Litter box odor solutions: 8 Tips to get rid of foul smell

Love the cat but hate the stink? Looking for litter box odor solutions? Welcome to the cat owners club. One of the common problems cat owners face best-self-cleaning-litter-boxespecially with indoor cats is the stinking litter box which fills the entire room with foul odor. You might have become accustomed to it but there is no running away from the fact that any new person that enters the room is able to smell it.

There is a very strong smell in cats excretions. It is bound to leave residual smell which will continue for many days. It is frustrating to have guests complain about the foul odor even though you are working hard to take care of it. So, here are some tips to get rid of the foul odor emancipating from the litter box.

 Spraying outside the box

The first thing to check is whether the cat is spraying outside the litter box.  If it is, no amount of litter box maintenance is going to solve the foul odor till you address this issue.  You might be misled to think that the smell in the room is coming from the litter box where the cat might actually be merrily spray-painting your walls in your absence. So, how do you find out if the cat is doing it? The obvious way is to catch the cat in the act which you will be hard pressed to do so. Grab one of the dark lights and investigate the elimination habits of your cat. You might end up getting horrified how your little furball is filling your entire house with excreta. If you see evidence of your cat spraying outside the box, you need to take a step back and sort this issue. There could be several reasons why your cat could be doing that such as:

-Territory marking

-Feeling threatened




-Dirty litter box etc

You need to get to the root of the issue and ensure your cat does not indulge in excreting anywhere but the litter box

Scooping the litter box

Now, this is your duty for each day. You need to clean the litter box daily if you harbor hopes of it not smelling. You

Cat toilet training

Cat litter box training

need to scoop the litter box daily for fresh feces and urine. Although, urine might not be very visible, look for areas of clumped litter and scoop them out. Refill the litter box with some fresh litter to account for the removed litter.

Every once a week, you need to change the entire litter. Empty the litter tray or box completely. Wash it well, dry it and place fresh litter in it.

Location of the litter box

The ideal location for the litter box is a well-ventilated area which should be easily accessible to the cat. Don’t hide the litter box in confined spaces without ventilation which will make the problem worse.

The litter box

The litter box itself should not be an issue to the cat. It should not be noisy, uncomfortable or imbalanced which could be off-putting to the cat. Make sure you follow the rule having one litter box for every cat plus one.

 Training your cat to go outside

This is a great option which solves your problem completely but requires training of the cat. You can start by moving the litter box closer and closer to the door. Install a pet door and keep your litter box outside the door. Start adding dirt and leaves in the litter. Move the litter box 2 to 3 feet at a time every couple of days and ensure your cat is eliminating in the litter box. Once you get to the designated area of eliminating start putting the litter on the ground for the cat to get the hint. If you be patient throughout the process, it is likely that your cat will adapt to eliminating outside.


Is your cat’s stomach upset which is resulting in very foul smelling odor? In this case, you need to watch the cats diet.  If your cat is not adapting to a wide variety of foods, it might be worthwhile to shift it to a sensitive stomach cat food.

Odor control litter

You can also try the odor control litter in the market that reduces the odor by absorbing them. Be aware that odor control litter is not a substitute for not cleaning the litter box for many days and you will be disappointed.

Automatic litter boxes

How about using a bit of technology to help our cause. Self-cleaning litter boxes are the rage these days especially for people who don’t have the time for litter box maintenance. The way these work is by separating the soiled litter (which clumps) after your cat uses the litter box leaving the unsoiled litter in the box. It’s a great example of letting the machines doing our dirty work but it can end up costing a bit. We have reviewed popular self cleaning litter boxes in a previous article of ours which you might like to check out.

In Conclusion

Litter box odor is a pesky problem that can be frustrating because it has no simple solution. The above guidelines should be helpful to stop your home reeking of cat odor. The key is to see the guidelines and identify where you are going wrong and address it.


Dehasse J. Feline urine spraying. Applied Animal Behaviour Science. 1997 Apr 1;52(3-4):365-71


Brogan Renshaw
Brogan Renshaw

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