In print and TV advertisements we’re bombarded by countless manufacturers claiming their products can reduce or eliminate litter box odors. Everyone claims to have the latest and greatest product to end the dreaded stinky litter box. Whether it’s something you sprinkle into the litter, spray in the box, or add to your cat’s food, companies are working overtime to limit the odor associated with what comes out of kitty’s south end. You’ll also find litter box configurations designed to self-clean. There are boxes that rake the litter, wash the litter, or have non-absorbing pellets that cause urine to pass through onto the pad below. The only thing these boxes don’t seem to be able to do is walk the bag of soiled litter out to the curbside trash for you.
Keep it Simple
I work with cat parents on a daily basis who have cats with litter box issues. The more I see the process get complicated, the worse it gets for the cat. The most effective way to control litter box odor is to scoop the box at least twice a day and thoroughly scrub the box clean on a regular basis. Your cat wants to step into a box that’s large enough to accommodate him, feel the soft texture of the litter, find enough clean space in the box to take care of his personal business, cover his waste and then exit the box to continue on with his day. Many of the self-cleaning boxes aren’t large enough for the average cat (the box itself is large to house the motor but the litter surface area isn’t large), the noise is bothersome, or the rakes can get trapped in diarrhea clumps. In the case of the self-washing litter box there’s the added risk of having the cat in the box during the “wash cycle.” That’s a behavior problem waiting to happen.
Perfumed litters, additives and most especially any products given orally to the cats only contribute to having owners neglect their duties. The less owners pay attention to the litter box, the less it will get cleaned and ultimately, the less kitty will want to use it.
Here are the basics on litter box odor control:
- Get a box that’s the correct size for your cat
- Put it in a location that is convenient for the cat
- Scoop out the waste at least twice a day
- Thoroughly scrub the box regularly
- Keep the litter level consistent
- In multicat homes have the same number of boxes as you have cats
That’s effective odor control!
Need More Information?
For more specific information on litter box set-up or dealing with litter box behavior problems, refer to any of Pam’s books, including Think Like a Cat.
Pam Johnson-Bennett is the star of Psycho Kitty airing on Discovery UK. She is author of seven best-selling books on cat behavior including Think Like a Cat: how to raise a well-adjusted cat – not a sour puss. Think Like a Cat has become known as the cat bible. Pam is considered a pioneer in the field of cat behavior consulting. In addition to her television series and public speaking engagements, Pam owns Cat Behavior Associates, a private veterinarian-referred behavior company in Nashville, TN. Cat Behavior Associates offers private cat behavior appointments on a limited basis. Pam Johnson-Bennett is a Certified Cat Behavior Consultant.