Is Scented Litter Bad For Cats?

scented litter bad for cat
(Last Updated On: April 10, 2023)

As a cat owner, you want to provide the best possible care for your furry friend. One of the most important aspects of cat care is providing a clean and comfortable litter box. However, with so many options available in the market, it can be overwhelming to choose the right type of litter for your cat. One common question that cat owners ask is whether scented litter is bad for cats.

While scented litter may seem like a good option to mask unpleasant odors, it is important to consider whether the added fragrance is safe for your cat. Cats have a highly sensitive sense of smell, and some scented litters may contain chemicals that can be harmful to their health. In this article, we will explore the potential risks of scented litter and whether it is a safe option for your feline friend.

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Understanding Scented Litter

Many cat owners wonder whether scented litter is bad for their pets. Scented litter is designed to mask unpleasant odors and provide a fresh scent in the litter box. However, some cats may find the added fragrance overwhelming and may refuse to use the litter box.

According to a study conducted by the Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery, scented litter may cause respiratory problems in cats. The study found that cats exposed to scented litter had a higher incidence of respiratory problems compared to those using unscented litter.

Some scented litters may contain harmful chemicals that can be harmful to cats. These chemicals may cause allergic reactions, skin irritation, and other health problems in cats. It is essential to read the label carefully before purchasing scented litter and avoid products that contain harsh chemicals.

While scented litter may help mask unpleasant odors, it is important to note that cats have a highly sensitive sense of smell. What may smell pleasant to us may be overwhelming to our feline friends. To ensure your cat’s comfort and well-being, it is recommended to use unscented, natural litter that is free from harsh chemicals and additives.

Is Scented Litter Bad For Cats? Potential Risks

Scented litter is a popular choice among cat owners. However, there are some potential risks associated with using scented litter for cats.

One of the main risks of scented litter is that it may contain harmful chemicals that can be harmful to your cat’s health. These chemicals can cause respiratory problems, skin irritation, and other health issues. Additionally, some scented litters may contain ingredients that are toxic to cats, such as essential oils.

Another potential risk of scented litter is that it may be too strong for your cat’s sensitive sense of smell. Cats have an extremely sensitive sense of smell, and strong scents can be overwhelming for them. This can cause stress and anxiety, which can lead to behavioral problems such as litter box avoidance.

Finally, scented litter may also mask the smell of your cat’s waste, making it difficult to monitor your cat’s health. Changes in your cat’s urine or feces can indicate underlying health issues, and it’s important to be able to detect these changes early on.

Overall, while scented litter may be appealing to cat owners, it’s important to be aware of the potential risks associated with its use. If you do choose to use scented litter, be sure to choose a high-quality product that is free of harmful chemicals and ingredients.

Alternatives to Scented Litter

If you’re concerned about the safety of scented litter for your cat, there are several alternatives you can consider. Here are some options:

  • Unscented litter: As the name suggests, this type of litter doesn’t contain any added fragrances. It’s a good option if you’re worried about your cat’s sensitivity to scents.
  • Natural litter: Made from materials like corn, wheat, and paper, natural litter is free from chemicals and additives. It’s also biodegradable and eco-friendly.
  • Clumping litter: This type of litter forms clumps when it comes into contact with moisture, making it easy to scoop and dispose of waste. Some clumping litters are unscented, while others may contain natural fragrances like pine or cedar.
  • Silica gel litter: Made from silica gel beads, this type of litter is highly absorbent and helps control odors. It’s also lightweight and long-lasting.

Ultimately, the type of litter you choose will depend on your cat’s preferences, as well as your own concerns about safety and convenience. It’s always a good idea to consult with your veterinarian if you’re unsure about which type of litter to use.


After conducting research on whether scented litter is bad for cats, the answer is not quite definitive. While many experts and pet parents argue against using scented cat litter, it is generally considered okay for cats. However, it is important to note that scented litter can trigger respiratory problems for cats with scent sensitivities and can also put them at risk for a variety of health complications.

On the other hand, unscented litter is more natural and effectively controls odors as long as you’re using a good brand. While scented litter does a great job minimizing the intensity of litter smells, some cats find the fragrances in the products too strong, leading them to avoid the litter box altogether.

Ultimately, the decision to use scented or unscented litter should be based on your cat’s individual needs and preferences. If your cat has a sensitive nose or respiratory issues, it may be best to stick with unscented litter. However, if your cat doesn’t seem to have any issues with scented litter and you prefer the added fragrance, then scented litter can be a suitable option.

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