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Author Topic: Pets: Litterbox odor that I can't get rid of  (Read 2182 times)

stephyjh

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Litterbox odor that I can't get rid of
« on: August 28, 2013, 11:12:56 am »
I've got a pretty sensitive nose--can smell a perfume and tell you exactly what notes I'm smelling, etc--and I just adopted two four-month-old kittens last week. I can't seem to get the litterboxes not to stink. I clean them twice a day, use good quality litter, and add baking soda to it. But as soon as I walk into my apartment, I'm hit with the smell of cat urine. And I haven't seen any indication that they're peeing anywhere else. Is there a trick to making the litterboxes not stink so badly?
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Re: Litterbox odor that I can't get rid of
« Reply #1 on: August 28, 2013, 12:18:45 pm »
Quote from: stephyjh;120310
I've got a pretty sensitive nose--can smell a perfume and tell you exactly what notes I'm smelling, etc--and I just adopted two four-month-old kittens last week. I can't seem to get the litterboxes not to stink. I clean them twice a day, use good quality litter, and add baking soda to it. But as soon as I walk into my apartment, I'm hit with the smell of cat urine. And I haven't seen any indication that they're peeing anywhere else. Is there a trick to making the litterboxes not stink so badly?

 
How many boxes do you have?

Also, have you tried going around the apartment with a UV or black light to look for signs of urine outside the box?  I've had kittens pee on odd things - laundry piles, suitcases, etc.
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Re: Litterbox odor that I can't get rid of
« Reply #2 on: August 28, 2013, 12:40:05 pm »
Quote from: veggiewolf;120325
How many boxes do you have?

Also, have you tried going around the apartment with a UV or black light to look for signs of urine outside the box?  I've had kittens pee on odd things - laundry piles, suitcases, etc.

 
Yeah, I'd suggest getting one if it's plausible with your budget. Cats, and especially kittens, will pee on or in odd places (usually somewhere that may be considered private for them) until they learn the world is not their litter box. Then after they learn that it's usually only due to health issues (such as associating the litter box with pain).
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Litterbox odor that I can't get rid of
« Reply #3 on: August 28, 2013, 12:51:01 pm »
Quote from: stephyjh;120310
I clean them twice a day, use good quality litter, and add baking soda to it. But as soon as I walk into my apartment, I'm hit with the smell of cat urine. And I haven't seen any indication that they're peeing anywhere else. Is there a trick to making the litterboxes not stink so badly?

Besides what others have already said, the baking soda might actually be causing problems.  When you just add regular baking soda to the litter (as opposed to litter that has baking soda added during its manufacturing) it can clump up and trap the urine away from the litter.  (I'm sorry -- bad migraine day is affecting my ability to articulate. Hopefully, you understand what I mean.)  It might work better without the added baking soda.  

Also, if it gets hot in your house or there's a lack of ventilation, that can contribute to the odor.  Keeping the air moving with fans might help.
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stephyjh

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Litterbox odor that I can't get rid of
« Reply #4 on: August 28, 2013, 01:52:14 pm »
Quote from: veggiewolf;120325
How many boxes do you have?

Also, have you tried going around the apartment with a UV or black light to look for signs of urine outside the box?  I've had kittens pee on odd things - laundry piles, suitcases, etc.

Two kittens, three boxes. Don't have a black light, but I haven't seen them use other areas, and the odor is strongest near the boxes themselves.  I'm wondering if maybe a different litter would help, because I'm using name brand litter, but it doesn't seem to help with the odor.
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Re: Litterbox odor that I can't get rid of
« Reply #5 on: August 28, 2013, 01:59:08 pm »
Quote from: stephyjh;120310
Is there a trick to making the litterboxes not stink so badly?


