Our family recently became cat owners when a very sweet, pregnant, half starving stray cat showed up on our doorstep. We live in a semi-rural neighborhood and so pets abandoned by their owners are unfortunately a regular occurrence.
Since getting Rita fixed wasn’t an option until her kittens were born and weaned, we tentatively prepared for a litter of kittens to invade our household.
While the kittens have been a boatload of fun over the past few months, they have also presented a challenge in the cleanliness department.
My husband has never been a fan of cat litter boxes, and so, any cat we have ever owned during our marriage had to be an outdoor pet. This worked well for our neighborhood which has little traffic and lots of space between homes and the road.
The kittens presented a different challenge, however, as we needed to train them to use a cat litter box properly if we were going to successfully get them adopted out to good homes.
As a result, enduring the inconvenience and smell of a cat litter box was something we were just going to have to deal with for a period of time.
Or, so we thought ….
When we first started the kittens on solid food, we used an organic kitten food that we had been feeding Mama Kitty. I realize that assembling a raw pet food diet would be the best way to go. But, the truth is, these kittens were surprise visitors in our household, and I quite frankly did not have the bandwidth to make raw kitten food in addition to all my other cooking duties (on a positive note, Mama Kitty and weaning babies do have all the raw grassfed milk they can lap up!).
So, I did what I thought was the next best thing and bought organic pet food.
Unfortunately, this choice resulted in a cat litter box just as stinky as if we had purchased the conventional, GMO pet food!
I was shocked and disappointed and started searching for a better and healthier option for our little feline family.
I was very delighted to come across a grain free kitten food (this is the one I tried) at the pet store, and decided to give it a try. Both Mama Kitty and kittens loved it and within 24 hours, voila, no more stinky cat litter box!
The difference was amazing and my husband was relieved! The grain free cat food is more expensive than the conventional cheap stuff, but the significantly reduced smell was definitely worth it. Not to mention the cats eat less because the food is healthier for them and more filling which results in smaller stools too.
Why would a grain free cat food make a difference to the smell of a cat litter box, you may ask?
The reason is that the #1 ingredient of most major pet foods is typically corn, wheat, or rice. This is problematic because cats are carnivores, not omnivores and feeding them grains, some of the most difficult plant matter to break down, is not optimal for their digestion. When animals eat food that is not easily digested and/or not designed for their biology, the result is stinky, overly large stools.
So if you struggle with the smell of a cat litter box despite efforts to keep it cleaned and changed on a regular basis, try switching over to a grain free cat food if making your own raw food for your pet isn’t an option.
Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist
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