Love your cat but hate their stinky litter box? This post is for you! Check out 10 genius litter box smell hacks for cat parents below!
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10 Genius Litter Box Smell Hacks Every Cat Parent Should Know
From good litter box hygiene, and handy litter box products, to diet choice, litter box location, air filtration products, and more, check out 10 genius litter box smell hacks for cat parents below!
1. Scoop the tray and spot clean daily
Keep litter box smells to a minimum by scooping and disposing of soiled litter at least once a day. Give the tray and surrounding area a spot-clean while you’re at it, too. Not only does this remove the source of the stink, but it also makes weekly deep-cleans much easier.
Hate scooping cat litter? Try sifting disposable litter liners, or a self-cleaning litter box instead. Sifting liners separate the soiled litter from the clean without the need for a scoop, while self-cleaning litter boxes take care of the job for you (just empty the waste drawer when it’s full).
To remove the smell completely, make sure you dispose of smelly cat litter outside in the garbage, or alternatively, consider purchasing a cat litter genie (or sealed diaper pale) to reduce odors in between trips to the garbage.
2. Replace litter completely 1-2 times a week
Depending on the type of litter that you’re using (and the number of cats using it), be sure to replace your cat’s litter completely at least 1-2 times a week to maintain good litter box hygiene (and minimize smells) – especially when using non-clumping varieties.
3. Deep-clean the litter box and litter scoop weekly (or use disposable litter boxes instead)
A weekly deep-clean of the litter box and litter scoop with a pet-friendly cleaner or mild, scent-free detergent goes a long way to keeping your litter box smelling fresh, it also helps to eliminate nasty bacteria.
Hate cleaning the box? Consider using litter box liners to extend the time between deep cleanings. Alternatively, opt for a disposable litter box option instead – the below options from Kitty’s Wonderbox and Nature’s Miracle are made from recycled paper and contain baking soda for added odor control.
4. Ensure you have the correct number of litter boxes
According to the litter box rule of thumb (and cat experts everywhere), every home with cats should have one litter box per cat, plus one extra. This means that if you have one cat, you should have two litter boxes, and if you have two cats, you should have three litter boxes, and so on.
While this might sound like more work, it actually helps to keep things more sanitary for you and your cat while preventing potential toilet-related behavior problems. It also minimizes the risk of potential territorial behavior in multi-cat homes.
5. Re-evaluate your choice of litter
Not all cat litters are created equal when it comes to odor control. For particularly stinky litter boxes, opt for a cat litter that contains natural odor-absorbing ingredients like baking soda, activated charcoal, and zeolite.
Many unscented clumping varieties also perform well when it comes to absorbing odors (and don’t need to be changed as frequently as non-clumping varieties), just don’t use them for young kittens – find out what to use instead, here.
Similarly, while scented varieties may sound like a good idea, don’t be fooled! Cats have a very sensitive sense of smell and may find the smell of a scented litter too overpowering and avoid the box altogether! Unscented is usually best.
6. Consider using litter box deodorizers
If you’re happy with your existing litter but want to give it a little freshness boost in between scoops, consider using a litter box deodorizer like the ones pictured below. Alternatively, sprinkle a little plain baking soda under your cat’s litter when refilling the tray for added odor absorption, or use an activated charcoal litter box additive instead.
7. Keep the litter box in a well-ventilated area
When it comes to odor control, using an open-top litter box in a well-ventilated (but not drafty) area is best as it allows smells to dissipate more freely. Rooms with exhaust fans are good too (just make sure that your cat doesn’t get locked out!).
If you prefer using hooded or enclosed litter box styles, consider an option with a replaceable filter to help remove smells, like these;
8. Invest in an air purifier
If budget permits and air quality is important to you, consider investing in an air purifier for your space. Not only are air purifiers fantastic at removing unpleasant odors from the air, they’re also great at removing fine litter dust and particles, pet dander, fur, and bacteria from the air too. For pet odors, look for models with a deodorization filter such as activated carbon.
9. Replace plastic litter trays yearly or switch to stainless-steel
Over time, plastic litter boxes and trays can get scratched and damaged making them harder to properly sterilize and keep clean. This means they hold on to odors and other nasties, which is why many experts recommend that you replace them annually.
For a long-lived, anti-bacterial alternative (that won’t need replacing every year and won’t hold on to smelly odors), consider making the switch to a stainless-steel litter box instead.
10. Speak to your vet to rule out any potential health concerns and consider switching to a super-premium, raw food or lightly cooked fresh food diet
Finally, if you feel like you’ve tried everything but your cat’s litter box smell is just too overpowering, speak to your vet as an underlying health condition may be to blame (for example, digestive issues, food sensitivities, parasites, poor gut health).
Alternatively, if you’ve ruled out any potential health issues, consider switching your cat to a super-premium cat food brand, species-appropriate raw food diet or lightly cooked fresh food diet instead as these tend to be easier on the gut, resulting in reduced stool odor and volume (just make sure they’re nutritionally balanced and complete for optimum health).