Why Does My Cat’s Poop Stink? 

There may be many reasons for this problem. For instance, in kittens, it is often caused by the switch to new foods or acute inflammation caused by parasites. Yet, in adult cats, smelly feces appear because of dietary problems, diseases of the gastrointestinal tract, and inflammation/infection. In some cases, it might even be the result of intestinal cancer. 

Let’s observe the most common reasons:

  1. Diet. Some cat owners have a tendency to switch the pet’s food often and do this in the wrong way. Meanwhile, the feline intestinal system is very susceptible to each ingredient, and if you change the foods, often, it’s hard to define what exactly is causing the smell. You can find this out by eliminating questionable ingredients one by one for a week each. If your cat spends time outdoors and eats prey (mice, bugs, small reptiles), it’s not surprising that the poop might smell bad.
  2. Vitamin supplements. When given to a cat separately from the food, they also cause such an issue. There is a large amount of well-balanced meals, which allows eliminating supplements. 
  3. Bacteria. E.coli or Salmonella is the most common reason for inflammation and diarrhea.
  4. Parasites. They can cause gas, diarrhea, foul-smelling feces, and inflammation. 
  5. Anal gland inflammation. An infection of anal glands in pets may cause smelly and runny discharge that’s left around the cat’s litter box.
  6. Highprotein food. In this case, there is not much you can do except for trying food with a higher level of carbohydrates.
  7. Hormonal changes or medications. Sometimes, the use of pain-killers for cats and other medications impacting the hormonal level affect the natural chemical balance. If you have been using medications for quite long, it might lead to foul poop odor. 
  8. Spoiled food. If you leave wet food and kibbles for a long time, it’s not surprising that bacteria spread quickly. Smell it – probably, the reason is simpler than you think. So please, make sure you store your cat’s food the right way.

Types of cat food for smelly poop 

In fact, there are no specific brands producing cat food to reduce poop smell – you can find a suitable product by paying the utmost attention to the ingredients used. 

So, what are the types of cat food for foul smell available? 

  • Wet food is often available in the form of pate or morsels in gravy. The amount of moisture starts from 70%, which makes it suitable for cats that don’t drink enough water and suffer from constipation. It’s also the right choice for kittens and senior cats with weak teeth – the food does not require much chewing. However, it’s better to mix canned cat food with kibbles because alternatively you’ll need to use a toothpaste for gingivitis. Whenever you buy wet food, make sure it contains meat-sourced components only: guar gum and xanthan gum are not suitable for digestion.
  • Dry food is the most popular option. Good cat kibble is typically made of organic meat and might contain protein isolate, but it should NOT contain animal by-products and animal meal – those are questionable ingredients. 
  • Freeze-dried pieces of meat are usually mixed together with kibbles. They can be served defrosted or be prepared by adding some water. If your cat has problems eating dry food, seek this option – it might be pretty palatable.
  • Dehydrated cat food. Dehydrated food is not a synonym to freeze-dried options. It is a very high-quality type of food that can reduce smelly stools.

No matter which kind of food for less smelly poop you prefer, mind the contents. It should never contain artificial flavors and preservatives. Too many veggies and gluten-rich grains are also potentially harmful for the digestion – avoid them.

How to remove or lower the litter box odor?

Now when you know that your furry friend is not ill and does not have parasites, you might think that the problem of bad odor is solved forever. However, even if you give your pet the best cat food to control feces odor, the smell persists – it takes time for the digestive system to switch to the new products.  

How to reduce it? Here are some crucial steps to perform. 

1.Test the food

We have already provided the whole list of great products suitable for cats with a sensitive stomach. You should test it and define whether it works well for your pet. If your furry friend currently eats unhealthy food, suggest changing its diet.

2. Scoop cat litter every day

The best way to make the litter box less smelly is to eliminate the source of the odor – wet litter. Clean the cat’s litter box every day (better, twice a day). It will not only please your cat but your nose, as well. It’s better to use clumping litter for this purpose because it’s easier to remove. If your pet is prone to asthma, it’s better to use a low-dust litter. Do not forget to check for pee and poops outside the box – many cats like ‘marking’ their territory around it. 

Before you rush to switch to an automatic cat box, make sure your cat will like it. Many pets get scared of the loud sound when the automatic scooping is being performed. This fear might make the cat go somewhere else to do their business. 

3. Wash the litter box thoroughly

It’s recommended to wash the litter box once in a month if you use scooping cat litter. Do not forget about it. Scrubbing the dust and litter residues from the bottom will prevent the distribution of foul smell. If you use non-scooping cat litter, cleaning should be performed once a week.

Also, remember about protecting yourself. Wear gloves – it will prevent contact with pathogenic infections and bacteria. Use soap and water to clean the litter tray – there’s no need to use harsh chemicals because they won’t make it much cleaner. Instead, such hard detergents might provoke allergic reactions and inflammation in both people and pets. 

