"Good God, my cat just used his litter box while I was happily destroying things on my video game. All of a sudden, our room smelled like a manure field!"

Sounds familiar? It's a quote from a forum thread by TCS member Dagger311.

We get many questions about litterbox odor and how to minimize it. In fact, ideally, your cat's litter box should not smell at all. You should have no problem keeping the box in your living room or bedroom without any consequences.

If you can smell the litterbox don't try to make the problem go away by putting the box away, covering it or switching to scented litter. You may be solving the problem for yourself, but you could potentially be causing a bigger problem for Kitty. You need to address the source of the odor and make sure the box simply smells better, or in this case, does not smell at all.

Here are a few insights about preventing litterbox odor, collected over the years from our community members.

Keeping the Litterbox Clean

Your number one priority is keeping the box fresh and clean. This means scooping twice a day and changing the entire content of the box in a timely fashion.

Consult our article about When to Clean the Litterbox for information about how often to scoop and clean the litterbox. Keeping a clean box is your first line of defense in the fight against litterbox odor.

A Change of Diet

There's no denying that what goes into the cat comes out eventually. There are several types of commercial dry and canned food professing to minimize the amount of feces and their pungent odor. Members who switched to feeding a diet of raw food often mention that this change practically eliminated litterbox odors.
Quote by LovesMeKitties:
I transitioned each of my kitties from kibble to raw... and the change in poo quality happened lightning fast. No more sticky, sloppy uber-stinky poo. It became formed and easy to scoop without that repugnant stench in just a few days AND my house doesn't smell like I own cats.
If you're interested in this option, please get more advice about feeding raw at our Raw and Homemade Feeding forum.

If your cat's "waste products" have become exceptionally smelly with no change in his or her diet, you should consult your vet. Changes in stools can be the result of various medical conditions including a parasitic infection. Once you get the all clear, ask your vet about adding probiotics to your cat's diet.

Switching to a Different Type of Litter

Many types of cat litter claim to neutralize odor in various ways. Baking soda or other additives, or use of porous crystals, are common methods. You can read members' reviews in the Cat Litter Reviews Section or browse around the Cat Care Forum for specific recommendations.

If you're considering changing the brand of litter, please take a minute to read about Choosing the Right Cat Litter and When and How to Switch to a New Type of Litter

What if my cat doesn't cover up after herself?

This can be a stinking problem indeed. Some cats simply don't bother to cover their feces after using the box and that can definitely add to an odor problem. Over the years, a few of our members have mentioned that they managed to "teach" their cats, usually kittens or young cats, to cover up.

When I first got my kitten he didn't really cover it. So when he would get out of the litter box, I would put him back in, move his paws to cover the poop a bit, and then he would usually get the hint a finish covering it. Then, I would give him a treat and a cuddle. Now he does it every time. I'm not sure how this would work with an older cat though
This does not always work though. Some cats simply don't bother and trying to "teach" them new tricks could prove to be stressful especially if they are older and established in their ways. If your cat doesn't cover up, you can still try and reduce odors significantly by looking into dietary changes and by keeping the box squeaky clean, preferably cleaning every time your cat uses it.

Comments? Leave them using the form below. Questions? Please use the cat forums for those!