Mmmm, it smells great in here!

Often when people come in to Cats’ Castle they are shocked to learn how many cats we have staying with us. Throughout the year we will have anywhere from 40-60 kitties staying with us, and at peak seasons we will have well over 100 and even get close to housing 200 cats! …But it doesn’t smell like it! Recently we have had a few people ask how we keep the smell down – and we thought we would share a few of our tips and tricks!

Often when people refer to their pets being stinky, it often has to do with their urine. So, the easiest way to reduce the smell of your pet is to scoop the litter box regularly! Even at the Castle, when we come in in the morning and there are 80 unscooped litter boxes, you can smell it in the air. That is why our first chore of the day is to scoop all the litter boxes and take out the garbage (we also feed the kitties at the same time – we’re great multi-taskers!). This will undeniably improve the air quality! However, at home you probably only have one or two litter boxes, so the result may not be as drastic, but it is still important to keep the box clean! The scent will add up very quickly in an unscooped box, and if a cat is dissatisfied with the state of their litter box, they may look for alternative places to pee (most often laundry and towels left on the floor will look like a great place for them to go!). Unfortunately, once the habit of peeing outside of their box has been formed, it can be very hard to break! It also goes without saying, that if your cat decides to start peeing all over your house, your house will become very stinky, very quickly. We would also recommend a clumping litter, because this makes it much easier to scoop all of the urine out of the box. We take our garbage from the litter right out to the dumpster, so that the scent does not stay in the house. At home, though, I scoop the litter into doggie poop bags that can be tied up and put in the trash. You can also try a flushable litter, which will generally be made from wheat or corn and you can flush the contents of your kitty’s litter box right down the toilet… Bye Bye stinkiness!

We clean out all of our litter boxes with bleach, soap and warm water, and will give kitties staying with us a clean litter box every few weeks, or as necessary. At home, I usually wash our litter boxes in the laundry tub with bleach every 4-6 weeks, depending on how stinky my boys are! Another thing you can do to make the litter box fresh and enticing, is to sprinkle a little bit of baking soda in the box when you add clean litter. This will help to absorb any excess odor, and works wonders!

Every now and then we will have a kitty that will urinate too high up on the litter box, and it will run down the outside of the container. Sometimes, a kitty will be standing in the box with their bum overhanging the container and completely miss the box – innocent enough, but still a stinky issue! We have welcome mats underneath all the litter boxes here at the Castle, and at home I have a towel underneath the box. This way if the kitties miss, it is an easy clean up, and the urine will not soak into your floors and baseboards!

We also use covered litter boxes at Cats’ Castle, and this helps to trap some of the odor. Many covered litter boxes will come with a carbon filter (we do not use these at Cats’ Castle, mainly because they all fall out when we wash the litter boxes and get lost) to help absorb odors, as well as a flap door to trap the scent in the box! If you get a covered litter box, I would suggest holding off on the flap door until your kitty is used to the box. Otherwise it could make them nervous to go in it (which is why we do not use the flap doors here at the boarding facility).

Cats’ Castle also has a state of the art air filtration system that continuously pulls fresh air into the facility. This is key to keeping the odor levels down, but more importantly it decreases the chances of colds passing through the facility. If it is a concern in your home, many companies (including some air duct cleaning company), can install air filtration and HEPA systems in your house. Many have an option with a carbon filter which will do the best job at removing odors from the air! I also love the scented oil wall plug-ins at home, personally! When you walk in the first thing you smell is a “Pumpkin Marshmallow Latte” – I love that my house smells like fall, and not like my pets!

Finally, the best thing you can do to have a less stinky pet is to have your cat spayed or neutered! When a cat reaches maturity, hormones in their body will give their urine a very potent smell…Especially males, and that is where the stereotypical and wretched “Tom Cat” smell comes from. Unaltered cats (again, mostly males) are also way more likely to spray around your home to mark their territory, urinating on your walls, curtains, furniture… you name it! It is recommended to get your pet spayed around 6 months to 1 year of age to minimize the chances of these behaviors surfacing. If you wait to neuter your male cat, it can take a few months for the potent odor to leave their urine – and if they have already started spraying, this habit may persist after the neuter operation.

In short, there are many things you can do to keep your pet friendly home odor free! The most effective, and inexpensive deodorizing techniques (aside from neutering your cat!) are really just methodically cleaning your litter box and the surrounding area. But if you have any specific questions, or you feel your pet is giving off an unusually strong or odd smell, you should always contact your vet! They will be able to steer you clear of any underlying health issues if they exist, and may also be able to give you other tips to keep your home nice and fresh!

Cats Castle Cat Hotel is a cat boarding that specializes in both short term and long term cat boarding. Our cattery provides a luxurious alternative to pet sitting. Our facility is located in Oakville Ontario, just minutes off of the QEW. Our customers come from all over Toronto and the GTA, Markham, Milton, Hamilton, Mississauga, Burlington and more!