Have you ever cleaned out a litter box with artificially scented cat litter? Then you probably know how strong the smell is – maybe even walked away with a headache. Now imagine this: a cat’s sense of smell is about 15 times stronger than a human’s. So how much stronger might a cat’s headache be?
Here is some basic information on artificially scented cat litter and why it’s best to just avoid it.
Why Artificially Scented Cat Litter?
The reason people use artificially scented cat litter in the first place is to cover the odor of litter boxes. The chemicals in artificial cat litter don’t actually eliminate odors (i.e. the natural ammonia scent of cat urine), but rather overpower them with a different odor. This choice is made purely for human comfort and is often caused by another problem: an improper diet for the cat. If a cat’s diet is off, their waste will smell worse, so the natural human reaction is to try to get rid of that scent. Read about a proper feline diet.
Scented Cat Litter Problems
Although humans often don’t think twice about covering up a bad scent with another scent (air fresheners, candles, etc.), this is not a healthy solution for cats. If you are wondering whether to use scented or unscented cat litter, consider some of these problems with scented cat litter:
- Cats breathe in the artificial fragrance, which is much stronger for them. The dust from the litter can cling to their fur and they are forced to smell it all day.
- Cats can ingest this artificial litter if they clean their paws, and in a lot of cases these litters haven’t been tested for toxicity.
- Artificial litter can cause cat health problems such as sneezing fits, weeping and mattering in the eyes, or URI infections.
- Artificial litter can also repel cats by making the litter box an “unnatural” place to do a very natural business.
Ragdoll cats in particular can be sensitive to foods and scents, so scented litter or other deodorizers in or near their litter boxes can be particularly off-putting or even downright torturous for them.
Natural Cat Litter and Other Alternatives
Scented cat litter isn’t the only solution to combat unpleasant cat odors. If you want to go a more natural route, here are some things to try:
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- Baking soda. Put a thin layer on the bottom of the litter box to absorb odors without artificial chemicals.
- Natural cat litter. Choose a high quality odorless cat litter, perhaps along with other solutions like baking soda.
- Use the right amount of litter. Make sure you are putting enough litter in each box to balance out the waste and its scents.
- Regular cleaning. This is the most obvious solution – scooping once or twice a day, at least, and changing out the litter often, as well as sanitizing the litter box on a monthly basis.
- Litter Robot. We have reviewed it on the site and agree with so many readers who think it does the best job at odor control because of the carbon filter in the drawer.
Scented cat litter might be convenient for some pet owners, but it is not convenient for cats! There are other alternatives out there for eliminating cat owners that do not involve artificial chemicals.
What do you use instead of artificially scented cat litter?