Why Does My Car Smell Like Cat Litter? – [Reasons + How to Fix It]

Why Does My Car Smell Like Cat Litter?

Vehicles smell like cat litter because of a reason you may never have expected. Your car smells and it’s not just the seat. There are other reasons your car may be smelling bad too, but this is most likely why it smells like cat litter in particular.

If you’re still wondering what causes your vehicle to smell weird, keep reading. Learn about how cats can leave their mark on everything from cars to furniture by taking care of an unwanted animal or pet.

In this article, you can find out why your car smells like cat litter and what you should do about it.

Why Does My Car Smell Like Cat Litter?

There are a number of reasons why your car might smell like cat litter. One of the most common reasons is because of a build-up of mold, mildew, and bacteria. The mold will generate ammonium, which urine also contains, and this is what you’re smelling.

In addition, If small animals, often mice, get into the car’s air intake system and nest, their urine and feces can produce the cat litter odor. Furthermore, if the drain hole is plugged or moisture doesn’t dissipate from the car properly, mold will accumulate which will also add to the unpleasant smell.

Besides, the smell of cat litter in a car is often due to the presence of mold. Mold grows when it’s warm and moist, such as in a car that has been closed up for a while.

The mold will produce mycotoxins or harmful byproducts, which can be more dangerous than the mold itself. If you’re experiencing this problem, there are several ways to fix it.

What are some reasons why a car might smell like cat litter?

1. Mycotoxins (Mold) Growth in Your car

If you notice that your car is smelling strange, there is a good chance that mold is to blame. Mold can grow quickly in warm and humid environments, such as a car.

2. Leaky Car AC condenser sometimes smells like cat pee

Cats are not the only culprits. Leaking car AC condensers can sometimes smell like cat pee. If you notice a wet spot on your car carpet, this may be the cause of the odor.

3. Your Car ventilation system is infested

A car ventilation system may smell like cat litter because of an infestation. For example, if the cat litter is spread all over the air filter, then the car ventilation system will smell like cat litter.

Another reason is if there is a dirty air filter. If the filter is not cleaned often, it will get dirty and smelly.

Lastly, if the air filter is clogged, the car ventilation system will also smell like cat litter.

4. A cat actually pee-ed in your car

A cat may have peed in your car for a number of reasons, such as if you left the window open or it was too hot and they couldn’t get outside. If this is the case, it’s best to clean up the mess ASAP.

How Do You Get Cat Urine Smell Out Of Car and Car Vents?

1. Use Lysol Or Similar Disinfectant

If you want to get rid of the cat urine smell from your car, Lysol or similar disinfectant can do the trick. Just pour the cleaner into a spray bottle and spray it all over the inside and outside of the car. Let it work its magic for at least 30 minutes, and then vacuum up the mess.

2. Clean Your Car’s Air Conditioning System

If you want to remove the unpleasant cat urine smell from your car, you can try one of the following methods:

  • Purchase an HVAC system cleaner.
  • Apply the cleaner to the AC unit.
  • Let sit for 15 minutes.
  • Drain the cleaner and run the car to confirm the cooling system runs and smells excellent.

3. Check for Mod Growth in Your Car

If you notice a bad smell coming from your car, there may be an easy solution. Before doing anything else, it’s important to check for any mold growth in your car.

This includes things like mold, fruit, and even pet urine. If you find any of these, immediately remove them and throw them away. You can also open the car doors for a while to let the smell dissipate. If the smell is still present, it may be time for an oil change.

4. Clean Your car vents to get rid of the smell

If you notice a strong cat urine smell coming from your car, there are a few things you can do to get rid of the odor. One option is to use a disinfectant like Lysol. Simply spray the disinfectant into the car’s air intake vents with the car’s ac system on high.

This should help reduce the amount of cat urine in the air. If this fails, you may want to consider getting a new car. Avoid cats and their urine in the first place to help reduce the chances of cat urine smell.

If your cat continues to pee outside of the box, have a check-up with your veterinarian to rule out any medical problems.

5. Get Your Car’s AC System Looked At By A Mechanic if your air conditioner smells cat pee

A few people have reported success after a mechanic inspected their car and fixed a clog in the AC system. If your car’s air conditioning smells like cat pee, there could be something blocking the vents that prevent you from feeling cool.

What could cause a musty mildewy stinky smell inside your car when you are running the air conditioner?

There are a few reasons that could be causing a musty mildewy smell inside your car when you are running the air conditioner.

The car ac system can remove moisture and heat from the outside air, which makes the air inside the car much colder. The AC unit coils condense the air’s heat and moisture, removing humidity before sending the cold air inside your car through the AC vents.

If the moisture fails to find its way out of the car by evaporation or drainage, the water stream will drip into the AC unit surrounding the coils. This will result in moisture inside the car.

The air filters can also cause a musty smell coming out when you turn on your car ac. Over time, dust, pollen, and other contaminants can build up on your filter. When you turn on your AC, these contaminants are blown into the cabin of your vehicle, causing that musty smell.

The coolant leak can come from the radiator, coolant housing unit, hose or pipe, or the heater core. A coolant leak will cause a sweet-smelling odor to come from your vents when you run your AC.

Bacteria and Mold are another primary reason why bad smell comes from car ac. When moisture accumulates in your car, it provides the perfect environment for bacteria and mold to grow. These microorganisms can cause that musty mildewy smell that is coming from your vents.

Why You Should Avoid Used Cars That Smell Like a Cat Litter Box

There are a number of reasons why you should avoid a car that might smell like cat litter. Some of the most common reasons include, but are not limited to drug runners using cars to transport drugs, car owners who took their cats for joy rides, and an accumulation of old cat litter in the car’s ventilation system.

If your car smells like cat litter, there are a few things you can do to try and fix the problem. First, you can try spraying a deodorizer or air freshener in the car.

Second, you can try cleaning out the car’s ventilation system. Finally, if neither of those solutions works, you might want to consider taking your car to a mechanic.


If your car’s air conditioner smells like cat litter, it is likely due to a build-up of bacteria and mold. There are several different methods of differing complexity and time that will fix the problem.

If your car’s air conditioner is the culprit, you can begin with the first method and work your way down. The first method is to clean the filter. If this does not work, you can try flushing the system with water and bleach.

If these methods do not work, you can try replacing the air conditioner’s evaporator core.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *