Cat Smells and Odors
July 23, 2004 5:23 PM   Subscribe

PotpourriFilter. As anyone who shares a house with felines soon becomes aware, with cats comes a certain...odor. (Or, as we refer to it in my family, "eau de chat.") Besides the obvious sanitary measures, I'm draining my life savings by investing in deodorizers (which are rarely effective for more than two or three days). Does anyone out there have recommendations for killer potpourri or other scent options, not including candles?
posted by thomas j wise to Pets & Animals (18 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
1 litter box per cat. Scoop litter daily. Change the whole thing weekly and wash the box. Let fresh air into your home. Mix Arm and Hammer with the litter. Air fresheners just add particles to the air you breathe without changing the fundamental fact there is a box of shit in your house. Attack the problem at the source.
posted by Grod at 5:32 PM on July 23, 2004

Yeah, I've got that far (including the Arm and Hammer), but it still doesn't eliminate the, er, odorous residue.
posted by thomas j wise at 5:34 PM on July 23, 2004

Have you tried some plain old ammonia or white vinegar in a bowl, in a unobtrusive place where it can't be reached by curious kitties? Both are pretty amazing for drawing odors out of the air. Anything like potporri or scents or sprays is just temporarily masking it, but it's still there. Ammonia and vinegar (not together!) actually remove the odor. Try each in one room and see which works better for you - if you need to you can put a few bowls in a room. You need to replace them every few days. I like vinegar better for musty smells, and ammonia is great for after-party smells like liquor and tobacco. Both will work for cat scents.
posted by iconomy at 5:51 PM on July 23, 2004

I suggest the LitterMaid automatic cat box with the carbon filter in the receptacle. Since it scoops ten minutes after every visit by your cat, the smell doesn't linger. Just don't let the receptacle get too full, and you'll hardly smell litterbox odor anymore. Arm & Hammer clumping litter is the best for keeping odor down and the box functioning properly. Also, I would recommend against scented cat litter, as most cats are bothered by the smell.
posted by gokart4xmas at 5:58 PM on July 23, 2004

Beware of scents. I feel a lot of the artificial scents (AirWick, etc) are poisonous and very likely to be carcinogenic.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:58 PM on July 23, 2004

I am sitting about five feet from our cat box, which is jumbo size and serves two cats. I change it completely once a week, and it's due tomorrow. I smell nothing.

The cat box is covered (this is very important) with one of those filter things on top, and I use crystals (not the round ones, the chunky ones.

Good luck to you. Air fresheners never work for me. I hope you find a solution that is good for you and the kitties.
posted by frykitty at 6:05 PM on July 23, 2004

ExStink. Really. Seriously.

I've tried various scent masking solutions, including some applied to the cat sand itself -- it just drives the cats away to take care of their business elsewhere in the house. Just go with the ExStink, mix a scoop in with the cat sand, the problem is gone.

As a measure of how gone the problem is, every night I sit and eat about 4 feet away from the box.
posted by majick at 6:50 PM on July 23, 2004


You are aware that cat turds carry the threat of toxoplasmosis, eh? Don't be preggers if you're doing that, majick.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:49 PM on July 23, 2004

Covering the odor won't work. I second the recommendation of crystalline litter. Good-quality cat food is also a great means of attacking the problem at the source.
posted by stonerose at 7:58 PM on July 23, 2004

For my money, nothing beats Mainichikoh. Burn a stick of this when the cat has just finished with the business in question. A $5 box will last you about half a year, assuming that you're burning two sticks a day. It has a lovely scent... I use it all over the house, as well as next to the cat box.
posted by vorfeed at 11:37 PM on July 23, 2004

Are you sure it's the cat litter and not the cats themselves (spraying, dander)? How many cats do you have?
posted by mischief at 4:20 AM on July 24, 2004

Attacking the problem at its source would mean getting rid of the cat.
posted by rocketman at 4:51 AM on July 24, 2004

Teach the furry, ingrateful bastard to use the can like it damn well ought to.

I should probably mention now that I love cats.

Did you know that a cat owner has a Cosmos-given right to pester their cat? String, laser pointers, wind up things, silly hats, pancakes, bits of onion, stinky socks. My favorite is still the old sock over the head trick.

posted by loquacious at 6:06 AM on July 24, 2004

My favorite is sticking a bit of tape on as many paws as possible. Cat takes step, feels something on foot, shakes foot. Is it gone? oh well. Takes another step, feels something on foot, shakes, foot, etc. It's awesome. My old cat liked for me to take little bits of ice and shoot them across the living room into the kitchen, where she's chase after them. My dogs just like ice. My dogs also simply aren't "tormentable" the way my cat is. They put up with whatever I'm doing (say, covering their eyes with their ears), or they leave.
posted by RustyBrooks at 6:50 AM on July 24, 2004

Another recommendation for the littermaid -- the only time we smell it is when it needs to be changed. Nice reminder!

Oh and we have two fat cats who poop a lot. Oh! Also -- you might check out what you're feeding them. We switched to a higher end brand of food and they poop less and it stinks less. Also they get full quicker so they eat less, and it's cheaper all around.
posted by sugarfish at 7:51 AM on July 24, 2004

Put it in a 12-pack beer box and spin it 'round and 'round and 'round until it's so dizzy it can't walk. Good times, good times! (Cat would stagger around, and then get back into the box on its own will!)
posted by five fresh fish at 9:47 AM on July 24, 2004

Ha, I forgot there is one way to have fun with our dogs. Put them outside at 8 and watch the mayhem when the sprinklers turn on at 8:15!
posted by RustyBrooks at 11:31 AM on July 24, 2004

Those electrified wire air filters (like the ionic breeze from Sharper image) seem to do a really good job a removing odors from the air. If it were near the catbox, I'll bet it would make a big difference. They are a bit expensive (although I just noticed they have refurbished ones on their site) and kinda gross to clean (you have to scrub off all the dusty-goo that was in your air) but I have found them to be very good at smells.
posted by milovoo at 2:55 PM on July 24, 2004

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