Why Do My Shoes Smell Like Cat Pee

Your shoes smell like cat urine but you don’t have a cat! Well, like you most people have also faced it. But chances are your cat is not the culprit, even if you have one. Anyway, in case you are wondering, why do my shoes smell like cat pee? The real problem lies within the shoe material or your body odor.

Let us help you get rid of the strong pee smell.

Why do my shoes smell like cat pee?

Having smelly shoes can be embarrassing especially when you are out in the gathering or on a date. But, You don’t have a cat. Then, where is that urine smell coming from? The main reason is ammonia. It may come from the shoe itself or your sweat.

Let’s go into details about where this smell comes from. Then, we are gonna help you find the perfect solution.

 Read More: Can I Put My Shoes in The Dryer

Why do your shoes smell like cat urine?

There are two reasons typically,

a) the trimethylamine produced in your shoes,

b) your body is producing excessive ammonia.

We are here to help you get rid of the pee odor.

The shoe can smell like cat urine

Many of the famous shoe manufacturers use soles that produce trimethylamine. When you sweat, it releases ammonia which is the ‘infamous cat pee-like smell.’ No matter how many times you wash it, the smell will return as long as your body releases too much ammonia while sweating.

It’s better to work on improving your habit and use breathable shoes. I will walk you through all of this in a bit.

 Read More: Can I Wash Leather Shoes

Why does your body release too much ammonia while sweating?

This is a very big question. Your body can release ammonia for a lot of reasons. Let’s talk about them now.

Very high protein diet

 your diet contains too much protein and fewer carbohydrates, you need to change that. Especially if you work out and sweat a lot. Certain proteins like red meat produce a lot of amino acids. So, You need to balance your diet properly.

The human body generally uses carbohydrates as an energy source. Carbohydrates are the fastest energy supply in your body. Lack of carbohydrates will force your body to use protein for energy supplements. The protein breaks into ammonia and releases through your sweat and urine.

So what can you do? Eat vegetables! Sounds tough right? But let me tell you one thing, veggies are the healthiest food there is. So try to incorporate as many vegetables into your diet as you can.

Very high protein diet

Dehydration and extreme workout

If you work out hard, you probably sweat a lot as well. According to studies, the ammonia level in our body increases significantly when we work out.

The human body needs water to release the excess ammonia. So, you need to stay hydrated. On occasions where you are dehydrated, the odor will be stronger and tougher to endure. Drink at least 8-10 glasses of water and juicy fruits.

Health Conditions

Certain health conditions increase the chance of your shoes smelling like cat urine. Check to see whether you have one or more of these conditions.

  1. Hyperhidrosis: Eccrine glands are one of the glands responsible for releasing sweat. Hyperhidrosis causes excessive sweating from these glands. According to a study, more than 15 million people in the US have hyperhidrosis.

If you sweat too much, the salt in your sweat may interact with bacteria to produce that nasty smell. In case you sweat a lot, consider visiting a doctor.

  1. Kidney disease: The kidneys remove urea from our body. Whenever the kidney doesn’t work properly, the excessive urea enters our bloodstream.

The excessive urea released through your sweat and urine contains a bad smell. In case you have kidney disease, it may be responsible for that smell. So, don’t go and get new shoes. You need to take care of your health.

  1. Diabetes: Diabetes is a known problem these days. It has lots of variations. Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) is a complex variation of diabetes. When people burn fat but there isn’t enough insulin, DKA develops.

DKA can be life-threatening because the ketone level will become unstable and the blood will become too acidic. DKA symptoms include frequent urination, dry mouth, high blood sugar, nausea, etc.

Keep your diabetes in check. Diabetes and high blood sugar can cause kidney failures.

  1. Trimethylaminuria: It is a rare condition. Trimethylamine (TMA) has a fish-like smell. It is produced by bacteria in the stomach. People with trimethylaminuria cannot break down TMA properly.

The body releases TMA through urine and sweat. Suppose, you have trimethylaminuria, then your sweat will smell like cat pee. A study found that there is increased trimethylamine in people after dairy consumption.

  1. Dairy products: Certain products can produce excessive ammonia in your body. It is not true for everyone though. Milk and other dairy items contain a high amount of TMA.

If you smell like fish or cat urine, consider slowing down your dairy intake.

