If there is one thing cat lovers can agree on, it’s that they love their pets but can’t stand the litter box odor. If your cat often goes outside the litter box it is because he or she doesn’t like the smell of a dirty litter box either. Pet owners have busy lives and staying on top of cleaning the litter box is at the bottom of the list. What can you do to keep down on litter box odor? Here are a few suggestions for keeping the litter box clean and how a self-cleaning litterbox for cats can help accomplish this.
Cats Take Care of Themselves
When it comes to owning pets, cats require the least amount of attention and are the easiest to care for. They are cheaper to feed because they eat less than dogs and don’t have to be walked or let outside to do their business. However, there is one drawback to owning a cat and that is the litter box.
A cat’s litter box is a great convenience but can quickly cause your house to smell bad. It can be embarrassing when you invite guests over and they don’t stay long due to the smell. We all have at least one friend who seems to be oblivious to their cat’s litter box problem and invites you over for coffee all the time. If you find yourself avoiding going over there you can imagine how your friend’s feel if you have the same issue.
The Cause of Litter Box Odors
The main cause of the litter box odor is cat waste and uric acid. Cat urine contains uric acid which is very strong and smells like ammonia. When your cat uses the litter box several times a day it gets pretty concentrated. The only way to keep down this odor is to clean the litter box and change the litter frequently. Depending on how many cats you have changing out the litter frequently can get expensive. How often you need to do this will depend on how many cats you have and the type of litter you use. Some litters are more absorbent than others.
Cats feed and groom themselves and require very little human intervention, except when it comes to their litter box. Wouldn’t it be great if they could clean it themselves? Well, unfortunately, that is one trick they well never learn. It requires the use of hands to scoop, pour, and dispose of the remnants. This will always be one area that requires human assistance unless you’re one of those lucky few that have trained their cat to use the toilet. And, if that were the case, you wouldn’t be here reading this article.
How to Keep Your House Odor-Free?
Keep It Clean
There are many things that will help keep down the smell of a litter box but the number one rule is to keep it clean. That is the most important thing for getting rid of odors. Making sure your cat’s litter is clean and always ready for them will make odors a thing of the past.
Besides cleaning up waste efficiently, making sure to periodically clean the litter tray will also help keep odors away. Plastic can trap and hold stinky odors so a good scrub with hot, soapy water and a dusting of baking soda help a lot.
How often should you change litter and clean the box? Changing the litter 1 -2 times per week and washing the box in mild detergent and hot water once per week will work. Don’t try to cover odors with perfumed soaps. The best soap to use is an unscented, mild dish soap and a rinse with diluted bleach water will get rid of odors and leave the box and your house fresh smelling.
When dry, add 2 to 3 inches of litter. Cats don’t like a deep tray of litter and this allows you to add litter as you scoop.
When refilling the litter, only pour in 2-3 inches of litter in the tray. It makes it easier to scoop and cats like it better than a tray full of deep litter.
Use the Right Litter
A big part of keeping down odors is finding the right type of litter. Your cat will let you know what they like and don’t like. If they don’t like a certain type of litter they won’t use it. You may need to try several different types or brands to find one that your cat will like. Some have perfumes and additives, which may irritate your cat’s skin or make them sneeze.
The most important thing is keeping the litter clean. The litter box only smells when it is dirty, so scooping or cleaning the litter frequently is the key to keeping your house from smelling bad. Deodorizers and room sprays can help keep your home smelling clean and fresh after a litter change.
Location of the Litter Box
Does it matter where the box is? Well, yes it should be in a well-ventilated area. Bathrooms and closets are not ideal locations. That will just concentrate those odors. And do not put it near his or her food or sleeping areas. Keep the litter box close to the area where the cat is most often. If it is too far away he or she may feel like it’s too far and not want to make the trip to use it.
- Have more than one litter box- if you have more than one cat you need another litter box. They don’t fill up as fast and are less smelly. When you have more than one cat using the litter box it will fill up quickly. Balance the usage by having a secondary box somewhere else in the house.
- Buy the right type of litter – clay litter is the easiest to find, economical, and washes out easily. Clumping litter is easier to scoop and doesn’t leave a lot of dust when changing the litter. However, the small rakes in the litter box need to be able to comb through and sift the litter so clumping litter may not work as well as finer, clay litter. You can experiment with different types to see what works best for you and your cat.
