10 Hacks For Smelly Litter Boxes That All Cat-Owners Should Know
There are so many wonderful things about owning a cat (or multiple cats). They are the absolute best at cuddling (when they're in the mood, of course), they make you feel less lonely, they're adorable and always photogenic, and they can do the funniest stuff to make you giggle even when you're in a terrible mood. As any cat owner will tell you, though, there is one major downside to having cats: they can be pretty damn smelly. Cat food smells bad, cat pee somehow gets everywhere and smells horrible, and the litter boxes? Forget about it. Dealing with smelly letter boxes can be a mild form of torture, but luckily, there are a few ways to make it a little bit better.
Let's be real: a litter box is never going to smell great, no matter how much attention you give it or how often you clean it. It's essentially like a cat Portapotty, except slightly more disgusting. You can try some hacks and tricks to make the box smell better, but it's never going to be a field of wild roses. You just have to accept that!
That said, you also don't need to live in a place that reeks all the time just because you love your cat. If the litter box smell is on another level, you probably just need to try some new things — and that doesn't mean just lighting another candle. You need to actually mess with the litter box in order to keep it from stinking up your whole place. Here are a few hacks on how to deal with even the smelliest of litter boxes:
1 Add Dried Green Tea Leaves
1 Lb. Organic Three Rivers Loose Leaf Tea, $59.95, Mighty Leaf
There are plenty of deodorizers you could buy to add to your litter, but if you want to keep things more natural, you can easily do that yourself with some green tea. Buy loose leaf green tea and dry out the leaves, then mix them into the litter. Green tea leaves have natural anti-bacterial properties and they also absorb odors. While a small amount of them shouldn't have enough caffeine to harm your cat, you can also brew them beforehand, then dry them out, to really be sure.
2. Use Baking Soda On The Bottom
Arm & Hammer Cat Litter Deodorizer, $15.40, Amazon
Baking soda is a great litter deodorizer as it absorbs odors better than pretty much anything else. Just be aware that baking soda can be toxic in large amounts, so don't use too much - just sprinkle it in there. It's okay if your cat swallows a little bit while cleaning their paws. Just sprinkle a thin layer of baking soda over the bottom of the box, then pour the litter on top of it.
If you don't want to use straight baking soda, Arm & Hammer makes a baking soda cat litter deodorizer that works well.
3. Clean The Box Daily
Listen, no one enjoys cleaning the litter box. It's smelly, it's gross, and it's uncomfortable. It's also a little demoralizing to clean up your cat's poop as they insist on sitting there, watching you do just that, lording their power over you. But the best way to keep the box from smelling is to clean it on a daily basis. Yes, every single day! If you clean the box each night, it keeps everything from piling up, creating a horrible smell - and it's more sanitary for your cat.
4. Use A Box Liner
Johnny Cat Heavy Duty Litter Box Liners, $7.73, Amazon
If you can't stand the idea of cleaning your litter box, you might want to start buying box liners. These do exactly what the name says: they line the litter box so that cleaning up is easier — you simply wrap it up and throw everything away at once. Liners also keep the actual box cleaner, which can cut down on the smell.
The downside, though, is that liners are kind of a waste of material. The price can also add up, especially if you're cleaning the box regularly. Because that's the other thing — you still need to clean the box regularly, they're just making it easier to do so.
5. Wash The Litter Box Once A Week
You're probably pretty good about cleaning out the litter box, whether you do it once a day or once every few days. But cleaning the actual box? That might be something you forget to do more often than not. Just replacing the litter and scraping out all of the stuff in there isn't enough in keeping your litter box clean — you need to actually wash it on a regular basis. You should be washing the box at least once a week to keep things from building up and odors from getting worse.
6. Wipe The Box Down With Vinegar
Heinz White Vinegar, $3.02, Amazon
When you wash the box, take things to another level by wiping it down with vinegar. Vinegar is awesome at absorbing odors and getting things super clean. Once it dries, it shouldn't smell like vinegar, either, although that's still probably preferable to cat pee.
7. Use Clumping Litter
Purina Tidy Cats Instant Action Clumping Cat Litter, $7.89, Target
If the litter boxes are in terrible shape, you might want to switch up the kitty litter you're using. Clumping litter is a great option because it makes it so much easier for you scoop up the lumps and keep the litter clean. The easier it is to clean, the more you'll do it efficiently, and the less it will smell.
8. Use Unscented Litter
Arm & Hammer Unscented Clumping Cat Litter, $7.78, Walmart
Scented litter might seem like one of the best ways to keep the smell from getting too bad, but it's actually not a great idea. Unscented litter is better for cats, as they might be bothered by the scented kind — keeping them from using the litter box, or making them do their thing in a very messy way. Plus, scented litter can sometimes add a weird scent to the bad scent that's already there, making a mix that is not pleasant.
9. Keep It Ventilated
Your cat's litter box needs to be in a well-ventilated area so that the odor doesn't get trapped. You might want to hide the box in a side table, or put a lid over the box to try to contain the smell, but it's not a great idea — it traps the odor and just makes cleaning them a horrible experience.
10. Replace The Litter Completely Once A Week
Aside from cleaning the lumps out of the litter and washing the box, you should also be completely replacing the litter at least once a week. Just cleaning the clumps out is helping the problem a bit, but leaving the same litter in there for days on end is only going to make the smell build up. When you wash the box, make sure you're also totally replacing the litter.