by Michelle Lievense
Sweet, fluffy, loving, sometimes mischievous — cats can make a bad day better, a cold day warmer, and a rough day fluffier. However, when their litter box develops a smell, it can turn any room into a surprisingly toxic nightmare. How can something so fluffy and sweet produce such a terrible smell?
Luckily, there’s plenty you can do to control litter box odor. Follow these pro tips for a healthier home that’s free from that foul litter box smell.
- Scoop and Scoop Often
Indoor cats will use the litter box three to four times a day. That means scooping is often one of the best ways to minimize odor and stay on top of a sanitary litter box environment. Ideally, you’ll scoop right after your cat uses the facilities, but since that isn’t always realistic. Aim for at least one to two times each day. For times when you can’t scoop as often, or are in a rush, you can use a product like Skout’s Honor Litter Box Deodorizer for a quick refresh in between cleanings to help eliminate litter box odor. It’s safe to spray on used litter and in the surrounding air wherever nasty odors are present.
- Clean the Box (Not Just the Litter)
While this chore is less favorable than scooping, dumping the litter and cleaning out the box with Skout’s Honor Cat Urine & Odor Destroyer is an excellent and cat-safe way to stay on top of odors that can stick to the sides and bottom of the litter box. Even smooth plastic is a little porous, which means odors can sink into the material over time.
- Be Diligent About Changing the Litter
Even though you’re scooping daily, there are always bits left behind. You’ll help your kitty’s paws stay sanitary while minimizing odor if you change the litter at least once or twice per week. Completely dump all the litter, give your litter box a good wipe down, and refill the box with entirely fresh litter.
- Litter Box Placement and the Right Number of Boxes
The right number of litter boxes will not only ensure your cat has options but also keep odors from building up throughout the day. There should be one more box than there are cats in the house. So, if you have one cat, there should be two litter boxes.
Additionally, there should be at least one litter box on each floor. So, if you have three stories in your home, that would be three litter boxes, even if you only have one cat. If you have four cats, one of those three stories will need to have two litter boxes. Make sure the litter box is in a well-ventilated area, rather than tucking it away in the corner of a closet. Odors can build up, and they need to circulate for you and your cat’s sake.
- Don’t Mask the Odor — Destroy it
Deodorizers are a common way to control litter box odor. Try not to mask the odor with heavily scented candles, freshening sprays, and other cover-up options. It can create a chemical mess that’s potentially harmful to you and your cat’s health. Instead, opt for an unscented or gently scented deodorizer like Skout’s Honor Litter Box Deodorizer that will break down and destroy cat litter odors. Rather than covering up the cat odor, it actually destroys the odor molecules with it’s proprietary mineral-based deodorizer, so there is no need for any extra fragrance that might be irritating to you or your pets. Adding a little baking soda to your litter can also help absorb odors in a safe way.
- Types of Litter Boxes
There are plenty of options when it comes to the types of litter boxes available. Find something that will be attractive in your home, encourage your cat to use it properly, and also limit odors. Large boxes will ensure your cat goes on the litter, rather than making a mess on the sides of the box. Boxes with a door or hood will help to contain odors as well. You might even consider something fancy and technologically advanced, like the Cat Genie, that cleans itself after each use. Woo hoo for technology!
- The Right Scoop
Many litter boxes will come with a scoop, but how much is it really picking up? Do you have to scoop several times to get small pieces? Choose a wide scoop with thin slits. This will ensure you are efficiently picking up all the bits in as few scoops as possible, minimizing breakage that will form smaller, more difficult bits to scoop. It will also ensure as little as possible is left behind to stink up the box and your home.
- Choose the Best Type of Litter
There is, perhaps, no larger debate among cat guardians than the best litter. Some prefer all-natural paper, grass, or corn. Others want traditional clumping clay. And others are drawn to absorbent crystals. Whatever you choose, make sure it’s something that will be soft on your cat’s paws and will be easy to clean up. When it comes to odor, consider testing litter for stickiness. When litter sticks to your cat’s paws, it’ll be tracked out of the litter box, potentially spreading cat litter box odor.
- Cat Nutrition
Not everyone realizes that persistent or unusually stinky litter box odor can be an indicator of a health issue in your cat. Liver problems, digestive problems, and kidney and urinary tract infections can cause especially foul cat litter box odors. A visit to the vet can help to eliminate these possibilities from your litter box odor control concerns.
You can also experiment with foods that may be easier to digest, although you should avoid changing your cat’s food too quickly and too often as this can also cause digestive distress. There are also prebiotic and probiotic supplement powders for cats that can help them to easily digest their food resulting in less offensive litter box odor.
Every cat lover runs into questions about how to control litter box odor from time to time. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to troubleshoot. Following these best practices will ensure you and your cat have a cozy, comfortable, odor-free home.