Chyrle Bonk, DVM

Dr. Chyrle Bonk has been practicing veterinary medicine since 2010. She lives in Idaho with her husband and two sons, where they spend their free time exploring the great outdoors that is right in their backyard.

Can Cats Eat Spinach? What Will It do to them?

A wooden bowl full of spinach leaves that is on top of a wooden surface. There are also spinach leaves around the bowl on the table.

Spinach is a common food found on healthy eaters’ plates, but does it have a place in your cat’s food bowl? Spinach isn’t toxic to our feline friends and can provide many health benefits. However, spinach isn’t food meant for every cat and should be given with caution to cats with specific health concerns.

What are Possible Issues With Feeding Cats Spinach?

With all of the positive nutrition that spinach can provide to cats, it’s hard to think that there may be a downside. The truth is, spinach can be very detrimental to cats with urinary tract issues

The main problem with feeding spinach to cats with previous urinary tract complications is that spinach contains calcium oxalate, one of the main culprits behind certain types of urinary stones formed in the feline bladder. The treatment for these stones is almost always surgery. If left untreated, they can lead to chronic urinary irritation and frequent bladder infections.

Another issue with cats eating spinach is getting too much fiber. Fiber can effectively relieve and prevent constipation, but too much of it can lead to diarrhea and abdominal discomfort.

How to Feed Your Cat Spinach

Unless your cat has a history of urinary tract issues, the occasional spinach treat will be alright. Also, don’t worry if your cat raids your salad plate and grabs a few tasty leaves. Giving small amounts of spinach is okay for the short term.

What you don’t want to do is try to make spinach a large part of your cat’s regular diet. After all, a cat’s digestive tract is perfectly honed to digest a high protein, primarily meat diet. It’s simply not made to digest a lot of greenery. With this in mind, keep the spinach content to under 10% of their daily food or only give it as an every-once-in-awhile treat to tide them over until the next meal.

Feeding spinach in larger amounts for the long-term is where cats can run into issues. If your kitty has previously had kidney or urinary tract problems, it’s best to steer clear of spinach. Also, if your cat is enjoying their senior years, spinach might not be the best option. That being said, the amounts of spinach present in commercial cat foods differ, and your cat may or may not be able to handle it there. Ask your veterinarian if you are concerned about spinach in your cat food.

What Are the Benefits of Spinach for Cats?

Spinach is a nutrition-packed superfood for humans, and in cats, it’s no different. Many commercial cat foods use spinach to provide necessary nutrients to hungry kitties. Some of those nutrients include:

  • Vitamins and Minerals: Spinach is packed with vitamins A, E, C, and K, as well as many of the B vitamins. It also provides magnesium, calcium, and potassium, things your kitty uses every day.
  • Fiber: The fiber content in spinach can help keep your cat’s digestive system in check. Fiber is important in preventing constipation and helping your cat feel full in between meals. However, large quantities of spinach can turn your cat’s digestion the other way and cause diarrhea, but this usually only happens in amounts that your cat won’t willingly eat.
  • Low Calories: With high fiber and water content, spinach doesn’t have much room left for calories. This becomes especially important in the majority of our domestic cats. They don’t need additional calories making spinach an excellent food choice.
  • Omega Fatty Acids: While not in the amount you would get from fish oil or flaxseed, spinach has enough omega fatty acids to help reduce inflammation and help promote a healthy hair coat and skin.
  • Others: On top of all of the above, spinach also contains lutein and zeaxanthin for healthy vision and nitrates to promote blood flow. This goes a long way in preventing heart disease. It has some anti-cancer properties and antioxidants to help prevent and repair cellular damage.

Final Thoughts

Spinach is known as a human superfood, and it can act that way for cats as well. Feeding your cat small amounts of spinach can provide a nutrient punch that will help combat many health issues. However, spinach should not be a regular food for cats with urinary tract issues or given in large enough amounts to cause digestive problems. Still in question as to whether or how much spinach your cat can have? Speak to your veterinarian.

Can Cats Eat Pistachios? Will it kill them?

A wooden bowl that is filled with shelled pistachios that is resting on a wooden serving tray. There is a wooden scoop in the bowl of pistachios and some loose pistachios scattered around the bowl and on the table.

As with most nuts, pistachios aren’t toxic to cats. But that doesn’t mean they should be a part of their regular diet. While they offer many health benefits to humans and are tasty to boot, they are NOT a great treat for your cat.

Why Your Cat Shouldn’t Have Pistachios

Pistachios shouldn’t be part of your cat’s regular diet. Too many pistachios can cause some real problems.

  • Digestive Upset: The high-fat content in pistachios, and other nuts, can send your cat’s digestive system for a loop. After eating pistachios, your cat may experience vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. Most of the time, these signs will only last for a day or two and require a little nursing care to get them feeling better. However, see your veterinarian if their digestive issues last longer than a couple of days or are severe.
  • Obstructions: Pistachios are the perfect size where some cats will try to eat them whole without chewing. Eating too many whole pistachios (with or without the shell) can lead to obstructions in the stomach or intestine. Most of the time, these obstructions will need to be removed with surgery.
  • Flavorings: You can rarely find pistachios that haven’t been flavored. Most of the time, they’re coated in salt, garlic, onion, or other seasonings. While these additional flavorings make them finger-licking good, they can be toxic to cats. Garlic and onion top the list of no-no’s for cats, and too much salt can also lead to severe problems.

