Best Cat Food for Smelly Poop: 5 Top Food Picks to Try

By Debbie Short     Last Updated January 18, 2022

KittyWire may collect commissions on purchases made from the links on this page.


Cats are generally clean creatures that work hard to keep smelling great despite the fact that they usually don't get a lot of baths and have an inherent dislike of water. However, the same can't be said for their litter box because it doesn't take long for their waste to start to smell, and this is normal for the most part.

But, if your cat's waste starts to smell stronger than usual, if they're going more, or if you notice a sudden change, there could be something going on with your cat's diet. The good news is that the best cat food for smelly poop can help alleviate this smell, and we're going to show you what to look for when you're shopping for new cat food along with several cat food reviews.

Our Top Picks for Best Cat Food for Smelly Poop

Why Does Cat Poop Smell So Bad?

Just like humans, cats have several things that can cause smelly poop, and this smell can get worse suddenly. It's one easy indication that there is something going on with your cat, and this can be anything from their diet to bacteria or parasites and more.

  • Bacteria: Cats have a natural prey drive, and this can lead them to eat things that aren't the best for them, especially if they spend time outdoors. A bacterial infection with Salmonella or E. Coli can cause inflammation, digestive discomfort, and a sudden increase in the poop odor along with diarrhea-like feces.
  • Diet: Some cats have sensitivities to particular things in their food like a high vitamin content or grains, and you can try an elimination diet to find out what is causing your cat's digestive problems and smelly feces. Switching your cat's food to a grain-free formula or cutting out any vitamin supplements can help alleviate these problems. Certain thickening agents like agar agar and guar gum found in canned cat foods may also cause litter box odors too.
  • Digestive Disorders: Animals like cats can be prone to having digestive disorders and problems just like their human counterparts that wreak havoc on their GI tract and cause unpleasant odors. If your cat doesn't absorb or digest fats or starches well, it can cause this problem.
  • Hormonal Changes or Drugs: Cats who are on a regimen of hormone-altering or pain medications can experience a change in their natural chemical equilibrium. In turn, your cat's feces may start to smell stronger depending on how long this change has gone on for.
  • Infections in the Anal Glands: Cats and other mammals have anal glands, and these anal glands drain through ducts, or you can manually drain them if you notice they're clogged. An infection in your cat's anal glands can lead to very smelly and runny discharge that lingers around your cat's litter box.
  • Parasites: Your cat could also end up with a parasitic infection that can cause stomach upset, chronic diarrhea, and very strong, foul-smelling feces. Common parasites that can cause these problems for your cat include Trichomonas and Coccidia, but the good news is that they're treatable with veterinarian intervention and antibiotics.
  • Protein Content: Cats are carnivores that naturally have a higher amount of protein in their diets, and this can come from eating things they find outdoors as well as from their food. Unfortunately, this higher protein content can lead to smelly poop, and there isn't much you can do about it except switch your cat to a lower protein food with higher carbohydrates.


Techniques to Lower or Remove Litter Box Odors

Cat with smelly poop sitting in litter box

Along with diet changes, there are a few easy things that you can do to lower or remove litter box odors. Although you most likely won't completely get rid of the smell, it'll reduce it to the point where you won't notice it as much.

Add More Litter

Your cat likes to dig and bury their feces when they do go to the bathroom, and they can't do this if there isn't enough litter in their litter box. Ideally, you want at least a few inches of litter in the bottom of the litter box because this will encourage your cat to bury their feces and reduce the smell.

Buy a Larger Litter Box

You should buy larger litter boxes as your cat grows because you want them to have enough room to move around freely when they're going to the bathroom. Also, your cat won't bury their feces if the litter box is too small because they can feel restricted so a larger litter box can encourage digging.

Buy Two Litter Boxes

Did you know that your cat won't use a litter box properly or bury their feces if they find that their litter box is dirty? If you're too busy to clean out your cat's litter box at least once a day, consider having two litter boxes so your cat has a clean litter box to go to when the first one gets dirty and you don't have time to clean it.

Clean Around the Litter Box

When your cat is finished using their litter box, they may kick litter out or track it out of their box. This can spread your cat's feces and the smell around, so you want to make sure that you vacuum all of the ways around the litter box each time you vacuum your home and suck up any stray litter.

