Why do my shoes smell like cat pee? This question plagues many people, it can be quite confusing and frustrating as the odor of cat urine can be stubborn and difficult to remove.

There are multiple reasons why your shoes may have acquired a cat pee smell. First and foremost, because your cat may have actually peed on them. Other times, it could be due to bacteria or fungus growing in the material of your shoes, causing a similar odor.

Let’s take a closer look to find out the answer to this age-old question and how to prevent it in the future. 

Reasons Why Do My Shoes Smell Like Cat Pee?

There are many reasons why your shoes may have a cat pee smell, some of them are:

1. Cat Actually Peed On Them:

This may seem obvious, but it is important to consider. If your cat has a habit of urinating outside the litter box, there’s a chance they may have sprayed or peed on your shoes. 

2. Bacteria/Fungus: 

Another common reason for the smell of cat pee could be bacteria or fungus growing in the material of your shoes. This is often the case with sneakers or athletic shoes, as they tend to be made from materials that trap moisture and create an ideal environment for bacteria and fungus growth. 

3. Sweat: 

Sweat can also cause a similar odor to cat urine in your shoes, especially if they are not properly dried out after wearing and become a breeding ground for bacteria. 

4. Materials Used In Shoes: 

Certain materials or dyes used in the making of your shoes can also give off a urine-like smell. Materials like leather or suede can easily absorb odors and be difficult to remove. 

5. Wet Shoes: 

If your shoes have been wet for a prolonged period of time, this can also cause a smell similar to cat urine. This is because the moisture can lead to bacterial and fungal growth, as well as attract other odors. 

Preventing My Shoes From Smelling Like Cat Pee: 

Now that we know some of the reasons why your shoes may have a cat pee odor, let’s talk about how to prevent it in the future. 

1. Clean and Dry Your Shoes Regularly: 

To prevent the buildup of bacteria and fungus, it is important to clean and dry your shoes regularly. This includes wiping them down after each wear, as well as allowing them to fully air dry before wearing them again. Additionally, be sure to rotate out your shoes so that each pair has a chance to fully dry out before you wear them again. 

2. Store Shoes Properly: 

Make sure to store your shoes in a dry, well-ventilated area to prevent moisture buildup and odors. It is also a good idea to stuff them with newspaper or shoe inserts to help absorb any excess moisture and odors. 

3. Use Odor-Eliminating Products: 

There are various products on the market specifically designed to eliminate odors from shoes, such as odor-eliminating insoles or sprays. These can be used as a preventive measure or for removing already established odors. 

4. Choose Materials Carefully: 

When purchasing new shoes, take into consideration the materials they are made from. Avoid materials that are known to easily absorb odors and be difficult to clean, such as suede or leather. 

5. Keep Your Home and Shoes Pee-Free: 

Lastly, it is important to keep your home clean and free of cat urine to prevent it from getting onto your shoes. This includes proper litter box maintenance and potentially seeking professional help if your cat has a recurring issue with urinating outside the litter box. 

Home Remedies For Removing Cat Pee Smell From Shoes:

If your shoes have already developed a cat pee odor, there are some home remedies you can try to remove it. 

1. Baking Soda: 

Baking soda is a common household item that can be used to absorb odors. Sprinkle some baking soda onto the inside of your shoes and let them sit overnight before removing and airing out the shoes. 

2. White Vinegar: 

Similar to baking soda, white vinegar can also be used as an odor absorber. Soak a cloth or paper towel in white vinegar and place it inside your smelly shoes overnight before removing and airing out. 

3. Essential Oils: 

Essential oils, such as peppermint or tea tree oil, can also be used to help eliminate odors. Mix a few drops of essential oil with water in a spray bottle and spritz it onto the inside of your shoes. Let them air dry before wearing them again. 


So, now you know all about why my shoes smell like cat pee, potential causes, and preventative measures for this. Remember to clean and dry your shoes regularly, store them properly, and consider the materials they are made from to prevent this odor. And if they do happen to develop a cat pee smell, try out some of these home remedies for removing it. Happy shoe-smelling!

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do You Get the Ammonia Smell out Of Shoes?

Using products specifically designed for odor elimination and trying out home remedies such as baking soda or white vinegar can help eliminate the ammonia smell.

Can I Put My Smelly Shoes in The Dryer?

It is not recommended to put shoes in the dryer as it can cause damage to the materials and potentially make the odor worse. Instead, allow them to air dry in a well-ventilated area.

Does Freezing Shoes Remove the Odor?

Freezing shoes will not necessarily remove odors.

I'm Jiskcosn author of ShoeSelector.com. You can find me on the Internet, sharing information about Shoes & Boots that will help you make decisions about your footwear needs. I love writing about my favorite shoes! Ever since I was little, I've been obsessed with shoes. It's not unusual for me to have more than 100 pairs in my closet at any given time. My girlfriend always teases me about it, but she secretly loves when I buy her new heels! I've been running ShoeSelector since 2020. My goal is to provide you with all of the necessary knowledge needed before making your purchase decision and provide all this information in one place for those who are looking for it! I run this website with my team of like-minded individuals who share my passion for footwear. It's really important that we provide our readers with unbiased reviews and a Detailed Buying Guide so when you read something on this site it's always coming from someone who has actually worn them out there in the real world. You are more than welcome if you wish to connect and share your ideas. I am ready to help you with any questions about shoes that you may have, just leave me a comment.