Tips & Advice: How To Remove The Smell Coming From The Cat Litter Box

Hi everyone,

Please find below some useful tips in form of a Guest Post by Earlene Krause:

How To Remove The Smell Coming From The Cat Litter Box

Many cat owners complain about the odors coming from their pet’s litter box, and are at a loss as to what they can do about it. The truth is that the cat itself most likely thinks the same about the bad smell, and that may be the main reason why it sometimes refuses to use the box for its intended purpose.

cat in litterbox

If you own a cat, you may have already tried spraying perfume over your cat’s litter box or scenting the room with the help of an air freshener, but these are not good ideas, because the smell of perfume can be overpowering. That is why scented litter boxes have become commercially available, but they also may bother the cat. Always remember to put your pet’s safety and comfort first, and besides, all of the above methods only hide the smell, without actually removing it.

Remove the smell, don’t just mask it

The best, albeit more time consuming way to keep the box from giving off that unpleasant smell is to maintain cleanliness. A litter box that is clean at all times is great for a number of reasons, namely the room you keep it in will not repel family and friends, and the cat will be more inclined to use the box whenever needed instead of using the carpet.

cat on floor

What you have to do is clean the box twice a day by scooping out the smelly parts (such as where the cat has peed the most), and re-fill those areas with fresh litter; make sure not to add too much, though, since cats don’t like it when the layer of litter is too thick. You will also need to wash the box and the spoon or whatever you use for scooping with an unscented dish detergent; do this either once per week, or once every two weeks, depending on the type of litter used. Wait for the box to dry off and re-fill it with litter.

If you don’t have the time or the will to clean it on a regular basis, or if you simply wish to make sure no odors come from the litter box, there are additional things you can do. For example, you can coat the bottom of the box with some baking soda (not too much, though). While the baking soda is great at absorbing the foul smell, it is not too harsh on your cat’s sense of smell.

As to the best type of box and litter for your kitty, you can use a large plastic tray; the important thing here are the length and width of the box rather than its depth, since a box that can hold a layer of litter of up to 3 inches should be enough. A container that can be cleaned easily is also important, while the best type of litter is the one that your cat accepts more readily. This means that you may have to try out different kinds of litter, and see which one suits your cat best.

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About the author:
Earlene Krause is a pet lover and cat enthusiast currently blogging and reviewing cats’ accessories at https://catlitterbox.reviews

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76 thoughts on “Tips & Advice: How To Remove The Smell Coming From The Cat Litter Box

  1. It’s all good advice. The best advice is what Sid just stated: Clean the box every time the cat uses it. Keep it always freshly scooped to the extent possible and unless you are home all day, most do not have that kind of freedom. Great post.

    1. I have an elderly cat with arthritis and switched to puppy pads that I buy cheaply through Amazon.com. It took only a day or two for her to learn to use the pads and I just change the pad twice a day. No odor, no mess, no cat litter. Works great for my Cleo. 🙂

        1. Let me know if it works for you. I have a pet blog called Susanpetblog and I’ve been recommending it on there. It also helps me because I have bad arthritis myself so it is much easier than cleaning box and having to lift it, get rid of the litter, etc.

    2. Cleaning twice a day is definitely a good idea! 🙂 I have three cats. Two of them are seniors. If you haven’t done so already, have your senior kitty checked for any health issues. They will often stop using the litter box if they have a UTI or crystals. Both cause pain and discomfort, and they often seek to go elsewhere just looking for something that will “feel” soft or better than kitty litter. Also, try to determine if there is anything that might be causing stress for your kitty. If so, there are numerous things you can try for calming purposes, such as Feliway diffusers, or calming treats or sprays. I like Composure as a natural calming kitty treat. Chewable. I think it’s put out by Ventricon, but if you google Composure for felines you can find it, or search it on Amazon. Out of my four animals, three cats and one dog, three of my animals are considered senior. I have one cat that is four. The senior issues hit big time this entire summer, and it has definitely kept me on my toes! Good luck! (I will say I’ve never felt baking soda worked that well in a litter box, but it never hurts to try it, that’s for sure!)

      1. Thanks for the tips. One of my cats is ancient, like 10 or so. This is the one that it gng on the floor. He has a ver appt this week. I’ll keep u posted. I did put out puppy pads, soft… I am also getting a new litter box. 😊

        1. Just an fyi, ten years old is not ancient for a cat. Not at all. It is considered senior or nearing senior, but not ancient. And, you are welcome for the tips. I hope our kitty is okay, and if not that he soon will be! Will love to see an update!

          1. I have had no luck with puppy pads yet. Not giving up. Bought a new litter box. Still poopin on floor. Today he tried to jump on counter and missed and fell on his side twice 😓. I am taking him to the vet to see whats gmg on. He’s usually good about jumping.

          2. Thank you for the update. I’m sorry there has been no success as of yet. I hope the vet can determine what is wrong and that it is easily fixed!