Keep the Litter Box Clean

You get busy with your everyday activities, and you may not have enough time to clean the litter box every day. However, this can put your cat off using their litter box, so you do want to try and clean it at least a few times a week or every other day if you can't manage to do a quick clean once a day.

Put the Litter Box in a Well Ventilated Area

If you have a room for your washer and dryer or a storage room with good ventilation, you may consider putting your litter box in here and cracking a window open. This will help to keep the odor from settling in the room and getting overwhelming, and the litter box won't be right in your face whenever you walk through your home.

Train Your Cat to Bury any Feces

If your cat isn't burying their feces on their own, this can lead to strong smells because there isn't a layer of litter to trap and lock in the odor. Bring your cat to their clean litter box and train them to dig by demonstrating what you want them to do so they'll start digging and buying their feces each time the go.

Another reason your cat might not be burying their feces is due to a thin amount of litter available in the litter box. You can try adding more litter in the box or even try a top entry litter box that can hold a larger amount of cat litter to help give your cat enough to bury with.

Use Deodorizing Litter

A litter with natural deodorizing elements in the formula can help to trap and lock in any odors that naturally come from your cat's litter box so it may be worth it to spend slightly more on this type of litter. Some litter also contain natural materials like wood that soak up urine and feces.

Things to Look for in Your Cat Food

Before you change your cat's food, there are a few things that you want to look for when you consider the different cat foods. This will help you make the best choice for your cat, no matter how young or old they are.

  • Age Appropriate: Your cat's nutritional needs will change, and they age, and buying the correct life stage food can help make sure that you meet these needs. Look for a kitten, adult, and senior food and match it to your cat's age.
  • Amino Acids: Amino acids help to keep your cat healthy inside and out, so you want to see amino acids listed on the label. Make sure the amino acids include Taurine.
  • No or Low Fillers: Fillers are meat byproducts that are used to fill in the gaps in your cat food's formula. You don't want to see meat byproducts or a high amount of grain filler.
  • Protein: Look at the protein source on the cat food. You want to get a cat food that has protein from an easily identifiable source like chicken or fish.
  • Vegetables: Instead of grain filler, look for cat food that has a high amount of vegetables like peas and carrots. Some foods have dried vegetables added so you can actually see them.

Our Top Five Picks for the Best Cat Food for Smelly Poop

1. Rachael Ray Nutrish Natural Dry Cat Food

Rachael Ray Nutrish Dry Cat Food

This cat food comes in real chicken and brown rice or real salmon and brown rice, and you can buy a few different sizes depending on how much your cat eats including 3, 6, and 14 pounds bags. The formula for this cat food comes packed full of minerals, vitamins, and amino acids including Taurine that supports your cat both inside and out.

The first ingredient is real chicken or salmon depending on which flavor you pick, and there is no filler, wheat, soy, poultry by-products, artificial color or flavoring. This formula makes it very healthy for your cat to eat, and the kibble is smaller with crunchy bits that your cat will love to eat.

Cat owners who tried this cat food for their pet liked that it has a very healthy formula with real protein from a reputable source as the first ingredient, and they liked that it is formulated with amino acids and vitamins. They weren't happy that this cat food had a slightly greasy residue, and they didn't like that it has a stronger smell when you first open the bag.

Things We Liked
  • Contains a very healthy and balanced formula
  • Designed to be easy for your cat to eat and digest
  • No fillers or byproducts
Things We Didn't Like
  • Has a slightly greasy feel and residue
  • Can have a stronger smell when you first open it
  • Pieces may be too hard for some cats to eat

2. Weruva Cats in the Kitchen Grain-Free Wet Cat Food

Weruva Cats in the Kitchen Kitty Gone Wild Wet Cat Food

This wet cat food comes in 11 different flavor combinations ranging from lamb and chicken to salmon and mackerel, and there are three different sizes ranging from 3.2 ounces up to 10 ounces so you can customize it to suit your cat's taste.

This wet cat food features small chunks of locally sourced meat like salmon, tuna, lamb, and chicken that is held to the highest standards to ensure quality, and it comes with an au jus gravy mix to keep it soft and tasty for your cat. There are also antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals to balance out the meal, and this food doesn't have any gluten, corn, soy, GMOs or grain.

Cat parents were impressed with this food's formula, and they liked that this cat food came in both large and small sizes along with 11 different flavor combinations to give their cat variety. They weren't impressed with the smell, and they also weren't happy that this food could cause digestive upset in cats who have sensitive stomachs.