What we do in our small, poorly ventilated apartment:
  • Get litter that smells good/neutral to start with.  Preferably not artificially scented.  In my experience, scented cat litter does not cover the litter smell, it just smells like perfumed cat waste.  We use a natural corn-based litter.
  • In addition to daily scooping, discard the entire box of litter as soon as it seems not-fresh. After about a week, our litter is slightly darker and loses it's pleasant plant-ey smell. We go through more litter dumping it out as soon as this happens, but it really makes a difference.
  • Put an odor-absorbing device - not an air freshener - near the boxes.  Some people use charcoal for a natural option. (You could use an air freshener too, but if you get only one, get the odor-absorber.)
  • Use a LitterLocker or diaper genie to hold scoopage (unless you're bringing it directly outside). Even lidded trash bins do not block the odor effectively.
  • If it's humid in the litter area, take steps to increase ventilation or better yet, place a dehumidifier. If there was an outlet in our cats' bathroom, I'd have one for sure.  Since it's not practical for us I leave the door open unless we have guests.
  • Use an enzymatic cleaner designed for pet messes to clean the boxes and any accidents. Do not use anything containing ammonia, which reacts with cat urine and makes it worse.


The smell is noticeable if we neglect the litterbox, but if we are on top of it, these steps work pretty well.

I would definitely try the blacklight if there is any chance of soiling outside the box (even just outside the box).  Cats will keep returning to these spots if traces of urine remain.  Use the enzymatic cleaner here.

I did for awhile have my cat using the people toilet, which smells better but is kind of a pain in the neck.  It also seemed to stress him out.  But all cats are different and it might work for you.
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Re: Litterbox odor that I can't get rid of
« Reply #6 on: August 28, 2013, 02:14:24 pm »
Quote from: stephyjh;120338
Two kittens, three boxes. Don't have a black light, but I haven't seen them use other areas, and the odor is strongest near the boxes themselves.  I'm wondering if maybe a different litter would help, because I'm using name brand litter, but it doesn't seem to help with the odor.

 
I use the cedar shavings, for a variety of reasons, but one of them is the smell. (I'll start to smell it when I get close to when I should change the litter boxes completely, but that's it.)

But I avoid clay for all sorts of reasons - the dust, the artificial scenting, the weight.

(I get the cedar shavings in my grocery store, marketed for cats. There are pellets, too, and things like newsprint pellets or other things, but I much prefer the cedar.)
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Re: Litterbox odor that I can't get rid of
« Reply #7 on: August 29, 2013, 01:39:46 am »
Quote from: Jenett;120342
I use the cedar shavings, for a variety of reasons, but one of them is the smell. (I'll start to smell it when I get close to when I should change the litter boxes completely, but that's it.)

But I avoid clay for all sorts of reasons - the dust, the artificial scenting, the weight.

(I get the cedar shavings in my grocery store, marketed for cats. There are pellets, too, and things like newsprint pellets or other things, but I much prefer the cedar.)

 
I used the wood pellet type of litter for my cats and they really do work a lot better than regular litter does. The smell is practical;y nonexistent.
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Re: Litterbox odor that I can't get rid of
« Reply #8 on: August 30, 2013, 06:23:19 am »
Quote from: veggiewolf;120325
Also, have you tried going around the apartment with a UV or black light to look for signs of urine outside the box?  I've had kittens pee on odd things - laundry piles, suitcases, etc.


Yep.  

Assuming your wee ones aren't quite litterbox trained, keep them confined.  A decent sized crate works well.  When you see 'em getting ready to go, place them gently in the litterbox, which should be in the crate with them.  They'll learn where their business goes.  
Confine them when you're away.  When you get home, let 'em out, but watch 'em and if one looks like it wants to go, carry 'im to the pooper.  It's a bit of work-- hey, they're babies!-- but it's worth the effort.  You shouldn't have to do this for long.
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Litterbox odor that I can't get rid of
« Reply #9 on: August 30, 2013, 07:18:07 pm »
Quote from: stephyjh;120310


Adding to the suggestions already given, here's what we use for our four (soon to be three, but that's another post later).

We use The World's Best Cat Litter (that's actually the name); it's made from whole-kernel corn, and has *much* less dust. The multi-cat formula can last up to three-four weeks, before a complete change is needed.

We also sprinkle some Petco cat litter deodorizer in with the litter. It does have baking soda on it, and odor-absorbing crystals.

For the urine problem (which we've really only had since last October), we use Nature's Miracle Just for Cats Stain and Odor Remover. It will help neutralize the enzymes from the urine. Nature's Miracle also has an Orange-Oxy Power than we use in the laundry. (Regular Oxy-Clean may work, as well.)

