Sure Fire Way to Control Odors In a Cat Litter Box
In this article I am going to show you the best ways that I know to control odors and smells from a cat litter box. There are not many smells that are more pungent that that of cat urine and cat poop.
I also don’t know anyone who wants a smelly house. So if you are a cat owner, you clearly love your cats, but at the end of the day, you do not want to stink out your home either. That would not be healthy and again it would be embarrassing when visitors popped in.
Worry not is what I say. In this article I will give you the very best advice that I can, to make sure you have a healthy cat and a healthy sweet smelling home.
Keys To Controlling Cat Litter Odors
There are three areas to examine when it comes to eliminating and controlling the odors generated by cat waste. These are:
- Regular daily maintenance and general cleaning of litter
- The type of cat litter used in the box
- The type of cat litter box that you are using.
I will go into some detail on each of these three areas, but I have listed these in the most important order. If you follow the information that I provide below, then you will be assured of a home, absent of any cat litter smells.
Daily Cleaning of Cat Litter
Getting into and developing a habit of poop scooping once or twice a day will make a whole world of difference when it comes to getting odors under control.
The reality is for many homes, that people are generally busy, and cleaning out a cat litter does not top anyone’s list.
Generally speaking I know of no-one who likes to clean a cat litter either. For these two reasons, it is very easy to see why daily cleaning can be overlooked or even neglected.
Why is it so vitally important to do?
The reason is actually very simple. Cat urine contains high degrees of a gas called ammonia. This is what makes the really heavy and pungent smell, and boy does that really stink.
The good news is that this gas does not form fully for a few hours. When cat urine hits a litter, the litter will absorb that which helps control the smell. If that can then be regularly and quickly removed and replaced, then the odor is gone and no lingering smells can build up.
1-2 times a day is the recommendation for doing this. By quickly removing poop and clumped litter, you go a very long way in reducing cat odors from your litter box. It also makes it a great deal easier when you have to fully replace the litter.
Replacing the Litter Completely
Assuming that you can get into the habit of removing poop, and clumps if you are using a clumping litter, then how often should you change the complete litter. This will vary depending on the type of litter that you have decided to use.
If in doubt, the general rule is once a month, but it depends on a number of variables. These can include the number of cats that you have, the type of litter that you use, and also how often the litter is cleaned each day.
I have completed an article here, on how often a cat litter should be changed, which you will find really helpful. I have also done a detailed article on how to clean a litter effectively.
Types of Cat Litter and Their Effectiveness at Odor Control
There are a number of different types of cat litters available on the market. I have listed these below, and I will then describe how each of them is effective with reference to odor control.
- Clumping Cat Litter
- Non-clumping Cat Litter
- Natural or Biodegradable Cat Litter
- Silica Gel/Crystal Cat Litter
- Scented Litters
Clumping Cat Litter
This is by a long way the most popular cat litter for most cat owners. This type of litter clumps when moisture (cat urine) lands on it. That makes the litter easier to scoop out and replace. That also explains its high popularity.
It is good at controlling odors, and also good at drying out cat poop. With regular daily cleaning, and a monthly change of litter, this is a generally speaking a good cat litter to pick for odor control.
Non-clumping Cat Litter
This is also a popular choice for many cat owners. It does not clump, but it still uses a clay to absorb the cat urine. It does make daily cleaning of urine impossible as there are no clumps to remove, but of course cat poop can still be removed.
This type of litter also needs changed more often, and every 2 weeks is the recommendation. Many cat owners prefer to use this as there is no risk with that associated with clumping litters. It does however need to be changed out completely more often.
If you are not sure whether to use a clumping or a non-clumping litter, then have a read at this article, as it shows the differences between clumping and non-clumping litters.
Natural or Biodegradable Cat Litter
For those cat owners who also want to care for the environment, this would be their first choice when it comes to buying a cat litter. These litters can be made from many different materials such as wood pellets, shredded paper, wood shavings etc.
They do a good job of odor control. They are also more eco-friendly and in most cases the packaging can also be recycled.
Many of these brands of natural litters actually get better reviews than the more popular clay litters. They are however more expensive and that does put many buyers off using these. They are highly effective at odor control so worth your consideration if that is a big problem for you.
Silica Gel/Crystal Cat Litter
Finally there is the newer style of crystal based cat litter. This is the most expensive type, but also the one that lasts the longest. These are also excellent at controlling odors.
There are small pores in each of the crystals, and these absorb their weight in moisture. They also help lock away germs and bacteria. In terms of odor control though, they are probably the best choice on the market. That is the main reason cat owners are making the change from a traditional clay based litter to this crystal style.
When the crystals have absorbed all the urine that they can, they change color. You can then remove the colored crystals and replace those with new crystals. That way you don’t have any waste and it keeps the litter clean for your cat, and also prevents odors from accumulating.
Now all of the litters explained above will come in what is termed a scented variety. This is where a pleasant scent is added to the litter with the sole purpose of camouflaging the scent of cat waste.
Cat owners either love or hate these. Some buyers who have tried these say they are great at disguising odors, and others say that the combined smell of cat urine and the scent, is just awful.
There is always a risk that your cat may not like the particular scent of the litter, and may stop using the litter box.
