Why Does My Cat Litter Smell Like Ammonia?

If you have a cat, you may have noticed that their litter box can sometimes have an unpleasant ammonia smell. Modkat Says ”Breathing in cat urine can actually make you sick. Cat pee is full of ammonia, a toxic gas that can cause headaches, trigger asthma attacks.” This can be concerning for cat owners, as it may indicate an issue with their pet’s health or hygiene.

Cat Litter Smells Like Ammonia
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In this blog post, we will discuss the possible causes of cat litter smelling like ammonia and how to get rid of the smell.

We will also answer some frequently asked questions about this issue and provide a conclusion with some tips for keeping your cat’s litter box fresh and clean.

Possible Causes of Cat Litter Smelling Like Ammonia

There are several possible reasons why cat litter may smell like ammonia. Some of the most common causes include:

  • Urine concentrated with waste products: Cat urine naturally contains ammonia, but if the litter box is not cleaned regularly, the urine can become concentrated and emit a strong ammonia smell.
  • Poor quality litter: Some types of litter may be more prone to producing an ammonia smell due to their chemical makeup or lack of absorbency. It is important to use a high-quality litter that is specifically designed to reduce odors and absorb moisture effectively.
Ammonia in Cat Litter
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  • Medical Issue: In some cases, the strong ammonia smell in cat litter may be indicative of a medical issue such as a urinary tract infection or kidney disease, which can cause changes in a cat’s urine. If you suspect that your feline companion may be suffering from a medical issue, it is essential to seek the advice of a veterinarian for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment.

How to Get Rid of Ammonia Smell in Cat Litter?

As per Catvet The feline kidneys have evolved an exceptional capacity to concentrate urine, a mechanism that has helped wild/feral cats survive in harsh desert.” If you are noticing an ammonia smell in your cat’s litter box, there are some steps you can take to get rid of the smell and keep your pet’s litter box fresh and clean. These include:

  • Clean the litter box regularly:It is essential to clean the litter box daily to avoid the buildup of urine and fecal matter. Doing so will help keep your pet’s environment clean and hygienic, ensuring their health and wellbeing. Furthermore, regular cleaning of the litter box will help reduce unpleasant odors and keep your home smelling fresh.
Ammonia Smell in Cat Litter
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  • Use high-quality litter: As mentioned earlier, using a high-quality litter that is specifically designed to reduce odors and absorb moisture effectively can help reduce the ammonia smell in your cat’s litter box.
  • Change the litter frequently: Depending on the size of your cat’s litter box and the number of cats you have, you may need to change the litter more frequently to prevent the build-up of odors.
  • Scoop the litter regularly: Regularly scooping the litter can help remove solid waste and prevent the build-up of odors.


Is it normal for cat litter to smell like ammonia?

It is not uncommon for cat litter to have a slight ammonia smell, especially if it has not been cleaned recently. However, if the smell is strong and persistent, it may indicate an issue with the litter or your cat’s health.

Can the ammonia smell in cat litter be harmful to humans?

In most instances, the ammonia smell emanating from cat litter is not hazardous to humans. Nevertheless, if the odor is particularly pungent and you are sensitive to smells, it may cause uneasiness or irritation.

Can the ammonia smell in cat litter affect my cat’s health?

If your cat’s litter box has a strong ammonia smell, it could be an indication of a medical issue that could harm your cat’s health, so you should talk to a vet if you think there may be something wrong.


An ammonia smell in your cat’s litter can be unpleasant and potentially indicative of an underlying health issue. By understanding the possible causes and taking steps to prevent the buildup of ammonia, you can keep your cat’s litter box clean and hygienic.

Regular cleaning, using a different type of litter, checking your cat’s urine pH, and monitoring their water intake are all ways to help get rid of an ammonia smell in your cat’s litter.


  1. Litter ammonia losses amplified by higher airflow rates. (2012, December). Retrieved December 1, 2022, from https://doi.org/10.3382/japr.2011-00468
  2. High litter moisture content suppresses litter ammonia volatilization. (2011, July 1). Retrieved December 26, 2022, from https://doi.org/10.3382/ps.2010-01114
  3. Cliff, M. A. (2021, May 1). Physical and Sensory Characteristics of Cat Litter. https://www.academia.edu/47838139/Physical_and_Sensory_Characteristics_of_Cat_Litter

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