Litter box blues – Why cat poop smells so bad
Your cat’s poop does not have to smell so bad. My cats’ poop odor is 50% less than it used to be and like 75% less than the average cat. How could that be? Well, I’m not fooling and your cats, too, can have poop that barely stinks at all.
There is nothing like the smell of cat poop. It’s BAAAAAD. If you’re like me, you keep your kitties inside where they are safe and sound. But, sometimes you’d like to let them live outside because of that stinking litter box. Many cat lovers have sent their cats to live outdoors because of litter box odor. And some people won’t even have cats because of the litter box. Here’s why I often don’t even know my cats have done their business in the litter box…….until I go looking for it.
A Species Appropriate Diet for Cats Does the Trick
Feeding cats a species appropriate diet — as close to their natural ways as possible — affords many benefits for you and your cat. One of them is much less stinky smelling poop. Virtually no odor at all. I feed my cats two meals per day–a raw meat meal and a super high quality grain-free canned food meal.
Why does this produce low odor poop?
First, let’s look at why dry food causes a high stink level:
- it is VERY processed: it is cooked at high heat levels destroying all naturally occurring enzymes and nutrients in the original substance (if there were any to begin with);
- many brands are loaded with undesirable, unhealthy, toxic ingredients that your cat’s system cannot fully utilize and digest;
- it is sprayed with vitamins to substitute what was destroyed by the heat;
- it is sprayed again with oils and flavorings (animal digest) to make it flavorful and appealing;
- many brands contain artificial colors and flavors–known carcinogens–the colors are to entice you, not your cat as they go by smell;
- you have to wonder about anything that has a really long shelf life that is not canned–toxic mold (aflatoxins) does grow on it, especially once the bag is opened;
- the dry kibble sits in their digestive tract for hours, basically putrifying. (Think: when your cat or dog vomits even a few hours later, the kibble is still in its kibble form.)
Canned food is far better for your pet’s health and well-being than dry kibble because of it’s moisture content, yet it is also cooked at high heat. Many typical brands (i.e., the lower cost ones) are loaded with undesirable, unhealthy ingredients like many dry kibble recipes, so these lower quality ones will still result in stinky poop.
Cats cannot digest the carbohydrates of grains found in most commercial pet foods (corn products, wheat, soy, rice, barley, oats). Corn, wheat, and soy especially can be the cause of skin problems — itchy skin with hot spots; dull, dry fur. So, you take all this super cooked food, basically dead food with no enzymes, and you get super stinky poop. Digestive enzymes are very beneficial for cats fed processed, cooked foods – both on a health level and a stink factor level. The best quality and priced digestive enzymes I have found with no fillers are the Dr. Goodpet brand. Using digestive enzymes will result in less poop odor and better quality fur and skin. They are a must for your cat’s health when feeding processed foods (canned or dry). These enzymes are virtually odorless and tasteless, so your cats should not even notice. You can order them here: Feline Digestive Enzymes
Cats can really benefit from fresh, raw food just like we benefit from fresh raw vegetables and fruits for their enzymes, nutrients and moisture. Fresh, raw meat is high in moisture content (muscle tissue has high water content). Cats’ short digestive tract is designed for fast movement of meat. Their bodies absorb more of this type of food than the highly processed dry kibble, so they also POOP LESS and they require less food because they feel satisfied. Dry kibble is like meat-flavored cereal with it’s high carbohydrate grain content. In the grain-free formulas, the grain has been replaced with vegetables like green peas and potatoes — high carbohydrates that again, your cat cannot use. So most cats will want to keep eating to feel nourished. They also can become carbohydrate addicts on dry food.
Preparing raw meat for your cat does take time. It’s empowering to take control of what you’re feeding your cat. Like the saying goes “good food takes time.” It is a labor of love. So maybe you’d like to try this raw meat thing. Even if you serve just one raw meat meal per day, and the other meal is dry kibble, the benefits for your cat’s health will significantly increase over feeding entirely dry food. And if raw is not your fancy (yet anyway), feeding canned once per day and dry once per day is a big improvement for your cat’s health over feeding only dry. Here is a breakdown of worst (1) to best (10) at two meals per day:
- All dry food – 1
- One meal dry and one meal canned – 4
- One meal dry and one meal raw meat – 5
- All canned food – 8
- One meal canned and one meal raw meat (this is what I do) – 9
- All raw meat – 10
When I was feeding raw meat to my cats once per day and dry once per day, the stink factor was reduced somewhat. When they were taken off dry food every day (down to only 4 meals per week were dry), the stink factor became really low. I also changed the dry brand to a better one with no meat meal and no grain. Their already beautiful soft shiny fur coats got even more luxurious and thicker, with LESS SHEDDING.
When I took them off all dry food and changed to the raw meat and grain-free canned food menu, this resulted in even less shedding and virtually no poop odor! My cats require little amounts of food because they are satisfied. This is because their protein comes from meat, not vegetable protein–corn, potatoes or peas.
For more information on dry versus canned and raw or cooked meat, grab a copy of my report, “5 Myths About Cat Food That Endanger Your Cat’s Health.” This is a must-read if you want optimum health and well-being for your cat and if you want your cat to thrive, rather than just survive. Get it here: 5 Myths.
Raw meat does require either ground bone and organs or supplementation to replace the organs and bone. Complete raw meat meals are available in refrigerators in natural pet health stores, Petco, and even some Wal-Marts and Targets. For instruction on making your own and for feeding canned or raw versus dry, below is a great resource written by a veterinarian, Dr. Lisa Pierson:
After I read her site and learned even more, I said “that’s it–no more dry food, not even 4 meals a week! As soon as the bag is finished, no more!” Dr. Pierson’s recipes include instructions for making a vitamin mix to add to the raw meat.
This is how you greatly reduce the stink in your cat’s litter box. Next time, we will look at the types of litter available besides clay or clumping clay. Did you know there are litters out there besides clay? The litter type plays a role in your cat’s health, the stink factor, your own health, and the impact on the environment.
Do you feed your cats only canned or fresh meat? What has been your experience in poop odor? I’d love to hear from you in the comments box below!