Effect of old cat urine on a new reef.

Mr. Brooks

MASVC Member
Got a strange one for you guys.

I received an old cube stand free of charge from another RC member. The thing was in bad shape. Apparently it'd been kept outside. A cat had made it's home inside the stand for several months. I sanded all the surfaces and put a heavy coat of black oil paint everywhere but the bottom. It looks good but the inside still smells like cat urine. It's pretty gross. I was hoping the paint would cover it up. I'm going to let it dry then paint the bottom and see where I'm at.

Here's the question. Do you think this issue will give me problems down the line? I'm using the stand to hold a frag tank. It will be used as a coral QT until I have some coral to frag. I'm just hoping the ammonia in the urine doesn't somehow make it's way into the water.

Anyone know how to get rid of cat urine smell? I freaking hate cats lol.
 

Aurora D.

New member
You probably won't have any problems with ammonia, since the urine has dried and aged a little. Although, just the prospect of smell would deter me. Try this (this is for hard surfaces and cement floors):

Although this method is widely disputed because of the deadly reaction bleach has with ammonia (which is found in cat urine), if you go about it carefully, it can be an effective way to kick the urine smell out of your life for good. First, wash the soiled area with any appropriate cleaner you have that DOES NOT contain ammonia. Once clean, wipe the area down with fresh water to remove any residue left behind by the cleaner. Next, do it again. I know it sounds laborious, but trust me, this works. After your second washing and wiping, employ your bleach. In a clean spray bottle you can pick up from the beauty section of any Target store, mix a 10:1 water to bleach solution. Make sure the area you are cleaning in is well ventilated, put on some rubber gloves and get to work. Spray on lightly, let sit for about 30 seconds, and wipe off with a clean damp rag.
 

jenglish

Marquis de Carabas
Cheesing-t-shirt-lg.gif
 

polyppetey

New member
+1 on the kills, you think you have it bad when I set uo my tank my dumb cat ****ed in the bucket of argonite, I didn't know it until I filled the tank and my ammonia was 4.0. I was wondering what the hell was going on until I caught him 2 days later with another bucket of sand.
 

MarineGirl411

New member
It will most likely smell bad if it's in the wood. When it heats up outside or when your tank gets hot, you will most likely still smell it. Had to cover the old floors in my house with new wood and primer because the previous owner let their cat and dog pee all over. Before I recovered my old floors, when it got hot outside the smell would get worse. I don't know the effect it could have on a reef, but would you really want to smell it all the time? Cat pee is really strong. Blah.
 

jvdb

New member
I would throw it out.

My dad has a friend who used to flip houses. He bought one fixer-upper from an old cat lady. After trying several odor removers, including the enzyme stuff that's supposed to work better than anything else, he ended up ripping out all the flooring and subflooring. That house still didn't smell right. I doubt it ever will.
 

96p993

New member
I would give this a shot just to see if it works and described...

<a href=showthread.php?s=&postid=14833947#post14833947 target=_blank>Originally posted</a> by Aurora D.
You probably won't have any problems with ammonia, since the urine has dried and aged a little. Although, just the prospect of smell would deter me. Try this (this is for hard surfaces and cement floors):

Although this method is widely disputed because of the deadly reaction bleach has with ammonia (which is found in cat urine), if you go about it carefully, it can be an effective way to kick the urine smell out of your life for good. First, wash the soiled area with any appropriate cleaner you have that DOES NOT contain ammonia. Once clean, wipe the area down with fresh water to remove any residue left behind by the cleaner. Next, do it again. I know it sounds laborious, but trust me, this works. After your second washing and wiping, employ your bleach. In a clean spray bottle you can pick up from the beauty section of any Target store, mix a 10:1 water to bleach solution. Make sure the area you are cleaning in is well ventilated, put on some rubber gloves and get to work. Spray on lightly, let sit for about 30 seconds, and wipe off with a clean damp rag.
 

kidney fish

New member
imho I would think that sence it's a new tank that you'd have no problems (might make things quicker) because all the ammonia will go away when your tank cycles why I say it might make things quicker is you have to build ammonia for your tank to start cycling, just make shure your cycle is done and you have no ammonia or trats befor you start putting live things in
 

Mr. Brooks

MASVC Member
Thanks guys, I don't have a lot of time on my hands and this is just a QT. I'm going to try Killz primer on the inside. If the smell is bad enough I'll just upgrade later. For now I think it will work.

BTW I would try the bleach but I already painted the wood. I'd just be bleaching paint.
 

redfishsc

New member
I doubt there will be any impact on your reef. Ammonia probably evaporated a long time ago, leaving behind a disgusting cocktail of proteins, salts, and other assorted evil smelling junk.

I know, I have two cats.



That being said, while Kilz primer is good, I personally would buy a quart can of Zinsser Shellac from Lowes. (I am a professional cabinet finisher).

Shellac is a "universal sealant" that seals out a lot of stuff, probably even better than Kilz (not to take anything away from Kilz, it's good, but shellac is better).


You can paint white directly over the shellac, just scuff sand it with 220 grit sandpaper. I personally would go 3-4 coats of shellac, letting it cure in between coats. No need to sand in between coats with shellac, unless you want to make it smooth.
 

Mr. Brooks

MASVC Member
So the smell was just as bad this morning. I decided to rip up the floor of the stand and boy am I glad I did. You could actually see where the urine had soaked in. Smelled terrible. No way I was going to cover that up. I'm going to try the Zinsser Shellac on everything else and put a new floor down. That should do it.
 

redfishsc

New member
Good luck, and keep this in mind every time you have the chance to persecute a cat ;)

I have two cats (well, my wife has two cats) that make me, every day, wish I had a pet bull shark.
 

Mr. Brooks

MASVC Member
Haha thanks again man. I put the shellac on last night. Put a new floor down and added another coat of paint. I think I got it this time. No smell to speak of so far. I think the shellac took care of it.

Dude I'd live with 10 dogs before I'd live with a cat. I feel your pain lol.
 

Aurora D.

New member
redfishsc- Remember, when you take on the cats you take on the lions and tigers as well. I'd watch my back if I were you. ( ;) )
 
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