Litter box odor is most commonly caused by ammonia. Ammonia fumes have a distinct fishy smell, and the fumes’ mainly formed from the decomposition of the bacteria in cat urine. Ammonia fumes have several health hazards:
- Ammonia is a respiratory irritant - it can cause asthma and respiratory irritation in both cats and humans.
- A moderate level of ammonia in your cat’s litter box may cause nausea and vomiting in both cats and humans.
- A high level of ammonia build-up can cause immediate burning of the eyes, nose, and throat for both cats and humans.
- Many cats refuse to use a smelly litter box and choose to hold in their urine instead. This can cause a build-up of toxins and other urinary complications.
Preventing Litter Box Odor
Constant cleaning is the best way to eliminate litter box odor. Many cat owners believe that clumping litter helps their litter boxes smell fresher than other types of litter, as it is the easiest type of litter to remove both solid and liquid waste. To prevent odor from forming in the first place, use clumping litter to easily remove any liquid and solid wastes. Consider buying a self-cleaning Smart Litter Box if you can’t be home during the day to scoop litter.
- Avoid using scented litter or sprays. Many scented products may irritate cats’ sensitive noses and lungs. Many scented products on the market merely mask unpleasant odors with other scents. Choose litter boxes that come with unscented filters to naturally reduce odor.