When my sisters and I were young Mum and Dad had some friends who had two big, black Labradors. For reasons only know to my 5 year-old self, I was quite scared of these dogs. The mere suggestion of a visit would result in a fit of tears and in between sobs trying to explain to my poor parents that I never wanted to see “the wolves” again. My other memory of visits to The Wolves House was the overwhelming smell of dog that seemed to permeate every inch of the place. Forty-something years on, and I confess to being a bit paranoid about whether living with two felines has caused my entire home to smell like cat. It’s one of the first questions I ask people when they come over (fun host huh?), and as a consequence I’ve been on a quest to determine the most effective ways to stop my house smelling like a cat.
5 Ways To Stop Your House Smelling Like A Cat
- Litter & Litterbox Cleaning: This is going to be the Number 1 source of cat smell in your home. There are a variety of cat litters available which have varying degrees of odour absorption capacity. If this is your utmost concern cat litter crystals will be the most effective for you, but their lack of green cred is unlikely to win you any environmental awards. Regardless of what litter type you use, eliminate the solids daily and do a complete litter change at the frequency specified by the manufacturer. Make sure part of that process includes washing out the litter tray. We just use dishwashing liquid for this. I’ve come across some people who advocate using bleach, but if I consider the smell (even when diluted) to be overpowering for me, how much worse is it for a cat who has a very sensitive olfactory system? If you can, let the tray dry out in the sun to help kill off bacteria and reduce the residual smell of whatever cleaning product you used. Every couple of years get a new litter tray because the scratches that will inevitably occur in the plastic will be the ideal place for bacteria to breed, and you guessed it, create more smell;
- Carpet Trap: If you’ve got carpet in your place, as we do, this can be a hot spot to trap dirt and odour from your Favourite Feline. Those little paws which have been stomping and scratching around in the aforementioned litter tray can then track its contents out onto your carpet. At Cat Habitat HQ we have a litter trapper mat in front of the tray which seems to do a pretty good job of holding onto the bigger pieces of litter that Pussa & Soph drag out. You have to accept though that small litter and faecal particles are going to get into your carpet fibre, so make sure that you vacuum weekly. Every 3 to 4 weeks sprinkle some bicarb soda on the carpet, leave for a couple of hours or even overnight, then vacuum up. The bicarb will absorb odour and is a common ingredient in many commercially produced carpet cleaning powders. I love this stuff because it works a treat, is cheap as chips and is non-toxic;
- Cat Bedding: Wash your cat’s bedding every 4 to 6 weeks and if you let your Favourite Feline sleep on any of your furniture consider getting a pet blanket or throw like our Feline Futon. This will contain both cat fur (hooray!) and any catty smell to something that can be easily laundered then placed wherever your cat’s favourite sleeping spot de jour is;
- Regular Grooming: Most cats are very effective self-groomers but regular brushing administered by their Favourite Pet Parent will also help get rid of dirt and dander from their coats, especially if they are outdoor cats. I’ve never washed either Pussa or Soph, which is probably why I still have both my arms attached to my body, but if you are inclined to do so make sure you use a shampoo formulated for cats. There are also waterless products on the market if you think that your cat won’t ever forgive you for introducing them to the joys of water;
- Avoid Leaving Food Around: Let’s be honest, tinned cat food basically stinks and the longer it takes to be consumed, the more it will disseminate its distinctive aroma. Leaving food out for an extended period of time may also attract ants and other bugs which increases the risk of bacteria. Water is also a common environment for bacteria to breed so ensure you change the water daily and put the bowl through the dishwasher once a week. Make sure you use a feeding mat, like our Feed Boards or Slate Plate, and keep those and the whole feeding area clean.
I strongly advocate avoiding the use of air fresheners for a couple of reasons. First, they only mask odours rather than remedying the root cause. Secondly, cats are super sensitive to smell, and chemical air fresheners have a very strong scent which your puss cat is unlikely to take kindly to. Follow the above suggestions and no-one will be singing Smelly Cat* to your Favourite Feline.
*Don’t know what the Smelly Cat song is? Where were you in the 90’s? Clearly not watching Friends. Have a look at the video here.