Litter Box Smells And My Tiny Apartment

We live in a pretty small place and with a litter box designed to service multiple adult cats, we’re not left with many options as to where to put it. And, let’s face it – it smells absolutely awful. Most cat-owners get used to that smell, I know; but that’s actually what I’m afraid of. We tend to entertain pretty frequently and the last thing we want is for our house to smell like cat poo. So, I’ve been scouring the internet for solutions.

1. The Right Litterbox – Covered or Uncovered? 

Covered is the best for masking smell. Straight up. The coolest model I found from this post was the Booda Dome. Only $30 or so on Amazon. Still, after being advised by our vet that cats really didn’t like using covered litter boxes, especially the dustier litters that got into the cat’s respiratory system.

Concerned for our kitties, we went uncovered with this model.

2. The Best Litter 

The first step in the odor-eliminating journey is to find the cat litter that works best for you and for your cat. Now, there have been plenty of posts around the internet testing which litter works the best, by people far more experienced with cats than I am. A lot of it comes down to personal preference. But I thought, maybe, since I’m such a complete novice at this, I thought I’d be able to help out those new cat-owners.

Before we launch into into the discussion, here are some factors you want to keep in mind.

  • Commercial vs. Natural – Keep in mind that you and your cat will be breathing whatever fumes and particles are in the litter of your choice.
  • Flushable vs. Non-Flushable – Not all apartments and homes can handle flushable litter, so make sure to do your research. If your litter is non-flushable, remember that it might be sitting around in your trash can throughout the day.
  • Clumping vs. Non-Clumping – Clumping litter is easily sifted and disposed of using a slated scooper and can save litter. Non-clumping will require more regular changing of liners and litter.
  • Litter Tracking – Cats drag litter out of the box on their little toes, though this is minimal to non-existent with pellet-based litters. Keep this in mind when shopping around if sweeping and vacuuming regularly is a big deal to you.

Before getting Batman and Lily a co-worker happened to suggest that we use the World’s Best Kitty Litter, an eco-friendly, all-natural brand of kitty litter. Because it’s corn-based and 100% biodegradable, you can feel free to flush it down the toilet. This is easy because it’s a complete badass at clumping up whenever little kitty goes pee. Voila! Down the toilet, out of our hair.

Sounds great, right? Well, it is. Sort of. It still doesn’t do much for the smell when kitty goes poop. In fact, it does nothing, especially because the kittens never got the memo that they were supposed to bury their poop. Psh, amateurs.

So I complained to my cat-owning friends about it and they suggested I switch over to Feline Pine. It’s basically made of pine pellets that soak up pee and disintegrates into sawdust. It even comes with its own special litter box to maximize the amount of litter you end up using, and minimize the amount of wasted pellets.

In terms of smell, Feline Pine was a real winner. It absorbed and deodorized the pee remarkably well. Poop was the problem, as per usual. If covered, it deodorized the smell more or less. But scooping it out, I always ended up with a bunch of wasted pine pellets. Then I had to toss it in the kitchen trash where, some how, although sealed, would stink up the entire house.

The husband vetoed it almost immediately. I agreed and we switched back to World’s Best. I’ve thought of some other ways that perhaps this might work, such as getting little paper bags and filling the with baking soda and tossing them once per day, keeping them in something like a Diaper Genie until I could dispose of it.

We’ll have to wait to experiment with that, though. So for now, we’re using World’s Best mixed with baking soda, and a few matches after poops. Stay tuned for further litter experimentation later.

3. Location

This is fairly obvious. If you can help it, you’re going to want to avoid having your litter box where you eat and where you entertain. For small apartment owners, this can be a pretty tricky situation. We went with having the litter box in our living room. We figured, hey, we have windows, we have matches, no biggie.

Wrong. On the best days, it smelled like a barn. On the worst, we felt like we were going to pass out from the fumes. So we’ve moved the litter box into the bath tub. At first this worked great! Smells dissipated quickly (despite the fact that our bathroom has no ventilation), and the small space made the matches work particularly wel. Then Batman got confused and started pooping and peeing in the bathtub.

So there went that.

4.Rethinking Ventilation

Thanks to a group of highly resourceful individuals, I happened to find DIY litter boxes with ventilation systems. That would get rid of any fears for covered litter boxes and would eliminate smells quickly.  How to do this, you say? Glad you asked.

You can even create your very own air filter for the litter box if you’re stilled concerned for kitty’s wee lungs.

Now, that’s a lot of different pieces, which can be kind of an eyesore, right?

5. Incorporating Ventilation, Litter, & Litter Box into One Stylish Design

Now, this is where the easy, fun part comes in. Take all the pieces of the puzzle that you’ve perfected, and incorporate them into one piece of furniture that does it all. Not sure what I mean? Check out this example.

If you find the right piece of furniture, be it on craigslist, ikea, overstock, or some other relatively cheap source of furniture, you’ll be able to mod it to incorporate all these elements in no time!


Still to be seen.



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