How To Detect Cat Pee On Your Carpet Like A Pro!

By Davis Wilkins •  Updated: 05/07/22 •  12 min read
UV Black Light

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Sophie is my cat of 4 years. She was living with my older sister-in-law, and within 2 weeks she managed to pee on my expensive carpet.

Cats are lovable creatures. They are adorable, are mostly quiet, and would do anything to put a smile on your face.

However, the pet peeve that most cat owners experience is the fact that their feline companion decides to pee outside of its litter box.

Everyone hates the smell of cat pee. It’s a strong and offensive odor.

 If you don’t deal with it quickly, you can still smell it weeks later.

The mark left from the urine itself is more difficult to clean than it seems, especially if the urine has dried up.

Cat urine odor is usually easy to identify once you have smelled it.

However, this does not mean that a reliable method for detecting cat urine on carpets has been established.

The problem is that the odor properties of cat pee are common to many other smells found in household cleaning solutions and also to the odors of other plants.

Pee stains are also hard to get rid of and this makes them hazardous to any carpet.

I finally found a great way to test for cat urine using just common household items.

These tips will help you detect cat urine on your carpet and also get rid of the terrible pee smell from your carpet.

This will leave it as fresh as it was before he decided to use it as a litter box.

Why does your male cat pee on the carpet mat?

1.     Medical Condition:

Ordinarily, cats stick to their litter boxes while eliminating.

 If your pet suddenly begins to eliminate inappropriately, as a first step, make sure you visit the veterinarian.

 He should then examine the pet to rule out any medical condition.

Medical issues that can cause a cat to poop or urinate inappropriately include:

In these cases, the cat could be in pain and associate the pain with the litter box hence declining to use it.

Once your vet rules out any of these conditions, move on to the next step and investigate behavioral or environmental problems.

2.     Scent Marking with Cat Urine:

Scent marking is a key non-verbal communication method by your pet and sadly the one you are least aware of.

Cats have a different sense of smell from human beings and hence they can smell things that we cannot detect.

Your pet can scent mark its territory in several ways, such as scratching wood or objects, urine spraying, and rubbing against things.

This process helps your cat define his environment and reveal his presence to other pets.

When your sexually intact male cats get to maturity at eight or nine months of age, they become possessive about their indoor space, and scent marking with urine begins.

Intact male pets are notorious for this while female and neutered cats may spray especially when feeling stressed or threatened.

The cat urine contains pheromones that send a strong message to other cats in the vicinity that they are invading foreign territory that has already been conquered.

Spraying is also common during the mating season as both female and male cats advertise their availability.

A male cat’s urine has pheromones and a fatty substance that leaves an unpleasant smell. This may cause your house to smell like cat urine but you can’t find it especially after it dries out.

In case you have multiple pets in your house, research has shown that the cats can tell the difference between the scent of urine sprayed by a family member and a visitor pet.

Intact male cats living indoors with you are more likely to spray household objects such as furniture, walls, table legs, carpet, and curtains.  Some intact females spray as well.

What causes an indoor cat to pee on the carpet?

Spraying may also be triggered by environmental stressors such as:

How do you find cat urine on a carpet?

1.     Follow the smell:

A foolproof way of doing this, make sure you clean out the litter box. If your house smells like cat urine after cleaning but you can’t find it, begin to look for a different spot where your cat may have peed.

What does cat urine smell like?  Fresh urine smells like urea but after a while, the bacteria begin to decompose the urea and give off an ammonia-like odor.

Begin by checking the most obvious places such as the flower pot.

Progress to corners of the house, on the carpet, the sofa, and beds.

This is not exactly a fun process and it may gross you out. However, it will be short-lived once you locate the spot. Follow the smell and you will eventually find the spot.

If your cat simply sprayed urine on furniture or the carpet, this may be more difficult to spot.

2.     Look for the urine stain:

There are various ways how to spot cat urine on the carpet and this includes, checking for urine marks and discoloration on the carpet and furniture.

This process will be easier if the items are light-colored and made from an absorbent material.

On walls, behind the furniture and even curtains are spots you shouldn’t miss to check. These are some easy ways how to find cat urine without a black light.

3.     Scan for urine using Ultra Violet light:

Make sure the room is as dark as possible before using this black light method. Draw the curtains at night and switch off the lights including the lights to adjacent rooms and corridors.

Head over to the area where you detect the cat may have peed and shine your ultraviolet beam on the area. Begin working outwards as you look for more spots.

Keep the UV light about half a foot away from the carpet.  Blacklight works best this way.

The ultraviolet light will detect the urine spots by showing the fluorescent spots which should glow.

Scan the entire carpet and any glowing colors are indicators of urine spots. Dried-up old urine stains will display a bright green mark whereas the newer fresh pet stains will give out a bright yellow mark.

Pro tip: For best results, blacklight results, hold the ultraviolet light half a foot away from the carpet then shine it!

Once you identify any glowing color on your carpet, make sure you mark it. You can encircle the perimeter of the glowing spot using white chalk. This will make cleaning easy.

 What does cat urine look like under Blacklight?

How get rid of the cat pee smell from the carpet?

