There’s a Carolina Panthers joke in here somewhere, we just know it.

For years, the good people of Wilmington, North Carolina have been dealing with a certain smell that wafts through town from time to time.

Cat piss.

“I know that the catty odors have impacted downtown from time to time, and in my personal experience, the odor seems to vary,” Brad Newland, a supervisor with the N.C. Division of Air Quality told the Wilmington Star-News. “Sometimes it smells like pure cat urine to me, and sometimes it smells similar but different.”

According to the Charlotte Observer, the DAQ has received “several complaints about a cat urine-like odor” around Wilmington but has yet to figure out the cause.

Officials originally blamed Fortron Industries, a local polyphenylene sulfide plant whose emissions are said to be associated with a “male cat pee” odor. However, after further research and interviews, they’ve backed off that claim and are without a good answer for the stink or its solution. The only thing they’ve been able to say for sure is that cold air makes the smell worse. The colder the air is, the more it traps the odor close to the ground.

It’s officially gotten so bad that Newland issued a memo on Dec. 5 admitting that he detected a “faint cat odor” in downtown Wilmington. While he has yet to determine that there is any health risk associated with the smell, that certainly doesn’t make anyone feel better after catching a nose-full of the pungent stench.

Of course, it’s also possible that the disturbing smell is just a distraction from another odor found in town as well.

[Wilmington Star-News]

About Sean Keeley

Along with writing for Awful Announcing and The Comeback, Sean is the Editorial Strategy Director for Comeback Media. Previously, he created the Syracuse blog Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician and wrote 'How To Grow An Orange: The Right Way to Brainwash Your Child Into Rooting for Syracuse.' He has also written non-Syracuse-related things for SB Nation, Curbed, and other outlets. He currently lives in Seattle where he is complaining about bagels. Send tips/comments/complaints to

1 thought on “What’s the deal with the North Carolina town that smells like cat urine?

  1. Ah, yes … the Old North State and the inconvenient smell of cat urine.

    Well, I got the heck out of the conservative cesspool known as North Carolina three decades ago and I have never looked back. Best decision I ever made.

    I never caught a whiff of cat pee, but my many encounters with racist conservatives were enough to convince me to get the hell out.

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