Things We Liked
  • Available in 11 different flavor combinations
  • Contains shredded protein sources with au jus
  • Formulated with antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins
Things We Didn't Like
  • May have a strong smell
  • Can be too strong for cats with sensitive stomachs
  • Cans tend to come dented around the seams

3. Purina ONE Tender Selects Blend

Purina ONE Tender Selects Blend Adult Dry Cat Food

Real chunks of meat from a high-quality protein source like chicken or salmon is the first ingredient listed on the label and it comes in several different sized bags that you can customize to suit your cat's dietary needs. This cat food has a bland of crunchy kibble pieces and meaty bits that give your cat variety each time they eat it that helps to keep them interested.

This cat food formula also comes with no fillers, artificial flavors, or artificial preservatives for a healthier food option for your cat, and it comes with fruit and vegetable essences packed into the dry kibble formula. This food is held to very high-quality standards, and it's made in the United States from start to finish with locally sourced ingredients.

Cat parents liked this food choice because it has a very healthy formula with a mix of crunchy kibble pieces and meaty bits that are sourced from high-quality sources like chicken or salmon. They weren't happy that this food had a lower fiber content but a higher fat content because this can cause constipation in some cats.

Things We Liked
  • Has a mix of meaty bits and crunchy kibble
  • Contains vegetables and fruits as well as high-quality protein sources
  • Able to pick from a variety of flavor profiles and sizes
Things We Didn't Like
  • Recent formula change could put some cats off
  • Has a lower fiber content and higher fat content
  • Meaty bits can dry out and get hard quickly

4. Royal Canin Feline Health Indoor Dry Cat Food

Royal Canin Feline Health Indoor Dry Cat Food

This indoor cat food is designed to help reduce a variety of common issues that cats have including dental health, hairball control, and unpleasant odors while having small enough kibble pieces that make it easy for your cat to eat and digest. This cat food contains a moderate calorie level that helps to ensure that your adult cat doesn't gain weight when they start to slow down.

Your cat will get an excellent and balanced blend of carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, minerals, vegetables, and fruit to support their health both inside and outside each time they eat it. It also has a slightly higher fiber content that can help to regulate your cat's digestive system and stop their feces from having a strong smell when they go.

Cat parents were happy that this cat food contained a great balance of everything that their cat needed to stay healthy and happy, and they were also happy that it helped to control odors. They weren't happy that this food took some time for their cat to get used to and eat, or that it has gluten and cornmeal in the ingredients.

Things We Liked
  • Kibble is small enough for your cat to easily eat
  • Has a higher fiber count to help with digestion
  • Contains proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals
Things We Didn't Like
  • Contains gluten and cornmeal
  • Has a greasy residue
  • No meaty bits, just kibble

5. Castor & Pollux Organix Dry Cat Food

Castor & Pollux Organix Cat Food

Your cat will enjoy chicken and brown rice or a grain-free chicken and sweet potato blend that is packed full of organic flaxseed, coconut oil, cranberries, and real meat is the first ingredient. This cat food formula is cooked in the USA in a organically certified kitchen.

This food is designed to be healthy with no chemical preservatives or additives, and it also has no artificial preservatives, antibiotics, or growth hormones added. All of these things make this a very nutritionally balanced and healthy formula that promotes digestive health and odor reduction.

Cat owners liked that this cat food formula is made in a certified organic kitchen with healthy and organic ingredients and that this cat food has flaxseed, cranberries, and protein from quality sources. They weren't happy that this cat food is slightly more expensive or that this cat food can cause loose stools.

Things We Liked
  • Contains organic ingredients
  • Food is cooked in a certified organic kitchen in the United States
  • Contains no additives, preservatives, or antibiotics
Things We Didn't Like
  • Can cause loose stools and digestive upset
  • Slightly more expensive formula
  • Only comes in two flavor profiles

What's the Best Cat Food for Smelly Poop?

Our pick for the best cat food for smelly feces is Rachael Ray Nutrish Natural Dry Cat Food because it is packed full of minerals, vitamins, and amino acids. It also has a real protein source like salmon or chicken listed first on the ingredient label.

This cat food has everything that your cat needs to grow healthy throughout their lives, and there is enough variety to keep them interested. This is why we chose this cat food as our top pick to help reduce odors and give you a happy cat.