Wilmington, North Carolina, smells like cat urine. Why?

When I read the headline of an online newspaper, Winston-Salem Journal, "N.C. town stinks so badly of "cat pee" that there is an official state memo about it", I felt that this was another attempt to denigrate feral cats and to find a reason to kill them. It seemed as if the article was about a town being overrun by feral cats. However, that positively is not the case.

These cats did not cause the smell! The picture is for illustrative purposes only.
Wilmington has been suffering from a intermittent and faint cat pee odor for many years apparently. The NC Division of Air Quality has received several complaints about a cat urine-like odor. It is investigating but is yet to pin down the cause.

Some residents believe that it's caused by illegal manufacturing which takes place at night and others believe the cause is a naturally occurring swamp gas and/or decaying vegetation.




One resident, Sue Newell, said that she has smelled the odor since the late 1980s which seems extraordinary because you would have thought something would have been done about it by now. She said:

"The pungent odour is a concoction that can include swamp gas and fumes from a number of industrial plants along the Cape Fear River".

Apparently living near downtown Wilmington you will probably wake up to the smell of cat urine. I wish they had not chosen to use the phrase "cat urine" to describe the smell. I'm very sensitive to people who dislike cats using health issues and the like to denigrate the cat particularly feral cats as it can lead to abuse.

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