Can Cats Eat Pistachios Found in Other Foods?

Pistachios are often included in other desserts and salads to boost their protein and flavor. Since they’re found in smaller quantities in these recipes, many cat parents may assume they’re safe. However, the pistachios are often not the problem here; it’s all the other ingredients.

Some common examples:

  • Pistachio Pudding: A main component of pudding is milk, and even though a saucer of milk is the iconic food for cats, it’s not favorable. Most cats are lactose intolerant. Not only that, but pudding contains a lot of sugar that can have messy digestive consequences for your kitty.
  • Pistachio Ice Cream: Like pudding, the milk and sugar in ice cream aren’t good for your kitty, let alone the pistachios.
  • Snack Bars, Granola, and Other Products: Again, the other ingredients in these products are as or more problematic than pistachios. Products that are high in sugar or fats will not do your cat any favors.

What Should I Do If My Cat Eats a Pistachio?

If your cat happens to eat a shelled pistachio here and there, it’s usually no big deal. Just monitor them for a couple of days for vomiting and diarrhea. 

However, if your cat gets into your stash and consumes several pistachios in one sitting, a veterinary visit may be in order. Eating high amounts of fat can lead to a potentially serious condition called pancreatitis that requires veterinary care. Also, severe digestive upset can require veterinary care.

Health Benefits of Pistachios for Humans

Pistachios are packed with healthy unsaturated fats. These fats are important for reducing inflammation, improving heart health, and maintaining healthy cholesterol and blood sugar levels. They also contain minerals, potassium, and are high in fiber. On top of that, pistachios are a source of antioxidants and protein. They make great human snacks because they provide all of these nutrients and help keep you feeling full longer, preventing you from overeating.

You’re probably thinking, why wouldn’t pistachios make a great treat for your cat with all these health benefits? 

A cat’s digestive system just isn’t designed to digest things like nuts, whole grains, etc. They are made to eat meat. So, even though pistachios are packed with healthy nutrition, a cat can’t reap the benefits as well as humans can. Feeding a cat nuts, such as pistachios, can actually cause digestive upset.

Final Thoughts

If you’re looking for a healthy snack for your feline friend, take a pass on the pistachios. While the occasional pistachio treat usually won’t hurt them, this isn’t a food you’ll want to give them for the long run. Instead, look for one of the many other healthy snack options out there for your cat.

Can Cats Eat Olives? What Will happen if they do?

A wooden spoon resting on a wooden surface. There are green and black olives in the spoon, with other olives, peppercorns, and a sprig of rosemary around the spoon.

Besides being a tasty topping for pizza or a salad, olives by themselves make a great snack for us humans. But should your feline friend be privy to this black or green fruit? Olives are not considered toxic to cats, but they’re not considered an everyday treat either. Should olives become a part of your cat’s diet? Read on to find out.

Possible Issues With Feeding Cats Olives

Besides not providing your kitty any real nutrients, eating olives in large amounts may be dangerous. 

Immature olives are green and either ripen to black or stay green. Sometimes olives may be harvested green and cured in a salt brine to remove the bitter taste. This adds a lot of sodium, making them a risk for cats with heart or kidney disease. Eating too much sodium can also lead to sodium toxicity, which can be severe if left untreated.

Olives are also high in fat. In humans, that fat is used to produce the very healthy dietary staple of the Mediterranean diet, olive oil. Olive oil carries many benefits, such as decreased inflammation, heart health, and anti-cancer properties. However, in cats, too much fat or oil can lead to an upset stomach.

Cats fed high amounts of olives may experience diarrhea, vomiting, and abdominal cramps for a couple of days following consumption. If this is your cat’s first taste of olives, keep the amount small and monitor for these negative effects to help you decide if further olive snacking is in their future.

Along with those downsides to giving your cat olives, there is always the chance that they may choke. Olives happen to be the right size where a cat might consider eating them whole or with minimal chewing. And since they’re a fairly firm fruit, they may become lodged in the esophagus, creating discomfort and possibly even an emergency trip to the vet. Always supervise your kitty when eating olives and consider chopping them into more manageable pieces. 

How to Give Your Cat Olives

If you’ve decided to give olives to your cat, keep a few things in mind:

  1. First of all, always run it by your vet first. This will help ensure that your cat isn’t at risk for kidney or heart disease that might be further exacerbated by a high sodium snack like olives.
  2. Keep the portion size small. We’re talking less than one olive once or twice a week. This will not only reduce the amount of sodium that your kitty is eating, but it will also help ensure that they aren’t getting a fat overload that could send the digestive tract for a messy loop. On top of all that, giving less than one olive per treat session will cut the risk of choking down significantly since it will be a more bite-sized portion.
  3. Stick with plain olives. Even though the hole in olives left when removing the pit invites for stuffing with pepper, cream cheese, or hummus, it’s best to leave that out of your feline friend’s olive snacks. Seasonings like garlic and onion, found in some olive fillings are toxic to cats, and of course, they don’t need the extra fats and calories that these tasty additives contain.
  4. Always monitor your cat for adverse reactions after eating olives. This can be choking or digestive issues. If your kitty shows any problems after eating olives, it’s best to find a different treat the next time they come begging.

