Your cat is your cuddly, fluffy, sometimes mischievous but mostly adoring, and cutest companion that makes each day at your home even brighter. That’s until they drop a little poo in their litter box, turning everything into a noxious ordeal. A stinky litter box is never fun for you, your home, and your cat. That’s why you need to devote the same attention as you would to your home’s bathrooms. Luckily, there are many ways you can minimize litter box odor. Here are some simple tips and tricks to tone down that foul smell.
Choose the right litter.
Various cat litter options are available, from wheat, corn, wood, all-natural paper, absorbent crystals, grass to clumping clay. With so many choices, it can be a daunting task which one to choose for your beloved cat. But, the truth is different types may work for different cat guardians. For instance, some may prefer corn or grass, while others are drawn to traditional clay.
What you need to do is to test different litter types. Purchase small bags and place them in small cups. Pour ¼ cup of ammonia into the container and let it soak. After a few hours, sniff the cups containing the ammonia-soused litter. Your nose will be the judge in determining which among them is best for taming down the odor.
Aside from its odor-wicking properties, you also need to check the litter’s stickiness. See to it that the litter won’t stick to your cat’s paws. Otherwise, she’ll bring it outside the box, possibly unfurling the smell more around your home.
A straightforward way to minimize litter box smell is by taking out the stuff that causes the odor. That means you need to scoop more often, preferably twice or at least once a day. Not only will it make your house less smelly, but your cat will also appreciate not seeing too many “landmines” inside the box. If there are, chances are your cat will poo and pee outside and even try to go out of your house to answer the call of nature.
If you find it too much of a hassle or are simply busy with other tasks, you can get an automatic scooping box instead. Just test it out first as some cats may be frightened by the noise the machine produces. So, save your old litter box first. Only get rid of it if your cat has already adjusted to the automatic scooping box, with no issues doing her business.
Change the litter and wash the box thoroughly.
A good rule of thumb is changing the litter completely every two to four weeks, depending on your pet’s bathroom habits, the litter type you use, and the number of cats that use the box. What’s certain is that it will be far easier to clean the box if you’re using scooping at least once daily.
After emptying the litter box, scrub the box down with soap and water. Use gloves when doing so to avoid any urine and fecal pathogens reaching your hands and causing infections. Never use bleach and harsh chemicals as their smell can stick, deterring your cat from using the box. Finish all things up by drying the box and adding fresh litter.
Replace the boxes.
Like with any other products, litter boxes wear out, too, especially when they suffer frequent clawing from your cat as she covers her excrement. Even minor surface scratches are enough to harbor bacteria and make it their stinky abode. So, be sure to replace the box at least once per year. A good litter box should be able to contain your cat from the tip of her nose until the tip of her extended tail. One side should be low, serving as an entryway where she can comfortably get it in and out.
Get the right number of litter boxes.
Ideally, there should be one more litter box for every cat. That means if you have two cats, there must be three litter boxes placed around the house. It will provide them with more options and prevent odor from building up. If you have a three-story house, each floor should at least have one litter box.
Use baking soda.
Baking soda is a powerful all-natural deodorizer, which you may add to your litter box. Sprinkle little amounts of baking soda before you add fresh litter. Don’t worry, as baking soda is non-toxic and safe for cats. It will help absorb some of the odor, without irritating your cat’s nose and lungs. Just make sure to avoid the scented options.
Don’t spray perfumes and air fresheners.
One common mistake of cat guardians is spraying perfumes and air fresheners near the litter box. Truth to be told, it doesn’t provide much help and may even harm cats in the process. First, spraying such items only temporarily masks the bad smell. Eventually, the good smell will dissipate while the main problem remains. Moreover, these fragrant household products can be gag-inducing, toxic, and dangerous to cats. Spraying these will only discourage your cat from using the box at all.
Place the box in a well-ventilated area.
Most cat owners tend to place their cat’s litter boxes in dark areas of the house like at the room’s corners, in the basement, or at the enclosed garage. However, tucking away the box in such confined spaces only allows the odor to concentrate, making the smell stronger.
While cats like abandoned places, your cat will be discouraged from being in a smelly one. Even if she still did, you will most likely forget to clean the box if it’s in a secluded location. The best thing to do is place it in a well-ventilated, socially-appropriate area, but somewhere not too breezy. The odor needs to circulate, or else you’ll be creating a potent stink zone.
Take your cat to the vet.
If all else fails and your cat’s poo is particularly smelly, you may need to take your cat to the vet. Not all are aware that a stinky litter box can be a sign of a cat’s health issue. Digestive problems, kidney problems, liver problems, and urinary tract infections are some causes of persistent foul litter box smell. A consultation with the vet can aid in ruling out any underlying medical condition your cat may be suffering from.
By minimizing litter box odor, you prevent your home from being a toxic nightmare. Just follow the practices above and you’ll get to have a cozy, comfortable, fresh-smelling home while keeping your cat always healthy and happy.