Does It Control The Odor
Cats are just as turned off by a smelly litter box as we are by a smelly bathroom. Their keen noses will sniff out of a dirty litter box even before we do. If your cat cant stand the smell of her box, chances are shell do her business somewhere else. So be sure to choose a litter with superior odor control. In addition, I recommend scooping out dirty litter twice a day to keep the smell of the box up to your cats exacting standards.
Strong And Spicy Scents
Cats dont like scents that are too strong, like the smell of hot peppers or Altoids.
Strong, biting smells, like pepper and cinnamon and mint or wintergreen, are repulsive to cats, Hudson said.
Cats also hate vinegar because of the pungent smell.
And cats dont like strong artificial scents either. They also arent big fans of scented litters, heavy soaps, detergents, body sprays or perfumes, Dr. Sarah Wooten, a veterinary journalist and veterinarian with Pumpkin Pet Insurance, told The Dodo.
So dont be offended if your cat wants to stay away from you when youre wearing perfume.
What Is Cat Litter Made Of
Cat litter can be made from a variety of ingredients with different properties and uses. Some of the most common cat litters are made from the following:
- Clay. Clay is one of the most popular cat litter materials on the market. Many clay litter brands rely on ingredients such as carbon and plant extracts to absorb odors.
- Corn. Litter made from corn is biodegradable and earth-conscious. It is available in natural and scented formulas.
- Coconut husks. This litter, made from the husks of coconuts,can be recycled as part of garden compost.
- Wheat. The starch inside wheat kernels gives wheat cat litter its clumping capability and exposes natural enzymes that neutralize odors.
- Wood. This type of litter comes in pellet form and is a natural pinewood by-product. The pine scent acts as a natural deodorizer.
- Walnut shells. This cat litter is made from walnut shells and is available in quick-clumping and non-clumping formulas.
- Recycled newspaper. Available in pellet form, this eco-friendly litter is made from recycled newspapers.
- Silica-based gel crystals. Silica is a natural mineral that is highly absorbent and can be reused by one cat over a period of one month.
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Citrus: Orange Lemon Lime And Grapefruit
Citrus smells are widely reported as being repugnant to cats. You can use this to your advantage by throwing orange peels around your garden to keep cats away or spritzing a citrus scent on indoor fabric that you dont want your cat scratching up. Citrus fruits are considered edible for cats , but the skins and plant material may cause vomiting, diarrhea, or dermatitis.
Changing The Way Your Cat Feels
If your cat associates her litter box with unpleasant things, you can work to help her develop new and pleasant associations. Cats cant be forced to enjoy something, and trying to show your cat that her litter box is safe by placing her in the box will likely backfire and increase her dislike of the box. Its usually not a good idea to try to train your cat to use her litter box by offering her treats like you would a dog, because many cats do not like attention while theyre eliminating. However, a professional animal behavior consultant, such as a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist or a board-certified veterinary behaviorist may be able to help you design a successful retraining or counterconditioning program. Please see our article, Finding Professional Behavior Help, for information about locating an applied animal behavior professional.
Sometimes retraining to overcome litter-box fears or aversions may not be necessary. Here are some steps that you can try to help your cat learn new pleasant associations:
Treatment for Household Stress
Treatment for Multi-Cat Household Conflict
Always consult with your veterinarian or a veterinary behaviorist before giving your cat any type of medication for a behavior problem.
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Did I Say Box I Meant Boxes
It’s best to have at least one box for each cat and to have at least one on every floor of your house. they also have to be fairly large so Kitty will feel comfortable moving around and trying to bury her leavings.
The box should be twice as long as an adult cat and wide as the cat is long. A kitten can do with an inch or so of the litter but an adult cat needs two or three inches. Don’t use plastic liners. They snag on Kitty’s claws and urine seeps in, defeating the purpose.
Are self cleaning automatic litter boxes worth it? They’re a bit on the small side and some cats are a bit skittish about using something with moving parts. But other than this they have proven to be very helpful in a cat parents life.
Are The Theories True
Most of the stories shared online about the dangers of scented oils to cats, including lavender scented oil, focus on the dangers of pure essential oil, which is extracted directly from plants. Essential oils are most often used to ease stress, cook with or place in a diffuser.
Essential oils are akin to chemicals, plants, foods and moreits possible for any of these household items to be dangerous to your pets health in high levels.
However, lavender scented litter shouldnt contain more than a small fraction of the amount of essential oil found in pure essential oil products.
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They Are Enjoying Their Own Place
There are plenty of things your cat likes to scratch and claw at, why not let them enjoy the one thing they cant really mess up?
Cats also like playing in their litter because it feels great on a hot day. Theyll dig some sand around with their paws before taking a long, refreshing bath.
