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I am the Owner/President of Snaggle Foot Dog Walks & Pet Care in Round Lake Beach, Illinois. I live there with my puppy Bandit. I love reading stories and information about pets which could help both owners and animals.  Please feel free to check out our dog walking and pet sitting services.

Monday, February 16, 2015

My Cat Litter Boxes Smell Awful, How Can I Fix That?

BY:  Laurie Brzostowski, President, Snaggle Foot Dog Walks and Pet Care-Round Lake, IL

As an owner of a pet sitting business we have a lot of cat clients that we take care of.  Some of the homes we visit are great and you don't even know they have a cat.  Others, unfortunately, are not so great and you can definitely smell that a cat lives there.

However, this is not a huge problem and can we dealt with pretty easily.

So, here are some tips how to keep your home smelling fresh.  Your cats will also appreciate your extra work in this area:

Keep It Clean
The No. 1 rule, and the only thing that will keep litter box odor at bay, is constant cleaning. That means scooping the box out at least twice a day, removing the solids and liquid clumps if you use clumping litter.

For those who don’t use clumping litter, use a large, solid metal spoon (such as a large kitchen spoon) to lift out the most urine-soaked areas each time you clean. Add litter as needed to replace what is removed.

Also wash the box weekly, or every other week if you are using clumping litter. Use a mild, unscented dish detergent or a mild bleach spray (20 parts water to one part bleach) and rinse well. Clean your scooper also.  When dry, add 2 to 3 inches of litter. Cats don’t like a deep tray of litter and this allows you to add litter as you scoop.

Does the Type of Litter Matter?
Some litters have perfumes or other additives that claim to help cover litter smell. But to a cat these can smell overwhelming and make the box unwelcoming. Most veterinarians advise against using these products.

Many believe that clumping litters, which allow for the easy removal of solids and liquids, keep boxes smelling fresher. But cats can be very particular about which litters they will use. So experiment to find the litter your cat likes best, then stick with it.

Does the Type of Litter Box Matter?
Almost any easily cleaned plastic container can be used as a litter box, but buy the largest box your home can accommodate. A rule of thumb is to get a box that is at least twice as long as your adult cat and as wide as the cat is long.  

Cats are fastidious, and don’t want to step or dig in already soiled areas. Many people cut down one side of a large, plastic storage tub to get a larger box.  Also avoid covered boxes. Most cats don’t like them, and they can trap odors inside, making it unpleasant for your pet to enter.

Many cats also don’t like plastic liners, which can snare cat’s claws when they dig. This also allows urine to seep under the liner, where it won’t be absorbed by the litter and can cause odors.

As for self-cleaning litter boxes, it depends. Some cats, especially skittish and large cats, may dislike them. But if your cat doesn’t mind, it’s an option for people who are gone for long periods. 

Does Location and Number of Boxes Matter?
The rule is one litter box per cat, plus one. So if you have one cat, you need two boxes. If you have four cats, you need five boxes.

Keep the boxes in different locations in your home. If a cat is on the third floor, and the box is in the basement, he may decide not to make the long trek.

Also, choose the right spots for your litter boxes. Don’t put a box in a small, enclosed area, like a tiny bathroom or closet, which will concentrate litter box odors. A larger, well-ventilated area is best. But it needs to be in a quiet, low-traffic area, away from your cat’s food, other pets, and anything that can startle or scare your cat while he’s using the box.

For all you cat parents out there.. yes it does take some work on your part, but your cat(s) and home will thank you for it.

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