Problems With Stool Smell in Cats

"Yours doesn't exactly smell like roses either."
i Michael Blann/Lifesize/Getty Images

You adore your four-legged buddy, but aren’t a big fan of his litter box odors. Foul-smelling stools can stem from poor diet or lack of cleanliness. Fortunately, you can do a few things to alleviate the issue. With a little work, you and Penny can live in perfect rose-smelling harmony.

Input Equals Output

You’ll need to get to the root of the problem before heading straight to the litter box to fix the concern. Often the cause of rank odors in her litter pan comes from her diet. If you’re feeding Penny dinner scraps under the table every night or giving her a low-quality bargain type of kibble, her solid waste can be unbearably smelly. Sometimes high-protein foods, like kitten formula, cause an unbearable litter box funk. If Penny is all grown up now, it might be time to change her diet. Talk with your vet about your concerns. He can make a sound suggestion for a type of food that fits Penny’s needs that lessens the burden on your burning nose.

Cleaning the Box

Every time you make a waste deposit, you get to flush the toilet. Penny doesn’t get that luxury. She relies on you to keep her potty spic and span. Get in the habit of staying on top of the problem before it gets out of hand. Scoop out her litter box several times a day. If you don’t use scooping litter, you still can use a scoop to get rid of solid waste and stir up the rest of the litter. It’s not just as simple as removing waste though. Small solid waste particles and urine cling to the sides of the box and may be the actual culprit of the underlying odor problems. Scrub the box with hot water and a mild dish detergent each time you dump the old litter.

Covering it Up

Floral and linen-scented litters are a delight for your nose, but your finicky feline might not be a fan. Some cats won’t use litters that have strong aromas. Rather than getting a heavily-scented type of new litter, reach for that box of baking soda hidden in the back of your pantry. Baking soda is ultra-absorbent, soaking up moisture and odor-causing bacteria so your spare bedroom doesn’t smell like a bathroom. The next time you change the litter, sprinkle baking soda at the bottom of the box. Make a habit of adding a little baking soda to the litter once in a while when you scoop, just to keep odors in check.


A continuous foul odor is not the only thing you’ll want to discuss with your vet, you’ll also want to keep an eye out for other abnormalities. Frequent loose watery stools or periods of constipation – no bowel movements for two or three days – may be a sign of a bowel obstruction or other intestinal problem. Additionally, be on the lookout for blood or dark tarry droppings. These may be warning signs of something more serious than just a bad smell.

Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.

the nest