The Benefits of Olives for Cats

Olives are a stone fruit (fruits with a pit, or “stone” in the middle) like lychee, cherries, peaches, and mangos. All of these fruits are packed with health benefits for humans, including:

  • Antioxidants like vitamin E to boost the immune system and repair cellular damage
  • Iron, copper, and calcium
  • Oleic acid for anti-inflammatory effects, helps the heart, and may fight cancer and osteoporosis

However, cats don’t get many of these benefits from eating olives, other than a pleasing taste and even a little bit of a high. Olives, especially green ones, contain a similar compound to nepetalactone, the enticing oil found in catnip. This may make your kitty do their happy dance anytime you open a can of olives.

Final Thoughts

Whether due to the pleasing taste or the euphoric feeling, your cat may crave olives and beg for them anytime they’re available. However, olives shouldn’t be considered a main part of their diet and should only be given in minimal amounts infrequently. This is to prevent excessive sodium consumption, digestive upset, and even weight gain. Give your kitty olive treats only under supervision.

The Best Cheap Cat Food: Four Cat Food Picks Under $25

A Gray Scottish Fold cat eating cat food in an orange bowl on a table

We all want our feline friends to be strong, happy, and live long lives. One of the best ways to ensure this is with a high-quality, healthy diet. The problem is that sometimes those high-quality diets carry a price tag that is beyond our means. Fortunately, there are some cheaper cat food options available to us. I’ll cover the best four cat foods under $25 for a 16-pound bag so that you can nourish your cat without deflating your wallet.

1. Best Overall: Purina ONE Tender Selects Blend With Real Chicken or Salmon

Purina ONE Tender Selects Blend Adult Dry Cat Food
Real Salmon/Chicken Is The #1 Ingredient.
Contains no artificial preservatives, flavors, or fillers.
100% Complete And Balanced Nutrition For Adult Cats.

This Purina ONE cat food is an excellent choice because the first ingredient is real chicken or salmon and no artificial flavors or preservatives. 

This provides a high-quality source of protein. It contains 34% protein and 13% fat. This will fuel your kitty through any activity, no matter how hyperactive or laid-back they are, without significantly contributing to obesity.

Purina ONE Tender Selects is also a veterinary formulated product that provides all essential nutrients, including omega fatty acids for a healthy haircoat and skin and taurine for heart health. It also features uniquely shaped kibble that promotes healthy, clean teeth and gums. There are also “bonus” pieces, where the name tender selects comes from, that are meatier, softer texture chunks.

As with any cat food, some cats won’t be interested. This could be due to a flavor or texture issue. Unfortunately for some cats, because this product from Purina ONE contains chicken, it can cause issues for cats with food allergies. However, there is also a salmon version flavor if chicken is a problem for your cat.

Pros

  • Real chicken/salmon as the first ingredient
  • Added omega fatty acids 
  • High protein content
  • No artificial flavors or preservatives

Cons

  • Some cats won’t like it
  • Can affect cats with food allergies related to chicken (for chicken recipe)

2. Runner Up: IAMS Proactive Health Healthy Adult Original With Chicken/Salmon

Iams Proactive Health Adult Dry Cat Food (Chicken & Salmon Recipes)
100% complete and balanced nutrition with 0% fillers.
Real chicken or salmon is the #1 ingredient.
Maintains healthy digestion with natural fiber and prebiotics.

Another great option for those on a budget is IAMS Proactive Health Healthy Adult cat food made with chicken as the first ingredient. Real chicken, plus chicken by-product meal, contributes to this food’s 32% protein content. It’s a little higher in fat, at 15%, making it more ideal for active or younger kitties than the more sedentary types.

To round it out, IAM Proactive Health Healthy Adult also packs in omega fatty acids for a healthy haircoat and skin, prebiotics and fiber to balance the gut for healthy digestion. Fiber also contributes to a cat’s feeling of fullness after a meal, reducing the amount that they eat (and beg). Other varieties, including urinary tract health and indoor formula, are available if your kitty has other specific needs.

This product does contain chicken and corn, which could create issues for cats with digestive sensitivities or allergies (salmon recipe also is available). Some pet owners also have issues with their cats not liking the taste or texture. Quality control can also be an issue, especially with larger batches and depending on the supplier. Just be sure to always inspect your cat’s food before feeding it to them to make sure there is no mold or bugs.

Pros

  • Real chicken as the first ingredient
  • Fiber and prebiotics for healthy digestion
  • Omega fatty acids to improve haircoat and skin

Cons

  • Quality issues with some bags containing mold
  • Contains chicken and corn
  • Some cats don’t like it

3. Best for Active Cats: Kirkland Signature Chicken & Rice

Kirkland Signature Chicken and Rice Cat Food
Probiotics & prebiotics help support healthy digestive and immune systems.
Kibble size is optimized for your cat and helps keep their teeth clean.
Made using fresh chicken and is the #1 ingredient.

If your cat doesn’t have an “off” button, Kirkland Signature Chicken & Rice is for them. This less expensive food contains chicken and chicken meal as the first ingredients. It also contains 20% fat, which helps to fuel those “go-at-all-costs” kinds of cats. Along with that high fat, there is also an adequate 30% protein to help maintain muscle mass and tone. This food would also be a good choice for outdoor cats.

Human-grade, cultured probiotics are another key ingredient in this food from Kirkland Signature. Along with prebiotic fiber, probiotics help to create and maintain a healthy microbiome for optimal digestion. Your cat may also benefit from the added omega fatty acids and antioxidants for a healthy haircoat, skin, and immune system.

