Are you wondering why your Litter-Robot is smelling?
It’s natural to be frustrated when keeping your cat’s toilet smell-free turns out to be such a complicated matter.
Fortunately, I’m here to talk all about the possible reasons why your Litter-Robot is smelling and give you a couple of smart tips to reduce odors.
Just keep reading.
This post contains affiliate links, and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.
10 Reasons Why Your Litter-Robot Is Smelling
Do you know how much cats hate the smell of dirty toilet boxes? Most cats are so picky they will never use a smelly spot as a bathroom, which can become a huge problem.
Moreover, a study states, “Decreasing litter box odor may be an important treatment component in addressing feline inappropriate elimination.” (1)
As such, it’s vital to address the issue of your Litter-Robot smelling bad as soon as possible. Otherwise, your cat might find alternative bathroom spots around the house!
So, why is your Litter-Robot smelling?
From my experience, your Litter-Robot shouldn’t smell as long as you’re cleaning the drawer regularly. But litter type, diet, and not changing the carbon filter can all contribute to bad odors.
To help you solve the issue, let’s talk in detail about all these reasons.
#1 Wrong Type of Litter
Cheap quality litter is one of the most common reasons why your Litter-Robot is smelling. If the brand can’t absorb moisture well, it won’t lock in the odor, and the bad smell will spread.
Moreover, since low-quality brands don’t have sufficient clumping power, it’s more challenging to use the self-cleaning function and get all the mess inside the waste drawer.
Think about it!
The sifting system works to remove the hard-formed clumps during the clean cycle. If the lumps are soft, the wet mess will get all over the unit’s walls and increase the foul odor.
In general, the best litter for Litter Robot is a high-quality, clumping brand with a low-dust, low-track formula and no artificial scents or ingredients.
You don’t have to have to pick a clay-based brand. Many non-clay cat litter brands work well with an automatic self-cleaning litter box as long as they have sufficient clumping power.
I don’t recommend using scented clumping litter since it can increase the urine smell. Moreover, not all cats like scented brands and might avoid the toilet box if it smells strange.Get access to premium support, automatic accessories deliveries, free robot upgrades, and more for $29/month at iRobot.com! Sign up now and receive a up to $100 off your Activation Fee!
ALSO CHECK: Litter Robot 3 vs Connect
#2 Skipping Deep Cleaning the Unit
Most cat owners assume that getting Litter-Robot III Open Air or another similar self-cleaning unit will make keeping the litter box clean a piece of cake.
However, while automatic cat toilet boxes save you time when it comes to scooping, they require a little bit more maintenance than a standard litter box.
In these types of automatic cat toilets, it’s easy for stinky litter particles to accumulate on the inside. And if you don’t get rid of them, the entire unit will stink.
And as one Reddit shares, “It’s possible there is something somewhere that you can’t get to without taking it apart.” (2)
As such, it’s necessary to take apart your self-cleaning cat toilet and deep clean it with water and soft detergent at least once a month.
For households with multiple cats, it’s necessary to wash and clean the unit at least every two weeks to remove all cat feces and urine traces.
Check this video for a demonstration of how to clean the unit well.
#3 Not Washing the Waster Drawer
It’s not enough to wash the self-cleaning box’s globe to remove all traces of bad odors. You also have to clean the waster drawer as well.
Some owners forget about this step because of the waste drawer liners. While the best liners are very convenient for emptying the toilet, they aren’t enough for odor control.
For once, bad smells can soak through the liner’s layer, even with the best cat liners, and stinky up the whole drawer in a couple of weeks.
Moreover, small litter particles remain on the bottom of the drawer when you’re changing the liners. They’ll accumulate over time, leading to unpleasant odors.
As such, you should wash the waste drawer at least once a month if you have a single cat. For multiple cats, it’s better to wipe it down at least every two weeks.
#4 Forgetting about the Carbon Filter
Do you know what the purpose of the carbon filter is? It absorbs odors, bacteria, and moisture from the waste drawer, preventing mold growth and odor from spreading through the house.