4. Replace the litter box once a year

Over time, the bottom of a litter box gets scratched by clawing and burying the waste. Inside these scratches, a lot of bacteria build up, so it makes sense to buy a new litter tray sometime after. Make sure it is big enough for a cat (it should be as long as the length of a cat from the tip of its nose to the top of its extended tail). To avoid scattering of litter, you can opt for a high-wall model, but one side of it should be lowered for a cat to get in and outside the box comfortably.

5. Keep the space ventilated

It means not only the toilet room (or wherever you place the litter box) but also the entire house and especially the space near the litter. If you use an enclosed litter box, make sure your cat likes it, but also ensure that it does not stink inside.

6. Use baking soda

If frequent cleaning and using cat food that reduces poop odor still does not help much, try adding baking soda: sprinkle it over the bottom of the litter box when you replace the filling. Baking soda will absorb the smell. However, it’s also an irritant for the cat’s lungs and nose, so don’t overdo. 

What else?

Here are a few professional recommendations I always give to my patients:

  • Use specialized litter boxes. There is a wide choice of closed boxes that prevent scattering of the filler and keep odors locked. If your cat is okay with such a solution and likes doing her business in privacy, it’s a perfect solution. You can also try a plastic cat litter box enclosure like what MeowSpace offers.
  • Use cat litter for odor control. Some manufacturers offer odorized litter that not only blocks the natural smell of pee and poop but also emits a slight pleasant fragrance.

Did you know? CatSpot litter absorbs four times more odors comparing to traditional products. Read our review of CatSpot litter to learn more.

  • Install automatic cat doors that only open when a cat needs to enter and exit the bathroom. That allows keeping the smell inside the room. 
  • Put enough cat litter. Sometimes, a thin litter layer of 1-2 inches is not enough to absorb all the smell and moisture. Follow the guidelines on the litter package and put enough filler in the box. Do not forget to add it when you remove clumped wet pieces of the litter. 

Is your cat covering the feces after doing your business? Not all cats have a well-developed instinct and habit of burying the poop, so train them if you notice that. Don’t know how to do it? Feel free to visit a veterinarian and get a professional consultation. Sometimes, teaching your cat to cover its feces makes a night-and-day difference in the cleanliness of the litter tray. 

But, first and foremost, you need to make sure that it’s really about cat food: low odor feces may often be caused by bacteria, infections, and parasites. So before you do any steps, you must take your cat to a vet and pass medical tests to exclude the risks. 

If you have several cats, you should have several litter boxes – each pet should have its corner where it can relax without being disturbed by other four-legged pals. It makes no sense to force them to use one litter box because they will be repelled by each other’s smell. 


Why does my cat’s pee smell so bad? 

It also may be caused by an infection of the urinary tract, bladder inflammation, and a bad diet. If the urine has a bright yellow or orange color, it means a cat does not drink enough. If your cat consumes enough water and does not take any vitamins and food supplements additionally, but the urine smells bad, you should take her to a vet. 

How do I stop my cat’s poop from smelling?

First, check whether it is healthy: exclude the risk of infections, bacteria, intestine inflammation, cancer, and other diseases by passing medical tests. Secondly, introduce a limited ingredient cat food (ideally, no grain cat food ). Do not forget to clean the litter box and the space around it regularly. Also, make sure you feed your pet fresh food only – watch the expiration date and throw away stale foods.

Is it normal that my cat’s poop stinks? 

It’s absolutely okay for cat poop to emit smell since it contains ammonia, sulfur, nitrogen, and other gases. However, if the smell is horrible, it signifies about intestinal problems and the whole range of potential health issues that have already been mentioned. 

Bottom Line

After all, our pets’ health boils down to what we feed them: their immune system, stomach, and intestine, growth, and well-being – it all depends on the type of food served. Not all cats have equally strong digestion, especially breed ones. Thus, you should take care of what is put in your pet’s bowl. Whenever you buy cat food, watch the contents, and pay attention to every component. 

Pretty often, grains, wheat, and soy cause foul smell because the cat is a carnivore creature, and its stomach is simply not created to digest such things. Rice, barley, potato, and peas are tolerated with alternating success. Thus, if you notice your cat experiences digestion problems with the current food, consider another option – its intestine will NOT get used to the components that are not tolerated. The situation might be worsened by allergic reactions, some of which reveal only a year after.

As a veterinarian, I recommend using limited ingredient food. It puts less load on the cat’s digestive system and reduces the poop smell. Do not buy cat food with artificial flavors and preservatives even if you are on a budget – such products may affect the natural chemical balance and lead to severe problems with digestion. Premium products without soy and chemical additives are just right for proper nutrition.

Also you might wonder how to get rid of unpleasant urine odor – please, read a guide by Jimmie O’Chutt!

Being a cat lover and a person who investigates products deep, Meredith spent 10 hours to collect the best chew toys for her own and your cats.

One Comment

  • Iosephka Palantini

    Hey Meredith!
    That Blue Buffalo recipe is the best cat food for smelly poop in deed! It helps us eliminate odor in our tiny apartment.

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