How to de-skunk a cat

I don't know if you noticed but skunks have started to come closer to the city than ever before. We see them (and smell them) in the suburbs all the time. Unfortunately for outside cats, they sometimes run into skunks. If a cat runs into a skunk it usually ends  up with the cat getting skunk sprayed! Then we innocently let them in the house and the smell gets inside! So what do you do when your cat is sprayed by a skunk?

How to de-skunk a cat

Well there is nothing as hard to remove as that stinky, oily, skunky residue! All the things we've been told work like tomato juice...well, those absolutely do not work! Luckily, it is possible to get skunk spray out of animal fur (or your clothes) with just a few simple household ingredients!

The first time my cat got sprayed I tried soaps, shampoos, tomato juice. You name it and I tried it. They didn't work though. I finally found the perfect skunk spray remover! It wasn't easy, it took till about the third try between dogs and cats to get this recipe just right. Let me tell you how it went.....

What to do if your cat gets sprayed by a skunk


I'm not exactly sure how my cat ended up tangling with a skunk this last time but I smelled it the minute she came in the door! The first thing I did was catch her and put her in the bathroom then shut the door. This reduces any contact with furniture and carpet as skunk spray can transfer even if it has already dried on the cats fur!

I gathered everything I needed for the recipe below plus nail clippers, extra towels, rubber gloves and I changed into old clothes. Then I entered the bathroom. Anytime you bathe a cat you should clip their nails first. Even if your cat likes baths, it might slip and grab at you to keep from falling. You're more likely to get scratched with sharp claws than with ones that have just been clipped.

I clip my cats nails regularly so she was very calm while I clipped. You may have to wrap your cat in a towel or have some help if she's not used to nail clipping.

Skunk spray remover recipe


You're going to need a big cup to mix this solution in. Just put all 3 ingredients in there and mix it together with your hand. Wear rubber gloves if you have them. If not the mixture will make your hands look weirdly white but it's not actually harmful.

Here's the recipe: 
about 1/4 cup of baking soda
a squirt of Dawn dish soap (about 1 tbs)
1/2 a bottle of hydrogen peroxide.

Remove skunk spray from cat

Mix it all in a big cup and rub into the cats fur. Do not wet the cat first! Water will dilute the solution. Make sure you massage it in real good. You'll start to smell the skunk spray even more as the solution starts to break it down. Once you notice the smell is starting to go away, rinse the cat. 

In stubborn cases (like if she's really saturated) I've had to apply the mixture twice, but usually once is enough.

After rinsing the solution off, give the cat a quick shampoo with either people or a gentle formula cat shampoo. This is to remove any residue so the cat doesn't lick it off and make herself sick. That's it. Your done. 

A long hair cat will benefit from using conditioner on their fur to counteract the drying effects from basically stripping the skunk spray out. Rinse well. Towel dry the cat to keep them from licking their fur as much as possible.


This is not only the most effective method I've tried, but it's also the simplest and much cheaper than commercial solutions, and it works every time! I've used it on several cats and dogs!

This skunk spray remover recipe also works on collars, leashes and even your clothes but it could damage the color of the material. I would suggest testing a small area first. Although, it's not like you were going to keep wearing that shirt if the smell isn't out, so might as well try it!

Hopefully....you'll never have to use it! I've had pretty good luck avoiding skunks by not letting the cat be outside after dusk. Skunks are nocturnal so they're not normally out in the day. Good luck!

~Lisa

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