How To Get Rid of Cat Litter Smell [Complete Guide]

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by Steven Thomas

how to get rid of cat litter smell

In this post, I’m going tell you how to get rid of cat litter smell in your home.

By the end of this article, you will know the best ways to eliminate cat odors and how to maintain a healthy environment for yourself and your cat.

Let’s dive in.

How to Get Rid of Cat Litter Smell in Your House

1. Locate the source of the odor

First thing to do is locate the source of the odor and clean it up. Check your cat hasn’t been somehwere other than the litter box, possibly somewhere hidden.

2. Clean out the litter box

If the source of smell is the litter and there’s poop and urine in there, empty the soiled litter, clean your litter box with soap and water and replace with fresh litter.

Use a good odor controlling cat litter to help with ongoing litter use.

3. Clean everywhere else

If the source of the smell is coming from somewhere other than the litter box, you’ll need to give this a thorough clean.

An untrained cat might pee on clothes, carpet, closets, or even furniture.

If your cat has territorial issues, he or she may be spraying to mark their teritory. In this instance, it’s best to get advise from your local vet to stop this from happening.

To clean the area, again use soap and water or even something stronger to get the smell out completely, like carpet cleaner or anything suitable for furniture.

To prevent this from ocurring, you should stop your cat from accessing to this area until they have learned how to use their litter or stopped spraying.

4. Use non-toxic air fresheners

There’s a large range of safe air fresheners for cats that obsorb, mask, or eliminate bad odors.

These come in the form of sprays, plug ins, air purifying bags, and obsorbing gels or beads.

They can be really useful to stock up on some of these odor eliminating products to remove bad cat smell in your house and help keep it that way.

Why Does Cats Pee Smell Like Ammonia?

The smell of a cat litter is not the most pleasant of aromas around your home, but it is the ammonia gas from aged urine that is particularly smelly.

Ammonia is a colorless gas with an extremely pungent smell.

Cat pee itself should not smell of ammonia. If it does, your cat might be dehydrated or it could have some form of urinary infection.

That means that you should take your cat to the vet.

However if any cat urine is left for a couple of days, ammonia gas from the urine interacting with the actual cat litter will start to quickly build up.

That is the typical smell you get from cat litters that are not regularly cleaned. For most cat owners that is the smell that can start to permeate around the home.

If you leave this smell for long enough, you can start getting used to it, but other visitors to your house will smell it instantly.

How to Prevent Cat Litter Smell From Stinking Out Your Home

Prevention is always best solution rather than trying to cure or fix the smell after.

Here are 8 ways you can stop cat litter smelling in your home:

Use an Odor Controlling Cat Litter

Most cat litter these days do a great job of eliminating odor.

The best type of litter to use for this is clumping litter, because it absorbs the urine and contains the smell with odor eliminating properties.

Some clumping litters, such as this one, specialize in preventing odors, because they form harder and stronger clumps and use patented technology to trap in odors.

Use an Enclosed Cat Litter Box

Some cat litter boxes are completely enclosed, which can help keep bad smells inside the litter box, instead of spreading through the rest of your house.

It’s not the best solution as the ammonia smell will still build up if cat urine is left too long.

It’s also not nice for your cat to leave an enclosed litter box to get dirty for too long. Just because they are covered, doesn’t mean they should be ignored.

Remove Poop and Soiled Litter Daily

Many people leave cat urine and poop in the litter box for days which is the biggest cause of litter odor in the house.

It’s also extremely unhygienic and a potential health risk for yourself and your cat.

The best way to control cat litter odor is to scoop out any cat feces and urine from the litter as often as possible, ideally every time your cat uses the litter.

Or at a minimum of once or twice per day.

If you use a good clumping cat litter, you’ll find it easier to dispose of kitty waste by using a scoop.

You will also waste less untouched litter when you scoop on a regular basis, because your cat won’t spread used litter around and contaminate the entire litter.