          1. Its behavioral…. Blarg… Now both cats are pooping on the floor and he flat out refuses to use the litterbox. I have even changes the litterbox. Everyday is a struggle…

          2. You have two cats? How many litter boxes? If you only have one litter box try getting at least one more. Are they pooping right next to it? How often does it get sifted? That could be a factor, too.

          3. Everyday, sifted. And I had two boxes, but the same thing was happening. I am gonna try and get another container this weekend. Its usually near the wall. Thanks for your help.

          4. This pooping business just started and it was with the older cat. He’s 10 or so. There have been no significant changes. I try to keep the same routine everyday. Its been working, thats why I thought something was wrong and took him ti the vet. No go there. He’s healthy, just behavioral.

          5. Oh snap! I think I figured it out. Last week I went down stairs and found a snake skin on the wall. Yes a snake had wiggled its way into the basement. I called the critter guys and they set traps. Never found the snake, but I asked several times about the kitties being downstairs. I have it set up for them to play around with lots of space and light while I am at work. They come up when I get home. This usually works. They told me that the snake should be afraid of the kitties….

          6. Let us know how you get on. Some cats are terrified by snakes others hunt them. We do t really have this problem in the UK but a friend of mine had a snake dig into her cats litter box in the USA and that really upset her cat for obvious reasons 😡

          1. Oh, thank you! I appreciate your confidence in me! 🙂 I will give it some thought. Most of the time stuff just comes to me when someone else is in need, but…………I might come up with something. 😉 Thank you, again.

  2. We only have one kitty but we started using a paper based litter called So Phresh as we were concerned about clay litter going into our septic system. It took a little getting used to for our Ruby, but now that she’s comfortable with it I would never use anything else. It completely absorbs all urine and there is literally no smell! I scoop out any poops once a day and change the litter once a week. The box barely needs to be wiped down as the litter absorbs it all! 🙂

  3. In my tiny apartment the litter box is in the bathroom…at my feet when I use mine so it’s easy for me to keep the scoop and bags nearby and scoop out anything new when I’m in there with nothing better to do (no room for a magazine rack).

    I do feel sorry for the kitty in the picture where the food bowls are about a foot from the litter box. Would you like to eat in your bathroom?

  4. Really? People don’t have time to clean the kitty litter box. They had time for that extra coffee or playing on the computer. Don’t harp at me if I don’t want to stand in pee and pooh to go to the bathroom again. I would rather stand on the floor and go. It’s cleaner. Would you like to stand in your pooh and pee and go to the bathroom. Well, don’t expect me to be any different than you.

    (((Shoko)))

  5. Great post! I’ll have to try to baking soda, though I scoop the nasty stuff twice a day, put it a plastic bag for the non organic recycle bins here and top up with fresh litter. Diesel leaves messages if he doesn’t think it’s clean enough or he’ll pee in the bath. I change the litter completely twice a week and get through about 40L of Cat’s Best in a month! I learnt when AJ was a kitten no food next to litter (bad mistake!). Now the litter box is in one of the bathrooms and they love it! I don’t like the litter they shake off their paws when they’re done however. It gets everywhere in that bathroom. I vacuum in the morning and by evening it’s a mess! Neither do I like it when AJ mis-aims. But that’s another story!

    1. I put a small bathroom rug with a rubber litter catcher on top of the rug in front of the litter box door. Then all you have to do is pick up the litter catcher and shake it back into the litter box. I didn’t like cleaning scattered litter in my bathroom. No problem now I am not sweeping the floor all the time. My litter box is in the bathroom, also.

      1. Great idea, except I have a cat who every few weeks misaims his pee out the box! It’s easier to clean up on the stone floor than a rug. Maybe it’ll work replacing the rug with a large tray or something 🙂

  6. I clean my litter box twice a day but to keep the litter box it self clean without having to wash the litter box all the time, I insert the litter box in a large black trash bag (that fits your box) then I put baking soda on the bottom, then add the litter. Once a week I pull the open end of the trash bag back over the litter box and the old litter stays inside the bag then I close the end and put it in the trash. Then I start with new trash bag, litter, and baking soda. Never any smells or rejection by my kitty. Hope this helps all cat lovers.

  7. I used to work at/manage a cat boarding facility, and we cleaned the boxes each and every time one was used. Sure, it meant a lot of checking and rechecking, but the air was always fresh, and the cats and I were happy. No biggie once you get used to it. 🙂
    Parker

  8. Great advice. I have a 13 year old cat that is very well behaved with her litter box. She doesn’t act like an older cat except she sleeps a lot. I like the baking soda idea.

  9. Hi! Thanks for the like on my jaxy cat story. I clean the litter box twice daily, and scoop out the excrement. Once a month I wash the litter box with a 10:1 bleach solution. I did not ever have an odor. I think the covered boxes are more odorous because the odor is absorbed into the plastic. I really can’t imagine how that smells to a cat to have to go in there with no air circulating around and their keen sense of smell. However, to each his own. 🙂
    I think though, if you take the lid off and spray with a ten percent bleach and water solution, once or twice a week there will never be a problem with odor.

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