Whether your cat's litter box smells or the odor is coming from kitty himself, you can do something about it. Eliminating cat-related odor makes both you and your feline friend happier in the long run, so assess the source of the smell and you can freshen up your home.
Clean That Box
If your cat's litter box stinks, you may not be cleaning it often enough. Ideally, you should scoop out clumps on a twice-daily basis to keep the box fresh and clean. Once every two weeks or so, dump everything out, scrub the box with dish detergent and refill it with new litter. Even when you scoop out clumps every day, bacteria and smells can hang out in the litter and the plastic of the box. Just because it looks clean, doesn't mean it is.
Litter Odor Control
Even if you clean the box as much as you should, you may find that kitty's waste still has a fierce odor. There are three tricks to dealing with extra odor coming from the box, the first of which is using a hooded litter box. This is essentially a litter box with a lid, which gives you cat extra privacy and keeps smells from wafting out -- be warned, not all cats will use a hooded box. Using odor-control or scented cat litters also may help, but again, some cats reject these types of litter. One trick that your cat won't mind is sprinkling the bottom of the box with a thin layer of baking soda. It absorbs the odor, but it's unscented, so your cat won't even notice.
While the American Veterinary Medical Association recommends twice-yearly checkups for your cat, if you notice a foul odor coming from your kitty, take him to the veterinarian. Skin infections and bad breath can smell, and the latter doesn't always indicate a dental problem -- fruity mouth odors may indicate diabetes. Urinary tract disease and other conditions also can make his waste smell especially strong, so don't assume that his odorous litter box is normal.
If the odor emanating from your cat's mouth is grossing you out, but isn't caused by any abnormal halitosis or disease, keeping it clean is a task you can undertake yourself. One trick is feeding your cat dry food instead of wet, as it sweeps away the plaque and buildup that stinks over time -- wet food gets trapped in the mouth and smells foul. If your cat tolerates it, daily tooth-brushing using a feline formula toothpaste and a brush designed for cats also freshens up his breath. Since not all cats enjoy having their teeth brushed, breath-freshening treats from the pet supply store also can do the trick.
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.
Tom Ryan is a freelance writer, editor and English tutor. He graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a degree in English writing, and has also worked as an arts and entertainment reporter with "The Pitt News" and a public relations and advertising copywriter with the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.