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Get Rid of ‘Cat Smell’ For Good with These Tips

brown and white cat standing in a white and black covered litter box, staring out the front entrance

Owning a cat does NOT mean that you have to live with ‘cat smell’ in your home! The secret to a clean smelling home is to actually remove smells, not just cover them up. Free yourself from the struggle and get rid of cat smell once and for all with these tips.

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If you share your home with a cat, then you know that there are many benefits.

They bring us love and affection on a daily basis, helping to reduce stress and boost our mood regardless of what life may throw our way.

However, this loving partnership doesn’t come without challenges…

I’m not talking about the broken vase that your playful kitty accidentally knocked off the mantle (was it really an accident) or the scratch marks on your arms.

I’m talking about that infamous ‘cat smell’.

Every cat owner I have met loves it when their friends and family point out that while they know there are cats in the house, they can’t smell them.

Right?

Plus, who wants to live with that smell all the time? I sure don’t!

For that reason, I started doing research early in my time as a cat owner, determined to discover the secrets to get rid of cat smell in my home.

Are you looking for answers?

If so, you’re in luck. Today I’m going to share my go-to tips…

orange and white long-haired cat standing in a white and blue litter box on a light brown wooden floor

Get Rid of Cat Smell in Your Home with These Tips!

Clean Your Cat’s Litter Box Frequently

This may seem like an obvious statement, but it needs to be mentioned.

If you are struggling with the smell of ‘cat’ in your house, you may not be cleaning your cat’s litter box often enough.

I have heard many professionals recommend that you scoop your cat’s litter box at least every other day.

However, in our home, that isn’t nearly enough!

The litter box is in a fairly heavy traffic area (and Jinx can’t be bothered to cover more often than not), meaning that the smell is much more obvious.

Instead, we scoop their litter box twice a day, in the morning and again before bed.

This frequency will depend on several factors including the number of cats, the number of litter boxes, the size of their litter boxes, and more.

Pay attention to the condition your box is in each time that you go to scoop.

If there is quite a bit to remove, it’s likely not being cleaned often enough. However, if there’s nothing in it, you may be able to cut back to once a day.

Remember: Cats don’t like using a dirty box. If your box isn’t cleaned frequently enough, you will likely have to deal with accidents around the home.

In addition to scooping the box regularly, you also need to do a full clean of the box.

This involves completely dumping all of the contents and washing the box itself to remove any odor or germs.

Typically, this should be done once every 1-2 weeks. However, if you notice that it still smells, consider bumping this up to twice a week.

Related: ‘The Benefits of Cat Grass for Your Feline Friend

Consider Using a Litter Deodorizer

Cat litter deodorizers are products that neutralize odors on contact within your cat’s litter box.

They can be purchased as either a powder or a spray.

Unfortunately, these products are not always a hit.

Some cats are very sensitive to scents and will be turned off by the presence of a strong smell in their box.

If you notice that your cat starts having ‘accidents’ after you start using the product, it’s a good sign that you should discontinue or change the product to an unscented variety.

If you find that commercial deodorizers aren’t a hit or are simply looking for a lower-cost option, you can also use baking soda.

Simply sprinkle baking soda into the box in the same way that you would a deodorizer.

Use a Litter Disposal System to Contain Smells

After scooping your cat’s litter box into a small bag, avoid keeping it in a standard garbage bin.

While this may look like the obvious place to dispose of the bag of waste, most bins won’t fully trap the smell.

Instead, invest in a proper litter disposal unit.

Similar to a ‘diaper genie’, these units work to contain the smell in an efficient and convenient way.

All you have to do is to scoop the used litter into the unit and ensure that it is closed properly when you are finished. Easily one of the best investments that we have made!

Keep Your Cat’s Litter Box in a Well-Ventilated Area

One of the biggest mistakes that most cat owners make is to tuck the litter box in a small contained area with no way for the smell to disperse.

While this may seem like a good idea (you don’t want the smell in the rest of the house), it won’t be long before that smell begins to spread.

The easiest step that you can take to get rid of cat smell in your home is to simply move the box.

The more airflow and ventilation, the happier everyone will be (your cat included).

Related: ‘Identifying Cat Litter Box Problems and How to Solve Them

Clean Up Accidents Quickly Using an Enzyme Cleaner

If your cat does have an ‘accident’ in your home, you want to clean it up quickly.

The longer that cat urine sits on any surface, the more likely that smell is going to soak into the carpet, wood, etc. and then it will be here to stay.

Clean any messes up the moment that you notice them, don’t wait.

Begin by carefully soaking up any urine with a rag or paper towel (blot, don’t wipe) before using an enzyme cleaner.

Enzyme cleaners work by breaking down the molecules in the waste, fully removing it from your surface.

Replace Your Cat’s Litter Box as Needed

This is one tip that I wasn’t aware of for the first few years that I shared a home with my first cat.

However, upon hearing the explanation of why from my veterinarian, it made complete sense!

As your cat digs through their litter box, finding the perfect place to do their business, they often scratch at the sides of the box.

This can cause small grooves along the sides and bottom of the box.

When bacteria and grime get into these grooves, they are much harder to clean. The result? The odor sticks around even when the rest of the box is clean!

If you notice that your cat’s litter box is starting to show signs of wear and tear, it may be time to replace it.

