Skip to content

How to stop cat litter smelling

How to stop cat litter smelling
by Lucinda Beeman

Read time: 3 min

The midnight renditions of ‘Cats’ when you have an early meeting. Finding new scratches down the sofa. And getting no privacy when you go to the toilet. All things we put up with as cat parents. But they’re nothing compared to the stinky litter trays.

Knowing how to clean a cat litter tray goes a long way to keeping your house smelling fresh. But what else can you do to keep litter boxes from smelling?  There are plenty of ways to keep litter box from smelling up the house.

Scoop litter boxes daily

The best way to prevent any of that litter box smell is to regularly spot check the litter tray. Scoop out solids once (but preferably twice) a day. And remove as many wet patches as possible. This is where having a clumping litter is really helpful. Because you can scoop out the urine clumps at the same time. Just make sure to keep it topped off with fresh litter when you’re done.

Wash your cat's litter box thoroughly

When cleaning day comes around (once a week), make sure you wash the litter tray thoroughly. Use a cat-safe cleaning product or mild dish soap. 

Never use bleach. The ammonia in your cat’s urine will create toxic gases when mixed with the chlorine of the bleach – nasty. 

Clean messes quickly and thoroughly

When your cat uses the litter tray, you can avoid that smell by scooping it right away. It helps to save a candle or two and can give you an indication of their health. Scooping more or less than usual can tell you plenty about their gut health. While our Scoop Health helps you monitor their urine pH. Which can be an early indication of illnesses. Giving their poop a little look over will help make sure they’re healthy too. Don’t worry, we’ve all done it.

Use baking soda to eliminate cat odours

Baking soda is non-toxic for cats. And just so happens to be great at absorbing smells. When you refill your litter tray with clean litter, sprinkle some baking soda (AKA bicarbonate of soda) over the litter. It’ll keep the smell in check without adding unnatural scents. Which most cats will hate.

4. Scoop out urine clumps

If you use a clumping litter like Scoop Planet, you can easily scoop out the clumps of urine that form when your cat pees. If you don’t use clumping litter like Scoop Health, you’ll probably just need to increase how often you do a full clean.

Replace your cat litter box if needed

Sometimes, there’s nothing to be done but replace the whole litter tray. Over time, the plastic trays will become damaged by your cat scratching at it to cover their business. And these are great places for bacteria to hide. Bacteria = smell. 

What to look for in a litter box:

  1. Make sure it’s the right size – a litter tray needs to be about 1.5x your cat’s body length. Or at least the same length from their nose to the tip of their tail. 

  2. If you like high sides, make sure one side is lower for a comfortable entrance and exit. This is especially important for kittens and elderly cats. Or cats with mobility issues. 

Is the litter box big enough?

Making sure the tray is big enough is important for a happy cat. Trays that are too small feel cramped and give your cat less personal space. Making it more likely for them to hit the sides of the box or miss it altogether. It’ll also be more difficult for them to bury their business if they have less space to move.

Is the litter box well ventilated?

You might want to hide the litter box away in a dark corner of the house or even in a cabinet. It makes sense. No one wants a literal box of poop in their house. But enclosing the litter tray in a small space can actually make it smell more thanks to a build-up of ammonia. Some cats also feel vulnerable in small, enclosed spaces. Which might put them off using it altogether. 

Instead, keep it in a well-ventilated space. In an easily accessible spot.

And the most important thing…

Choosing the right cat litter is the best way to help minimise odours and make litter cleaning days much easier. If you’re in the market for a new clumping cat litter, give KatKin’s Scoop Planet a try. This plant-based litter has excellent odour control and creates easy-to-scoop clumps when your cat uses the litter tray. 

If clumping litter isn’t your thing, pop open a bag of Scoop Health litter. A silica crystal litter that’s odour absorbing (think of the candles you’ll save). And it helps indicate if your cat is unwell. The pH indicator can catch illnesses that your cat is hiding – anything other than yellow or olive green means it’s time to take them to the vet.

Related articles