Who can deny that having a smelly litter box is the absolute worst part of having a cat, but what you may not know is it doesn’t have to be like that.
I can’t tell you the number of times people have asked me if my house smells because I have cats and I have to explain that a smelly litter box isn’t always a factor when you keep cats.
Smelly litter boxes are completely avoidable and sometimes you don’t even need to spend any extra money to fix the problem! So, here are some of the solutions I’ve tried over the years!
1. KEEP YOUR LITTER BOX IN A ROOM WITH A VENT OR A WINDOW
You don’t need anything high-class or fancy, just something to help air out the room. That being said, laundry rooms are a great choice for litterboxes, especially if you have a low shelf or semi-enclosed space to put the litter box.
Anytime your little one goes #2, think about turning on the vent or opening a window shortly after just to “clear the air.”
I personally do not recommend using aerosol or plug-in air-fresheners just because cats are much more sensitive to smell than we realize. As someone who gets fairly intense migraines from strong scents, I can sympathize with our furry friends. Scents are also a fairly short term solution to the problem.
2. CLEAN YOUR LITTER BOXES REGULARLY & HAVE EXTRAS
My mom is actually really good about cleaning her litter box regularly and will follow Walker, her cat, into the room where he’s using the litter box to clean it up immediately. While you don’t need to be as OCD as my mother, I would recommend cleaning your litter box at least two times a day (in the morning and in the evening.)
This is especially true if you only have one litter box, though I do recommend keeping one extra litter box per cat. (We have 2 cats, so we have 3. If you had 1, have two litter boxes.)
Having extra litter boxes will help make sure that odours aren’t as concentrated and you may actually notice your cat(s) will only use one box for #1s and one box for #2s, making it easier to discern which litterbox to replace (if you ever need to.)
Many pet parents recommend changing out your litterbox once a year, however, this will depend on how well you upkeep your litter box.
We change out our litter every couple of weeks or whenever the litter is getting low. We take this opportunity to scrub down the litter box with some baking soda and vinegar or if there is a stronger smell sometimes we go in with Nature’s Miracle.
3. USE A BETTER LITTER (MULTI-CAT LIFE HACK)
Trust me, I’m all for saving money and I recently tried to make the switch back to cheap clay litter, but it was 100% the wrong decision.
There’s something about urine in particular on clay that releases this insane fowl smell and while I can admit some forms of clay litter are better than others, none of them have beat how well World’s Best Cat Litter hides smells.
We’ve tried both the single cat as well as the multi-cat and I personally feel like the multi-cat is much better at hiding the scent of both urine and feces, which doesn’t surprise me as it’s meant to help ensure cats don’t get dominant or territorial over the litter box.
I have also tried Naturally Fresh, which comes at a close second, although I no longer recommend using the scented version.
Now, again, many cats are sensitive to strong smells, which is one of the main reasons I switched away from “Alpine Fresh” but I also noticed that this litter stopped clumping after a bit of time, which was really odd. I contacted BLUE a couple of times about it, and they didn’t really have answers about why, but instead replaced the product for me. I found that honourable, however, it does concern me if other people are experiencing the same issues.
All of that being said, I would say that using World’s Best isn’t actually as expensive as one may think as I do go through quite a bit less litter than I do with clay-based litter. This obviously depends on how many cats you have and how much they use the litter, but even with 2 cats, I’ve had to refill the box less frequently.
4. TRY A DEODERIZOR
I will go on record saying that I wasn’t a huge fan of using a litter deodorizer, but I also only tried one. I did like the fact that it covered the smell of Beau’s #2s, but I wasn’t a huge fan of the deodorizer itself.
The deodorizer also seemed useless to me because we were using a great litter that already did a good job of hiding the smell of Beau’s business, though I made it clear in the review that my choice may have been different if I was using a different type of litter.
In the years that I worked in the pet store, I did receive a lot of good feedback about Arm & Hammer Cat Litter Deodorizer and Arm & Hammer Double Duty Cat Litter Deodorizer, although again I personally have never used them.
5. USE A CHARCOAL FILTER
You’d be surprised how effective charcoal filters can actually be, and you’d be even more surprised how many pet parents don’t know that their litter boxes have a slot to place the filter.
Charcoal filters help absorb foul smells and are natural, inexpensive, non-toxic and safe for the environment. Depending on the type of charcoal filter you buy they can last up to 3-months before you have to switch them out.
If your litterbox does not have a space to put in a charcoal filter you may want to think about getting a Bamboo Charcoal Air Purifying Bag. These bags can be used anywhere you are trying to remove smells, including foul-smelling offices or cars. They’re extremely reasonably priced and do wonders!
6. USE BAKING SODA IN THE LITTER BOX
A number of pet parents will spread a very thin layer of baking soda before placing in the new litter to help absorb smells. Baking soda is pet safe and shouldn’t cause your cat any harm, even if they dig in it.
If you are uncomfortable placing baking soda into your litter box, you can also place a box of baking soda near the litterbox to help absorb scents. Although this is less effective, it is worth a try!
7. THINK ABOUT CHANGING YOUR CAT’S DIET
Poop smells no matter what, but poop that is filled with fillers and preservatives tends to smell more.
If you are feeding your cat a lower quality food such as Whiskas or Purina Fancy Feast think about switching onto higher-quality foods such as Weruva, Natural Balance, Open Farm, or CARU. This will benefit both you and your cat. You’ll also be surprised to see how much smaller your cat’s poops will be!
That being said, foods that are fish-based instead of poultry-based tend to make poops less smelly as well, however, in any case where you are switching your cat’s food you may want to consult your vet.
Note: Sometimes extremely smelly poops are a sign of an allergy or illness, it’s always a good idea to let your vet know if your cat has smelly poops at your yearly vet visit just in case they suspect any other symptoms of illness or allergies.
8. CHANGE THE TYPE OF LITTER BOX YOU USE
Litterbox styles make a huge difference in how much smell escapes.
I would steer away from litter pans and suggest going with a hooded litterbox or a top-entry litter box. Make sure that no matter what kind of litterbox you buy to buy a big one to make sure that your cat doesn’t feel claustrophobic, especially after they go #2.
We recently invested in a top entry litterbox and not only did it mask the smells of our cat’s business, but it also reduced the amount of tracking from the litter. I highly, highly, highly recommend the investment.
If the smell is a really big problem for you still, I may suggest looking into purchasing an automatic litter box. Automatic litterboxes will help save you from bending over to clean the litter box, and often come with “airtight” or “smell free” trays so you and your cat don’t have to think about their poops! Automatic litter boxes do come for a much larger price tag, so make sure you’re reading up on which litterbox to get! I’ve personally got my eye on the litter robot.
Although litterboxes are known to be stinky there are a number of ways you can help reduce the smell.
At the end of the day, you’re going to have to try out a few different tactics to see what works best for you and your cat, but I hope this list makes it easier for you.
So pet parents, I’m curious… how many of these did you try? Did they work for you? Do you have any other suggestions? Let me know in the comments below!