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My new cat stinks in every way possible!
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My new cat stinks in every way possible!

I adopted the absolute sweetest and most loving cat last month from the local animal shelter. My family and I love him to death, especially my two boys, ages 7 and 22 months. He's an orange and white male tabby, and I've been told he's probably half, or at least part, mang coon because he has six toes on each foot and he's about 20 lbs, or close to it, I'd guess.
But there is one thing about him that is just horrible. He STINKS.
We didn't really notice it until about a week into living with him--probably because we gave him a bath the first night I brought him home because he smelled terrible, but I attributed that to being at the shelter for I don't know how long and then spending a night at the vet to get neutered. After the bath, he smelled wonderful for another week.
However, I think the main issue of his stench source is his poop. Oh. my. gosh.
His poop!
I'm seriously in awe that the paint on the walls is not peeling off yet or my birds, who reside in the room with the litter box (which is unfortunately our living room because we have a tiny house with no basement or outdoor-type room attached, so the only place to put the litter box is in our living room), have not keeled over and died from the noxious cat poop vapors that permiate every fiber of that room when he dumps a load.
It's not that none of us can't take a mild odor of a litter box--we have another cat (female and about half the size of the new cat) who has never once come close to smelling this bad.
I've tried looking online for solutions, or maybe a problem with the cat, only to find advice on two issues: either change the food (in which most complaints came from people who fed their cats cheap food with meat by-products and corn, canned wet food, fish, and/or gave their cat milk), or change the litter brand and clean the litter box twice or more a week. Well, our cats eat dry cat food (turkey and chicken for sensitive stomachs) with no meat by-products or corn ingredients, no fish, no wet food, and we don't give them milk.
We have a covered litter box that we clean every other day now that we have the new cat because his stink is enough to make you literally gag once he uses the litter box. And when we clean the litter box, I don't mean that we scoop it out and keep the old litter--no, every time we clean it, it's a complete dump of the litter and replaced with new litter because the used litter is actually ruined from his stink and does not cover up his odor at all. So every two days--new litter. It's the clay, non-clumping litter that I've decided to go with because the clumping litter costs more and yes, we tried the clumping litter for multiple cats that's got the baking soda in it and whatnot--and found it covers the odor no better or worse than the cheaper clay litter.
He is attempting to bury his waste after going, but he's SO big that he barely fits in the litter box, so he does his business, then comes out, then only gets back into the litter box with his front half to bury his stuff with his front feet. In doing this, he makes a mess of nasty litter outside the litter box because then the door flap isn't keeping the litter from being flung out since he's standing under it. We are using the biggest litter box I could find, and he still barely fits in it.
Now, I've noticed after he uses the litter box that his stench is so unbelieveably, overwhelmingly strong that it's like it's "stuck" on him. His feet smell like his poop, and he's NOT stepping in it, I'm pretty sure. Then he wants to crawl in our laps for cuddles or curl up in our bed. I have honestly nearly barfed many times from his poopy smell being so overpowering once he gets close to me.
He seems 100% healthy--I mean, upon adopting him and having him go to the vet for neutering, he had a wellness exam and all his shots and de-worming. He has an appetite that's as big as he is and he drinks probably 12 ounces of water a day, so there is nothing about him that appears unhealthy that I can tell. He seems very happy in his new home.
I just don't know what to do about the smell! I'm desperate for some kind of solution. Is this just a male cat thing? I had a male cat years ago, and a few cats between then and now (all female), and I've NEVER smelled a stench from a cat like what comes from this guy--not even from any cat that a friend or family member owns.
Did I just get "lucky" enough to get the world's sweetest and best cat, with his one downside being comparable with a skunk's stench?
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hi and welcome to our forum..little stinker sounds like an otherwise beautiful

I hope we can help to allow the paint to remain on the walls......

I will give you a few suggestions. #1 it is VERY likely that his anal glands are plugged. have a Vet check this, its an easy manipulation to fix. this does cause very stinky poops.