However, the carbon strip is effective for a limited time. Once it gets too dirty, it won’t keep all unpleasant odors at bay.
So, if you haven’t changed the carbon strip, it can explain why your Litter-Robot is smelling bad.
In general, you should get a new filter every three to four months. (3)
However, depending on how many cats you have and how frequently they use their toilet, you should replace the filters more often.
#5 Damaged Base Seals
If you’re having problems with your Litter-Robot, you should check the base seals. These brush-type seals fill the gap between the globe part and the drawer to reduce odor leakage.
However, these base seals wear flat and lose their sealing properties in time. As a result, you may notice that your unit is smelling worse than before.
Most automatic litter box owners recommend that you check the seals frequently and replace them as soon as you notice any peeling or excess odors.
Fortunately, you can replace the sealing stripes by yourself if you purchase replacement seal strips or a seal kit with replacement carbon filters.
Check this video for a demonstration of how to do it.
#6 Your Cat’s Diet Is To Blame
Some cats have stinkier poop than others, which can explain why some automatic litter boxes smell worse than others.
In these cases, you have to discover why your cat’s poop is so stinky to reduce the odor leakage. Usually, diet is the main culprit:
- Eating cheap quality cat food can make your cat poop stinky because these brands are full of artificial ingredients that cause digestive inflammation.
- Some cats are sensitive to certain product ingredients, such as grains or proteins, leading to a foul smell from the feces.
- A high-protein diet also causes your cat’s stools to stink, especially if your cat catches live mice and birds. Wild animals carry various parasites and bacteria that can upset your cat’s digestion.
- A sudden change in your cat’s diet can also produce stinky poop since your cat’s digestive system needs time to adapt.
Switch to a high-quality cat food brand or low-protein cat food and wait a couple of weeks to see if it will make a difference.
#7 Your Cat is Ill
Cats have anal glands, producing an extremely foul-smelling discharge when infected or blocked. (4) And this discharge can get all over your Litter-Robot when your cat uses the bathroom.
As such, it doesn’t hurt to have your vet check your cat’s anal glands to rule out a medical condition if you keep having odor problems.
Moreover, hormonal changes and medication can also change your cat’s bathroom habits and lead to excess odor when using the toilet.
#8 You’re Not Using the Right Cleaning Products
Think about how you’re washing your automatic cat toilet box. It’s not enough to clean it with hot water because it won’t get rid of the smell of cat urine, and it will build up in time:
- Use antibacterial detergent to dissolve any urine residue and remove lingering odors.
- Get a soft bottle brush to clean the globe thoroughly and remove any stuck clumps and feces.
- Submerge the cat waste drawer in water with a pet-safe cleaning agent or a few drops of chlorine.
- Dry the parts well with a paper towel before assembling the unit and turning it on.
#9 Technical Issues
If you’ve ruled everything else, you should consider technical issues. While most Litter-Robot customer reviews are positive, some do mention strong and unpleasant smells in new units.
I recommend that you contact customer support before your warranty is up. They can give you specific recommendations on what to check to ensure the unit is working as it should.
Keep in mind that some cats and kittens are too light to trigger the weight sensor, which means the machine won’t start the cleaning cycle.
As such, you may have to turn on the clean cycle manually to prevent the accumulation of unpleasant litter odor.
#10 Your Cat Is Spraying
Cats spray urine to mark their territory and ward off any potential intruders. Urine marking is also a form of communication expressing stress, discomfort, or pain.
Intact males have the strongest smelling urine because they’re trying to attract females and scare other tomcats from their territory.
But despite common beliefs, fixed male and female cats can spray.
So, it’s worth checking if your cat isn’t spraying the wall or the surface of the automatic litter box, explaining the bad smell. Then you’ll have to deal with the spraying cat to reduce the odors.
5 Tips on How to Deal with a Litter-Robot That Smells
Are you still having problems with your Litter-Robot smelling bad? Then I’ve got a couple of tricks up my sleeve to help you keep the litter box smell at bay.
