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No matter how much we love our cats, sometimes the litter boxes can feel a little overwhelming to maintain. Odors from the cat box can seem inevitable with cat ownership but that is simply not always the truth. In many cases, the smell can be controlled entirely, but in nearly every case the odor can definitely be reduced. 

The Cat Box

Not all cat boxes are made equal. That’s not just between self-cleaning and the old-school kind that you scoop. The varieties among those two categories can vary wildly as well. For example, some auto cleaning cat boxes are better at reducing odor and maintaining a clean box than others. This can be impacted by the litter that’s required, whether or not the auto cleaning box is enclosed, and the storage facility for the waste waiting to be thrown out.

Similar differences can be found between boxes that need to be scooped, as well. The size of the box will matter in how much clean litter it can contain and how quickly it will become overwhelmed, plus accommodating the size of the cat so that accidents don’t spill over unintentionally. An open pan may also make keeping odors down more difficult than one that is enclosed, though an enclosed one should be easily accessible for not only the cat but for regular scooping as well. 

This is my favorite that meets those needs. 

The Scoop

Keeping a good scooper on hand is also beneficial as you will be able to clean the box quicker and more reliably, as well as not have to worry about the scoop breaking at an unfortunate moment.

The Litter

Good litter is also an important factor, though brand preference varies from person to person. I have had good luck with this one for my three cats.


No matter which litter you use, regular scooping of the box is paramount for reducing or eliminating odors. Litter can only do so much. On top of that, most litter is no longer able to eliminate odors after a week or so of use, even if it is otherwise still clean. 

Baking Soda

One option is to sprinkle baking soda on the used litter and mix it in to help freshen it back up, but this would need to be done on a regular basis. Scooping would still be both necessary and sanitary. 

The basics aside, there are other methods to try if persistent odors continue to be an issue. 

Deep Cleaning

Regularly throwing out all of the litter in the cat box, cleaning it with vinegar, and letting it air dry or towel drying it before filling with entirely clean litter can go a long way toward the overall odor battle. While fully cleaning the box, it can also be useful to clean the floor and walls surrounding where the cat box sits. This is even more important if the cat box is not enclosed, but everyone should do this as a matter of routine. 

Carbon Filters

 Some litter boxes, such as the Catit, also include a carbon filter which helps reduce odors. This works well but needs to be replaced on a regular basis depending on individual needs. 

If the box is in a small area such as a closet or bathroom, an external carbon filter set near the box will also help absorb additional unpleasant smells.

Air Purifier

If you need a little extra boost, a room air purifier such as this can be helpful if the box is near an outlet.

These tend to work better than just a satchel alone as they circulate the air through the carbon. They may also offer additional filters with increased benefits.

Air Fresheners

I am not a proponent of simply masking odors and have found that this Febreze spray works the best on eliminating and not just covering pet smells. 

I also personally enjoy burning incense using holders such as this. 

Don’t forget the incense sticks.

Another option are scented wax cubes which can be heated in a wax warmer.

Reminder: Please do not leave burning incense, warm wax, or other hazards unsupervised.


Everyone’s needs, capabilities, and acceptable practices vary, but a combination of the above tips will make great progress towards controlling unwanted odors when it comes to the cat box.

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