#2. I prefer wet canned food.....esp for a male who can easily get FLUTD from dry foods esp if not drinking enough water..dry foods have only 10% moisture where wet has 78%.
but whatever canned or wet be very sure the food is GRAIN FREE....grains aren't good for cats, they can't digest them and this can cause 'gas'
two excellent varieties are Wellness and EVO. but there are others. I will give you a link to a site...look on the right hand side of her article for further links to 'commercial foods' this Vet gives a listing of all the best foods available on the market.

#3. get rid of the lid on the litter box...too confining for him and the odor.
use an open box and be sure to sift the residue out at least once a day. with the closed in tight box, he probably is stepping on it.

but I really think the anal glands and grain free food will solve your sure to let us know. and best of luck-)
Thank you! I will call the vet and see about getting his anal glands expressed. Another person I was talking to about this earlier mentioned the same thing about the anal glands.
I have been feeding them premium cat food, but I'll implement some wet food into their diet as well. He doesn't seem to have an issue with not getting enough water; he drinks a lot of water. We have to refill the water dish every morning, whereas before we got him, our little cat went through a dish of water maybe every day and a half to two days.
I don't think taking the lid off the litter box is an option right now though. With it being in the living room, and having a toddler...I just don't see that being a good combination. I wish we had somewhere else in the house to put the litter box--a more private place--but the only other options are the kitchen and bedrooms. I've tried getting it into the bathroom, but the space is too small. We have a REALLY small house.

The vet is definitely going to be my priority this weekend, though. I am desperate, lol. I have never in my life smelled anything like the smell he has, and I've encountered some pretty nasty smells--not to mention, some of even the nastiest smells don't trigger my gag reflex. But boy oh boy, this new cat has thrown me one stinky curve ball on this matter, lol.
Good evening;

All of our girls have been big, over 15# (except April Dancer who was about 6 - 7 pounds); current 4 average 17#...luckily we have a 3-bedroom, 2-bath house with basement...7 litter boxes, which we scoop every day.

That being said, we use one of the scent-free, multi-cat formula litters, plus we bought the biggest scratch boxes we could find.  3 of the pans are covered and have slitted grilles in the top for charcoal air filters.

Anita and I will also give the litter a shot with one of the enzymatic pet stain sprays when either of us scoops the poop and pee, which seems to help keep down the smell.

From your description, it reads like a second pan is not an option.  My hope is you are able to get a bigger place due to increase prosperity for your family.  We have always found that having one more pan that you have cats helps...

As for the other concerns, our Queen Victoria had impacted anal glands and one of her symptoms was horrible odor, both her and her stools.  This was hard, as she was my bed-time buddy.  Vet "expressed" the impaction and Victoria healed nicely.

Advice on adding wet food is good, too.  All our girls have eaten dry on their own in self-feeders, but look forward to splitting a can 4-ways twice a day.  As for which food, every cat I've ever had has done very well on the old standbys, Purina and Friskies.

If you look at a predator's natural diet (which kitties are), they go for the soft tissue before muscle other words, the by-products.  Take that for what it's worth...look for balance.

Take care and let us know how the big guy is doing.

You and your husband are champs for giving him a new home.
Hi AHP84.  I can totally relate to what you're saying as Jade had the same problem when we first met her.  She smelled so bad, I would wash my hands after touching her.  She smelled like poo and her breath was rotten.  We don't believe her anal glands were the problem however, that is a first thought when it comes to males and I will be hopeful that is the problem with your kitty and once expressed, he'll smell much better.  

Another thing that was wrong with Jade and contributing to her *stench* was her rotten teeth.  You might have the vet take a look at your kitty's teeth while there and consider a cleaning.  Even though she eventually had extractions, just the cleaning alone the first time did wonders for her breath and I mean, a major difference.  Over the span of the last 4yrs, I believe at least 9 of Jade's teeth have been pulled along with one fang that was abscessed, and now her breath is wonderful.  

