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  1. So this might be one of the weirder questions posted here, but as the title suggests, I'm looking to see if there is any possible way to remove cat urine from the physical VHS tape so that it will play without destroying my VCR.

    So a couple months ago, I discovered my cat had somehow snuck into my office and urinated in my box off home movies to be digitized. I cleaned them all up and sprayed them with enzyme eliminator, or so I thought. I had been digitizing tapes from that box since with no issues: yesterday, I went to try another one of them and it wouldn't play; the VCR actually 'ate' the tape. I took the VCR apart, got the tape unwound and removed and tried it again: the VCR still would just turn off instead of playing the tape. So I tried another tape: same issue. So I tried the same tapes in another VCR, same issue. The VCR would try to play the tape, then turn off: occasionally it would 'grab' the tape (I had the VCR open so I could see it happening), or spool out an obscene amount of tape onto the head, which would then get 'bunged up'.

    Then I saw the problem: I opened the top of the first tape I had tried and found it smeared with old, crystalized cat pee. I opened the top of the others, one of which I had previously used with no issue, and found them all smeared as well, although to a lesser extent. I am assuming the first tape was the culprit, but somehow left the urine in the machine or on the heads, which then transferred to all the subsequent tapes. I managed to save the VCRs by using a head cleaner several times and practically forcing it through. The VCR will now play tapes that are not full of cat urine, at least. And the VCR doesn't stink anymore.

    Now the remaining issue is the tapes, as at least one of them is valuable to me. I tried cleaning the exposed tape of a less valuable one with rubbing alcohol, but it didn't seem to make any difference, and I had to head clean the VCR again. So I tried taking the tape out and found there was more tape that cat urine on it, so I tried cleaning that too, which was a bit of a mess: one spot stuck to the floor and the magnetic film came off, so that spot is gone, anyway. Tried it again, same result, ...and I had to clean the VCR again. I even tried fast-forwarding to another spot of the tape and it still wouldn't give me anything.

    Also, my father mentioned that he thought that putting water or even rubbing alcohol on the tape might erase it or damage it further, not that it really matters, given that the tapes won't play anyway.

    Any thoughts?
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  2. Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2018
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    Search Comp PM
    Maybe a hydrogen peroxide bath, rinse. Repeat.
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  3. Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
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    United States
    Search Comp PM
    Not cat urine, but I had a few tapes with mold so I used a junk vcr to fast-forward the tape and cleaned with alcohol and a lint free cloth. I watched a few YouTube videos first and it worked. This may help with your situation.
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  4. Cat Loving Old Fart
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
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    PA USA
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    You should be able to get cat pee enzymatic cleaner at any pet store. It will break down the uric acid in the urine. Some recommend that you use diluted vinegar first on the spot if the pee is really bad.
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  5. A few months ago someone posted here about his technique of unwinding all the tape into a bucket of soapy(?) water(?). The final rinse should be in distilled water. Then dry and rewind it. I forget the details. Maybe you can find it.
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  6. Capturing Memories dellsam34's Avatar
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    Member Since 2005, Re-joined in 2016
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    Yah I've seen it, labor intensive but it's all worth it.
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  7. Hi all, thanks! I guess there are quite a few options, and it doesn't look like you're scared of handling the tape, so perhaps all is not lost. I'll try some of these for sure!
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