Can You Put a Charcoal Briquette in a Cat Litter Box?

Not all charcoal is created equal for safety and odor control.
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Cleaning your cat's litter box is probably the least enjoyable activity that accompanies cat ownership, and the most offensive to your nose. Keeping odors down in this little potty can be difficult, but a quick solution may be in your garage.

Absorbing Odors

Primarily used to cook tasty hamburgers on a Sunday afternoon, charcoal is a porous material that absorbs both moisture and odors. Mostly this trait helps the material absorb lighter fluid to burn better in the grill, but these briquettes can be used for the same purpose around the house.

Activated vs Regular

Although it sounds like a strange science fiction term, activating charcoal helps enhance its absorption properties. Activated charcoal is basically regular charcoal that has gone through additional processing to oxidize the briquette and enlarge the tiny pores inside. This helps to maximize its ability to absorb odors. An activated charcoal briquette will be more effective in odor control than a regular made-for-the-grill briquette.

The Right Briquette

Even though activated charcoal is more absorbent, that doesn't mean you can't use regular charcoal to help cut down Mr. Fluffernutter's litter box stink. The trick is to find the right type of charcoal. Many charcoal brands sold for grills are treated with additional chemicals that help the briquettes stay firm and light quicker, and these toxins could be hazardous for your cat. If you plan to use regular charcoal in your cat's litter box, find a brand that does not use binding or quick-lighting chemicals.

Using Charcoal

You could technically just toss a few briquettes into your cat's litter box and call it a day, but he may not appreciate these large, dusty lumps in his potty. But depending on his box style he may not notice. Put a briquette or two into his box and cover with litter. Another way to encourage odor control is to place a few briquettes into an old sock or pantyhose leg and hang them near the litter box. Be warned that charcoal will leave black smudges on clothes and walls, and kitty paws if he likes to bat the thing around, so keep the briquettes well away from anything you don't want dirty or stained.

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