The deodorizer and Nature's Miracle stuff we've only seen at Petco, but then, we live near one, so we haven't looked anywhere else. The cat litter we also get at Petco, but we've also gotten the smaller bag at Safeway.

I'm assuming the kittens get along with each other? If there are other animals besides the kittens, there may be territorial stresses to account for. (James is still peeing on any soft surface, because he's intimidated by Kyuri.)
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stephyjh

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Litterbox odor that I can't get rid of
« Reply #10 on: August 30, 2013, 07:27:51 pm »
Quote from: victoreia;120507
Adding to the suggestions already given, here's what we use for our four (soon to be three, but that's another post later).

We use The World's Best Cat Litter (that's actually the name); it's made from whole-kernel corn, and has *much* less dust. The multi-cat formula can last up to three-four weeks, before a complete change is needed.

We also sprinkle some Petco cat litter deodorizer in with the litter. It does have baking soda on it, and odor-absorbing crystals.

For the urine problem (which we've really only had since last October), we use Nature's Miracle Just for Cats Stain and Odor Remover. It will help neutralize the enzymes from the urine. Nature's Miracle also has an Orange-Oxy Power than we use in the laundry. (Regular Oxy-Clean may work, as well.)

The deodorizer and Nature's Miracle stuff we've only seen at Petco, but then, we live near one, so we haven't looked anywhere else. The cat litter we also get at Petco, but we've also gotten the smaller bag at Safeway.

I'm assuming the kittens get along with each other? If there are other animals besides the kittens, there may be territorial stresses to account for. (James is still peeing on any soft surface, because he's intimidated by Kyuri.)

The kittens are getting along okay, with the occasional playing-rough that gets or of hand, and they're the only pets. I'm going to have to look for that litter, because the tracking is getting on my nerves. I've also had to replace the boxes already, because they (actually, I'm pretty sure I know which one) were kicking the litter over the sides. So I got deeper, high-sided boxes.
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victoreia

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Litterbox odor that I can't get rid of
« Reply #11 on: August 30, 2013, 09:21:42 pm »
Quote from: stephyjh;120508
The kittens are getting along okay, with the occasional playing-rough that gets or of hand, and they're the only pets. I'm going to have to look for that litter, because the tracking is getting on my nerves. I've also had to replace the boxes already, because they (actually, I'm pretty sure I know which one) were kicking the litter over the sides. So I got deeper, high-sided boxes.

It definitely doesn't track like most of the clay-based ones. We also got boxes in a couple widths, as well as depths; some cats want lots of room, while others like less room.

We first found the litter at a local-based pet store, so it should be relatively easily found. (Particularly since we have gotten the five-pound bag at Safeway!)
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Litterbox odor that I can't get rid of
« Reply #12 on: August 31, 2013, 10:22:27 am »
Quote from: stephyjh;120508
... the tracking is getting on my nerves. I've also had to replace the boxes already, because they (actually, I'm pretty sure I know which one) were kicking the litter over the sides. So I got deeper, high-sided boxes.

When they get a little bigger, you could look into a top-entry litterbox. We have the Clevercat, but it's also possible to make your own with a big plastic storage box. It helps decrease the tracking, and it totally prevents them kicking the litter over the side of the box.
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Re: Litterbox odor that I can't get rid of
« Reply #13 on: August 31, 2013, 10:01:10 pm »
Quote from: beachglass;120554
When they get a little bigger, you could look into a top-entry litterbox. We have the Clevercat, but it's also possible to make your own with a big plastic storage box. It helps decrease the tracking, and it totally prevents them kicking the litter over the side of the box.

 
Just keep in mind that some cats don't like enclosed boxes. (Head clearance seemed to be an issue for Kyuri and Ezri.) If you do decide to try that route, I'd recommend the DIY route first; less expensive if they end up not using it.
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beachglass

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Litterbox odor that I can't get rid of
« Reply #14 on: August 31, 2013, 10:08:02 pm »
Quote from: victoreia;120568
Head clearance seemed to be an issue for Kyuri and Ezri.

True. Ramyeon sometimes goes with his head sticking out of the porthole, which is pretty funny looking! He is a pretty low-key cat though. Others have more firm preferences.
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