Cats typically don’t smell because they are focused on staying clean, so if your nose turns up as you pass the litter box it may be an indication that you need to ramp up your cleaning routine. As a cat parent, you should monitor the litter box. Doing so allows you to not only stay on top of cleaning, but also monitor your cat’s health.
Here’s the Ontario SPCA’s top 5 tips for combatting smelly kitty litter
- In order to avoid cat odor, make sure you’re scooping out any litter box solids at least once daily (twice a day if possible) and disposing of it outside the home. If the litter box becomes too smelly, your cat might veto the box altogether and eliminate somewhere else in the home.
- It is good practice to replace the entire litter box once a week to avoid smelly litter in your home, instead of just topping up the litter. Some clumping litters advertise that they only need to be changed once per month, but keep in mind that it’s easy to forget the last time you replaced the litter if you leave it that long.
- It’s important to keep the box itself clean, not just the litter. Wash the box once a week when changing the litter. Use a mild soap and hot water, and if possible, set the box out in the sun to dry for an extra antibacterial effect. Avoid using harsh chemicals to clean the litter box, because cats have a keen sense of smell and if something smells unfamiliar, your cat might avoid using it at all.
- To keep your kitty content, research has shown most cats prefer fine-grained litters in an open litter box (due to their highly sensitive sense of smell, many cats dislike covered boxes where odors are trapped inside).
- To further avoid unpleasant odors, you can place a thin layer of baking soda along the box’s bottom to absorb odor.
If you ever find yourself questioning whether to clean out the litter box, a good rule of thumb to keep in mind is: if you find the box smelly, it’s likely your cat will too!
For more on solving litter box dilemmas read this blog post.