Switching to new cat foods can cause digestive upset in some cats. This food is no different. Some cats may experience diarrhea, vomiting, and smelly stools when switching to this food. That’s why it’s essential to gradually transition your cat to any new food to allow their digestive system time to acclimate. Also, some cats may just not like this food. Kirkland Signature is only available through Costco, which requires a membership for purchase. You can check out this product on their website here: Kirkland Signature Chicken & Rice

Pros

  • High in fat for active or outdoor cats
  • Real chicken as the first ingredient
  • Probiotics and prebiotics for healthy digestion

Cons

  • May cause diarrhea and vomiting at first
  • Some cats don’t like it
  • Requires a Costco membership

4. Best Cheap Canned Food: Fancy Feast Creamy Delights

Purina Fancy Feast Adult Canned Wet Cat Food
100% complete and balanced for adult cats.
Easily digestible.
Comes in many recipes and flavors.

For a softer cat food variety to use as a mix-in, Fancy Feast Creamy Delights will give your kitty a protein boost along with a great taste, all at a low cost. This variety pack contains four different flavors to appease even picky tastebuds and to provide much-needed fluids. Meat and liver are the first ingredients to provide a high-protein meal.

There is also a variety of textures in this canned cat food. Some flavors provide a soft pate-style food, while the other is chunks of meat in gravy. All varieties are highly digestible and easily chewed for cats with sensitive stomachs or dental issues.

Since this is a variety pack with different flavors and textures, there is a chance that some cats won’t like all four flavors. However, that can be easily fixed by buying single flavors of Fancy Feast Creamy Delights. This product also contains a small amount of milk, which can be an issue for cats with allergies or lactose intolerance.

Pros

  • High protein
  • Easily digestible
  • Contains meat in the first two ingredients

Cons

  • Some cats won’t like it
  • Contains milk
  • Won’t help clean teeth like dry kibble

Cheap Cat Food Buying Guide

A woman’s hand can be seen opening up a can of cat food while a grey cat with black stripes looks on.

There is a difference in the quality of cat foods out there on the market. Usually, that difference comes with a price variation, with higher-priced foods generally being considered better. That isn’t always the case, and that doesn’t mean that lower-priced cat foods can’t still work for your cat.

What is the Difference Between Expensive and Cheaper Cat Foods?

The difference in the price tag of cat food is generally based on the quality of the ingredients. Higher quality ingredients come with a higher price tag. Higher quality ingredients include whole meats, usually locally or regionally sourced, whole vegetables, and whole grains. Cheaper cat foods may also contain whole products, but most will also use by-products or meat meals as protein sources. While these ingredients are generally considered to provide inferior nutrition, that’s not always the case.

The Association of American Feed Control Officials, or AAFCO, is the regulating body for pet foods. They determine if pet food meets the nutritional requirements that animals need to survive. They also define what meat by-products and meat meals used in pet foods are. 

Contrary to popular belief, these are not the bits scraped off the floor at the end of processing. By-products and meals contain tissues other than muscle, such as organ meat and fats, that can provide quite a lot of nutrition. They don’t include hair, hooves, teeth, or feces. 

There is a difference in the quality of by-products and meals, but that doesn’t mean that they should be looked down on from a nutritional standpoint. And, let’s face it, cats in the wild eat these kinds of things all of the time.

Foods that are considered organic or “natural” also are typically higher priced. 

What to Look for in a Cheaper Cat Food

Cheaper cat food can still provide all of the necessary nutrients to help your cat thrive; you just need to know what to look for. With that in mind, compare labels across cat food brands that fit your budget. Here’s what to look for:

  1. Ingredients: The quality of the ingredients has a lot to do with the price of cat food. Look for products that contain whole ingredients, specifically meats and grains. Ingredients on a cat food label are listed by quantity, meaning that a food will contain more of those ingredients listed first, second, and so on. Check for a food containing meat, ideally as the first ingredient in kibble or as the first or second ingredient in canned. There is some controversy on the addition of grains to cat foods since cats are obligate carnivores and need to eat meat instead of carbohydrates. However, even cats in the wild consume some grains that help provide fiber, protein, and other important nutrients. So, if your cat isn’t allergic to grains, it’s okay if their cat food contains a small amount.
  2. AAFCO Approval: Again, AAFCO determines if a food is nutritionally adequate for healthy cats. So, make sure that the food you choose is AAFCO approved. This just helps ensure that a cat food isn’t significantly lacking anything significant.
  3. Guaranteed Analysis: This part of the cat food label breaks down the content of different nutrients into percentages. You’ll want to look for a food around 25-32% protein and anywhere from 8-15% fat depending on your cat’s activity level. Also, finding a cat food that is lower in phosphorus may have some benefit in preventing kidney disease down the road.
  4. Feeding Recommendations: Different cat foods are going to have different feeding recommendations. This means that you will need to feed more of some foods to provide the listed number of calories. This becomes important when comparing prices since some more expensive foods may require smaller amounts, making them last longer than cheaper foods. 
  5. Artificial Ingredients: You may notice that more expensive cat foods tend to be brown, while cheaper foods may come in a rainbow of colors. This is due to artificial colors, flavors, or other additives. 

Your cat doesn’t care what color their cat food is, and some of those artificial additives can be detrimental to your cat. Your best bet is to steer clear of any additional additives that your cat just doesn’t need, including color, flavor, and preservatives.

Even with this information, the process of choosing a less expensive cat food can still boggle the mind. When in doubt, ask your veterinarian. Your vet should be an important member of your cat’s life, including nutritional counseling, and most are more than happy to recommend their top picks for any price range.

