Scented or Unscented Litter? What Is Best?

Do you prefer scented or unscented litter?  Does it really make any difference which one we use? Does it make a difference to the cat? Does it make a difference to us?

Cats have a far keener sense of smell than we do, so it should come as no surprise that cats are sensitive to smells and that includes scented litter. Did you know that cats have a more developed sense of smell than some dogs?

What is best for the cat is an unscented litter.  In the litter stakes an unscented litter wins hands down for the cat.

This quote from Dr. Lisa A Pierson at Cat Info explains the situation clearly from the cat's viewpoint.

Humans seem to forget that a cat’s sense of smell is infinitely more sensitive than our own. Add to this the instinctive nature of the cat to be clean and it is easy to see how a dirty litter box often spells disaster.

Think about how a wild cat would handle his bathroom duties. He would not be confined to a 1’ x 2’ bathroom. He would not choose to walk around in his own waste. He would simply choose another plot of land and that “plot of land” could be behind your sofa or in another area of your home.

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scented or Unscented Litter?

The reason for buying scented litter is not too complicated, we want our homes to smell nice. A cat litter box needs to be kept scrupulously clean to avoid being smelly and even then it is unrealistic to expect that there may not sometimes be an odor.

However, when using a scented litter, sometimes the artificial smell of the litter combined with cat pee is not that flash, sort of a double whammy. If you are already using a scented litter and you and your cat are happy with that, that’s perfectly fine.

Is Unscented Litter Really Odorless?

In  regard to cat litter unscented really means that there has been no added fragrance.  There will just about always be a slight odor depending on what the litter is made from.  The smell of the cat litter will be a natural smell for example, if it has a base of pine, corn, walnut, clay, wood pulp and so on. It is only any added artificial fragrance that is added that creates what is often called a fresh scent for us humans.

unscented or scented litter

My nose in on high alert!

Which Unscented Litter Is The Best?

An unscented clumping litter ticks all the boxes with the added bonus being that clumping litters are easier to scoop.

Litter box problems are common, and cats will avoid the litter box altogether sometimes. Just as a smelly, dirty litter box will put the cat off using the box, one that is overly fragranced may do the same thing. The last thing you want to do is deter the cat from using the litter box.  That brings another set of problems. The easiest and best option is to use unscented cat litter.

We recommend... 

Dr Elsey's Precious Cat Ultra Clumping Cat Litter

Why do we recommend this litter? Because it is unscented and it is a clumping litter so two big ticks there.  It is unscented, so there is no artificial fragrance, plus this litter clumps extremely well.  

Litter that clumps well makes it easier to pick up kitty poop and the quicker the kitty poop is gone the quicker we can return to our normal odor free state.

Now I know you can't be standing over that litter box all day, ready to pounce, but when it is time for you to scoop it will be easy peasy. It doesn't mean the smell has disappeared but that it will be easy to do a quick clean up job.

It is a low dust litter, even when pouring it into the litter box, and as an added bonus it has very little tracking.  

No wonder it is so popular and the price per ounce is pretty darn good.

How To Keep The Litter Box Smelling OK Using Unscented Litter

I can't tolerate some artificial fragrances, even with my not really working nose, so the answer is simple - unscented litter.

1.

The solution to keeping the box smelling okay is in large part due to regular scooping so that any odors are minimized.

2.

Change the litter often. Your nose will be the judge of this or else just set up a regular cleaning the litter box schedule.

3.

Try putting some baking soda in the bottom of the box. Did you know that it is also a method of controlling refrigerator odors - just leave an open box in the fridge. Toss the baking soda when it has absorbed the fridge odors. I have done this many times and it works.

4.

Baking soda will not affect your cat in any way. Sprinkle generously into the box when adding litter.

5.

Give the litter tray a good clean when needed and remember to give it a good rinse to get rid of any residual product and fragrance from the cleaning agent.

6.

Think about replacing the litter box. As with other plastic products about the home, eventually we have to trade them in (read as ditch) and buy new ones.

7.

Consider using a litter liner.  It  make it easier to empty the litter and do a quick clean up job is needed. Some liners have elastic around he edge. Liners without elastic can have a tendency to fall back into the box when the cat is scratching about.

More choices For Unscented Cat Litter

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Additional Reading 

Choosing the right cat litter can be a nightmare with so many choices.  Very basically keep it simple, unscented and clumping. There is some additional reading here which may help you to make a choice. 

Scented Cat Litter Reviews

Scented cat litter is very much a personal preference.  

Odor Control Litter

Cat litter odor can be controlled without artificial fragrances.

scented or unscented cat litter