Pro Tip: When scooping out used litter, you can put it in a waste bag and tie it up before disposing of it in your normal trash.

Use a Self-Cleaning Litter Box

If scooping out used litter everyday doesn’t appeal to you, then there is an alternative.

Self-cleaning litter boxes take away some of the effort involved in removing cat pee and poop.

All you have to do is roll the litter box over on it’s side and all the used litter collects in its own compartment, which you can easily dispose of.

Other self-cleaning litter boxes have an electronic feature that siphons used litter through a meshed grid into a separate tray under the main litter.

Add Baking Powder to the Litter

Did you know that some cat litter contains baking soda?

The reason being is due to the effective odor control baking soda has. The best solution would be to use a cat litter that contains baking soda and other odor eliminating properties.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t add your own baking soda to the litter to see if that helps ward off bad smells.

Do a Full Litter Clean Once per Month

If you do a good job of scooping out used litter on a regular basis, you won’t have to do a full clean as often.

Yes, there is a difference between cleaning and scooping cat litter, which I go into further detail in how often you should change cat litter.

To summarize, you scoop out used litter daily, then top up with fresh litter every few days or so.

Then, once per month, empy the entire litter and clean out the litter box with soap and water.

Scooping regularly will save you time and money in the long run and your house won’t smell half as much.

Locate the Litter Box Somewhere Discrete

If you can, try to place your cat litter somewhere quiet and out of the way from where you spend most of your time.

The best places to locate a cat litter would be the bathroom, a closet, or spare room that no one in your household is using.

Just make sure your cat has access to it.

Use a Self-Flushing Litter Box

Self-flushing boxes take away all the hard work of cleaning and maintaining cat litter duties, which can also help prevent cat odors.

What’s the catch? They are mighty expensive at around $200-300.

They also need a little bit of time to install, however once that is done, you have a good method of controlling cat litter smell.

Self-flushing boxes are programmed to self flush, which can help a great deal in controlling odors in your home.

Aside from the price, the other major drawback with these is that they siphon the urine and poop into your toilet. It will stay there until the actual toilet is flushed.

There’s also a big debate whether cat waste should be flushed down the toilet in the first place.

All that said, it will confine the litter smell to the bathroom and if you flush the toilet regularly, you have a good system for controlling odors.

Other Things to Consider to Control Cat Litter Odor

Here are a few more tips that could help you mimimze the smell of cat odor in your home.

Cat Litter Liners

Do cat litter liners help reduce or control smells in the home?

Technically no. Cat litter liners don’t help with odor on their own, but they can make cleaning out the litter box a lot easier.

If you hate clean your cats litter, I recommend trying litter liners.

This might make things easier for you and make you empty smell litter more often, which can help in the long run.

Cat Air Fresheners

As mentioned earlier in this post, using a cat air freshener is a great way of getting rid of bad cat odor and that nasty ammonia smell.

Other than the ones I mentioned before, there are some in the form of baking powder, specifically designed for cat litter.

Here’s a good litter deodorizer I recommend trying out.

Cat Litter Mats for Odor Control

The purpose of a cat litter mat is to reduce the amount of tracking throughout the home.

However, they can also help control cat urine smell.

Most litter mats are designed to be placed under and around the litter box, so if your cat pees high or out of the litter box, the litter mat will help keep urine off the floor.

Final Thoughts

That concludes this article for getting rid of cat litter odors in your home.

To summarize, the best way to eliminate cat litter smells is to prevent them from ocurring in the first place.

You can do this by emptying the litter on a regular basis, cleaning once per month, and using a decent litter with odor controlling properties.

Other methods you can try is to use a self-cleaning litter box and start using litter deodorizer and air fresheners.

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Steven Thomas
Steven has been studying cat behavior ever since adopting two stray kittens in 1996. After rescuing many homeless cats over the years, he developed the skill of finding new homes for cat lovers seeking to adopt. About Steven

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