Why Do My Shoes Smell Like Cat Pee and How to Get rid of?

shoes smell like cat peeThere are hundreds of reports on the internet about people with their smelly shoes. Surprisingly, those weren’t because of actual cat pee. So, it’s normal to freak out when you can smell a pungent, horrible smell- like cat-pee in your shoes. But, wait! Don’t you worry. We are here to help you understand the reasons behind this unpleasant smell. So, keep on reading to know more. 

Why Do Your shoes smell like Cat Pee?

1. Manufacturing materials:

You’re probably suspecting your pet cat or the neighborhood cats for that stinky smell in your shoes. Companies like Nike, New Balance, has faced complaints from their consumers for years about a disgusting smell coming from the shoes. Sometimes it’s a manufacturing defect, sometimes it’s a durable material that later developed the stink.

Basically, it’s a polyurethane component that is used to make the soles. When this component gets in contact with water, it starts to rot and this is how the smell occurs. i.e.- Nike uses Teijin Microfiber in their football shoes that rots very quickly and the stink is exactly like cat pee! Foot sweat, rainwater, cleaning can also be responsible for the cat pee smell.

2. Health Issues:

Another reason for that cat-pee smell coming from your shoes is your health condition. When your kidneys don’t function properly, they fail to handle the excessive urea. The nitrogen (breakdown component of amino acid) gets out of the body through sweat, and as your feet sweat the nitrogen makes your sweat smell like ammonia- which is similar to cat-pee.

3. Poor Hygiene:

Being unhygienic is another cause behind that bad cat-pee smell. If you do not wash your shoes from time to time, the built-up sweat, bacteria, and dirt. Wearing stinky shoes like that is actually bad for your health. You can get harmful injections due to that. So make sure you put on clean and dry shoes when you go out

How do you get the smell of cat pee out of shoes?

What’s interesting is that the rotten soles don’t change the performance of those stinky shoes. So you can wash them particularly focusing on the smell issue. Many consumers who faced badly constructed shoes that create the cat pee smell filed complaints to the companies. Some of the companies refunded their money, some of them sent a new pair of shoes to the customers. But if you’re in bad luck, the new shoes can still be responsible for the intolerable smell. So when getting rid of the smell from your shoes is the only option left for you, we’re happy to help.

  1. First of all, take the shoelaces out of your shoes or boots and wash them separately with detergent or soap. Let then air-dry.
  2. Then get rid of any dried up mud/dirt stuck to your shoes.
  3. Now use a damp cloth to wipe the remaining stubborn dirt on the shoes.
  4. Put some baking soda or cornstarch inside the shoes, this method helps the moisture and cat-pee odor to get absorbed. Don’t forget to keep the baking soda or cornstarch in the shoes overnight. You can even mix baking soda and corn starch and use that combination.
  5. You can also use vinegar or enzyme sprays that can be found in the local store. Vinegar is great at neutralizing smells like ammonia and disinfecting your shoes. So you can give these products a try and see for yourself. 
  6. If you have built-up sweat and intense bad odor which is making the whole house smell bad, it’s better if you just wash them in the washing machine with suitable mild liquid detergent. For machine wash, put each shoe in a separate net bag and wash it with cold water with a gentle cycle.
  7. If you wash your shoes make sure your air-dry them instead of popping them in the radiator or dryer. I repeat, air-dry them always!
  8. If you think machine wash is not important to get rid of the smell and the baking soda method worked just fine, you can use foot powder as a substitute as well to prevent odor-causing fungus and bacteria.

If these methods help you get rid of the smell, well good news, you can keep wearing them. But even after being careful and taking proper prevention the smell keeps coming back, try rotating your shoes. We would suggest you to not expose shoes to water. This generates the cat pee smell. Don’t wear one pair every day. You can also change the shoe brand so you can completely avoid the risk of experiencing the bad odor.     


As there are several reasons behind the cat pee smell in your shoes, we would highly advise you to find out the specific reason why it’s happened in the first place. If it is the material, well you can easily get the stink out of your shoes. If it’s your health condition, see a doctor as soon as possible to prevent such problems. And, lastly, start better hygienic practice and air-dry your shoes immediately after you get home. This is how you can live a cat pee smell free life and not embarrass yourself in public.

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