Remember those episodes of Friends where Phoebe sings her song “Smelly Cat”? We laughed when we watched them, but some of the laughter comes from the nugget of truth found in the lyrics. Cats can be smelly—well, maybe not the cat exactly, but cat waste can be super smelly.
There was a commercial, a few years ago, for an air refreshing product that featured a guest arriving at the home and being surprised to find that there were cats in the house. The premise was that any house with cat residents would smell as if there were cats, or at least a litter box.
Both of these scenarios can be all too true. Cat urine has a very strong ammonia-like scent. It is distinctive. Very easily identified and not easily eliminated, the smell of cat pee can permeate your home. If you think the smell is bad, imagine how Kitty must feel. Phew!
In This Article...
- What is the Best Odor Control Cat Litter?
- How Do You Keep From Having A “Smelly Cat”?
- What Is Odor Control Cat Litter?
- Why Choose Odor Control Litter?
- The Best Rated Odor Control Cat Litters 2023
What is the Best Odor Control Cat Litter?
How Do You Keep From Having A “Smelly Cat”?
You shouldn’t have to do anything to keep your cat from smelling badly. Most cats clean themselves well, daily, and do so without any prompting from you. But, if you have an indoor cat, or two, you will want to take steps to keep your house smelling fresh and not like a litter box.
According to the ASPCA, more cat owners have multiple cats than dog owners have multiple dogs. Having more than one cat creates double the waste and can create double the smell. There are options for reducing the smell factor of being best friends with cats.
You can try using litter deodorizers. You can purchase scented deodorizing powder in a variety of scents. Be observant of your cat’s behavior if you use scented powders in the litter box. Some cats will stop using the box if they are strongly scented. You will want to choose a scent that is pleasing to you and your feline friend.
What Is Odor Control Cat Litter?
Odor control cat litter is designed to absorb or neutralize the odors that come with cat waste. Some litters use natural products, such as walnut shells and baking soda. Other odor control litters use chemicals like silica gel and “secret ingredients.”
The primary purpose of odor control litter is to keep the litter box from stinking up the area during the time between litter changes. It was for ease of cleaning the box that clumping litter was created. The cat’s waste is clumped together. The clumps make it easy to remove only the soiled litter, thus increasing the time between full litter changes.
No matter what kind of litter you use, the biggest prevention of cat box odors is cleaning. Constant, daily litter box cleaning is a requirement, especially in homes with more than one cat. Most professionals recommend changing the litter weekly (for clumping litter) or bi-weekly (for other litters), and giving the box a good wash while you have it empty.
Why Choose Odor Control Litter?
The primary reason for choosing odor control litter is to decrease the odors that emanate from the litter box. The secondary reason for choosing odor control litter is to increase the time you have between changing the litter.
The odor control litter will mask or absorb the smell from your kitty’s poo and pee, but will not eliminate the need for daily monitoring. Odor control litter, with daily removal of the dirty parts, will keep your home from smelling like a “Smelly Cat.”
To clarify, even with odor control litter, you should clean, or scoop, the litter box daily. Leaving a mess in the litter box will allow the urine and feces to sink to the bottom of the box, creating a larger—and stinkier—mess to clean later. So even with clumping and odor control litter, daily cleaning is a must.
Odor control cat litter is in high demand for homes with multiple cats. But which litter is best? Worry not, cat lover.
The Best Rated Odor Control Cat Litters 2023
We have read the advertisements. We have studied the reviews. We have collected data. We have done the tests. Finally, we have compiled a list, for you, of the five top-rated Odor Control Cat Litters.
We present to you our top five best-rated odor control cat litters.
World’s Best Cat Litter Multiple Cat Clumping Litter Formula Check Price
World’s Best Cat Litter, Multiple Cat Clumping Litter Formula rates 4.6 out of five stars, with 1257 reviews on chewy.com
Made from a corn-based component, instead of clay, World’s Best Clumping Litter contains natural plant-based ingredients to control odor. The environmentally friendly litter is safe for septic and sewer systems.
World’s Best manufacturer claims that its product is pet and people friendly. The natural products, they say, create less dust than clay litter, so has fewer health risks for cats and their families.
Reviewers of this product are overwhelmingly happy with the odor control and clumping ability. The natural ingredients are frequently mentioned as a positive aspect of this litter. One reviewer stated that her highly allergic cat thrives with World’s Best Clumping Litter.
Several of the positive reviews mention allergies or asthma as the driving force for choosing this litter. Since the litter does not contain clay or silica, it is relatively allergen free.
The cost of the litter was the biggest complaint from negative reviewers. Here’s our list of pros and cons for World’s Best Cat Litter.
- Natural environmentally friendly
- Flushable, safe for septic and sewer systems
- Odor controlling without added fragrances
- Low dust and tracking
- Low levels of allergens
- Cost, slightly more expensive than other premium brands
- Dust is brown and noticeable
- Odor control is comparable to other brands
- Older cats may not adapt to the scent of the natural ingredients
Arm & Hammer Clump & Seal Clumping Litter
The Arm & Hammer Clump & Seal Litter receives a 4.6 out of 5 stars rating on Chewy.com, with 888 reviews.
The litter is purported to be dust-free and odor eliminating. The manufacturers claim that the micro-granules will cling to the odor, clumping the waste, and make your house free of the aroma of the litter box.
The litter does contain Arm & Hammer baking soda, which is a key ingredient in odor prevention of all kinds of products and uses. (Do you have a box of baking soda in your refrigerator? Odor prevention!)