She was also being fed something that looked like round cheese balls - not good -  so a healthier diet on a schedule helped overall, as well.  I won't elaborate since Opus has given you great advice on diet already.  Jade did have a bout with crystals - a condition much more prevalent in males so as Opus said, if you can get him on all wet food, will save you alot of money in the end...and pain for kitty.  

Good luck at the vet, AH.  We look forward to your update.  Here's to a sweeter smelling kitty and last but not least, congrats on your new addition to the family :)  
Well, I'm at a loss. (I forgot to mention that my new cat's name is Beckett, by the way).
I got his anal glands expressed on Saturday, and the stench of his poop has not improved. We have also discovered that he is in fact not burying it--he's not stepping in it, but he's not burying it either. We are changing the cat box every other day. It's getting unbearable to even be in our living room anymore just from the lingering smell, even after the box is cleaned, and there is nowhere else to put the litter box.
We have noticed that he eats a lot, as I mentioned in my original post. I am sure he's put on weight since we brought him home last month. Compared to our other cat, he gorges. I got him the wet food this weekend too, and he gorged on that--stopped about ¾ of the way through eating the little can, dumped in the litter box--then came back to finish the rest of it, lol. Guess he had the extra room afterwards.
I think he might do better being fed once a day, but I don't know how easy that would be because our other cat, Sybil, free feeds and has never gorged or become overweight. In fact, she seems to have lost a little weight since we brought him home, although it still looks like she's eating the same amount and as often as she ate before. So now it seems we've got a predicament of needing to put a couple of pounds on Sybil and take about 3-4 lbs off Beckett.
But the litter box and stinky poo issue is our biggest concern, so I really don't know what to think now. For as healthy and happy as he seems, and as active as he is (he loves to play), could something be wrong with his gut? His breath does not smell bad at all, by the way...and his teeth are very white and his mouth looks clear.
We are seriously considering doing toilet training for the cats at this point. The stench the litter box is leaving to a room that is literally a quarter of the space of our home is intolerable. I'm embarrassed to even open our front door (which is in the living room) for a guest to come into our home because even when you walk in the door, the smell hits you like a truck right in the nose, and it's SO bad that at times, you can actually taste it.
I adore this cat and think the world of him, but I never in my wildest dreams imagined that a cat would be capable of making such loathesome stench. At least with toilet training, the smell can get flushed away and we can turn on the fan in the bathroom. We have no ventilation in the living room, not even a ceiling fan.
Moving into a bigger home won't be an option for us for another 2-3 years.

Please, any other suggestions that can help this matter would be greatly appreciated. I am on my knees begging and holding my nose with watery eyes and trying to hold back gagging.
Oh thats terrible, I was hoping the anal sac expression would do the trick for the name btw

the only other suggestions I can make to you is it could well be a parasite..coccidia in particular can cause smelly poo's. you don't need to take him back to the Vet to test for this just bring in a stool sample..

another thought is diet. you did say you just changed to wet food (great) but does the food still have grains? many cats can't tolerate grains...

there is something not right with his 'gut' either the parasites or a food intolerance of some sort....what is he eating?
They eat the Authority cat food from Petsmart, the turkey flavor called Sensitive Solutions (for sensitive stomachs).

Here is the ingredients list:

Ingredients: Turkey, Turkey Meal, Brewers Rice, Oat Groats, Salmon Meal, Poultry Fat (Preserved with mixed Tocopherols), Natural Flavor, Rice Flour, Dried Beet Pulp, Dried Egg Product, Fructooligosaccharides, Potassium Chloride, Vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, L-Ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate, Niacin, Vitamin A Supplement, Thiamin Mononitrate, D-Calcium Pantothenate, Vitamin D3 supplement, Riboflavin, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Folic acid, Biotin, Vitamin B12 Supplement), Choline Chloride, Minerals (Zinc Sulfate, Ferrous Sulfate, Copper Sulfate, Manganese Sulfate, Calcium Iodate, Sodium Selenite), Taurine.

