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How To Get Rid Of Cat Litter Smell In An Apartment

The smell of cat litter in a small apartment is disgusting and can have adverse effects on those living inside. Here’s a few tips to help you eliminate those unhealthy odors and how to keep the air in your apartment fresh and healthy.


The litter box is the main source of your problem

Your cats litter box is the main source of odor in your apartment. Depending on the number of cats and litter boxes you have, the amount of smell that emanates from that box can vary greatly. If you have one cat and one litter box, then that is a bit more manageable than say 5 cats and 5 litter boxes. If you do have that many cats, you will have to work that much hard to make sure those litter boxes are clean.

As a general rule, litter boxes should be cleansed once a month. Not necessarily for the cats sake, but for us humans to maintain our sanity. The smell of cat pee tells the cat, hey this is my place. My pee and my place and i’m happy. Humans on the other smell that pee and it goes right into our throat and lungs, potentially making us sick in the long term. Respiratory issues can arise from smelling cat urine for an extended period of time. Just because we love our cats does not mean we have to love their pee too. We need to find a happy medium that lets our cats have some ownership of their home that doesn’t sacrifice the health of our lungs.

So cleaning a litter box once a month is that happy medium. As for litter box cleaning, I go into much greater detail in this article, how to clean your cats litter box. Just know what once a month is a good time frame to help keep urine smells down to a minimum. If you live in a small apartment, this is especially true for you.

Your carpets are the next biggest source of odor culprits.

How many times does your cat puke up his guts all over your carpets. If you have hardwood floors this does not apply to you, lucky, but us carpet lovers know just how much cat puke is soaked up into our floors almost on a daily basis. We have 3 cats here so yes it is almost a daily ritual whether it be hairballs or just eating too much food way too fast, the amount of vomit that makes it to our carpets can be mind staggering.

And just like litter boxes, the only way to eliminate smells is to clean up any messes as soon as possible. Soak up as much liquid as possible with paper towels and throw them away. I like to spray a good amount of water and then pat dry the area with paper towels. Once dry I’ll sprinkle a dusting of baking soda to eliminate any stray odors. You can spray the area with a soapy mixture if you’d like but I find that unnecessary. In the past I have used Nature’s Miracle, but lately, I find the smell of the product itself can be very overwhelming. In fact, I’d probably prefer the smell of my cats hairball thank you very much. Spraying the area with water is more than enough

Once a month if you can rent a steam cleaner, or better yet buy yourself a pet steamer, and go over every inch of your carpet. These steamers are great at pulling out any residual dried up vomit you may have missed in your hand cleaning. They shoot down a heave stream of soapy water and then suck it back up. I highly recommend steaming your carpets once a month.

Of course the best solution would be to rip out all your carpets and install hardwood floors. Personally I hate hardwood floors and will always unapologetically love my carpet. If you’re like me and you must have your carpet, may I recommend a carpet product called Triexta. This synthetic material was sent from God himself with the purpose of giving us animal lovers the ability to have both our pets and our clean carpets. It is nearly impossible to stain or soil this stuff. But don’t take my word for it. Watch this video and see for yourself. This carpet was installed in some animal cages at a zoo for a month and the results will leave you speechless.

Your cat may be spraying on your walls or other places.

Cats spray for territorial reasons. Especially when other cats in the neighborhood come around encroaching on our cats territory. Be mindful of your cat and always keep an eye on him when possible. Be sure to look for discolored spots on walls or furniture where your cat may have sprayed. The spraying can leave a subtle musky scent that lingers in the background. You may not notice it at first but believe me, if he’s spraying it is there.

If you do find marks of spraying, wipe it down with some soapy water. Walls are much easier to wipe clean then carpet, so eliminating this potential source of odor should be much easier.

Check your furniture and clothes that may be laying around.

It’s probably not a good idea to leave clothes laying around because your cat may just decide that your pile over underwear is a really cool place to pee so just be warned. Cats also like to pee on couches, beds, blankets and other soft cushy areas if they aren’t happy with their litter box or are suffering from a medical issue, so try to pick up your loose clothes and not present a temptation for your cat.

As long as your cat is healthy and you’ve got enough proper sized litter boxes spread throughout the house, the possibilities of accidents happening should be minimized, but accidents do happen, which is why they are called accidents.

What are the best types of kitty litter to reduce odor?

Id’ stay away from clay based kitty litter because these products lead to upper respiratory issues in some people. It happened to me when I first started using these products. I’ve since switched to low dust, all natural corn based litter from Nature’s Miracle and have not had any issues since. They may not clump as well as clay based products, but who cares. My lungs are more important. There are so many litter products out there. Try to steer clear of those with unnatural scents or perfumes. Those too can cause lung issues. Natural based low dust non-clay products are your best bet. But feel free to experiment and see what you like best. What works for someone else may not work for you. I’ve seen countless reviews raving about how clay based kitty litters completely remove urine smells, but after going through the lung infections I did by breathing in that clay crap, I will NEVER go back to anything clay based.

Air out your apartment and use air purification systems.

Opening up a few windows and letting in some fresh air every now and then can do wonders for eliminating smells in a small apartment. Throw in an air purification system and some air pollution combating plants and it’s a win win for you.

Do black lights work for detecting cat urine?

I have used black lights to try and find cat pee. And yes while I have found every single vomit spot on the carpet that my cats have spewed for the last few years, it is hard to say what is fresh and what is years old. For me the black light was worthless. Everything glowed and I do mean everything and I was kind of grossed out. So save yourself some grossing out and skip the black light. You may never see your home in the same way again.

Which cleaning products should I use to eliminate odor?

Soap and water are your best bets. When removing cat urine from furniture or carpets, Nature’s Miracle enzyme products work good, but just be forewarned that the smell of the product itself can be overwhelming. Use it moderately. Don’t overdo it. I’ve read many reviews of people not being able to stomach the harsh chemical smell and yes I can personally say it is a harsh nauseating chemical smell when used in excess.

If your cat has pee’d on your carpet, pat the area dry with a paper towel, then lightly spray the area with Nature’s Miracle. Let sit for a day. Then come back and spray soap and water over the area. The enzymes in Nature’s Miracle will break down the molecules of the cat urine, destroying any odors.


Hopefully these tips will help you eliminate the cat litter smell and other odors in your small apartment. It may seem like a lot of work, and it is, but in the long run, eliminating these smells will have a positive effect on the health of you and your cat.

CoolKittyCondos is a cat lifestyle site dedicated to enhancing the physical and mental well being of our feline friends.

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