- Add odor control to fresh litter – things that neutralize odors like baking soda can be sprinkled over fresh litter to help control odors. Be careful with perfumed deodorizers as they can irritate sensitive skin.
- Keep the litter box in a well-ventilated area. If you have your cat’s litter box in a small space it is more likely to generate odors. Make sure to place it in an area that has good airflow to keep odors at bay. Reminder: keep out of small areas like bathrooms and closets, or near their food.
- Remove waste daily and change litter as needed. Your cat’s litter will stay cleaner if it is scooped or cleaned daily. Urine will sink to the bottom and clump so you may need to determine how often to change the litter according to your cat’s elimination schedule.
- Invest in a self-cleaning litter box. These devices are a Godsend to busy pet owners as they take care of cleaning the litter box for you. You only need to change the litter when it begins to get dirty.
Self Cleaning Litterbox for Cats
Cleaning the litter box is tedious and many pet owners just don’t have the time to scoop and clean the box twice per day. If this sounds like you, there is a better way. A better idea is to invest in a self-cleaning litterbox for cats that takes care of the scooping for you. You may have seen these advertised on television and been tempted to buy one, well now is your chance. They will save you a lot of time and keep down on the litter box odors.
Benefits of a self-cleaning litterbox for cats:
- It scoops itself
- You never have to touch cat poop
- Waste is kept covered and doesn’t smell
- Saves money and is convenient
- Change litter less often
- Works great in multi-cat households
- Your cat will appreciate clean litter every time he/she goes
A self-cleaning litter box for cats has a rake that moves through the cat litter, sifting out the waste and depositing it in a receptacle at the end of the litter box. The receptacle is enclosed within the box to trap and hold odors until the waste can be removed.
They come in many styles and colors and some even have features like an app that tells you when the receptacle is full like this one called SmartKitty. It comes with a disposable litter tray that you just remove and discard when full. It is fully automated and the cleaning process begins several minutes after your cat has used the litter. With the help of SmartKitty, the litter stays clean and there is no mess and no odors. It is also customizable with different canopies in various colors and you can also choose the litter rake and personalize the settings. The SmartKitty app works for Android, iOS, and Microsoft devices.
Self-cleaning litter boxes are a timesaver and a convenience that you won’t know how you ever got along without. Once you have tried a self-cleaning litterbox for cats you’ll never go back to scooping litter again. You have so many more important things to do.
The automated system senses when your cat has used the litter and performs a cleaning so the litter stays clean all the time. It can encourage your cat to use his/her litter box rather than going other places in the house. If you have more than one cat you should have a second litter box in another location in the house. Multiple litter boxes enable your cat to always have a clean place to go.
Cat’s will often potty outside the litter box when it gets dirty. Think about it, remember the last time you used a porta-potty and the smell was unbearable. If you would have had another option you would have gone elsewhere. Cats don’t like the smell of waste build-up anymore than we do, and they also don’t like having to step on poop just to dig a clean area.
It’s not bad behavior. They are not doing it to get back at you for not buying their favorite treats. Sometimes the box is just too small and they feel cramped. Cats have less personal space for doing their business in a smaller space. They get in and turn around several times looking for a clean spot. If the box is too small they may end up hitting the side of the box or on the edge. You can identify with this problem if you’ve ever had to use a restroom that was very tiny and you barely had room to turn around in it.
Changing the Litter in a Self-Cleaning Litter Box
When it is time to change the litter in your cat’s litter box, simply turn off the motor. Remove the cover and rakes and empty the dirty litter into a trash receptacle. Wash and santize the tray with deodorizer or a little bleach water and baking soda . Allow to air dry for 30 minutes to an hour. Refill with fresh litter and replace the rakes and cover. Litter only needs to be changed when it gets dirty to prevent odors from the cat’s urine.
Litter box odor doesn’t have to be a problem. It takes some doing and staying vigilant, but you can eliminate your cat’s litter box odors. Follow the suggestions above to keep your house smelling fresh as a daisy and no one will ever know you have a cat. A good brand of cat litter and a litter box that does the dirty work for you is a combination that can’t be beat..