Tea vs. Pee

Did you know tea has deodorizing properties?  That’s why I have my cats pee on it!


Can you tell which is the Zhen Mei and which is the Lu'an Guapian? Yes, that's correct!

After I steep a batch of green tea leaves, I toss them in the toaster oven on “warm” for a few hours.  This prevents the leaves from getting moldy, and makes my terminally chilly apartment marginally warmer.  When they’re dry, the leaves get crumbled and tossed in the litter box.  (Along with actual cat litter, of course.  I can’t imagine drinking enough tea to give my cats a completely verdant toilet.)

So does it work?  Let me tell you, the placebo effect is pretty effective.  Short of those Maxim-magazine types who train their cats to use the people potty, the responsible cat owner is on a never-ending quest to make their pet’s waste less objectionable.  Even if no smell were detectable, revulsion is still engendered from knowing that these creatures can’t get rid of their doo-doo like we do.  I use the corn or wheat litter that says, “do not feel the slightest compunction about flushing this down the toilet.”  Our bathroom also boasts one of those air cleaners which are sold by paranoid, cultish direct-marketing types.  If I have the slightest indication that my used tea leaves will make the bathroom smell better, I’m not going to bother with clinical trials–just add another log to the fire of anti-cat-stink fanaticism.

Maybe you want more proof.  According to “Chemistry and Applications of Green Tea” (ed.T. Yamamoto et. al), “the hydroxyl groups of the polyphenols are known to be reactive with thiol or amino (ammonium) groups.”  In other words, stinky molecules are like crying babies, and EGCg molecules are covered with pacifiers.  Just peep this decontextualized chart:


I hope my cats don’t read this and think it’s okay for them to start smoking cigarettes too.


2 Responses to “Tea vs. Pee”

  1. 1 plucktea November 11, 2009 at 12:23 AM

    From the same chapter in “Chemistry and Applications of Green Tea”:
    “Many people mind unpleasant odors or reeks generated from things such as tobacco, garlic, fish, feces, etc. that often occur in our daily life.” I think that’s the Japanese version of the bumper sticker “Shit Happens.”

  2. 2 Patricia Roland November 14, 2009 at 12:31 PM

    Gee, this is a new development! I’ll let you know what I think on the next visit. love, p & r

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