Final Thoughts

The importance of nutrition for the health and longevity of cats is a hot and important topic that has fortunately led to the creation of a variety of quality cat foods for any budget. Just because you can’t afford the pricier brands doesn’t mean that your cat’s diet has to suffer. Hopefully, this guide will help you choose a quality cat food that your kitty will enjoy with a price tag that your wallet can handle.

The 5 Best Litter Box Air Fresheners

A woman covering her mouth and nose with her hand while sitting down on a sofa, with a cat next to her.

Our kitties provide us with many wonderful things, including love, affection, and companionship. But they also provide us with some not-so-wonderful things, mainly a smelly litter box. If you’re experiencing litter box funk no matter how many times you scoop, it may be time to try an air freshener for your litter box. This list covers five of the best litter box air fresheners for any living situation.  

1. Best Overall: Hamilton Beach TrueAir Plug Mount Odor Eliminator

Hamilton Beach TrueAir Plug Mount Odor Eliminator
Quiet fan pulls in air while the carbon filter neutralizes odors.
Uses a standard 110-volt outlet and is easy to use.
Filter replacement indictor let's you know when it's time to change the filer.

This air freshener takes a two-step approach to better smelling air around your litter box area. The first step is the built-in fan that draws smelly litter box odors into the unit, where they become trapped in a replaceable carbon filter. The next step is the release of clean, lightly scented air back into the room. The carbon filter lasts up to three months and is easily replaceable with inserts that can be purchased separately.

This air freshener from Hamilton Beach plugs into any standard wall outlet and can even come with a nightlight. The fresh scent that this air freshener releases is optional, so you can have cleaner smelling air without the artificial fragrance. 

Since this air freshener has a fan, it’s going to make some noise. This can be an issue depending on the size of the room that you put it in. Also, the scent packet doesn’t last as long as the filter, so if you want a little artificial smell on top of the filtering, you’ll need to replace it more often.

Pros

  • Removes odors, doesn’t just mask them
  • Plugs into any standard outlet
  • Optional nightlight
  • Replaceable filter that lasts up to three months

Cons

  • The fan does make some noise
  • Scent packet doesn’t last as long as the filter
  • Doesn’t work for very strong odors

2. Best for Allergies: LEVOIT Air Purifier for Home Allergies and Pet Hair

LEVOIT Air Purifier
America's #1 air purifier brand.
Super quiet operation while in sleep mode.
Improve air quality and helps you and your pet relieve allergic symptoms like sneezing, coughing, stuffy nose, and sinuses.
Comes with a lock button so your pets can't tamper with the settings.

If your kitty is causing more than just an odor problem in your home, the Levoit Air Purifier can help rid your home of the litter box smell and pet dander at the same time. This air purifier uses HEPA filtration to remove 99.97% of those harmful irritants from the air, including litter box odor. This provides a fresher smell for your home and healthier air to breathe.

On top of removing odor and pet dander, this air purifier also removes mold, smoke, and pollen. It is quiet enough to use in a bedroom and has a sleep timer should you need a more silent mode for nighttime. There is also a pet lock system in place to help keep your fur babies from pushing buttons and changing the modes. The small size makes it perfect for litter box areas, but it is capable of cleaning the air in a 219 square foot room.

This product is a little pricier than other air fresheners on this list. On top of the initial cost, filter replacements can be expensive too. It is also recommended that the filter be vacuumed at least every two weeks for the best results. 

Pros

  • Removes odors, pet dander, and other irritants
  • Quiet operation with extra quiet sleep mode
  • HEPA filtration can help reduce allergies

Cons

  • Costs more
  • Replacement filters are expensive
  • Needs to be cleaned at least every two weeks

3. Best Cat Litter Additive: NonScents Cat Litter Deodorizer

NonScents Cat Litter Deodorizer
A natural product that is safe for you and your pets.
Fragrance free and easy to apply.
Extends the life of your kitty litter.

The NonScents Cat Litter Deodorizer is a product that you sprinkle on top of your regular cat litter. From there, it neutralizes litter box odors at the source with no additional work from you. Odors will be locked in and thrown away with the litter when the litter box is cleaned. This product is safe and non-toxic to you or your kitty.

Not only will NonScents neutralize your litter box odors and leave your cat’s area smelling better, but it will also help extend the life of your cat litter. This will allow you to use less litter, save money, and reduce waste. This product has no fragrance, so you and your cat won’t be overpowered by a perfumy smell.

This is a dry, powdery product, so there is a possibility of respiratory issues if inhaled. Your best bet is to use the product and leave the room, allowing it time to settle. If possible, don’t let your kitty in the room for a few minutes as well. Even though it is a fragrance-free air freshener, some pet owners say it has a slightly chlorine-like smell, which is not over-powering but noticeable.

Pros

  • Neutralizes litter box odor, doesn’t mask it
  • Fragrance-free for sensitive noses
  • Extends the life of your cat litter

Cons

  • Very dusty and messy if you use a lot of it
  • Some people do notice a chlorine-like scent

4. Best Solid Air Freshener: Citrus Magic Pet Odor Absorbing Solid Air Freshener

Citrus Magic Pet Odor Absorbing Solid Air Freshener
Absorbs even the toughest pet odors using a unique formula with baking soda and powerful odor eliminator.
Convenient, continuous odor control.

