I just moved into a new place. Great bargain, great room, big balcony, safe area... but his cat smells so bad. I don't know what causes this. Maybe it's the litter, maybe it's the food. I searched online to see what would make the cat smell and one thing I read was how corn and grain products in cat food can make cats smell. My friend feeds his cat the Hill's Science Diet brand. I read the label at the back of the bag, and it had a lot of corn and grain ingredients in it. I think cats should be eating a more carnivorous diet, like meat and animal fat (not vegetable fat). I was thinking that maybe a cat will have less odorous feces if it had a more paleo diet, such as scrap meats (cooked if from conventional stores), occasional butter, and meats that have been in the freezer for months rather than store bought dry food. I can ask conventional, organic, and halal markets for their meat scraps.
The cat looks fine and doesn't seem to have any odd behavior, so I don't know how I would ask my roommate to consider giving his cat something else. It's his cat after all, and his money (for the cat food). I have not spoken to my new roommate about how his cat smells yet, and I think that should be only when I know him better.
But, I want to see what would happen if we switch the cat's diet onto something corn and wheat free. How should I go about doing this without bluntly stating, "your cat smells horrible"? Maybe my roommate will freak out at the idea of his cat eating saturated fat (butter) or thawed meat. Maybe he will think it's too expensive.
asked byPaleomofo (1453)
Get FREE instant access to our Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!
on May 09, 2012
at 04:23 AM
Science Diet is mostly worthless, as are most pet food brands that can be bought in major chains. Have you brought up eating Paleo with your roommate? All the same health benefits apply to dogs and cats as well really. So maybe you could bring it up from more of a being concerned about the health of their beloved pet standpoint rather than your cat stinks standpoint. Most of the cheaper brands also are more likely to cause health problems down the line (just like the SAD diet), just think about what felines would be eating in the wild. Certainly not corn or wheat. Paleo isn't just great for humans.
I work in a grooming shop that sells high quality pet foods and one of the types of food we sell is grain-free varieties (Nature's Variety Instinct brand has both cat and dog foods). One problem might be they are quite a bit more expensive and may be harder to find locally depending on where you live, but the ingredients are better quality than what most people eat (except maybe hardcore Paleo-ites), the meat used in most of the foods is even grass-fed. Due to the higher quality and not containing a bunch of pointless filler ingredients, however, higher quality grain-free pet foods should last longer (don't have to feed as much) and the amount of waste the pet produces will be reduced in addition to there being less bad smell.
Most people really love their pets and want them to be happy and healthy but are just unaware of how unhealthy most commercial pet foods are (there are really a lot of similarities between this and the human diet). I know that Nature's Variety is a good one that has grain-free cat foods as well, though there may be some other brands as well. I have personal experience feeding NV Instinct to my pets and will say that the benefits they claim are true. Your roommate could also try and feed their cat a diet of food they prepare themselves from whole foods, but I would recommend putting a lot of research into it to make sure the cat is getting everything it needs in it's diet to be healthy. With high quality grain-free kibble you can be assured all the nutrients and the right macronutrient ratio is there. Could always supplement kibble with some yummy homemade stuff.
Also keep in mind that your roommate probably can't even smell the stench anymore, once you live with a litterbox for a while you become acclimated and don't really notice anymore, it would probably happen to you after a while too, but that totally doesn't mean you should let it go. Every time you have people over that is what they will be smelling :/
Good luck!! :)
on May 09, 2012
at 01:28 PM
You may want to find out what is causing the smell with the cat, it's body or the litter. I've had 5 cats (3 currently), and have never been able to detect an actual body odour on them. The litter, however, can stink something fierce, with their ammonia-filled urine being the worse offender. Can you find out how often your roommate is emptying the litterbox? Some people get lazy with it and only empty it once it's overflowing. Once or twice a day should do the trick with one cat. Different litter substrates can make a difference too, clumping litter allows you to take out the urine 'clumps' as well as the feces. Sometimes the actual litter stinks too, 'worlds best litter' works really well but I can't stand the corny smell of it. Of course, The whole box of litter should be changed occasionally and washed out as well.