As a general point, it is important to understand that cats are individual creatures. Some will like one type of litter better than others, and for some cat owners, that will mean having to try a few types, to find the one that your cat will like the best.
Why Different Types of Cat Litter Box Make a Difference to Odor Control?
If you are a cat owner, and you have bought a litter box, then I am sure you already know that there are quite literally thousands of different types.
For the purposes of this article though, I am only concerned about their odor preventing features.
The following types of litter box are available:
- Pan/Tray types
- Corner Boxes
- Hooded, enclosed/covered boxes
- Self cleaning boxes
- Self flushing boxes
- Cat furniture style litter boxes
I will now go through each type and explain how they work when it comes to controlling odors.
Pan/Tray Litter Boxes
This is the cheapest form of litter box. That is because it is usually a high sided tray that is left open. There is no cover on this, so any odors can easily and quickly get into the surrounding area. The sight of an open litter is also not that pleasing to the eye.
To keep these free from odors means regular daily cleaning to prevent any build up of smells. Now on the other side of the equation, having an open litter tray like this almost forces you to do daily cleaning.
Rather than looking at a poop, it is easy to see, and super quick to remove it for disposal.
Corner Litter Boxes
You can buy these as either a tray style which is not that popular, or as a covered or enclosed style. These, as the name would suggest, are designed to fit into a corner of a room, and they do look really neat. They are designed to place the litter box in the corner, and make it look neat and tidy.
In terms of odor control, it depends on the type. If it is the tray style, then the same rules apply as I have described above. If however it is the enclosed type, then the next section will explain their effectiveness at controlling odors.
Hooded, enclosed/covered Litter Boxes
These are probably the most popular choice for most cat owners. I am sure that every cat owner will be familiar with the style. They are essentially a tray which is filled with litter, and then a cover goes on top of that, with either a side entrance, or a top entry hole.
The benefits of these enclosed boxes is that they are good at keeping cat litter inside the box, and also at helping to confine odors to inside the box.
Many cat owners will argue that keeping the litter in a confined space helps control odors, when compared to an open tray. That is partially true in that having an enclosed box will help stop odors spreading into a room.
However it also concentrates them inside the box. Unless that is cleaned regularly, those smells can become quite intense.
In addition, as they are covered up it is easy to forget about cleaning the litter on a regular basis – out of sight out of mind – if you know what I mean. They can also be a bit of a pain to clean as you may have to take the cover off, and that is not always easy.
The problem with these is that without regular daily cleaning, the smells can very quickly build up, and they can get pretty bad for odors. That said, with regular daily poop and clump scooping, these do work very well at odor control.
Self Cleaning Litter Boxes
These are probably the best type if they are used properly of course. They are also a great deal more expensive than any of the boxes that I have mentioned so far. They come in two slightly different types:
- Automatic – this is a box that will automatically clean itself once the cat has done its business and left the box. In essence it is timed to self clean. These will be more expensive that the manual version.
- Manual – this works on the same principle as the automatic box. Instead of this happening automatically, the cat owner has to physically turn or roll the box to clean it. They don’t however have to worry about scooping out poop or clumped litter
Either of these options is excellent for odor control as it quickly removes poop and clumps of urine soaked litter. They do this by sifting the litter in the box.
That means daily cleaning can either be automatic, or done by simply rolling the box backwards and forwards a few times a day.
Self Flushing Litter Boxes
The ultimate for controlling odors, but very expensive, and they are just not for everyone. They are also pretty expensive to run as well. However, you will certainly never have to worry about any odors around the home, as they will just not be there.
So although the very best way of controlling odors, they do require a set up cost, and also require an ongoing cost. They are not cheap and that will put many cat owners off going down this road.
Cat Furniture Style Litter Boxes
You can also buy a litter box which is then placed inside a piece of furniture. These vary in style quiet a lot. There is like a basic cupboard, an urn, a bench and many other styles of furniture.
These are popular with some cat owners as they essentially hide the litter box. They do also help to control odors. A lot of cat owners buy these, and those that have say they work great in terms of odor control.
The disadvantage of these is that they are out of sight, so there needs to be a routine of daily cleaning. They are also pretty expensive, depending on what type you buy of course.
Conclusion of Odor Control In Cat Litter Boxes
I hope that you are a lot clearer on the many options for controlling cat litter odors in your home. As a reminder keeping odors under control come down to three things:
- Cleaning routine
- Type of litter
- Type of litter box
The easiest way of doing this is to have an automatic self cleaning box with your choice of litter. Most people with a self cleaning box will use a clumping litter, as this helps cleaning the box quickly.
If you don’t want to go down that route, then the single most important thing is to remove any poop or clumps as soon as you can. That will mean checking a couple of times a day, and scooping out and disposing off any cat waste.
It is also true to say, that our noses can grow accustomed to smells if exposed to them for a long period of time. For example if you work as a barman, your nose just gets used to the smell of alcohol, and you really no longer smell it.
The same principle applies to cat litter odor. You may grow used to it, and not even realise it is there. People visiting your home will instantly smell it though. That is worth thinking about.
However if you follow the information in this article, you will never have to worry about cat litter smells again.