet. If you've been around babies or old people you know that that happens with them as well. You clean up the mess and move on, knowing that at some point they will grow up or die. Doesn't do much good till then to do more than clean.

I'm with Tesaje - getting rid of the smell will involve the cats no longer being there and major replacement/sealing/cleaning.

Don't bother telling your neighbor - they know, they're not comfortable with the smell, and you mentioning it is just rubbing their nose in it. They won't appreciate your well-meaning suggestions.
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Old 10-30-2009, 11:59 AM   #15
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Next time I did a daytime visit, I brought her some thin mattress pads for the older dog, which now had complete control problems. I even suggested setting aside a downstairs floor area with no wood floors or carpet for the older dog.
She nodded her head, acknowledged the problem, and went right on with her ways. So I let it drop.
I don't get that at all, is it laziness?

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Bottom line: I'd listen to your wife and say nothing to them.
For cat poo smell: When I got my cat someone suggested I feed him Science Diet as that cuts the odor, and I did...and it worked. No poo smell in my house.
I don't believe they would purchase Science Diet products due to the cost, we know the cost since we've purchased it for our dog. I told them once that Tide and Gain detergent was on sale and her reply was, "oh you buy the expensive stuff, we never use that".
As for taking my wife's advice, all I can say is I hope my neighbours are nice enough to tell me if there was a situation like that since I'd want to know and I wouldn't be offended if said in a nice manner. If anything I would appreciate that fact that someone brought it to our attention.

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I'm with Tesaje - getting rid of the smell will involve the cats no longer being there and major replacement/sealing/cleaning.
Don't bother telling your neighbor - they know, they're not comfortable with the smell, and you mentioning it is just rubbing their nose in it. They won't appreciate your well-meaning suggestions.
Again, I'm only assuming it's the cat but they had a previous cat and the smell wasn't as strong before so who knows. Best to keep my big mouth shut and hope they don't return the so called favour should the shoe be on the other foot.
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Old 10-30-2009, 12:11 PM   #16
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I don't get that at all, is it laziness?
I believe she wanted the dog nearby her upstairs for emotional reasons, and therefore ignored any practical suggestions. She carried this poor animal up and down those stairs to keep it close by.

Other than that, who knows ?

I personally would have made a nice safe quiet den downstairs, protected from the other 2 dogs' energy. I would have made the stair trips myself to keep it company and assist it along a shorter distance outside to "go".
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Old 10-30-2009, 12:12 PM   #17
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The roles wouldn't be reversed with me as I can only speak for myself, but if MY house smelled like cat pee/poop I'd sure know it. This, of course, is excusable if they have incredibly bad sinus problems or continuous colds where they have lost the smell function in their noses. Otherwise, I think you just better go with they just don't care, which elicits a long eeeeeewwwwwwww from me.

(I'm sorry but to me they sound like someone I wouldn't want to hang with myself. So much that gets others upset rolls off my back, but this one is a dealbreaker for me.)
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Old 10-30-2009, 12:52 PM   #18
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I hope I'm not blowing this out of proportion, I don't smell cat pee it just seems like a mild cat type smell that is noticable from the front door. While I'm in the house for about 10 minutes I tend to get used to it myself untill the next time I enter the house again. I'm sure that they don't notice it either once they're in the house also but it's the initial step through the door that does it to me and my wife has noticed it also.

I will take everyone's advice and keep my thoughts to myself since it's not as bad as it seems and they obviously don't have a problem with it since it's still there and never been mentioned before.

Thanks for putting me in my place folks. Chalk one up for my wife and I'll let her know I'll take her advice, even though I'm not in total agreement. I'm sure she'll rub it in.
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Old 10-30-2009, 02:00 PM   #19
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I've got that problem. I don't want any one to come over because of it. Unfortunately, I need to rip out carpet and seal the subfloors to resolve it - as soon as I get FIREd so I can tackle all those jobs. Sick animals, then the smell tells them it is ok. Arrrgh!

They either already know or don't care. This is in the realm of you can't make some one else adhere to your standards or beliefs so let it go and don't go there again. The smell is unpleasant but not necessarily unhealthy.
Try this stuff.
http://www.odorxit.com/

This is also a great site to get advice for stubborn odor problems. I have five cats. Believe me I can relate.
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Old 10-30-2009, 02:04 PM   #20
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