Cats are known for being one of the cleanest pets you can have, but house cats and young cats who aren’t old enough to go outside yet come with a smelly litter tray. Cat urine decomposes in the litter tray and ammonia, which is a fishy smell to the human nose, is released into the air. Cat poo is obviously never going to smell pleasant, but it is often detected more quickly, scooped up and thrown away moments after the cat has done their business. Litter trays are a necessity, but how do you stop them from smelling? Can you use baking soda?
Litter trays are an eyesore and a source of bad smells, so who really wants one at home?
Nonetheless, litter trays are the only way to prevent your indoor cat from urinating or releasing their bowels on your carpet.
According to the RSPCA, cats are very fussy about their toileting habits and they need a suitable area to relieve themselves.
They need privacy and a tray of the right size, depth, shape and, of course, it has to be clean!
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Litter trays should be spot cleaned daily, so you’ll need to scoop out any poos and patches of soiled litter and dispose of them regularly.
You should change the entire litter tray at least once a week, but more often if you have multiple cats.
If you allow your tray to become too full of waste or don’t change it regularly enough, your litter tray will stink and your cat will refuse to use it.
This means your feline may be forced to go to the toilet on your floor, furniture or even in your bath!
How to stop litter tray smelling
The most overlooked way to stop your litter tray from smelling is to take a close look at your cat’s diet.
While all cats’ waste will have an unpleasant smell, it should only be subtle.
According to the experts at Natusan, feeding your cat a diet full of wheat or grains can result in extremely smelly poos.
You should always check the ‘Best By’ date on cat food because it can go rancid over time and infect your cat with bacteria and parasites.
If you notice a distinct change in the odour of your cat’s litter tray, get them checked out by a vet.
It’s also important to note that if you have recently switched your cat’s food, their tummy may need some time to catch up and they may have diarrhoea or another temporary digestion problem.
Cats can be allergic to ingredients, so if their food is showing up in their poo as not fully digested, your vet may recommend an elimination diet.
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Cats clean themselves, but you need to clean their litter tray every week.
As mentioned, you should remove the clumps as they appear and change the entire tray every week.
Remove the litter and waste and then use a cat, friendly, mild and unscented detergent and water to scrub the insides of the tray.
Rinse it out with water, clean the scoop and refill the tray with litter.
Some cat litter brands, such as Natusan, only need to be changed once a month.
Choose the location of your cat’s litter tray very wisely.
Placing the litter box in an enclosed area with no windows such as a small bathroom will mean concentrated odours.
Natusan recommends placing the litter box in a large, well-ventilated area in a quiet spot away from your cat’s food.
If you have more than one cat, you’ll probably need to buy more than one tray to avoid bullying and fights.
Is baking soda safe to deodorise a litter box?
Baking soda is a cheap and effective cleaning agent, but you should never use it to clean your cat’s litter tray.
Baking soda is alkaline and it can help to neutralise any acidic smells and whiten any dark stains.
This theory makes sense but the pH level in the litter tray needs to stay below 8.0 to prevent ammonia gas from being released.
Baking soda has a pH of at least 8.0 and would increase the overall pH of the litter tray, encouraging the ammonia to be released into the air.
On top of this, baking soda is a health hazard for your cat.
Ammonia isn’t just smelly, it can be harmful to humans and animals with sinus problems, eye irritation, upper airway irritation and more.
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