Why Does My Cat’s Litter Box Smell So Bad?

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Cats are adorable pets to share your life and home with, but there’s just one serious downside- dealing with a stinky litter box every single day.

Why does cat litter smell so bad?

Have you ever wondered why litter box odors are so strong and can easily drift through the entire house? Compared to other domesticated species, the urine of cats is more concentrated. It has a very strong ammonia odor which can grow stronger the longer you let dirty litter sit. But extreme odors from the litter box could be red flags indicating something more serious like a urinary tract infection. So you should know what’s normal and what warrants a visit to your veterinarian.


The odor of cat urine could also be affected by the cat’s diet. The ammonia that is responsible for the urine odor, is a protein metabolism by-product. If you find the stench so strong, try feeding him pet food with a different protein source. For example, if the main protein ingredient of your cat’s food is chicken, try switching to tuna. You should also encourage your kitty to drink plenty of water for this can go a long way in diluting his urine.


Another important factor that can determine the strength of the odor from the litter box, is the type of litter that is used to line the litter box. The purpose of the litter is to absorb urine and keep the litter box dry. Cats also use the litter to cover their poop to reduce bacterial growth which is responsible for causing the odor. Covered poop also prevents flies from laying eggs on the waste material.


Types Of Cat Litter

There are many types of litter material and each has its pros and cons.

  • Clay-based litter is the most traditional of these types. It’s also the cheapest. It has a fairly absorbent quality.
  • Silica-based litter has excellent absorbent properties which can go a long way in odor control.
  • Plant-based litter is composed of environment-friendly materials, like recycled paper. It’s usually available in pellet form. The natural ingredients give the litter a pleasant scent. However, it tends to be more expensive than other types of litter.


Then, there are also clumping and non-clumping litters. The clumping type is composed of litter material that forms clumps when it gets wet with urine. This is great for controlling odors. And the clumps also make it easier to scoop the waste out of the litter box. Once the clumps are scooped out, so does the odor. With clumping litter, you need only have to change litter at least once a month.

Also read: Everything About Cat Litters


Litter box cleaning and maintenance — How often should you change the litter?

Depending on the number of cats you have in your home, scooping should be done frequently throughout the day. Give the litter box a thorough cleaning using soap and water at least once a week. Make sure that every nook and cranny of the box is brushed carefully since waste material can seep into cracks and scratch marks on the surface of the box.


The box should be thoroughly dry before you place in a new layer of litter. The depth of the litter must be about 2 inches (5 centimeters), deep enough for your kitty to cover his waste. Urine will also be easily absorbed so it’s less likely to settle in the bottom of the box. This makes for easier cleaning.


Whatever litter box design or material you get for your pet, the bottom line is regular cleaning and maintenance to avoid odor problems.


Frequently Asked Questions:


Can you flush cat poop?

Definitely, NOT. Flushing litter down the toilet can have drastic consequences. Doing so can cause damage to the plumbing, clog the pipes, and negatively affect the septic system function. It could overburden the septic system that could lead to its failure. Unless otherwise stated, do not flush cat litter and its waste down the toilet.


Can I put baking soda in cat litter?

You may sprinkle an odor-absorbing product, such as baking soda, in the box before putting in the litter. Baking soda is an excellent all-natural deodorizer. It’s non-toxic. But steer clear of scented baking soda options.


How do I dispose of cat litter?

Use double-lined bags when disposing of cat litter. You can also use 2 bags for the purpose if you don’t have double-lined bags. Scoop the litter and place it inside the plastic bag. Tie up the bag securely and place it inside another bag, and tie it up tightly as well. This will prevent any leaking of odor and bacteria. Dispose of the bag in a trash bin with a tight-fitting lid.

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