Of all the stenchly odors of modern life, perhaps one of the most unpleasant – and the most difficult to get rid of – is cat pee. Actually, the pee on its own is OK. The trouble comes from the noxious gunk squirted out of the scent gland at the base of the tail, which can be referred to as Flavor(TM), the New Fragrance from I Can Haz Cheezburger (HT Crox Minor).
Right now, our expensive sofa has been sprayed with Flavor(TM), and it’s horrible. Or was.
As the owner of a tom cat, Felis croxorum, we’ve had our fair share of soft furnishings, bedding, carpets etc., etc., ruined by Flavor(TM). The problem is that Felis croxorum has been brought out of retirement by our new cat, Naughtypants (Not His Real Name), a tom kitten who adopted us, and whose owner could not be found (actually, the owner could be found, and he said we were welcome to keep the kitten, so…) – Naughtypants (NHRN) has now grown up into a fine, husky and – most of all – complete tom cat.
To cut a long story short, the cats are squirting squaring up to each other and splashing on the Flavor(TM) like cheap cologne. Teh Interwebz is full of solutions (I use the word advisedly) for getting rid of Flavor(TM), and an equal number of plaints to say that nothing works, and the only thing to do is get rid of any and all furnishings that have been peed on, and if that doesn’t work, get rid of the cat. Two people have, however, recommended some stuff called Nature’s Miracle, a proprietary mixture of biotechnological hoopla which will, it is claimed, do the business. Or not, as the case may be. This is available in the good ol’ U. of K. – though imported from the US, so it’s pricey, and so I have ordered some.
In the meantime I have a sofa smelling of wee, so must resort to some ruder remedies. Long before the invention of the mysterious ‘contains non-ionic surfactants’ – I mean, what exactly are these ‘contains non-ionic surfactants’ when they’re at home, eh? I bet Mrs Beeton didn’t use ‘contains non-ionic surfactants’. I’ll bet Kim and Aggie never give ‘contains non-ionic surfactants’ a second thought – people used agreeably old-fashioned remedies for most household ills. When I’m getting rid of mould on my tomatoes, for example, I spray ‘em with good old-fashioned copper sulphate. You know exactly what you’re getting, and no messing. And as a bonus, it turns everything bright blue. And when I fumigate a greenhouse, I chuck in a sulphur bomb and then run as fast as possible in the opposite direction.
But back to Flavor(TM). Over the years we’ve tried and discarded innumerable expensive concoctions for dealing with Flavor(TM), all of them boasting the proverbial ‘contains non-ionic surfactants’, none of which worked. However, I do use good old-fashioned sodium bicarbonate for deep-cleaning the inside of our fridge, as it is well known for getting rid of nasty niffs. I was heartened to discover that this simple yet miraculous chemical was rated as a contender by at least some of those residents of teh interwebz with liberally peeing cats. I made up a solution of bicarb and swabbed the affected areas. Twice. The smell of Flavor(TM) seemed to go, but what was left was a faint aroma of school chemistry laboratories.
That’s when I turned again to another suggestion on teh interwebs – white vinegar. In other words, refined acetic acid. Here at the Parc Zoologique Des Girrafes we find white vinegar really useful for cleaning glass, laminate floors, windows and so on. So once I’d swabbed the affected areas with bicarb I sprayed them with white vinegar …
Now, as a test, I got a beaker, sprinkled some bicarb in it and then added some white vinegar. Zowie!! I got a reaction as the basic bicarb reacted with the acidic vinegar, producing a great froth of carbon dioxide and, I expect, some heat. Exothermy In The UK! Not that the sofa started to froth and bubble… but it stopped smelling (very much) and (the theory goes) any heat generated might have denatured any remaining gunk in the Flavor(TM).
The great things about bicarb and white vinegar is that they’re dead cheap, and also non-toxic. You can use them around children and pets, and you are unlikely to develop any allergy or rash while using them.
Mrs Crox, however, has adopted a different strategy. Should she find our bedding afflicted with a spot of Flavor(TM), she calls in the heavy artillery, for there is probably no odor so foul that it can’t be masked with liberal applications of … Chanel No.5.
Flavor – Do You Has It?