Another option for cat litter box areas without access to an outlet is the Citrus Magic Pet Odor Absorbing Solid Air Freshener. This product can be placed in your litter box room and left to do its magic. It uses baking soda and other odor eliminators. Not only does this solid air freshener absorb unwanted litter box funk, but it also releases a light citrusy or linen scent. This scent isn’t masking litter box odor; rather, it should be seen as a bonus fragrance.

The Citrus Magic Pet Odor Absorbing Solid comes in different sizes to accommodate different types of areas. They also last for varying amounts of time. The smaller eight-ounce version lasts for up to six weeks, while the larger 20-ounce version can last up to 14 weeks. This means you can set one out and forget about litter box odor for over a month.

If you have a multi-cat household, you may need to look for something a little bit stronger.

Pros

  • Absorbs odors instead of masking them
  • Has a light citrus or linen scent
  • Easy to use and long-lasting

Cons

  • Doesn’t handle very strong odors
  • Citrus scent may be overpowering for more sensitive noses

5. Best Spray Air Freshener: Zero Odor Pet Odor Eliminator

Zero Odor Pet Odor Eliminator Spray
Non-toxic, non-allergenic, cruelty free and easy to apply.
Does not cover up or mask odors with a fragrance or perfume.
Works on clay and clumping litter.

The Zero Odor Pet Odor Eliminator is a great option for quick and easy litter box odor removal. This spray can be used on surfaces or sprayed into the air. Spray it directly on your clumping or non-clumping cat litter for quick odor neutralization. This spray traps odors and neutralizes them so that they no longer linger in your household.

Zero Odor doesn’t have any additional fragrances to mask the odor. However, it does have a tracer scent that lingers temporarily to help you know where you have sprayed. This product is also biodegradable, safe, and non-toxic to you and your cats. It also won’t irritate allergies or other respiratory sensitivities. Other products from Zero Odor can be used on laundry and other areas of the home as well.

This air freshener spray from Zero Odor is made to work with clumping and non-clumping clay litter. Other litters might not yield the same results. In fact, corn or other flushable litters didn’t show the same odor clearing results. Also, this product might not last very long. It neutralizes the odors in the air or on the surface but doesn’t linger to capture future odors.

Pros

  • Safe, non-toxic, hypoallergenic
  • Spray on any surface or in the air
  • Neutralizes odors instead of masking them

Cons

  • Doesn’t work as well with non-clay litters
  • No long-lasting effect

Best Litter Box Air Fresheners Buying Guide

A hand is seen holding a spray bottle of air freshener. The mist of the air freshener coming from the bottle can been seen in the air.

Even though you love your feline friend, their litter box odor can sometimes wear out their welcome in your home. When scooping and cleaning aren’t enough, you may want to look into getting an air freshener for your litter box. Here’s what you need to know.

What to Look for in Air Fresheners for Litter Boxes

Getting the right air freshener for your litter box isn’t as easy as picking out a pleasing scent. Instead, there are many different attributes to take into consideration.

  • Type of Air Freshener: Some air fresheners simply cover up odors rather than get rid of them. If that’s ok with you, then look into a scented plug-in or spray with a scent that you like and use when needed. However, if you’d rather neutralize odors, you’re going to need something a little stronger. There are air fresheners out there that use a filtration system to remove odors and others that use chemicals or products, such as baking soda, to absorb or neutralize odors. Some air fresheners will need an outlet, some will need replacement filters, and some will need to be reapplied often. 
  • Ability: As with anything else, not all air fresheners for litter boxes are created equal. Some do a better job than others at getting rid of litter box smells. Your best bet is to look for products that contain carbon filters or baking soda to get rid of odors. Chlorine is also an option if you don’t mind the smell.
  • Fragrance: If you want your litter box to carry more of a pleasant scent, rather than no scent at all, look into an air freshener with some fragrance. However, it’s important to remember that your kitty may be put off by strong smells in their space, making them not want to use their litter box at all. Your best bet is to go with a subtle fragrance rather than an overpowering, perfumy one.
  • Safety: Of course, you don’t want to get a product that isn’t safe for you or your cat. One way of doing this is by getting a product that is specifically designed for litter boxes. The other way is by reading the labels for any safety warnings.
  • Duration: There isn’t an air freshener for litter boxes out there that lasts forever. Every product is going to have a life span. Finding a long-acting air freshener will ensure that your cat’s litter box odors are kept at bay for longer so that you won’t feel like you have a part-time job changing it.
  • Multi-Purpose: You may choose to get an air freshener that does more than just combat litter box odor. If that’s the case, many on the market also double as cleaning agents or air filters and can be used around the house to control other odors as well. 

Just be sure to think about your specific litter box situation when purchasing an air freshener. If it’s tucked away in a confined space, a smaller freshener may be better. If it’s out in the open, you’ll need something that can handle larger areas. Also, consider your access to an outlet if you’re looking for something that needs power. Finally, consider your kitty’s needs. If they are sensitive to smells or sounds, you’ll want to find something more inconspicuous. 

More Tips to Keep Litter Box Odor Down

Reducing the smell of the litter box in your house is going to take multiple actions. Air fresheners often aren’t enough to effectively keep things smelling fresh.

  • Scoop Often: If you have the time, scoop after every visit your cat makes to the litter box. Since that often isn’t feasible, scoop at least once a day, preferably twice, to keep all noses happy.
  • Wash the Box: Changing the litter isn’t enough. To effectively remove litter box odor, you’ll need to wash the litter box with soap and water at least once a month.
  • Enough Litter Boxes:  The general rule is that you have one more litter box than you have cats. That means for four cats, you would want five litter boxes. This helps decrease competition and helps cut down the messiness that each box experiences.
  • Air it Out: Keeping your litter box in a tight space may help hide it from view, but it can also increase the smell. A well-ventilated area is better to help air out those odors.