Luckily for cats everywhere, there is no shortage of places that provide endless amounts of entertainment- including cat litter boxes!
Scented Or Unscented Litter
Whether to use scented or unscented litter is a question we know many people have considered. We wanted to cover this issue in our Litter Box Care series because it is in fact an important issue – especially for our cats – who we always think of first when approaching any topic in this series.
First, lets hear from veterinarian Dr. Lisa Pierson D.V.M. about why this is an important choice :
I do whatever I can to provide my cats with the most natural and inviting litter available and that happens to be an UNscented clumping clay litter.
She goes on to note Always use unscented litters and do not add any deodorizers to the litter or around the litter box. Cats, because of their extremely keen sense of smell, are often put off by scented litters and perfumed environments.
Your cat’s sense of smell is really the key to the decision of whether to use a litter with or without fragrances. A cat’s sense of smell is 14 times more attuned than that of a human, and let’s face it, the fragrances put in many kitty litters are quite powerful. Given that the real purpose of a litter box is to provide your cat with a “natural” place to do her business, your best chance of creating an inviting litter box environment for your cat is to stick with what will be right for her – an odorless litter.
We do wonder why chemical fragrances are added to cat litters at all – here’s a hint – it’s not for your cat.
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Starting With The Litter
Let’s start with the litter itself. Tempting as it may seem, don’t use the artificially scented litter. Your cat will hate it and start eliminating everywhere but the litter box. Remember, Kitty’s nose is fourteen times more sensitive than yours.
Clay based litter often helps, but should only be used with adult cats. Kittens, like human babies, have a tendency to put things in their mouths that they shouldn’t and eating clay can cause digestion problems in little kittens.
If you don’t mind the use of chemicals you might try crystal cat litter made with silica gel. You may also want to experiment with natural litter made with corn, pine, wood pellets or wheat. Results with this type of litter varies.
The Type Of Litter Most Cats Prefer
While every cat can be different, studies have shown us that cats tend to have certain universal preferences when it comes to litter. Here are two things that we know generally about cats and their litter preferences:
- Smaller Litter Particles: Cats tend to prefer fine particle litters, as opposed to pellet and crystal-type ones. It makes sense, of course, given that cats were originally desert-dwelling animals that buried their waste in sand. Not to mention that a finer particle feels better on their paws. I mean, would you rather walk barefoot on a rocky beach, or a soft, white sandy one? Similarly, your cat will probably prefer fine particle, clumping clay litters.
- Odor Free: Cats tend to prefer unscented litters to scented ones. Your cats nose and sense of smell is quite a bit more fine-tuned than yours . So, to play it safe, you should resist the urge to get a scented litter, whether thats a flowery scent or any other kind. Opt for unscented litter instead. If youre worried an unscented litter will result in a wafting plume of kitty stink, dont worry here are 7 Ways to Reduce Litter Box Smell .
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What Causes The Scent
Detractors of scented cat litter frequently point to the chemicals used to craft the scent. While all litters have their own naturally occurring fragrances, scented litter contains additional ingredients.
First things first, we need to make one thing cleareverything contains chemicals. The air we breathe, the water we drink, the food we eat. Theres nothing inherently bad about chemicalsthey form the world around us. A chemical is simply a substance with a defined compositionmeaning we know what it is.
If youre wondering whats adding a pleasant scent to your litter, its likely one of the following compounds:
- Moisture activated fragrance Only when you need it. Moisture-activated scented litter releases a fragrance when used while remaining neutrally scented when fresh.
- Scented microcapsules Many scented litters contain microcapsules of scented oil. These microcapsules break when force is applied, so the moment your cat steps into the box, a pleasant aroma is released.
- Various oils Natural oils from vegetables and plants may be combined to craft a herbal, woody, or floral scent.
The smell of scented cat litter is likely to be highly familiar since it uses the same fragrances found in standard and human-safe household cleaners, drier sheets, and oil diffusers. Lavender, tropical breeze, mountain-freshwhatever the scent is called, youre likely to recognize and appreciate it.
What Not To Do
Regardless of what you do so solve your cats elimination problems, here are a few things to avoid:
- Do not rub your cats nose in urine or feces.
- Do not scold your cat and carry or drag her to the litter box.
- Do not confine your cat to a small room with the litter box, for days to weeks or longer, without doing anything else to resolve her elimination problems.
- Do not clean up accidents with an ammonia-based cleanser. Urine contains ammonia, and therefore cleaning with ammonia could attract your cat to the same spot to urinate again. Instead, use a product specifically for cleaning pet accidents.
