Do You Know What Causes Stinky Urine In The Cat Box?

A fellow cat person recently asked me a question. She said the urine in her kitty’s litter box always stunk, no matter what she tried or how often she cleaned the box. She wanted to know what causes stinky urine in the cat box. So, I researched.

high-sided litter box + slotted scoop
An ideal litter box

With my kitty’s box, I’ve never had that problem. I clean it at least once a day, and it has never smelled really offensive. So, I decided there had to be a reason why her kitty’s box smelled so offensive, and that perhaps other people might like an answer to the same question.

What Does Your Cat Eat?

The first answer I received was that such a problem might have its cause in kitty’s diet. Certain types of food, such as those high in fish content or additives, might produce a more aromatic urine. If something has a potent smell going in, it becomes more likely to carry a strong scent going out.

Drinking Enough Water Is Essential

Cat water fountain

Another factor could be dehydration. If a cat does not drink enough water, the urine can become more concentrated, creating a stronger smell. Make sure your cat drinks enough water to help dilute the urine intensity.

It isn’t always easy to get a cat to drink enough water. I finally got a water fountain for my Mocha, as cats do like running water and they want it to be clean and pure. Mocha loves that fountain, and drinks from it every day. It provides a real hydration benefit.

If you give your kitty water in a dish designated for that purpose, make sure the dish is clean and change the water every day. Think of it this way: Is that water something you would be happy to drink? Keep it as fresh as you’d want it for yourself.

Could Kitty Have A Urinary Tract Infection?

Does your cat perhaps have a urinary tract infection (UTI)? This condition can cause a distinctive, often unpleasant odor in urine. If the smell is accompanied by such symptoms as an increased urgency to visit the box, consider a visit to the vet to rule out such a problem.

What About More Serious Health Problems?

More serious problems could cause that smell. Metabolic diseases such as diabetes or kidney issues can change the odor of urine. Consider the urinary smell as a possible early warning system of some more serious problem. A complete vet checkup now becomes necessary.

Cat in washer, saying "Iz not litter box? Oopsie..."

REMEMBER: If kitty’s urine has a consistent strong odor, it may be a reflection of a health issue that needs attention. A crucial part of keeping your cat healthy requires you to pay attention to what that litter box tells you.

What Are Indicators Of Abnormal Urine Odors?

Sometimes strong smells from your cat’s litter box might indicate a problem. However, if you notice an unexpected change in scent, it might be the first indicator that kitty needs attention.

Cat on back legs saying, "hurry n clean d'box! I gotta go

As you probably know, cats are notorious for hiding discomfort, so it’s up to you to remain vigilant and perhaps notice a problem based on urine odor changes alone. Pay attention to changes.

When Should You Consult Your Vet?

A healthy cat’s urine has a tendency for a mild ammonia smell. If the box starts to send off an unusually foul or pungent odor, perhaps kitty has a larger health issue. For example, as noted earlier, concentrated urine can suggest dehydration, while a sweet scent might indicate diabetes.

If the unusually strong odor lasts for more than a day, or if it keeps getting stronger, put in a call to your vet.

Other Changes That Must Be Addressed

Other signs to watch for besides smell include changes in urine color or frequency. Watch for signs of pain or difficulty urinating. These could indicate a urinary tract infection or even kidney stones.

It becomes crucial that you address the problem with your vet early on. Though if the smell has its cause in a disease that might be treatable, if you ignore the signs, the result could lead to more serious complications. The sooner the vet diagnoses the cause, the sooner you can help reduce kitty’s discomfort, and the faster the stinky box problem will be solved.

Cat looking in back of toilet, saying, "Der iz yur problem, sumodie filled it with water instead ov littur

Prevention And Solutions To Litter Box Problems

As a cat parent, it is your responsibility to see that your kitty’s environment is clean and healthy. First item on your to-do list for kitty involves making sure the litter box is clean. Giving that box regular care involves more than controlling odors. It’s also essential for your cat’s well-being.

Frequent Cleaning Is Mandatory

You must clean the box DAILY. Cleaning frequently prevents odor build-up and also helps you notice any changes in your cat’s urine right away.

Cats are fastidious creatures. Regular cleaning not only helps when controlling unpleasant odor, but it also makes your cat happier. He/she does not want to use a box that is dirty or filled with old waste. By avoiding this problem, you also help ensure that kitty won’t find someplace outside the box to do his business.

Not All Litters Are Created Equal

Tidy cat bag, speciallhy formulated to neutralize odors

Also, it matters what you use to fill the litter box. Some litters are known for odor-neutralizing qualities. Look for one of these. At the same time, make sure the litter does not include harsh chemicals that can upset your cat’s senses or health.

Watch For These Potential Problems

Are you keeping an eye on your cat’s water-drinking habits? As mentioned earlier, your cat needs plenty of water. Make sure kitty has easy access to fresh water. If the cat drinks enough, it will also help promote the dilution of urine, and thus help eliminate odor.

Open-topped box + one side open for holding litter box

As diet plays a crucial role, you can consult with your vet to find food that supports urinary health. In fact, depending on how they are formed, some foods will also provide help in reducing the odor of cat waste.

Have you selected an appropriate spot to locate the litter box? Stress becomes a factor that can affect your cat’s habits. The box needs a safe, quiet space for its location, away from loud noises. It should give kitty privacy, in a place away from high traffic areas.

Get Extra Help When Needed

Sometimes, though you do your best to solve the odor problem, you might need extra help. Consider trying a safe litter box additive, or ask your vet to recommend a deodorizer that you can use along with your cleaning routine.

Your vet can become helpful in solving many problems your kitty might have. Make sure to schedule regular check-ups to protect against the progression of potential urinary diseases. Remember that early detection becomes the best tool to ensure your cat remains healthy and happy.

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