Dairy products
  1. Stress: Stress can change your odor characteristic. Stress triggers the apocrine glands and releases sweat. Sweat from apocrine glands is thicker and contains more lipids. It has that pungent odor.
  1. Hormones: Hormonal imbalance during puberty, menstruation, pregnancy can cause abnormal increase in protein level. It may be the reason your sweat has that cat urine smell.

Alright. Enough about what causes that cat pee-like smell. Now, let’s talk about how you can prevent that ammonia smell.

How to get rid of odor from shoes

We have talked about two reasons earlier- a) the TMA production in your shoes and b) health conditions. We will talk about each of them in detail.

How to get rid of odor from shoes

How to prevent yourself from smelling like ammonia

If you take care of yourself and control the abnormal level of ammonia in your body, it will be the best solution. You won’t need to switch shoes frequently. We have rounded up some tips for you.

Give them a try. It’s worked for us. It will work for you as well.

  • Drink plenty of water, at least 8 to 10 glasses per day. It will help you balance the excess trimethylamine in your body.
  • Get enough sleep, at least 6-8 hours a day. Wake up early to do some meditations or yoga.
  • Take a nice warm shower in the morning and use good quality deodorants.
  • Maintain a balanced diet, don’t take excessive amounts of protein (meat)and dairy products.
  • Stay active, exercise regularly. Avoid white sugar as much as possible.
  • Don’t put yourself under too much stress. Spare some time for yourself, Every Single Day.

If you can maintain these, you will stay healthy and your sweat will not smell like cat pee. But in case you have any conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, consult a physician.

How to get cat urine smell out of shoes

On the occasion where a cat actually pees on your shoe, you need to wash it clean. Here’s what you can do.

First, you will need some things.

white vinegar
baking soda
microfiber cloth
dish washing liquid

We have recommended some products but it doesn’t mean it won’t work without them. You can do it with the ones you have at your home. If you don’t, then consider using the ones we prefer.

How to clean dried urine stains from your shoe

On the occasion where a cat actually decides to take some load off in your shoe, you can use this method to get rid of those stains and that cat pee smell. This is a proven method and many people will recommend you to do the same.

  1. Take a cup of white vinegar with 3 cups of clean water.
  2. Soak your urine stained shoe in the solution and leave it there for about 15 minutes.
  3. Rub some baking soda over the urine stain. It will mix with the vinegar and disinfect the shoe.

You can get rid of the smell and stains like this.

How to clean fresh urine stains from your shoe

If the shoe stains are fresh you need to follow a different approach. Here’s how you can do it.

  1. Take a microfiber cloth and use it to remove the excess urine.
  2. In a small bowl, mix some dishwashing liquid with some cold water.
  3. Finally, add some white vinegar to the solution and gently stir it.

The stink should go away now.

How to prevent your shoes from smelling

You need to take good care of your shoes to make sure they don’t smell like cat pee. You can follow these tips.

  • Don’t wet your shoes too much.
  • Take the socks out after wearing them. Don’t leave them inside your shoes.
  • If your shoes get wet, air dry them under the sun. (Caution: Don’t use heat.)
  • Wear breathable shoes. These shoes ensure air flow and dry quickly.
How to prevent your shoes from smelling

Frequently Asked Questions

Does cat urine smell go away over time?

No. It actually concentrates and the stink becomes even stronger. You need to clean it as soon as possible.

Can I stop my shoe soles from breaking down?

Well, you can take some measures to slow it down but you cannot stop it completely.

How can I clean my shoes?

Wash your shoes in warm water with a bit of laundry detergent. Mix some baking soda to disinfect it. Use an air dryer after washing.

But don’t overdo it and don’t wash your shoes every time. Wash them once every week or when they start smelling.

If your shoes don’t smell or get dirty, don’t bother washing like this. Just take some microfiber cloth, soak it with some detergent and rinse your shoe.


Imagine, after an intense workout you went to the restroom with your partner. Your shoes smell like cat pee. The strong body odor is unbearable. It’s embarrassing, right? 

If your body smells like ammonia, no matter how much you spend on a shoe, it will still smell of cat pee. Develop a healthy habit and you won’t change pairs 3-4 times/year.

Sole-breaking is inevitable for all types of running shoes at some point. You need to take care of your shoes and yourself to make sure you don’t smell like cat pee!

Hopefully, you have found this article helpful. You know how to take care of yourself and your shoes. So, don’t ask anymore- why do my shoes smell like cat pee? Follow the tips we have shared and you can fix this problem. Comment down below and let us know if you have any queries.

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