Simultaneous Chemical and Sensory Analysis of Domestic Cat Urine and Feces with Headspace Solid-Phase Microextraction and GC-MS-Olfactometry

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Banik, Chumki
Koziel, Jacek
Li, James
Koziel, Jacek
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Food Science and Human NutritionCivil, Construction and Environmental EngineeringAgricultural and Biosystems EngineeringEnvironmental ScienceToxicologyBioeconomy Institute (BEI)

The association between humans and cats (Felis catus) is well known. This domestic animal is also known for its malodorous urine and feces. The complexity of the odorous urine and feces impacts human life by triggering the human sensory organ in a negative way. The objective of this research was to identify the volatile organic chemicals (VOCs) and associated odors in cat urine and feces using gas chromatography–mass spectrometry and simultaneous sensory analysis of fresh and aged samples. The solid-phase microextraction (SPME) technique was used to preconcentrate the VOCs emitted from urine or feces samples. Twenty-one compounds were identified as emitted from fresh urine, whereas 64 compounds were emitted from fresh feces. A contrasting temporal impact was observed in the emission of VOCs for urine and feces. On aging, the emission increased to 34 detected chemicals for stale urine, whereas only 12 chemicals were detected in stale feces. Not all compounds were malodorous; some compounds had a pleasant hedonic smell to the human nose. Although trimethylamine, low-molecular-weight organic acids, and ketones were contributors to the odor to some extent, phenolic compounds and aromatic heterocyclic organic N compounds generated the most intense odors and substantially contributed to the overall malodor, as observed by this study. This work might be useful to formulate cat urine and feces odor remediation approaches to reduce odor impacts.


This article is published as Banik, Chumki, Jacek A. Koziel, and James Z. Li. "Simultaneous Chemical and Sensory Analysis of Domestic Cat Urine and Feces with Headspace Solid-Phase Microextraction and GC-MS-Olfactometry." Separations 8, no. 2 (2021): 15. DOI: 10.3390/separations8020015. Posted with permission.