Reach out to local shelters and rescue organizations to donate your used box, as many would be happy to repurpose it for the cats in their care.

brown and white cat standing in a black and white litter box, staring out the entrance with the text get rid of cat smell with these easy tips

Have you been working to get rid of cat smell in your home? If so, what tips and tricks have been most effective for you? I would love to hear your advice in the comments!

About Author

Britt Kascjak is a proud pet mom, sharing her heart (and her home) with her ‘pack’ which includes her husband John, their 3 dogs – Daviana, Indiana, and Lucifer – and their 2 cats – Pippen and Jinx. She has been active in the animal rescue community for over 15 years, volunteering, fostering, and advocating for organizations across Canada and the US. In her free time, she enjoys traveling around the country camping, hiking, and canoeing with her pets.

18 Comments

  • Clarissa Cabbage
    October 10, 2020 at 4:17 am

    Great tips! I do really hate that litter box smell! This is great advice, thank you!

    I think I got spoiled because the cats we had growing up were indoor/outdoor cats. They didn’t even have a litterbox, and it was amazing. They just used the dog door and came in and out as they pleased. I don’t know how we got so lucky!

    Reply
    • Britt
      October 10, 2020 at 11:27 am

      I don’t know of anyone that doesn’t hate cat smell! Unfortunately, a lot of cat owners have come to believe that it’s something that they have to put up with to have cats at the house, and that’s just not true… We have 2 indoor cats but I have no interest in smelling them lol

      Reply
  • Sarah
    October 10, 2020 at 7:01 am

    We have indoor cats so have to deal with their litter tray all the time! I use a deodoriser when I change the litter xx

    Reply
    • Britt
      October 10, 2020 at 11:23 am

      A deodorizer can make a big difference. We have been using one with our cats as well.

      Reply
  • Sophie Harriet
    October 10, 2020 at 2:29 pm

    I have a cat, but I don’t usually notice a ‘cat smell’, maybe because I am used to it! Our cat doesn’t use the litter box very frequently though as she usually goes outside. We scoop it when we see there is something in it, and give it a thorough clean every week or so xx

    Reply
    • Britt
      October 10, 2020 at 3:11 pm

      The best way to find out whether you’re on top of it or just ‘used to it’ is to ask your friends that don’t have pets. There have been many cases of people realizing that they were actually ‘nose blind’ to something after a while.

      Reply
  • Brian
    October 12, 2020 at 11:26 am

    Whenever a kitty uses one of the boxes it is scooped immediately and it is put in a litter genie. We’ve had folks tell us they wouldn’t have known we had cats if we hadn’t told them.

    Reply
    • Britt
      October 13, 2020 at 8:19 am

      Isn’t that the greatest compliment? I love when people point out that they are surprised by the lack of smell in our house!

      Reply
  • Rosie Ireland
    October 15, 2020 at 10:32 am

    Some great tips in here for cat owners. As a non-pet owner, I can definitely smell cat/dogs in the house!
    Rosie

    Reply
    • Britt
      October 15, 2020 at 1:26 pm

      It comes back to that concept of being ‘nose blind’ if you’re living in it, right? That’s why the ultimate compliment for a pet owner is when a non-pet owner points out that they can’t smell the pets in their house!

      Reply
  • LeMitri's
    January 4, 2021 at 10:14 am

    Thank you for sharing these useful tips! Glad I stopped by your blog!

    Reply
    • Britt
      January 4, 2021 at 4:23 pm

      Thank you!

      Reply
  • Sarah
    August 20, 2021 at 4:25 pm

    Thanks for sharing these tips! I have two cats, but I am babysitting my sister’s cats while she’s on vacation and my home is full of cat hair and stink! I got a carpet cleaning and that helped a lot, but I’m going to move their litter box and get some litter deodorizer.

    Reply
    • Britt
      August 21, 2021 at 9:57 am

      It’s amazing how much of a difference litter deodorizer can make!

      Reply
  • Lyosha
    September 30, 2021 at 4:43 am

    i wish more cat owners (my sister namely) read this post. Most of the people I know who has cats also has the cat smell you feel as soon as you enter.

    Reply
    • Britt
      September 30, 2021 at 7:41 am

      Kittens are cute and little, but they are also A LOT of work! There are many people out there that would be a much better match with an older cat due to their lifestyle.

      Reply
  • Erica (The Prepping Wife)
    October 5, 2021 at 7:52 am

    I am very lucky that my cat’s litter box fits perfectly in my bathroom! I am really thankful for that too, because it has always been a toss up as to who is stinkier, my husband or the cat. They both gas me at times! God help me if they’re in the bathroom together. I love that I can turn the bathroom fan on for a little bit, and take care of both of their smells at the same time. Your tip on keeping the litter box in a well ventilated area is spot on!

    Reply
    • Britt
      October 5, 2021 at 1:27 pm

      Hahaha in our last house that was the setup. Our current house has a closet space that we are using with the cats and just keeping the door open a bit to help with ventilation (It’s not a fully enclosed closet space, there are other openings as well so it has a lot of airflow. It’s also right by the back door, which helps. We’re getting ready to move and the plan at our new place is to have a room set up specifically for the cats with all of their stuff – put a gate across that they can get through/under but the dogs can’t so that they have a place to escape to. With the new puppy in the house, the dogs can be a little ‘much’ at times lol

      Reply

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