A kitty catch mat

Once you have identified the cat urine on the carpet, you need to clean the mess up. Here are quick cleaning steps to follow:

  1. Blot the damp areas with white paper towels or old cotton towels to absorb and remove as much urine as possible from the carpet.  Do not scrub the carpet since it can damage the carpet fibers and spread the urine stain. Repeat the process until the towels become dry. Press down on the towels using your heel or a hard object to ensure you capture and remove as much liquid as possible.  This is the first cleaning step.
  2. Dilute the stained area with distilled cleaning water and rinse thoroughly. Blot with paper towels and remove as much water as possible.
  3. Once blotting is done, neutralize the odors by spraying or adding an enzymatic neutralizer. Test it on a small hidden area to ensure it doesn’t ruin your carpet color.
  4. Soak the area on the carpet thoroughly with the cleaner. With rubber gloves on, work the solution in with your finger through the carpet. Get as much neutralizer into the carpet to reach the deep areas as the urine did.
  5. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions on how long you should let the neutralizer remain on the carpet before blotting it dry.
  6. In case the cat urine stain reappears on the carpet surface within a week, repeat the process a second time and clean it. This cleaning method is super effective and should remove the stains completely.

Is there a device to detect cat urine?

Yes, there is a device to detect cat urine.

Can smell cat urine but can’t find it? A black-light will detect cat urine.

 A black-light is any kind of bright light that emits a lot of ultraviolet radiation, which will cause the fluorescein dye found in most cat urine-detection products to glow brightly.

How to find cat pee with black light

If there is no sign of wetness on the carpet, put a black light over the area where you think your cat may have urinated.

Turn off the lights in the room and close the curtains to reduce ambient light.

Turn on the blacklight, and slowly scan the area of concern while looking for glowing areas, which indicate urine stains.

Shine the light at a 45-degree angle relative to the floor so that if there is any urine present it will reflect at you when lit by the black light.

 Cat urine glows when exposed to a black light due to its chemical makeup. It appears blue or green under UV rays.

When the light shines on urine (or any other bodily fluid), it will glow yellow so you can see what needs to be cleaned or treated.

The glowing is caused by phosphors in the urine that emit visible light when stimulated by ultraviolet light.

You can find urine from cats, dogs, or any other animal that has urinated in your home.

What kind of black light do I need to detect cat urine?

The type of black light you need for detecting cat urine is an LED blacklight.

There are 2 types of black lights available: longwave (UV-A) and shortwave (UV-B).

 The longwave is used for applications where you want to see stains and other items that appear under normal light.

 The shortwave can make things appear that wouldn’t be seen with normal light.

LED black lights are the best at detecting dried cat urine stains because the longer UV-A wavelength penetrates deeper into material and reflects better off of organic matter.

You can get handheld or flashlight options, but if you’re doing a lot of searching around, we recommend getting a floor lamp to easily search larger rooms and areas.

How to find cat pee without a blacklight

If you are still searching for a cat pee with a blacklight, you need to stop immediately and use the following instructions instead.

Method 1:

  1. Use your nose to find the scent of cat urine.
  2. Get down on all fours and sniff along the walls, floors, and baseboards until you find a strong smell of cat urine.
  3. Put on gloves and get a bowl of water, some rags, paper towels, or dish soap (the kind used for hand washing dishes). 
  4. Clean up the mess with either the rags, paper towels, or dish soap until there is no odor left anymore (you will probably have to do this more than once if you are using rags or paper towels). 
  5. If the smell returns put more dish soap in the bowl of water and clean again.

Method 2:

You might not have a blacklight to find the spots your cat has been peeing and pooping in on your carpet, but you can use a common household item to do the same thing.

 A mixture of hydrogen peroxide and liquid dish soap can help uncover those hidden stains.

Here is what you do:

  1. Mix 2 cups of 3% hydrogen peroxide, 1/4 cup baking soda, and 1 teaspoon of liquid dishwashing detergent in a spray bottle. Shake the bottle well before use.
  2. Spray the area where you think that your cat has urinated or defecated with the solution until it’s wet.
  3. Let it sit for five minutes and then come back with a paper towel to blot up any excess moisture.
  4. That’s it. The solution will help break down any lingering odors left by your cat and make it no longer desirable as a bathroom location. It may even mask the odor so well that your cat won’t be able to find his spot either!


As it turns out, the best way to find urine on a carpet is to use your nose if you don’t have a UV light.

If you’re having trouble finding a stain, try to get down on your hands and knees and sniff in each location that might have urine.

The spot that smells like cat pee is probably where the problem is unless, of course, you’ve got multiple cats using the same spot for their bathroom habits.

A cat urine detector app will help you find cat urine spots faster.

When your cat has an accident and pees on your carpet, it can be very upsetting.

As soon as you notice the smell, take immediate action.

Wash the area as quickly as possible to remove the odor source. Wash the area repeatedly to ensure that you removed all of the uric acid and the acid stain.

 Blot the area with white paper towels until they no longer absorb any moisture.

After applying white paper towels, steam cleans the entire area to kill bacteria.

Repeat this entire cleaning process at least once every week until you no longer detect a urine smell in the room.

Follow the steps here to better identify and remove the cat pee smell from your home!

Davis Wilkins

Davis Wilkins is a dedicated cat lover, with three cats under his care. He grew up in a cat-loving family, nurturing these feline friends. As a result, he purposed to share his cat knowledge with the universe. Wilkins has been writing professionally for over four years, specializing in feline care with a keen interest in litter box care and handling. He hopes to help other feline lovers achieve their pet care goals.

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