Final Thoughts

If your cat’s litter box odor is starting to come between the two of you, it may be time to get a litter box air freshener. Whichever one you choose, make sure that it is safe to use around your cat. After that, you can choose one based on your personal preferences and litter box needs.

Can Cats Eat Ketchup? Will It Hurt Them?

A white ramekin on a brown cutting board filled with ketchup is in the middle of the image (with a leaf of parsley on the top of the ketchup) with tomatoes, salt grains, pink peppercorns, and parsley leaves around it.

Ketchup may be an all-American human food that we love to douse our hamburgers in or slop over our french fries. Some people may even eat ketchup at every meal. Even though ketchup is a popular condiment for us, it should not be a part of your cat’s diet. While ketchup isn’t necessarily toxic to cats, it’s not healthy for them either. 

Can Cats Eat Ketchup?

Ketchup provides no positive nutritional value to your cat’s diet. But that doesn’t mean that it does nothing for your cat. Ketchup can be quite harmful to them if consumed in high enough amounts.

  • High Sugar: Believe it or not, ketchup is high in sugar. Cup for cup, ketchup contains more sugar than vanilla ice cream! Giving your cat a lot of sugar can lead to obesity and diabetes that are not only difficult to treat but can also be life-threatening.
  • High Salt: Ketchup also has more than its fair share of salt. While small amounts of salt are usually no big deal, lots of salt can lead to heart and blood pressure issues long-term and salt toxicity short-term. Cats that eat an overload of salt may have vomiting and diarrhea, a decreased appetite, tremors, or seizures.
  • Garlic and Onion: These ingredients may give ketchup a tasty touch, but they are very toxic to our kitties. Both onion and garlic seasoning can lead to a blood disorder called Heinz body anemia which can potentially be very serious.
  • High in Calories: This goes along with high sugar content, but it’s still important to reiterate. Ketchup contains plenty of empty calories, meaning calories that don’t provide any other nutritional benefit. This means that giving your cat ketchup can put them on the fast track to obesity and all of the complications that come with it.

What Happens if My Cat Eats Ketchup?

A lick of ketchup here and there shouldn’t affect your cat much. So don’t worry if your feline friend sneaks a bit off of your burger wrapper or plate. The real trouble comes if your cat decides to gorge itself on ketchup behind your back. 

If that’s the case, carefully monitor your kitty for signs of stomach irritation, most commonly vomiting and diarrhea. Most of the time, these signs will resolve on their own in a couple of days, but if your cat is having trouble for longer than that or their symptoms are severe enough to cause dehydration, tremors, or seizures, see your veterinarian immediately.

Most of the time, cats won’t want more than a taste or two of ketchup, but if you happen to have a ketchup addict on your hand, be sure to keep any ketchup containing foods out of your cat’s reach and remember to lock up the garbage to prevent them from getting at the fast-food wrappers.

Are There any Health Benefits to Ketchup?

Tomatoes are the main ingredient in ketchup, and they pack an antioxidant and fiber punch. However, ketchup tends to be lacking in those nutrients due to its highly processed nature. Ketchup is mostly empty calories with no nutritional value other than providing a tasty pep for most of our fast foods.

Final Thoughts

Ketchup is a tasty condiment that most humans can’t live without. However, it has no place in your cat’s diet. More than a couple of licks of ketchup may be quite detrimental to your cat by potentially leading to obesity, diabetes, heart disease, or digestive upset.

Can Cats Eat Parsley? Is It Really Healthy For Them?

A bunch of parsley on top of a wooden surface which looks like the inside of a tree trunk. There is a tag attached to the bunch of parsley that reads, “PARSLEY.”

Parsley is a popular herb that is used to flavor a wide variety of human dishes. Not only does it add a tasty touch to food, but it also has some surprising health benefits. But should your cat partake in parsley as part of their regular meal? 

While parsley in small quantities is ok for your feline friend to eat, it should be avoided in large amounts and should not be fed frequently, even in small amounts.

Should Cats Eat Parsley?

When it comes to parsley, a little goes a long way. Parsley consumed in high amounts can be toxic to your feline friend. So, if you’re looking to boost their antioxidant levels or freshen their breath, keep it small and infrequent. It’s also important to know that different types of parsley have different toxicity levels. Generally speaking, any parsley you buy in the grocery store is fine, but if you’re prone to gathering your own, it’s spring parsley that can be more detrimental.

Parsley contains furanocoumarins which can cause photosensitization, which is an oversensitivity to sunlight. While it’s not quite the same as a sunburn, the effects are similar. When exposed to sunlight, cats with photosensitization will experience a chemical burn due to reactions within their skin. It is quite painful and can lead to severe damage and even death if severe enough and left untreated.

Let’s keep in mind that a cat would have to graze pretty readily on parsley to eat an amount that can cause photosensitization, but the risk is still there regardless. 

How to Feed Parsley to Your Cat

Again, moderation is key when it comes to parsley and your cat. If you want to use it as a nutritional boost for your feline friend, be sure to use small amounts and don’t make it an everyday addition. 