Guaranteed Analysis:

Crude Protein (not less than) 33.0%
Crude Fat (not less than) 12.0%
Crude Fat (not more than) 15.0%
Crude Fiber (not more than) 5.0%
Moisture (not more than) 10.0%
Ash (not more than) 6.5%
Linoleic Acid (not less than) 2.0%
Calcium (not less than) 0.95%
Phosphorus (not less than) 0.85%
Magnesium (not more than) 0.1%
Zinc (not less than) 225 mg/kg
Selenium (not less than) 0.2 mg/kg
Vitamin A (not less than) 25,000 IU/kg
Vitamin E (not less than) 250 IU/kg
Taurine (not less than) 0.15%
Omega-3 Fatty Acids (not less than) 2.8%*
Omega-6 Fatty Acids (not less than) 0.15%*
Carnitine (not less than) 100 mg/kg*

He is eating the same brand of wet food.
I'm not sure if I missed it, but you haven't changed foods just added canned and they are both a good brand, correct?   If you have, sorry, you can ignore the rest.  :)

What about trying a food that didn't have turkey in it or not for sensitive stomachs?  When Lucy was little we couldn't give her anything with beef in it- she had HORRIBLE gas and the sensitive stomach food still makes her vomit, more than the non-sensitive stuff.  
well I'm not familiar with that brand however it does have turkey as the top ingredient and not a by-product. and oats is the only grain I see listed. there are some things like dried beet pulp and dried eggs that maynot be beneficial. also the poultry fat.
It wouldn't hurt to try another grain free brand that isn't poultry...they aren't easy to come by b/c most foods have poultry or poultry base to them, and thats why many cats become sensitive to this overtime. there could be just one ingredient in that brand that is upsetting his gut...??

I will give you a site, read on the right hand side under 'commercial can foods' and this Vet lists all the good/best brands out there, she is very knowledgeable about nutrition.

sorry I really don't have other suggestions for you. since its a digestive issue its likely either the food or a parasite, since its wasn't the anal glands those two are the only other alternatives that I can think of.....

I have two other thoughts you should try.....first of all plastic absorbs odor maybe buy a new box OR scrub the one you have real good with soap and water solution (never bleach or anything harsh)....than sprinkle a bit of baking soda on the bottom before you add fresh litter.
are you completely changing the litter every few weeks...dump out the old and adding new?
I do this this every month and rotate boxes so I always have 2 clean and fresh and the 2 in use(2cats)....
All these comments are great. Definitely have a stool sample taken in to check for parasites. One more thought, try having him checked for diabetes if he reallly is drinking alot of water.
hope your cat is doing well i just got a cat 1 year ago ,it said on his pappers that he was a tabby cat male but 3 people told me he was a main coon because they have a m on there forhead!  but my cat has the sam problem as you,i have tryed every thing you have too and hes a male named floyd 3 years old,he crys for food all the time i have some helth isuess and i have a self feeder in case im in hospital! and he likes wet food he crys for it and my other cat is the same age 3 tabby cat,and eats treats,floyd dont and other cat likes only kitten chow thats in self feeder! wow floyds poop stinks i got to cover my face with a blanket, because its so bad and they are in the next room ,where there litter boxes are,im lost dont know what to do and hes about 20 lbs he was in a house with 72 other cats i was told when i got him at the shelter! if you are any one can help im open 2 try new things but i did alot,at first i thought he was eatin fast because he was in a house with 72 other cats and they all looked alike at the shelter big and hairy and gray! the lady left them in a house and the where not found for months before i adoped him alot passed away most:( thanks for reading this!
good for you for rescuing Floyd from this horrible existence....are you asking why his poop is so smelly?
is he eating canned fish by any chance? that can produce very smelly poops. also since he is male I would have a Vet examine his anal glands..they can become plugged(impacted) and need to be expressed manually....this is just a slight procedure but I strongly recommend it be done by a Vet, smelly poops are a very good indication of this....
Late to the party, but for a giant cat that won't fit even in the super-sized litter boxes, buy a cheap sterlite "tucker tote" and cut a big square out of the front. The size will let them fit and turn around, and the hight sides will keep the litter in from vigorous digging. You could also put the lid on, and then it would be closed but still have room for Gigantor to do their business.
One final idea for anyone else looking this up because their cat has the same problem, is that sometimes a cat who "holds" his poop a long time can get this awful poop that smells like old, sour cigar smoke crossed with mothballs.  It means the stool has sat a bit too long in the intestine, like, an extra day.  One thing that helped a cat we had that would get this, is when we increased his fiber with a fiber supplement.  Things moved through more quickly and didn't get that ossified smell.  
Have u had him checked for worms? Tat contributes to smelly poop. Use a spray called halo. It kills litter smells n disinfects 99% of litter germs. Do it everytime u scoop out his soiled stuff. Add a mouthwash like biotene additive to his drinking water.that will cut down on his bad breath. N u may wan to light an incense cone after he poops. It burns down in 20 min n its a cheap way to kill yucky smells.
thx for the suggestions....however, I sure don't advocate using a spray of any kind in or near the litter box...that will kill the smell sure, but will also contribute to 'allergies' for your kitty...(skin erosion's/sores) and please also no biotene or any other additive to his water..have your read the ingredients? maybe safe for human consumption but likely not for cats....esp if it contains alcohol for one...
incense too is a huge allergan...sorry knocking down all your suggestions...but we need to be very careful what we feed or use around cats..remember their respiratory systems are at a minimum 10X smaller than ours..and I KNOW incense to cause many reactions in humans...