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Pros & Cons Of Unscented Cat Litter
Being unscented doesnt mean a litter lacks odor-control properties. Although there is no positive smell to cover the ammonia smell of cat pee unscented clumping litters still trap urine inside clumps for easy removal and may contain other odor-neutralizers to offset the acidic urine and feces. The faster your litter absorbs urine, the quicker it can lock away the odors and keep the liquid off the bottom of the litter box.
Some cats are sensitive to the dust in clay-based clumping or non-clumping litters even when they are unscented. If that describes your kitty, try a low-dust formula such as ARM & HAMMER Cloud Control Breathe Easy Clumping Litter or switch to a non-clay-based litter such as ARM & HAMMER Feline Pine.
Considerations To Keep In Mind
If you’re bringing home a new cat or thinking about trying a new type of litter for your current feline family member, speak with your vet beforehand to get their recommendations. Then, think about litter characteristics such as texture, absorbency and ease of use.
Texture is particularly important, noted the ASPCA, because cats are sensitive to what litter feels like on their paws. If they don’t like the feel of what’s in their litter box, they may find a different place to use as a cat bathroom .
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How Often Should You Scoop Cat Litter
The general rule for replacing clay cat litter is twice a week, but depending on certain circumstances, you might need to have it replaced only once a week or every other day. For instance, if you clean your catâs litter box every day, then you may only need to change the litter every 2 to 3 weeks.
What Is Kitty Eating
Let’s get right at the very beginning of the matter. Kitty’s diet may be what’s affecting litter box odor. Once more, ignore the cartoons. Adult cats don’t need milk. It just gives them the runs. Give your cat high quality, easily digestible food.
Keep in mind that cats are obligate carnivores. Their diet should be mostly if not entirely meat based. Fillers like grains and starches won’t do a thing for them. They’ll just stink up the box.
If Kitty will eat dry food, go with that as long as it’s high in protein and low in carbohydrates. Make sure Kitty is staying hydrated as well. This will dilute odors in urine.
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Same Classic Gently Scented Formula Larger Bag
2x Longer Lasting: 1 bag + 2 cats = 1 month
Boxiecat litter is the alternative clay litter for pet parents who recognize the unmatched benefits of clay but want healthier, more hygienic and better performing litter for their feline family. Its effectiveness provides a noticeable difference compared with other litters. Customers report that cats take to Boxiecat right away and it helps attract cats to use the litter box.
Boxiecat fosters refreshed and healthy pets from young to old.
The cleanest litter box experience
- Instant Flat Top Clump – rock hard clumps form on the top of the box, scoops easily
- Stays Ultra-clean – remains odor-free even after weeks of scooping, like a new bag after every scoop
- 99.9% Dust-free – new and improved dust control formula, ideal for allergies, hypo-allergenic
- Exceptional Odor Control – eliminates ammonia odor
- Resists Tracking – low tracking granules
Why Do Cats Hate Some Smells
A cat’s nose is much more sensitive than a humans. So if you think of a smell that seems strong to you, itll smell way stronger to your cat.
There are some 200 million olfactory receptors in the nose of a cat, compared to 5 million in the nose of a human, Dr. Wooten said.
Because cats sense of smell is so strong, harsh, spicy and acidic scents are way too much for their noses to handle.
A lot of these strong-smelling substances are also toxic to cats, so when they smell them, the scent is telling them to stay away.
Cats use their noses to inform themselves about potential danger and food, Dr. Wooten said. If they dont like the smell of something, there is something within their brain that is telling them that particular scent is associated with something dangerous or undesirable.
For example, capsaicin, the substance in peppers that makes them spicy, can cause mouth and skin irritation and stomach problems in cats, so cats want to stay away when they smell it.
But keep in mind that some cats can be attracted to toxic substances, like beer, so just because your cat likes the smell of a food doesnt mean its safe for him to eat.
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Natural Cat Litter And Other Alternatives
- Baking soda. Put a thin layer on the bottom of the litter box to absorb odors without artificial chemicals.
- Natural cat litter. Choose a high quality odorless cat litter, perhaps along with other solutions like baking soda.
- Use the right amount of litter. Make sure you are putting enough litter in each box to balance out the waste and its scents.
- Regular cleaning. This is the most obvious solution scooping once or twice a day, at least, and changing out the litter often, as well as sanitizing the litter box on a monthly basis.
- Litter Robot. We have reviewed it on the site and agree with so many readers who think it does the best job at odor control because of the carbon filter in the drawer.
What do you use instead of artificially scented cat litter?
Hi, Im Jenny Dean, creator of Floppycats! Ever since my Aunt got the first Ragdoll cat in our family, I have loved the breed. Inspired by my childhood Ragdoll cat, Rags, I created Floppycats to connect, share and inspire other Ragdoll cat lovers around the world,