Reviewers are especially pleased with the softness of the litter. A few claim it is pleasant to touch and that their cats like it, too. The litter does come in micro-granules, which make it look and feel like soft sand.
Many reviewers comment that the instant clumping action keeps odors down. One reviewer has 12 cats and claims that if she misses a day of scooping, you can’t tell by the smell.
There were, however, some negative reviews. So, let’s take a look at the pros and cons.
- Easy to clean—the micro-litter clumps instantly
- Dust free – or as close to dust free as any litter
- Reduces or eliminates odors
- Pleasant to touch – even the cats seem to like it.
- Scent /fragrance – the scented varieties might be too strong and may smell too much like cheap perfume
- Kind of sticky – the litter sticks to the pooper scooper and the sides of the box
- Too sticky – some reviewers state that the litter stick to kitty’s paws, too
- The packaging – the handle doesn’t lift easily, and it is difficult to open the box
Ever Clean Extra Strength Unscented Cat Litter
Ever Clean Extra Strength Unscented Cat Litter rates 4.6 of five stars on chewy.com, with 288 reviews.
Ever Clean claims to be the very first clumping litter with an ammonia shield to prevent the urine from reaching the bottom of the litter box. The manufacturer claims that the litter is made from natural minerals and clays that provide the ultimate odor defense.
Reviewers are very pleased with the odor protection, even from the unscented variety. Many people claim to have tried every other brand of odor control litter and like this one best. They also state that the 99% dust free claim is true.
Many reviewers commented on the speed of the clumping action and the way the litter does reduce odors. A lot of the reviews mention the ease of scooping the clumps during their daily clean.
Of course, there were some negative comments, too. Here is our pros and cons list for Ever Clean Extra Strength
- Odor-reducing – all reviewers agree that this litter does reduce or eliminate odors
- Dust free – there is very little dust and very little tracking of the litter outside of the box
- Fragrance – there were no complaints about an overpowering scent, and even the unscented has a pleasant smell
- Packaging – the box is very difficult to open
- Weight – the litter is dense and heavy
- Goopy – at least some of the reviewers found that the clumps were more of a soupy goopy mess than true clumps
- Cost – this litter is fairly expensive
Fresh Step Extreme Clumping Cat Litter
Fresh Step Extreme receives a 4.6 of five stars rating on chewy.com, with 317 reviews.
Fresh Step Extreme contains a formulated antimicrobial agent to reduce or eliminate odors. The manufacturers state that their CarbonPLUS feature immediately neutralizes the odor of cat urine. The newest formula contains Febreeze, which they claim eliminates odors instead of masking them.
Reviewers enjoy the subtle Febreeze scent and the fact that the urine clumps quickly into a solid mass. They say that the litter lasts a bit longer than their previous litter because it clumps so neatly. One reviewer has six cats with two litter boxes and states that there is no cat box smell in the house.
Several reviewers state that even their cats prefer this litter to the other brands. If their cats could talk, they would recommend this litter.
As always, there are some negatives to this litter. So—to our pros and cons list.
- Odor reduction – the odor is neutralized by the formula
- Clumping action – the litter forms solid balls of litter and waste that doesn’t crumble when scooped
- Long lasting – the litter doesn’t require changing as frequently as other brands, so it lasts longer
- Fragrance – the Febreeze provides a nice scent
- Dust – in spite of the low dust claim, the litter does produce dust; this was the most frequent complaint from reviewers
- Fragrance – the Febreeze scent is too strong for some users
- Stickiness – some reviewers complain that the clumping action creates a sticky mess on the bottom of the litter box
Tidy Cats 4-in-1 Strength Clumping Cat Litter
Tidy Cats 4-in-1 Strength Clumping Litter rates 4.5 out of five stars, with 318 reviews, on chewy.com.
Tidy Cats 4-in-1 addresses the four main concerns of cat litter users: urine, ammonia, feces, and messy clumps. The label claims that it neutralizes odors from urine and feces, as well as ammonia; that it locks in any moisture; that it forms strong clumps that don’t break up; and that it is 99.6% dust free.
The brand has been around for at least 50 years, recognizable by the bright yellow bucket. It is made from natural and chemical agents. The granules are supposed to both create solid clumps and eliminate odors.
Reviewers sing the praises of the litter’s odor control and clumping ability. The no odor aspect seems to please most of the users. One reviewer keeps the litter box in her bedroom closet but has not noticed any cat box smell in her room or her clothes.
Most of the reviews commented on the way this litter creates solid, not crumbly, clumps. They also appreciate the low amount of dust with this litter. Some reviewers complain of the odor of the litter itself.
Of course, no product is perfect. The pros and cons list looks like this.
- Cats seem to like it and adjust to it quickly
- Superior odor control with regular cleaning
- Clumping makes clean up easy
- Strong chemical smell: while the label does say unscented, the manufacturer states that the ingredients used for odor control have a smell of their own
- Clumps become like cement on bottom of pan
- Cats track this litter outside the litter box
Overall the odor controlling factor of any of these brands seems to be dependent on the scent sensitivity of the user. One size—or brand in this case—will not fit all. You may have to sample a few before you find the perfect litter for your home and your fur family.
Remember, when trying new litters, to ease into them. Try mixing the new litter with the current litter for a few days. Then gradually increase the new litter until you have a full pan of the new. Some cats will become anxious if their litter is changed, so watch your kitty for signs of anxiety or rejection of the new brand.
Whichever brand you choose, remember to clean the litter pan daily to keep your home smelling pleasant and fresh.