for odor control...try a hepa filter or room filter of some sort..avoid any sprays or 'cover up' type of solution.
Hi blondie,

Just thought your idea about the sterlite container was a brilliant idea. Can't imagine a cat being so  big a extra large litter box would not fit them. Maine Coons are very large though, and if he is part Maine Coon, well I guess that is what makes him pretty large.
Well I think I missed the party entirely, but if you are still reading and looking for solutions May I ask a few questions?

What is the consistency of his stools -are they well formed , hard or runny?
What is contained IN the stool? Stools should not contain mucous, blood or undigested food.
What color are his stools--they should be a brown color only
The following is taken from a feline medical book:
ODOR: (The more watery the stool the greater the odor)
Food-like or smelling like sour milk-suggests both incomplete digestion and inadequate absorption.

Putrid smelling --suggests an intestinal infection.

Considering both of these conditions are something that should be taken care of by your vet. Your vet should be the one giving you the answers to this problem. That is what we pay them for.

Blondie 44 had a great suggestion about the plastic containers.

If I might suggest , would it be possible to put HIS box in the tub in the bathroom. I have a girlfriend with 6 cats and she fills her extra bathroom tub with litter. You just need to place his box in it until your family needs to use it.

Is he long hair like a Mane Coon? If so be sure to clip the fur around the anus, and his paws. This could be trapping some lingering stool.

Is there any way you could put his box outside in a cage. It would be great if you could put the box in the cage in front of a doggie door. Then he could just slip out and do his thing, and your little girl could have her own box.

Provided this is cleared with your vet: Perhaps he can prescribe a specific wet food for Bekcett He drinks a lot because he dedicates a lot . He is replacing the fluid he is losing in his stools, and dry food needs plenty of water for digestion breakdown.

This book also suggest 3 small meals a day instead of one large one. He should have his own food separate from your little girl. She may be losing weight because she is intimidated by Beckett near the food bowl.
A good food to try is Naturesl Balance limited ingredients (LID) Duck or Venison wet food. That is what I had to switch my cat to, because of allergies.

All in all Beckett is telling you something with his smelly stools--something else may be going on internally that needs to be checked out. Please check with you Vet for answers.

Good Luck and orange tabby's have the best disposition of all the domestics. They are a joy. so please don't give up on him.
Do we know what happened with the OP's Floyd??
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