Is Baking Soda Safe for Cats and Can You Use it in Cat Litter?
I am often asked a question about baking soda and cat litter. That question is, “Is it safe to put baking soda in cat litter?”
The simple answer to this question is yes it is perfectly safe to put baking soda in cat litter, and there are no health risks for the cat or you.
Now, let’s look at this question in a bit more detail.
The more interesting aside of this question is why do many cat owners decide to do that. They do this primarily to help control odors in a litter box. Most cat owners will know that cat litters can smell. This is especially true on hotter and more humid days, or if the litter is not regularly cleaned.
Anything that they can do to help control that smell, is something most home owners will try and do to maintain a healthy and fresh smelling home.
Many manufacturers of cat litter actually include baking soda as an agent when they make their cat litters, and they do so as they can help reduce ammonia smells.
Before I dig into some more detail, it is worth a few sentences to explain exactly what baking soda is, and what it is used for.
What Is Baking Soda?
Baking soda is just a more familiar name for Sodium Bicarbonate. This is a chemical compound with the chemical formula NaHC)3. It is a salt based chemical and it is non-toxic. That is why it is safe to use around the home as there is no toxicity.
In fact, baking soda is used for a variety of cleaning jobs in the house. That can be anything from deodorizing carpets, removing black marks from wooden floors and even to help unclog stubborn drains. From this you can see that it is pretty powerful stuff, and has been for many years.
It is also used to help with upset stomachs, is found in toothpaste for whitening, and very good at controlling odors.
This is because baking soda is an alkaline substance and helps counter balance acids. acids are of course found in cat urine.
Baking Soda vs Bicarbonate of Soda
In some countries baking soda is also known as bicarbonate of soda. It is primarily a leavening agent, which needs to be mixed with moisture and an acidic ingredient.
That will create a chemical reaction that makes food rise. Because it needs an acid, it is often used in recipes where there is already an acidic ingredient present, such as lemon juice, chocolate, buttermilk or honey.
People often confuse baking soda with baking powder. Baking powder is baking soda with some other type of acid already added. As such it only needs moisture to be added such as cream of tartar.
In other words they are not the same thing, and you should only use baking soda in cat litters.
Is Baking Soda Safe for Cats? – How Much to Use?
Too much of anything is usually a bad thing, and it is the same with baking soda. Don’t worry though as the amount of baking soda in commercial cat litter is very small indeed, and it poses no threat to either cats or kittens.
If there is no baking soda ingredient in the cat litter that you buy, then what most cat owners do is to sprinkle some lightly on the bottom of the litter box, before adding the litter. You do not need to add a lot of baking soda to the litter.
A couple of tablespoons of baking soda is perfect for a large litter box.
As and when the cat uses the box, they kick up the litter to cover their business. That helps mix the baking soda into the litter, and that in turns help control the odors.
Some users add a thin layer of litter, then a couple of spoons of baking soda, and then top the box up with more litter. Either way works really well, but just don’t use too much baking soda.
Scented Litters or Litters with Baking Soda?
Many cat owners will buy a commercial litter that has a scent added to it. Many cats are quite happy to use a litter with a scent, but some find the scent too strong. That has a lot to do with which type of scent is used.
Most cats do not like a citrus scent, so you should be aware of that. Cats are individual creatures though and what smells they will tolerate will vary.
The good news with baking soda is that it does not have a smell. As such, that will not prove to be a problem with any cat.
Will Cats Eat Baking Soda?
Baking soda has a very slight salty taste to it, and the reality is that it does not taste that good. That will put most cats off eating it. Kittens and younger cats may try to eat it, but it is not really anything major to worry about.
If they happen to consume a little, then it just helps balance out the acid in their bodies. As I mentioned though you would not want to leave a packet sitting out, that they may try to eat.
Some baking soda sprinkled in a litter box will not be an issue in terms of digestion. It will not impact on the health of your cat at all, so please don’t worry about that.
Baking Soda to Control Fleas On a Cat
Some cat owners will also use baking soda to kill fleas on their cat. This is a natural form of flea protection and many cat owners say that this works really well. You do however want to keep it away from their eyes, as this will sting a lot.
Cat owners then also use the baking soda to clean carpets and any textiles that the cat uses, to help kill off fleas in those. I have completed a more detailed review on cat fleas and litter, which you can read by clicking here.
The fact that good old fashioned baking soda is safe, means it can be used for all of those tasks.
Conclusion on Baking Soda and Cat Litter
Baking soda is a natural chemical that has strong alkaline properties. That means that it can react with any acidic material. As such it is used in many household cleaning products, and also in many cosmetic products.
It is safe to use in cat litter, and it will certainly help control odors such as urine and cat poop smells. You do however not want to leave packets of this in the open, just in case your kitty decides to have a play with it.
Generally speaking baking soda is great for cleaning up spills and getting rid of smells. People use it for cleaning baby milk smells, such as in a car, or if they have been spilled on upholstery or carpets.
I guess this is good news all round. It is also a pretty inexpensive product to buy as well, and that is always a good thing. So don’t be afraid to add a small layer of this to your cat litter. That assumes of course that it is not already in there.
Check the ingredients of the cat litter that you are using. More often than not it will be included as an ingredient. If that is the case, then don’t add any more, as the manufacturer will have used the recommended amounts.
Baking Soda Information WebMD.
Bicarbonate of soda Wikipedia