Health Effects From Breathing Cat Urine Odor
Cat urine contains ammonia which becomes stronger the longer it sits. Ammonia in liquid form at high levels can be quite corrosive. Most cat urine does not contain enough ammonia to cause serious health problems; sometimes, however, if it is concentrated enough, perhaps because it has sat too long in the litter box or seeped into the floor, it may cause unpleasant physical symptoms.
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The following is covered under
California Civil Code Section 1102 and 1102.3
Why Cat Urine Is Dangerous
Cat urine is very concentrated, so a small amount can smell very strong. Dried cat urine becomes crystallized, which causes strong odor. Generally, healthy people are not at risk by smelling it. However, if the odor is particularly strong and the concentration is particularly high, some people may have negative physical symptoms as a result.
Many people suffering from cat allergies believe their pet's fur is the cause of their suffering. This may not necessarily be true. People with allergies have oversensitive immune systems, which causes them to be allergic to any number of things. Often, cat urine is the culprit.
Symptoms of a Cat Urine Allergy
Symptoms of a cat allergy include coughing and wheezing; hives or a rash on the chest or face; red, irritated eyes; and a runny, itchy or stuffy nose and sneezing. Allergies aside, excessive cat urine can also cause other unpleasant physical effects such as headache, dizziness, sore throat, lightheadedness, nausea and vomiting.
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Serious Illnesses Contributed to Exposure to Ammonia
Those that are exposed to highly concentrated cat urine ammonia, or are exposed to it over a lengthy period of time, are susceptible to developing serious illnesses and injuries such as bronchitis or pneumonia, burns to the trachea and lung irritation. In extremely dire situations, people can experience Asphyxiation (suffocation.)
Breathing in ammonia irritates the airway, often making it difficult to breathe. Coughing up phlegm is often a symptom of a respiratory infection. Children are at greater risk for developing symptoms and illnesses due to the fact that their body weight ratio is lower than adults.
Preventing Cat Urine Odor and Exposure
Make sure litter boxes are not in carpeted areas in order to prevent ammonia from seeping into carpets and crystallizing. It is also important to empty litter boxes at least once a day and immediately clean up cat urine from a cat who has sprayed or for some other reason soiled the floor. Placing a litter tray liner in your cat's litter box can help minimize spillage while emptying the litter. Using pine or cedar sawdust as your cat's litter may be helpful because both types of wood---pine in particular---absorb fluid and neutralize ammonia.
If your cat's urine regularly smells like strong ammonia, it may be a sign that he has a urinary tract infection and may need to see a veterinarian.
Litter Box Maintenance
It is important to empty litter boxes at least once a day and clean up cat urine from a cat who has sprayed or for some other reason soiled the floor immediately. Placing a litter tray liner in your cat's litter box can help minimize spillage while emptying the litter. Using pine or cedar sawdust as your cat's litter may be helpful because both types of wood -- pine in particular -- absorb fluid and neutralize ammonia.
How to Clean Up Cat Urine
If possible, dry the area with a rag or paper towel. Blot, do not rub, the area as you may spread the urine around. A mixture of hot water, peroxide and baking soda may work to get the urine out. Vinegar diluted to 20 to 25 percent with water may also get it out.
NEVER use an ammonia-based cleaner to clean up cat urine. It can react with the ammonia in the cat urine and make the problem worse. The scent will also draw the cat back to the same spot to urinate again.
Hantaviruses are transmitted to humans from the dried droppings, urine, or saliva of mice and rats. The disease begins as a flu-like illness characterized by fever, chills, and muscle aches, but it can rapidly progress to a life-threatening condition marked by respiratory failure as the lungs fill with fluid. Animal laboratory workers and persons working in infested buildings are at increased risk to this disease, particularly during dusty clean-up activities.
There are currently no specific OSHA standards for Hantavirus.
Signs & Symptoms for Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome (HPS)
What other symptoms might occur with urine odor?
Urine odor may be accompanied by other symptoms, which vary depending on the underlying disease, disorder or condition. Symptoms can be due to problems in the urinary tract (kidneys, ureters, bladder and urethra), the reproductive system, the endocrine system, the cardiovascular system, and other organs and systems of the body.
Urinary tract symptoms that may occur with urine odor
Symptoms related to the urinary tract that can occur with urine odor include:
Abdominal or flank pain along your abdomen, side or back
Abnormal coloring of the urine, such as dark, tea-colored, bloody, or pink-tinged urine
Bladder spasms, pain or cramps, which are felt in the lower abdominal area
Cloudy or foamy urine
Dribbling urine or incontinence
Frequent urination or a decrease in urination
Painful urination or burning with urination
Other symptoms that may occur with urine odor
Symptoms related to other organs or body systems that can occur with urine odor include:
Easy bruising or bleeding
Jaundice (yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes)
Swelling (edema) of the abdomen
Symptoms of dehydration, such as dry mouth, thirst, dizziness, and weakness
Rectal pain and discharge from the rectum
Weight loss or weight gain
Serious symptoms that might indicate a life-threatening condition:
In some cases, urine odor can occur with symptoms that might indicate a serious or life-threatening condition that should be immediately evaluated in an emergency setting. Seek immediate medical care (call 911) if you, or someone you are with, have any of these life-threatening symptoms:
Change in level of consciousness or alertness, such as passing out or unresponsiveness
Change in mental status or sudden behavior change, such as confusion, delirium, lethargy, hallucinations and delusions
Grossly bloody urine
Inability to urinate
Severe abdominal pain or flank pain along your abdomen, side, or lower back
What is urine odor?
Healthy urine may have a mild smell but generally does not have a foul odor. In some cases, an unusual or strong urine odor may be due to benign conditions that are not harmful, such as eating certain foods or taking certain medications. When urine persistently smells bad or has a foul, strong or unusual odor, it may be caused by an underlying disease, disorder or condition.... Read more about urine odor introduction
What causes urine odor?
Urine odor may be described as foul, strong, musty, sweet, or as smelling like sulfur or ammonia. Urine odor may be caused by conditions that are not harmful (benign) or by mild to serious diseases and disorders...