Wild animals like our cats relate to soil a lot. Their instincts are their biggest assets and their instincts work like that of wild animals even if they are in a household situation.
It is a known fact that cats after peeing cover the place they have used to mask their scents and do not leave a trail for the predators to find them.
The soil in our gardens also subconsciously reminds them of the wild. That’s why you might have stumbled into your garden to the scent of urine or might even have caught your cat in the act.
Cat urine has certain effects on the soil as the composition of cat urine has substances that can be harmful to the soil. Let’s know in detail what would happen to the soil if your cat pees in it way too much.
What Does Cat Urine Do To Soil?
Cat urine is acidic. It may be responsible for tipping the pH index of your soil towards the acidic side.
Acidic soil is not an optimum condition for the growth of plants.
Cat urine in the soil can cause a great imbalance in the composition of the soil. It could make it acidic and increase the content of urea in the soil.
Initially, urea is an excellent fertilizer but large amounts can cause fertilizer burns in the roots of the plants.
The salt content in urine may also cause dehydration in plants, which are presently growing in the soil.
In all we can sum up that cat urine may be good in very small quantities but in all, it is harmful to the soil and the plants growing in that soil.
Does Cat Pee Ruin Garden Soil?
Cat pee is composed of urea and salt, which have effects on soil.
Urea is an external nitrogen source for plants, converted to ammonia in the soil for consumption by plants. It is extensively used while planting commercial crops but it has severe drawbacks if used extensively or carelessly. So if your cat frequently pees in the soil it would increase the content of urea in the soil and could be very harmful to the plants growing in the soil.
Cat urine also contains salt, excess urine in the soil would also increase the salt content in the soil which could cause dehydration in plants.
For optimum growth of plants, one also needs to check that the pH level of the soil is maintained. When a cat pees in the soil the pH balance in the soil is disturbed and it would affect the growth of plants.
Too acidic or too alkaline soil is not good for a plant’s health. Cat urine is acidic, which can make the soil acidic.
Every plant has a different affinity and durability for urea and acid, if you have some delicate plants, I would say they would be the most vulnerable and much more prone to death if the soil is infiltrated with a high amount of urea or is too acidic.
So to answer the question, yes, Cat pee may be responsible for ruining the soil. You need to make sure it is infrequent. Once or twice maybe won’t affect the soil but if it is a common occurrence your soil and plants would be at greater risk of contamination or even death.
Does Anything Neutralize Cat Urine?
Cat urine is acidic which in turn can cause the soil in acidic when they are peeing. And we know that acidic soil is not a favorable condition for a plant to grow. So can it be neutralized and restored?
Yes, there are substances available that can help in neutralizing soil.
According to basic chemistry, an alkaline substance can neutralize an acidic one. So to neutralize the acid we need something alkaline which also does not harm the soil.
Hydrated Lime and Baking soda are two such examples of substances that are alkaline and do not have many adverse effects on the soil. Both of these are also readily available and the process isn’t tiresome too.
If you are not a fan of adding unknown substances to your soil, don’t worry we have got you covered. There is another route you can take up to neutralize your soil.
You can flush the soil with water so that the abundance of urea and acid could get diluted and the soil could get restored to a similar initial composition.
Make sure you dry the plants thoroughly. To do that you may have to leave the plant as it is for two or more weeks as excess water may also be very harmful to the plant.
While doing so the nutrients in the soil may also get washed off so you need to replenish the nutrients that get washed away too. To do so you need to add new compost.
I would suggest that you use natural compost i.e. use waste peels and other stuff to make your compost. This would also be economically beneficial and easily available at your hand.
How To Neutralize Cat Urine In House Plants?
If you don’t have a garden but you have potted plants, the soil in them is the same and at times cannot escape your kitten’s notice. You have to scratch your head to find how to get the urine out of the plant once it’s done.
To get the urine out of the plants you can follow the given steps:
- Soak the plant in water, like fill it till the brim of the pot.
- Pots have small holes at the end, so let the water escape from that end and wait until it clears out completely
- Rinse the soil using a hose pipe or a sprinkler
- This excess water also flushes nutrients in the soil, so to replenish it add compost or for a more natural approach you can add seaweed which has its own set of benefits for the soil
- Once you do this, it would be enough to save your plants and soil. Even after doing so, you see your plants are dying you need to replace the soil in the plant.
The chances that the soil gets destroyed in your potted plants is more than your garden soil given the large area of diffusion. The potting soil is also less in quantity so even small amounts of urea could be detrimental to it.
The actual solution to your concern about contaminated soil is not rinsing the soil but trying to find a way that your cat does not repeat such a thing.
Once or twice won’t be a bad thing but if it becomes a regular activity it would kill your plants and ruin your soil completely leaving you no option but to replace the soil. The worse could be you would have to replace the whole plant.
They always say be prepared for the worst right, so this is the worst. But we have to control the situation before it gets worst.
How To Remove Cat Urine Smell From The Soil?
If your cat relieves itself around the house and you have to clean it, you smell like pee all over. The smell of cat urine is very strong and if your cat pees in your plants, your plants start to stink.
To get the smell out of them is a task
You can flush the soil with water. This would clear the soil of urea and also remove a lot of the smell and the remaining would easily go away after regular watering.
This is the easiest way to remove the distinctive smell of urine from your plants. It would also remove the urea, it’s like killing two birds with a stone.
If you want to get rid of the smell from your soil and also the soil has gone acidic you can add baking soda solution to the soil which would neutralize the acid and also kill the stench of urine.
To make that solution use 2 parts of water and 1 part baking soda.
Excess baking soda would make the soil alkaline so make sure you don’t use too much baking soda because it would tip the balance of pH in the soil to one side which would pose another set of problems to deal with.
You can use a certain scent of cat repellant spray. These sprays are usually scented and would cover the odor of cat urine and they also are available in distinctive scents like that of a predator.
A repellant smelling like a coyote or a fox would suffice and it would even kill the overpowering scent of cat urine but the smell of predators would prompt the cat to move away from there and it would even avoid the plant altogether.
This would be a better solution as not only it would kill the stench of urine but also keep the cat away from the soil. If the cat is away from the soil the chances it gets contaminated or loses its pH balance are very less.
Frequently Asked Questions
After flushing the cat pee, the soil still stinks what to do?
Sometimes just water is not enough to get rid of the smell, you can use a baking soda concoction or use artificial sprays to get rid of the smell.
My cat won’t stop peeing in the soil what to do?
If your cat is not relieving itself in its usual place then it’s a hint that it’s not liking the litter box and does not like to pee in there. There could be another reason relating to the instincts of the cat. But make sure it does not become a habit.
Do I need to replace the soil if the cat has peed in it too many times?
The chances the soil is contaminated are way too much to ignore. I would suggest you replace the soil because the contamination can kill your precious plants. But it’s upon you, if you don’t want to replace the soil you can always try fixing it.
From a very young age, we are taught to use the toilet to go pee for cats the wild is their home, sanctuary, and even the lavatory.
Soil provides a sense of familiarity to the kittens and hence they relieve themselves there more often than not.
But cat urine contains urea, and salt and is also acidic which can be harmful to the soil and also the plants that are growing in the soil.
If your cat pees in it too often it could completely damage the soil irredeemably and you would have to replace it.
But it’s better to find a way to keep the cat away from the soil permanently than constantly trying to fix the soil it has ruined. Do you agree with me on this?