Keeping the house from smelling when you have a geriatric cat brings on a whole new level of how to care for your cats’ litter box. It’s been several years since I shared my Homemade Cat Treats recipe that I love making for my kitties. But now, it’s time to share how I keep the litter box from smelling with a geriatric cat.
I can’t believe it’s been 7 years since I originally shared my homemade cat treats recipe! Since then my sweet fur balls have grown older…in fact, they now officially fall into the “geriatric” cat age at 14 years old.
My little guy, Sammy, has hip dysplasia so it’s getting more and more difficult for him to jump in and out of the litter box. He still tries, but man, his pee stream is all over the place! Sometimes he makes it into the box and sometimes he misses all together!
After trying many different tips and tricks to keep the litter box from smelling, I finally found the perfect combination.
A Classic Litter Box is the Best Litter Box
When the kitties were smaller we had the Cat Genie Self Cleaning Litter Box which was awesome…except when it missed a piece of poo and the heat dryer kicked on…then the house would smell like fried kitty poo. YUCK!
After a few years of the Cat Genie we moved and no longer had a good place near a water hook-up to place the litterbox. So, we opted for the Breeze Cat Litter system, as it came highly recommended.
This system was nice in the fact that the pellets are biodegradable and you just scoop the poop once a day. Then there’s a pad at the bottom that absorbs the pee and this needs changing every few days. The problem with the Breeze Cat Litter system is the pellets. They get stuck in the grooves of the bottom of the litterbox. My cats didn’t like the way the pellets felt on their paws, and I was constantly finding pellets around the house.
Next we tried the PetSafe ScoopFree Original Auto Clean Cat Litter Box. This litter box was probably the best one by far! In fact, this litterbox turned me on to crystal cat litter…it seriously is the best for containing litter box odors.
The problem with the ScoopFree litter box was not with the litter box itself, but with my cats. My girl cat is too big to comfortably fit inside (she’s a 20 pound Maine Coon covered in 3 inches of fluff). This tight fit caused her to stop using it.
Finally, I opted for just a standard old fashioned litter box. We tried the litter box with the high sides since Sammy kept missing his mark when peeing, but the sides wound up being too difficult for him to get into with his hip dysplasia. So, I went with the basic of basic litterboxes…can you believe after all the fancy litter boxes I’ve tried, the $5 litter box turned out to be the best one for us?!
2. The Type of Cat Litter Matters
When the kitties were little I swore by Fresh Step Cat Litter. Fresh Step was the ONLY litter I would buy because it worked the best. After testing out cheaper litters I always went back to Fresh Step because it clumped well and kept the litter box smell down.
But, once we started experimenting with different litter boxes to control the litter box smell, we started experimenting with cat litter as well.
We tried all of the off-brand store cat litters and NONE of them held up against Fresh Step. Arm and Hammer was the closest to Fresh Step for scoopable clay cat litter…but they all still had that “litter box” smell to them.
Feline Pine was a good alternative and I love the fact that it’s biodegradable, but I didn’t like finding the pellets everywhere! The pellets are shaped just perfectly that they would get stuck between my cats’ toes and then get tracked all around the house.
I honestly kept going back to the litter from the ScoopFree litter box because it controlled the litter box odor the best. So, I gave Pretty Litter a go. Pretty Litter is by far my absolute FAVORITE cat litter for controlling the litter box odor! It’s made of silica which is safe for cats. Silica is a moisture absorber (it’s what’s found in those little white packets you find in new purses) and since it absobs the moisture from the urine it takes away the odor as well…no more clumps of smelly pee!
I also like that with Pretty Litter I’m able to check on my cat’s health with the color changing litter. It’s pretty neat. I was able to realize that Sammy had a UTI because the litter turned red after he used the litter box. I was able to schedule him an appointment with the vet and get it taken care of faster than if I had no idea anything was wrong.
It can get expensive, especially with two big cats. But I think the cost is worth it. It’s $22 a bag, which lasts about 1 month with 1 cat. So we do go through 2-2 1/2 bags a month. But, I love that it’s auto-shipped, so no remembering to go buy litter. The price includes shipping. It helps me track my fur babies’ health. And it has the BEST odor control of any cat litter I’ve ever used.
If you want to give it a try, you can get a free bag of Pretty Litter through this link (and I’ll get a free bag too).
3. Forget the Litter Box Mats!
I have purchased so many litter box mats that I can’t even keep track anymore. The problem with litterbox mats is that Sammy no longer has much control over his stream and constantly hits the edge of the litter box. Well, I though any easy fix to this would be to use a litter box mat…but no that only made things worse!
The thing about litter box mats is that you don’t realize when your cat misses the box, the pee winds up on the floor and then seeps under the litter box mat making a huge mess. Oh my goodness it was disgusting.
Another issue with litter box mats is that they’re usually made of rubber which absorbs the urine smell, thus causing more litter box odor not less. I’ve had three different litter box mats and all three of them caused more issues than helped.
Instead I use puppy training pads.
4. Puppy Training Pads are AMAZING!
Seriously, when I started using puppy training pads under and around the litter box our litter box odors virtually stopped. Since Sammy has issues always getting his stream inside the litter box, I started placing puppy pads around the litter box to absorb any accidents.
I do use about 4 pads at a time because I make sure they overlap and the litter box sits on top of them. This keeps the pee from leaking under the pad. Whenever I go to clean the litterbox, I check to see if there’s any accidents on the puppy pads. Usually there’s one with a bit of cat pee on it, so I just change out the one pad.
This also helps catch any litter the cats kick out of the litter box.
5. Invest in an air purifier!
Right next to the litter box I have this air purifier running all the time. I love that it filters the air and keeps the air smelling fresh and clean. In fact, we have several of these placed around the house to clean the air. Not only has this helped with the litter box odors but it’s helped cut down on our seasonal allergies.