Cats tend to be pretty self-sufficient creatures. They groom themselves, amuse themselves, and you don't need to let them outside to use the bathroom. Of course, the latter is because cats have their own indoor bathroom—their litter box. Cleaning the litter box is one thing cats can't do for themselves, so it's up to you to keep it clean.
Your furry feline is undoubtedly the cutest thing on four legs, but that doesn't make their litter box any less stinky. Luckily, you can banish the odor and keep things smelling fresh with these 8 handy tips.
8 Ways to Reduce Litter Box Odors
Scoop the Litter Box Daily
The absolute best way to ensure a fresh-smelling litter box is to scoop often. Ideally, you should scoop your cat’s litter box twice a day.
Clumping litter makes scooping a breeze, especially when you use a handy tool like the Neater Scooper. You never have to worry about touching the litter, and it goes straight into the disposal bag. With just a scoop and a flick of the wrist, you can get rid of your cat’s waste in record time.
But if you have the non-clumping variety of litter, it’s still important to dig out what you can. You can use a large spoon or something similar for non-clumping litter. Scooping the litter box often not only saves your nose, but your cat won’t start ignoring their litter box.
Change Out the Litter Every Two Weeks
It might be tempting to let the litter go for as long as possible to save yourself the effort and some money, but you’ll regret it. Not only will the smells build up, but the box itself will be harder to clean, and you increase the likelihood of your cat using your floors as their bathroom.
It’s best to change out the litter every two weeks. If you have multiple cats in the house, you might want to up that schedule to weekly. Using litter box liners can make swapping out the litter a breeze.
Scrub the Litter Box
Litter tends to stick to the litter box over time, and it’s essential to remove the old litter completely to keep the box smelling fresh. When you empty the contents of the box, make sure to scrub the litter box clean each time.
Put on some gloves, and simply scrub the box with warm soapy water and rinse. Allow the box to dry thoroughly before you add the new litter.
Avoid using bleach and other cleaning agents, as the strong scents can discourage your cat from using their box. Also, even if you use liners, it’s a good idea to clean the box. Cleaning helps eliminate potential lingering odors, sanitizes the box, and keeps it healthy for your cat and you.
Use What Your Cat Likes
Tons of different litter boxes line pet store shelves and online marketplaces. When it comes down to it, any sturdy plastic container can become a litter box, but that doesn’t mean it works for every cat.
The variety of available litter boxes is because different cats like particular types. For example, some cats prefer an open litter box, while others like one with a cover. If you find your cat isn’t 100% invested in their litter box, try out some different ones to find the perfect match.
Likewise, there are also a bunch of different litters to choose from, so you can try out several options. Once you find the magic combination that works for your cat, they’ll likely have fewer accidents outside of their litter box, helping things smell nicer.
It’s also essential to select a litter box that is the right size for your cat. The box should be a minimum of twice as long as your cat and about as wide as your cat’s length. If your cat feels too cramped when they enter their box, they’ll be more apt to stop using it.
Place the Litter Box in a Well-Ventilated Area
Your first instinct is probably to tuck your cat’s litter box in some dark, secret corner. You might think hiding it helps hide the odors, too.
But, sticking the litter box in some closed-off place can lead to an even smellier situation. The result? An overpowering odor and an area that your cat will surely start to ignore.
It’s better to place the litter box in a well-ventilated area to help unpleasant smells dissipate faster. Even if your cat uses a covered box, put it in an area with proper ventilation.
Clean Up Accidents Quickly
If your cat misses their litter box, ensure you clean up your pet’s mess quickly, targeting the smell. Use a powerful enzymatic cleaner, like Zymtastic, to clean the area thoroughly and neutralize the odor. If you don’t, it increases the odds that your cat will start using that same spot for a potty place.
Use Odor Eliminators
You can get odor eliminators you add to the litter box to help knock out smells as they occur. You can buy these products at pet stores or online or even use simple baking soda.
When you switch out your cat’s litter, sprinkle some baking soda along the bottom of the box after cleaning it. Then, add the fresh litter on top.
Replace the Litter Box
Nothing lasts forever, and your cat’s litter box wears down over time, developing tiny scratches that can hold on to odors and bacteria. A good rule of thumb is to replace your cat’s litter box once per year.
Extra Considerations When Cleaning a Litter Box
In addition to maintaining a clean and fresh litter box, here are a few other considerations to keep in mind:
- Make sure you have enough litter boxes in your home. If you have more than one cat, you should have more than one litter box. The ideal ratio is to have one litter box per cat, plus one more. Therefore, if you have three cats, you should have four litter boxes.
- Avoid using scented products and fresheners near the litter box. These products could be toxic to your cat. Plus, your cat might not like the strong scent they give off and avoid using their litter box.
- Opt for low-dust litters to help keep the area around the litter box clean as well. Also, low-dust varieties are better for people with allergies or asthma, as well as cats with asthma.
- If you’re pregnant, you should avoid cleaning the litter box. Delegate the task to someone else in the household if you’re able. Pregnant women are more susceptible to Toxoplasmosis, a parasite that typically doesn’t cause symptoms in most people.
With these tips in mind, you should have no problem maintaining a fresh and clean litter box for your feline friend. Both your cat (and your nose) will thank you for it.
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