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Dear Most Esteemed and Knowledgeable Kitties:

I am looking for a place to rent for cat grooming. The landlord to be is really concerned about how I will get the “spraying odor” out of the shop. She had a previous grooming tenant, and said when he left, that the place was a nightmare from lingering cat/dog smells. She said after scrubbing and bleaching, she still can’t get the odors out. I’m not sure this is really the whole issue, though: the rental is a basement unit, with no windows for ventilation.

Any words of wisdom? I don’t want to guarantee her anything other than I will do my best to keep the place clean.

~ Teri

LOLcat with caption "Why can't you ever talk about the times I DON'T pee on your shoes? You never mention THOSE!Siouxsie: Given that your potential landlord has had a bad experience with a previous tenant who ran a grooming shop, we’re not surprised she’d be worried about having another groomer move in. Even we cats agree that cat spray is just about the most revolting smell on the planet.

Thomas: Hey! Before I had my operation, I had the most wonderful-smelling spray in the world! I loved it so much that I’d rub my cheeks on it just to entice the ladies even more ….

Dahlia: Eeeewwwwww!

Siouxsie: Aside from the fact that it’s probably not the best idea to have a grooming business in a place with no windows and no ventilation (Mama says she’s not even sure that’s legal), your landlord did exactly the wrong thing to remove the urine odors.

Thomas: When cleaning urine, you absolutely do not want to use bleach. Like urine, bleach contains ammonia, and adding ammonia to ammonia only ramps up the smell, which can encourage cats to re-mark the spot.

Dahlia: The proper way to remove urine odors is to find where the cats have peed and use the proper products to do the job.

A hand-held black light

This is one of the many types of portable black lights available. The devices range widely in size and price.

Siouxsie: You find the urine spots by using a black light. Cat urine stains — like all protein-based stains — fluoresce under black light.

Thomas: To track down cat urine, you’ll want to look not only on the floors but on the walls and drapes, too. Cat spray can be found two feet up walls, depending on the height of the cat who let loose to mark his territory.

Dahlia: Once you’ve found the urine stains, there are several ways to remove them, for good.

Siouxsie: Fizzion is a carbon dioxide-charged pet stain and odor remover we first heard about on cat behaviorist Jackson Galaxy’s show, My Cat From Hell. This stuff apparently works wonders, according to Jackson’s clients and others who have used it.

Thomas: Another option is to use an enzyme-based cleaner. There are a whole lot of these on the market, but Mama swears by Anti Icky-Poo. Yes, it has a silly name, but it’s very effective. The stain remover does the job with minimal effort, and the odor remover works very well, too.

Dahlia: Over at The Happy Litterbox, you can check out a post with links to a whole variety of cat urine cleanup products. We’ve never used Clean + Green, one of the products recommended there, but it’s one we’d certainly be willing to try.

Siouxsie: And of course, there’s the old standby — the cheapest method of all: White vinegar, water, and baking soda. This video shows you how to use this DIY concoction to remove urine stains and odors from your carpets:

(In a reader? Watch the video here.)

 Thomas: This step-by-step guide adds a hydrogen peroxide-and-dish-detergent step to the previous process.

Dahlia: So, there are some effective ways to remove urine odors. We think you should share these tips with your landlord, because since the previous tenant was irresponsible about cleaning, she’s now got to suck it up and be responsible for cleaning the place between tenants. Even if she ends up not renting the space out to you, she’ll want to clean it well for her next tenant.

Siouxsie: If your landlord refuses to do the cleaning and you still want to move into the space, we definitely think you should clean it yourself before you open for business. Otherwise, the lingering odors will not only turn off your human customers, they’ll stress out your feline customers and make the grooming experience much more traumatic than it needs to be.

Thomas: Good luck, Teri. We hope your business does great, wherever you end up running it!