Is there a chance the cat was peed somewhere in the apartment? If it's a male un-neutered cat he may be spraying. Neutered cats will pee outside their box due to behavioural problems as well (and physical problems). I believe in feeding cats a high quality grain-free diet, but you might want to investigate these simple reasons for odour first.
If he does decide to do a raw diet, make sure you guys research it. Cats have specific amino acid needs, so you can't just feed them human food scraps exclusively. There are better quality kibbles out there if your roommate and the cat won't/don't want to transition to raw food.
on May 09, 2012
at 04:42 AM
I'm a vet tech and I hate all the "good" pet food. Costco sells a grain free cat food for 20 bucks for a 40 pound bag and blue buffalo makes a grain free called wilderness but they are pricy. Cats are carnivore and need a very high protein diet.
on May 09, 2012
at 02:46 PM
This website by veternarian Lisa Pierson is by far the best I have found for diet-related health issues in cats.
Cats are obligate carnivores with a low thirst drive, so cats need both a low carb/grain-free/meat-based diet and they need to eat it raw or in a canned commercial formula. Feeding cats dry food -- even grain-free -- is just as bad as feeding them corn and soy-based diets. Cats need to consume plenty of liquid with their food for optimal health -- just like they would consume if they were eating prey they caught themselves.
Keeping these two things in mind - canned and low carb/grain-free -- you can actually find some inexpensive good cat foods that are close to optimal. My cats eat a canned store brand variety from my local grocery store which is grain-free/low carb/canned and it's really cheap.
One common health issue in cats that causes a really over-the-top foul litter box smell is feline diabetes because the sugar in the urine causes an overload of bacterial growth in the litter box. Really nasty. If this is the problem the cat needs to be seen by a vet.
on May 09, 2012
at 08:23 PM
If the cat's eating kibble, that's part of the problem. And while kibble is cheap and convenient, it's really bad for the cat for all the reasons previously mentioned.
There have been a lot of good options offered here already, and if your roommate is willing to consider those, great.
But if he's not? If he thinks they're all too expensive or too much trouble? The cat can still benefit tremendously by shifting over to an all-wet diet, even if it's just Friskies from the supermarket.
Is that optimal? No. Friskies is pretty much "lips and assholes," as my mother calls it, and it does contain a small amount of white rice. But, compared to grain-based kibble (or, IMO, any kibble at all), it is at least a huge step in the right direction.
And I say this as someone who lives with a truly stupid, ridiculous number of cats. I shifted them all over to a wet diet after one was diagnosed with kidney disease three years ago, and have seen a big improvement in even the presumed "healthy" ones. The chubby cats slimmed down, the skinny cat bulked up (and stopped yanking hair out of his belly), the chronic vomiter stopped puking everywhere, the cat who pooped pure, liquid Kryptonite now just makes normal, stinky poops.
And yeah, they all eat Friskies, which I guess makes me a bad cat mom. But with the number of cats I have on hand (including two old guys on prescription food for kidney disease), and the fact that I am not made of money, it's the best I can do right now. As the number of cats declines and my finances improve, I'll provide better options.
I do give them raw pasture-raised chicken wings to gnaw on, which helps keep their teeth clean, but only a few of the cats even know what to do with them--the others either ignore them or bat them around the kitchen floor. The one cat with perfect teeth is 12 years old, an ardent rat hunter, and he's the only one of the bunch who eats his prey, including the bones--and that fact isn't lost on me. He's my Paleokitty! And I'd love for the other cats to at least be Paleo-ish. But for now, at least they're on the "Catkins" diet, which is a huge improvement over what they were getting. And I can live with that.
on May 09, 2012
at 02:28 PM
I switched my cat to grain-free food (Wellness, available at Whole Foods and some pet supply stores) a few months back. I didn't notice any change in her smell or the smell of her urine/feces. She's always smelled fine, but her litter box can definitely stink up the apartment. I agree with all the comments by equanimity. Some people can get lazy about litter box maintenance and acclimate to chronic stink. In addition, some cats aren't very adept at covering their feces. My own cat is, I believe, a genius in various domains. However, she manages to fling litter everywhere except on top of her poo. I use pine litter, which smells pretty good when you first fill the box, but doesn't contain odor that well. To augment it, I add a layer of baking soda to the bottom of the box to absorb moisture/odor. You might suggest your roommate give that a try.