litter box smell is problem cat lovers have to face. Luckily it’s a problem that can be combated effectively using proper cleaning and deodorizing techniques. To treat litter box odors, the litter, the litter box, the air, the floor, and the room all must be treated.
Stinky litter box trouble? A foul-smelling litter box isn’t fun for you or your cat.
That’s why your cat’s litter box needs the same attentive consideration you give your home’s other bathrooms. After all, your kitty’s olfactory senses are 14 times stronger than yours, meaning a litter box that smells fine to you might cause your cat to turn up his nose and walk away.
Try these 12 tips to prevent the litter box from stinking:
1. Add baking soda to the litter.
It makes a great all-natural deodorizer for your litter box. Some people ask if baking soda is safe for cats, and the answer is an unqualified yes! Baking soda is non-toxic, and by mixing a little of it with the litter, you can help absorb pet urine odors. Note that scooping the litter, refreshing it, and washing the box is still necessary even if you sprinkle in baking soda. Here again, you’ll want to avoid any scented soda options.
2. Scoop the box daily or more.
Old urine and feces might not be as pungent to you like the fresh stuff, but the longer it sits there, the more likely it is the smell will invade the rest of your house. Scoop your litter box early and often to cut down the odor.
3. Replace the litter twice a week.
Even if you scoop every time your cat uses the litter box, you’re bound to miss some. And even a tiny bit gets stinky over time. To combat this, regularly dump out the litter, wash the box with soap and warm water (not ammonia-based cleaners — ammonia can make the smell worse), dry it and put
4. Choose the right brand of litter.
Cat litter comes in a variety of styles, from corn and wheat to wood and clay. With so many choices, it can be a challenge to determine which cat litter is right for your feline family. To find the best litter for odor control, you may need to set up a test. Purchase the smallest bags of several litter brands. Place a cup of each litter type in a different container. Add ¼ cup of ammonia (keep it far away from the cats!) to each container, and let it sit. After several hours, sniff the various types of ammonia-soaked litter. Your nose will tell you the best cat litter for odor.
Remember not to select scented options. Cats hate the artificial smell, and scented litter does little to manage odors. Also, keep in mind that it’s easiest on your cat when you introduce a new litter slowly by mixing it in with the old brand.
5. Replace the litter box once a year.
Over time, your cat’s claws and your scooper can make small grooves in the bottom and sides of your litter box. These grooves are harder to sterilize and can hold onto odor. Avoid this by donating your used litter box to a shelter or rescue group yearly and treating your cat to a new box.
6. Try litter deodorizers.
Using a little baking soda or deodorizer in your litter box can go a long way to a fresher house. However, many cats will stop using heavily-scented litter boxes, so make sure to use a deodorizer that both you and your cat will like (or one that’s unscented). Sprinkle a little bit of the deodorizer over the litter every time you scoop the litter box.
7. Find a brand of litter that smells best to you (and your cat).
Try using a different litter in each litter box in your home and seeing (a) which litter your cat prefers and (b) which litter controls the odor the best. (Read more about setting up a litter cafeteria.) You might just find that you and your cat have a litter preference in common.
8. Don’t mask the odors with sprays, plug-ins, or potpourri.
Many scented air fresheners smell heavenly to humans but are gag-inducing to cats. Moreover, some fragrant household products can be dangerous to cats. Potpourri oil, for instance, can burn a cat’s skin. Try a DIY alternative to toxic air fresheners if you want your house to have a spicy, tangy smell.
9. Practice good litter box hygiene.
Scoop your cat’s litter box daily. Clumping litter can make this task easier. Once a week, refresh the litter entirely by dumping out the old litter and adding 3-4 inches of new. While the cat box is empty, wash it out with warm water and unscented soap. If your box tends to hold smells over time, you may also want to spray the box’s interior with an antibacterial solution that’s safe for cats. Keeping your litter box clean could be the most important step you take toward making your kitty litter smell better.
10. Make sure your litter box is situated in a well-ventilated area.
It can be tempting to hide the litter box in a dark, out-of-the-way place like a garage or basement. Don’t do it, though. Many shy cats hate going into dank, dark, or lonely spots to eliminate, and a bully cat can take advantage of the isolation to start a fight. If the box is out of sight and smell, you might even forget to clean it regularly, Says Hanen Abdel Rahman to keep your litter boxes in “socially appropriate areas,” like living rooms. That’s why you need a sleek litter box that won’t attract attention when it’s out in the open.
11. Ask your vet or feline nutritionist about your cat’s diet.
If your cat’s droppings smell particularly foul, ask a professional to recommend a safe and healthy dietary change that may be a solution to litter box smells.
Keeping your home and your litter box clean and fresh is important both for your cat’s health and your own peace of mind. About 15% of cats will suddenly refuse to patronize their litter boxes, and cat box smells are one reason why.
By maintaining a stink-free litter box, you can make it easy for your cat to eliminate in the appropriate place, helping him or her stay healthy and happy.
12. Keep the litter box in a well-ventilated area.
One of the biggest mistakes cat parents can make is putting the litter box in a tiny, dark, and hidden space. This just allows the odor to concentrate. Plus, if it’s unpleasant for your cat to use, he’ll be more likely to find somewhere else to go — perhaps in the center of your bed. Keep your litter box in a well-ventilated spot where the scent can easily disperse and there are enough light and room for your cat to get in, move around and come out comfortably.
Litter Box Deodorizing Products
Several litter box deodorizing products exist on the market. These normally contain baking soda, ammonia absorbing crystals, and enzymes. They work when used properly for keeping the litter box clean between weekly litter changes.
Never use household cleaning products, ammonia, baby powder, room deodorizers, or carpet deodorizer as these cause serious health problems for the cat.
Talcum powder and dust from these products can enter the cat’s lungs, causing respiratory ailments, allergies, and cancer. Also, when the cat licks them off its paws they can enter the bloodstream and cause immune suppression, organ failure, cancer, or digestive disorders. Only use deodorizing products designed for pets.