Published 2014-04-17 (Rev. 2016-03-07) -- Tips and advice on eliminating cat litter box odors with home and commercial product solutions.
Contact Details: For further information please contact Ian Langtree at Disabled World
Quote: "Most cats are very finicky about their box, so keep it as clean as possible and try not to use a litter with a very strong odor."
Definition: Defining the Meaning of Kitty Litter
Granular absorbent material placed in a box, or tray, into which an internal animal, such as a cat or small dog, can urinate or defecate. Generally cat litter is comprised of 1 or more of the following ingredients; Clay, Guar Gum, Baking Soda, and Fragrances. There are also environmentally friendly, green, types of kitty litter you can purchase. Clumping (scoopable) cat litter is perhaps one of the most convenient options available. There have been concerns clumping kitty litter may be toxic to pets. But it's use is overall quite safe, posing only minor gastrointestinal symptoms in some animals when ingested.
The big problem for most cat lovers is the litter box. Cats like to be clean, ever notice they are constantly cleaning themselves? That means they expect a clean litter box. Starting with a good quality kitty litter can help eliminate odor.
All natural litters such as the corn or wheat varieties are great for good clumping and being environmentally friendly but most are lacking in the odor control department. If you choose one of these litters add a little baking soda to the mix. It will help control the odor between cleanings and your cat will enjoy the freshness. If you choose one of the popular odor control formulas make sure to introduce your cat slowly by adding the new litter in to the old a little at a time. Many of these litters have a very strong scent to help mask the litter odor which is great for us, but a cat's nose is much more sensitive and it might be a little too strong. If your cat does not like the new litter you will have a different problem on your hands.
Most cats are very finicky about their box, so keep it as clean as possible and try not to use a litter with a very strong odor. Chances are if you feel it has a strong scent the cat will not like it. Advances in litter pans have made it easier for cat owners to keep the box clean. For a price, you can have a self-cleaning litter box. Some have small grates that do the scooping for you, others will "flush" and sanitize themselves on a regular schedule. The problem I've seen with most of these litter boxes is that with the mechanism in place, the cat has very little room to maneuver. My cats still miss in an extra large box, so I don't think they would appreciate an even smaller space. I'm waiting for the automatic box the size of a closet, then I'll give it a shot. But I know many people who have the CatGenie, LitterMaid, and the ScoopFree. Their cats seem to be perfectly happy with the auto boxes.
If your cats are like mine and prefer the old method of me cleaning the box every 5 minutes, the best option is to scoop at least twice a day.
What if your cat doesn't want to use the box
I have had cats all my life. I never had any issue litter training any of my kittens until these last two. In the past I just showed the new addition where the box was located, put him/her in it and scratched their paws around for a minute. But the newest additions to my home did not get it. I tried everything under the sun to get these kittens to use the box and not the corner in the living room they found so appealing. Finally, at my wits end I tried a new litter made especially for kittens. It was amazing, after 3 weeks of cleaning carpets and trying all the tricks for keeping them out of that corner, this litter attracted them to the box and within 12 hours they were both using the box every time. Kitten Attract saved my sanity and my carpets. Once I had the new kittens using the box it was time to clean the carpets to eliminate the odor in their favorite corner. Nature's Miracle is the only product I've found that works to remove the odor and stains of pet accidents. The products are safe and very effective to eliminate odor. Both of these products are available at your local PetSmart or online.
Cat litter works by absorbing the feline's urine and covers feces to reduce the growth of odor causing bacteria. The two main categories of kitty litter are "clumping" and "non-clumping."
There are all sorts of deodorizers and sprays that claim to eliminate cat litter smells but often they just mask the odor short-term, and while options such as biodegradable litter which can be safely composted or silica gel litter which is highly absorbent do improve matters, there is no getting away from the fact - cat litter smells.
Most of the cat box odor comes not from the poop but from the pee that clings to the bottom and sides of the pan after you've scooped everything. Chlorine bleach neutralizes pee, and once you have put chlorine bleach on pee, it isn't pee anymore and it doesn't have any odor. Be sure to scoop and remove any debris regularly and completely change the entire litter every week. Kitty litter comes in scented and non scented options - most cats do fine with an unscented, clumping kitty litter, but some consumers prefer scented litters as the best option, so explore the different ones out there on the market to find one your cat(s) like, and one you can live with.
The number one rule that will keep litter box odor at bay, is constant cleaning. That means scooping the box out at least twice a day, removing the solids and liquid clumps if you use clumping litter.
Other Tips To Eliminate Kitty Litter Odor:
- Place a small dish of Vinegar next to the box it will help absorb the smell.
- Add a box of baking soda to every tray of litter and remove solids immediately.
- Use wood stove pellets for litter, cats love it.
- Wash out the box and wipe it off with Vinegar, then put baking soda down it helps to also line the kitty litter box with newspaper. (Put the paper in first and the baking soda on top of the paper).
Commercial Kitty Litter Products:
- FON (Feline Odor Neutralizer) Spray - Stops odors in litter boxes, removes urine and fecal stains on rugs and furniture, and works on Tomcat spray. FON does not mask odors. It actually breaks down urine and fecal matter, therefore eliminating the cause of the odor. Spray F.O.N. daily in cat litter boxes. A light spray covering the surface area will suffice to eliminate odors. Maintain usual sanitary procedures for the litter box. F.O.N. is biodegradable.
- Fresh Step Clay Cat Litter with Odor Eliminating Carbon - Fresh Step Clay litter contains everything you love about clay with one refreshing difference it will help keep your home smelling even fresher.
- Tidy Cats - LightWeight 4-in-1 Strength is the newest lightweight litter for Tidy Cats, the company that invented cat litter more than 50 years ago and reinvented litter in 2013 with the introduction of a truly lightweight clumping litter option. The Tidy Cats LightWeight portfolio solves a pet peeve cat owners have been dealing with for a long time - heavy cat litter.