#1 Keep an Eye on the Sensors
The best way to prevent your Litter-Robot from getting smelly is to empty the drawer frequently. In this way, unpleasant odors won’t have time to accumulate.
Usually, you need to dispose of the trash once a week, but you can do it more often if you have multiple cats or notice that the sensor is blinking.
#2 Use Baking Soda
Baking soda is a great tool in your fight with bad cat odors. It can neutralize cat urine/ feces and prevent the growth of odor-causing bacteria inside the waste drawer.
All you have to do is sprinkle some baking soda on the fresh litter to minimize odors. You can use a vinegar and baking powder solution to scrub the waster drawer.
#3 Try Scented Liner Bags
Don’t worry. If your automatic cat litter box is stinking, try lining the drawer with scented liner bags. You don’t have to buy anything expensive – thrash bags are an excellent cheap solution.
Usually, lavender garbage bags work very well because they don’t absorb odors, and the lavender fragrance will cover any foul aromas.
#4 Consider OdorTrap
OdorTrap uses innovative technology with natural oils to attract and bind odor molecules. Then it neutralizes odors through a chemical reaction.
The great thing about OdorTrap is that you can use it on automatic and traditional litter boxes, and it’s easy to attach.
#5 Get an Air Purifier
An air purifier with a HEPA filter and active charcoal/carbon can do wonders for controlling cat odors around the house, especially in a multi-cat household.
These filters are also great for trapping cat dander and reducing allergens in the air.
#6 Give Your Cat Time to Adjust
Have you checked whether your cat hasn’t found an alternative bathroom spot around the house because it’s scared of the automatic toilet box?
You need to give your feline time to adjust and train your cat to use the automatic box to reduce your pet’s anxiety and stress.
#7 Switch to a Litter Brand with Charcoal
Some litter brands have added charcoal or baking soda for extra odor control. Switching to such a brand can help reduce any left-over cat smells around the house.
Why Your Litter-Robot Is Smelling: FAQs
Litter-Robot is a great alternative to traditional toilet boxes and can make all the difference when you’re tired of scooping clumps all day long.
However, you have to clean it on a regular basis to prevent the spread of bad odors and pay attention to the carbon filters and base seals.
What do you think about these 10 reasons why your Litter-Robot is smelling? Do you have issues with unpleasant smells? Share your thoughts in the comment section.
- 1. COTTAM N, DODMAN N. Effect of an odor eliminator on feline litter box behavior. Journal of Feline Medicine & Surgery. 2007;9:44–50.
- 2. DJeezuz. HELP Litter robot stinks no matter what I do! . 2020 . Available from: https://www.reddit.com/r/litterrobot/comments/eu9arr/help_litter_robot_stinks_no_matter_what_i_do/
- 3. Litter-Robot Support Community . support-litter-robot.force.com. . Available from: https://support-litter-robot.force.com/s/article/How-often-should-I-change-the-carbon-filters-in-the-waste-drawer?language=en_US
- 4. Robinson KM. Anal Sac Problems in Cats . WebMD. Available from: https://pets.webmd.com/cats/anal-sac-problems-cats
- 5. Contributors WE. Urine Marking in Cats . WebMD. Available from: https://pets.webmd.com/cats/guide/cat-spraying
I’ve grown up surrounded by animals – dogs, cats, cows, goats, sheep, and horses and that has shaped me into what I am today – a crazy cat lady who always has a place for one more cat (or a dog). I’ve got two female cats – Kitty and Roni, and two tomcats – Blacky and Shaggy, but I also feed my neighbors’ cats when they come for a visit. I just can’t say no to them.
I discovered that writing is my vocation early in my school years. Since then I’ve taken part in several literature contests – writing horror and fantasy short stories and novellas.
For the past three years, I’ve been an ELS teacher, pouring my heart into showing children and teenagers how important English is for their future and trying to educate them how to treat their pets with care.
Learn more about Grigorina here