People who aren't parents--and I mean parents of either the two-footed OR four-footed, furry variety--don't always understand how or why we tolerate the things we do. Parents of human children deal with all kinds of things: The kid cleaning mud off of himself with the 'only for special occasions' towels, five minutes before the guests arrive. The daughter who pukes all over the couch that was purchased only last week. The kid who wets the bed, years after being completely potty trained. But parents of furry kids face the same things: The dog who runs across the carpet after romping in the mud, just days after the cleaners left. The cat who hacks up a hairball on the newly upholstered dining room chair. The old, rarely incontinent pet that has an accident during the night while sleeping with you. And we tolerate these things because we love our kids.
As I have mentioned, my cat is about to be 18-years-old. In those 18 years, she has been quite healthy and we haven't had a lot of problems with her. She has never had a chewing problem and because we had her declawed, shredding furniture hasn't been a problem, either. Other than two bouts of a kidney infection, she hasn't needed anything more than her yearly visits to the vet. While she has never been what you can call a 'people cat,' she never has been mean to guests, either. The biggest problems I have ever had with her are the fur that covers almost every surface of the house--I now know it was a mistake to want a long-haired cat--the litter she brings to every room of the house--it clings to her long fur and the fur she grows between her toes--and the hairballs she regularly hacks up--again, this is because of her long fur. That is quite a short list of problems. Unfortunately, the list of problems might be growing with her getting older--and yesterday I had to face the possibility.
Over the last five years, my cat has had an incontinence problem twice. One night, she was sleeping on the floor next to me in the computer room. All of a sudden, I could smell cat pee. I called to her and it took several times before she finally woke up--I almost thought she was in a coma, she was so deep under. As it turned out, her badder released while she was in her deep sleep. That was her first bout of incontinence--and it was substantial. About two years later, she was sleeping in the kitchen in the 'catloaf' position, and when she moved, there was a wet spot on the carpet. Once again, she had had an accident. And yesterday, her weakening bladder struck again.
The cat usually sleeps with me for, at least, part of the night. Yesterday morning, the distinct smell of cat pee woke me up. At first, I thought I was dreaming--well, having a nightmare, actually. (And if you have ever smelled cat pee, you know why it would have been a nightmare.) As my fuzzy brain began to wake fully, I realized that yes indeed, I WAS smelling cat pee--in my bed. The bedspread, blanket, sheets, mattress pad, all the way to the NEW mattress, smelled of cat pee. The strangest thing: There was NO wetness present. I don't know what to say about that--there should have been a great amount of wetness with the amount of area the smell covered. But there wasn't. Anyway, the clean-up had to begin.
My washing machine has a setting called 'sanitize.' I'm not too sure WHAT it does--other than wash the clothes in hot, hot water--but it takes an hour and a half to complete. And it is well worth the time. Not one iota of smell/stink--other than the scent of fabric softener--was left in the bedding that I washed at that setting. It was amazing. So, I had the cleaning of the sheets, etc, taken care of, so it was on to getting the smell out of the mattress. I was devastated, as the mattress is only a few months old--and we paid (probably) WAY too much for it. I had nothing in the house that would neutralize the smell, so we had to go and find something. Our first--and as it turned out, ONLY--stop was the local pet store. When we asked what should be used to get rid of the smell, there was only one recommendation: X-O Odor Neutralizer. At $12 a bottle, I bought it, with the vow that I would return it if it didn't work. I still have the bottle. The stuff is absolutely AMAZING!!!! If you EVER have need for getting rid of a bad smell, go and buy this stuff. I'm sold and will ALWAYS have it in my house.
My first thought when I needed to get a product to rid the mattress of the smell, was that I needed to talk to The Youngest. Considering she works at a vet's AND has seven animals of her own, I couldn't think of anyone else that could give advice like her. Unfortunately, she was at work and unreachable when I needed her. (Why I didn't just call her at work, I'll never know.) When I finally did talk to her, she did recommend another product--the second one that the pet store recommended. However, she did say that what I bought was good--they use it in the office to spray on dog's butts after they express their anal glands. (I don't know this from personal experience, but I understand the smell is quite powerful.) The product is eco-friendly and non-toxic for humans and animals. So, use this post as a public service announcement: X-O Odor Neutralizer is some GOOD stuff. And I REALLY hope I don't need to use it too often.