You may find parsley as an ingredient in commercial cat foods. It’s there to provide those nutrients as well as enhance the flavor and freshen breath. You’ll also notice that there isn’t much of it in there. That’s to ensure that the cat food is safe and won’t cause any detrimental effects.

A safer way to enhance your cat’s diet with parsley is through parsley water. This can be made by adding a couple of pinches of parsley to one cup of boiling water, letting it cool, and then draining off the water. You can give this to your kitty every day as an antioxidant supplement or to boost their vitamin A and K for overall health.

If you have parsley growing in your herb garden and an overly curious cat, you may want to find a way to limit your cat’s access to the plant to keep them safe. This is only if your cat likes to sample things from your garden, and there’s a possibility they might consume more than they should. 

What Are the Health Benefits of Parsley?

Humans have long used parsley as a natural spice. It is native to the Mediterranean region, so it’s no surprise that meats and pasta from this region often contain some parsley. But along with that flavor, parsley also supplies the body with quite a list of benefits.

  1. Antioxidants:  Parsley is chock full of antioxidants, including flavonoids, carotenoids, and vitamin C. These antioxidants are essential to prevent and repair damage at the cellular level, helping to boost the immune system and help the body age healthily.
  2. Vitamins:  Along with vitamin C, parsley also contains vitamins A, K, and folate. These are important for bone health, normal blood clotting, immune function, and vision.
  3. Cancer-Fighting:  hose antioxidants and other nutrients present in parsley can help decrease the risk of certain cancers, specifically colon cancer. 
  4. Antibacterial:  Parsley extract has some antimicrobial properties that help prevent the growth of some bacteria, yeasts, and molds. It could play a role in future homeopathic remedies.
  5. Low Fat:  A couple of things that parsley is not high in is fat and calories. Instead, parsley contains lots of fiber to help you feel full longer and regulate your digestive system without adding unwanted weight.
  6. Freshens Breath:  If you’re looking for a natural way to freshen your cat’s breath with no toothbrush required, parsley may do the trick.

Final Thoughts

Parsley is a popular plant for both chefs and gardeners alike. It provides flavor and many health benefits to the food that we eat. It can do the same for your cat if given in moderation. Care should be taken to limit the amount of parsley that your cat consumes by feeding only small amounts infrequently or by giving your cat parsley water instead.

Can Cats Eat Mayonnaise? How Will It Affect Them?

A while dish filled with mayonnaise and a white spoon in it in the center. A cup of oil, 2 whole eggs, one egg yolk in a broken egg shell, a ramekin of what appears to be mustard seeds and sprigs of parsley can be seen around the dish of mayonnaise.

No, your cat doesn’t get any nutritional value from mayonnaise. They may eat it, like it, and even beg for it, but it doesn’t provide much in the way of boosting their diet. Sure, the main ingredients of mayonnaise are eggs and oils, which are great sources of protein and unsaturated fats, but there are far better foods to get those nutrients from.

One possible use for mayonnaise in cats is as a laxative or to aid giving pills. In addition, the oil content of mayonnaise may help grease up the intestinal contents of a constipated cat, and it may help a pill slide down the esophagus. But, again, there are better products available to do this.

Can Cats Eat Mayonnaise At All?

If your kitty gets a quick lick of your sandwich or a bite of macaroni salad, it shouldn’t hurt them. What you don’t want is your cat ingesting mayonnaise regularly. It shouldn’t be used as a snack or meal topper due to the caloric content and amount of oil.

That being said, that doesn’t mean that you can’t use it for the occasional appetite stimulant or to get one of those pesky pills that your vet gave you down a little easier. However, if you choose to do this, look for healthier, low-fat options. 

If your cat eats more than a couple of licks of mayonnaise, monitor them for signs of digestive upset and make sure that they stay hydrated. If they have vomiting or diarrhea that lasts longer than 24-48 hours or have severe abdominal pain and do not eat or drink, see your vet.

Possible Side Effects of Feeding Mayonnaise to a Cat

Again, mayonnaise is made primarily of oil and eggs. That means that it’s also high in fat. Most domestic housecats don’t need a caloric dense food like mayonnaise. Even a small amount of mayonnaise adds significant calories to a cat’s daily intake and can put your kitty on the fast track to obesity.

On top of the fat content, mayonnaise may also contain a lot of salt. Salt toxicity is a real issue in animals that can damage multiple organ systems and even cause death. Along with salt, other seasonings present in mayonnaise-based salads can create toxicities as well. Spices to stay away from include garlic and onion.

The oils in mayonnaise can also cause digestive upset. High fat or oil foods can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain in cats, especially when they aren’t used to such foods. On top of that, high-fat foods can lead to a serious condition called pancreatitis.

Cats are also at risk for food-borne illnesses such as Salmonella and Listeria. While it’s not necessarily the temperature of the mayonnaise that’s the problem, it’s how long it took to get there. Heating mayonnaise in the oven or microwave doesn’t cause food poisoning. The problem comes in when you leave mayonnaise out on the counter or picnic table for more than an hour, allowing those nasty stomach bacteria to grow.

Final Thoughts

Mayonnaise is a common ingredient in many summer dishes, but that doesn’t mean it should show up in your cat’s food dish. Instead of giving your cat mayonnaise as a treat or letting them snack on food with mayonnaise in it, look for healthier, more feline-friendly options. 

If your cat happens to eat more than its fair share of mayonnaise, expect to see some short-lived digestive issues, and be sure to consult your vet if your kitty doesn’t get over it within a couple of days.