If you’ve ever been concerned that your commercial air freshener is releasing toxins into the air you are absolutely correct, and it’s critical that your cats avoid these noxious smells.
You may not know this, but your cat's body is already working hard to detoxify numerous pollutants in the air. We love keeping our cats indoors and safe, but indoor air quality is quite an issue.
Not to mention a cat's sense of smell is up to 14 times greater than a humans. This means they can really really smell that citrus odor your $2 air freshener from Walmart is emitting. And they probably hate you for it.
What Air Fresheners Are Safe For Cats
When choosing an air freshener to use in a room with your cats, keep them in mind. Remember the smells that cats don’t like, and always try to avoid plug-in air fresheners. Even if they claim to be pet safe, these plug in models generally release Phthalates into their air which can cause numerous issues, such as cancer, hormonal imbalances, or reproductive problems.
We’ve already written on natural ways to help alleviate litter box smells here, which you should try out first before introducing an air freshener to your home.
But let’s jump into some actual cat safe air fresheners you can use around your house to alleviate pet odors. Here’s our top picks for best air freshener for pet owners, but if you want the true solution, it's an air purifier, not an air freshener.
Feel free to click them to jump to the section on the page about them.
- Levoit Air Purifier
- Nature Fresh Bamboo Charcoal Odor Absorbing Bags
- One Fur Air Freshening Spray
- Citrus Magic Pet Solid Air Fresheners
- Fresh Wave Odor Removing Gel
Levoit Air Purifier
Technically not an air freshener, but you and your cats will thank me for this suggestion. Months ago we decided to take the plunge into air purification and these clear those musty cat hair smells like nothing we've tried before, and we have no fear in them harming our cats in any way. They are quiet, powerful, and do a great job collecting cat hair. And most importantly, as far as pet safe air purification goes, you can't get much safer.
We first learned about air purifiers after hearing a friend who was allergic to cats could suddenly stand being in a room with them after investing in an air purifier. Amazing!
Nature Fresh Bamboo Charcoal Odor Absorbing Bags
These bags are made of natural bamboo and hold charcoal, which is an incredibly simple yet effective way to remove unpleasant odors from your home. Now, this is not going to make your house or apartment smell “good”, but it will remove bad odors and help to neutralize it.
We recommend setting two of these as close to your cat's litter box as possible. This will help with eliminating odors and hopefully avoid you from ever feeling like buying a plug in air freshener.
One Fur Air Freshening Spray
One Fur has designed a cat safe air freshener spray to use for those that really need to introduce a new smell to a room. One Fur promises to use safe ingredients, meaning no dyes or phthalates will be found here. You can even get different natural scents, such as citrus, lavender, or even mango.
We recommend using this in small doses when needed. Sure it’s non toxic for cats, but remember that they are very sensitive to smell, so spraying this too often or too close to our cats is still a little cruel, in our opinion. But this is a great spray to use that’s cat safe.
Citrus Magic Pet Solid Air Fresheners
If you are looking for a true air freshener, we can recommend the Citrus Magic Pet solid fresheners as they do a good job of balancing smell with function. Again, we advise against any spray fresheners, and a solid air freshener helps remove the risk of toxins entering the air while still omitting a scent. For recurring pet smells, solid air fresheners provide a stable way to counteract cat odors with a fresh scent, so it's easy to leave your home smelling fresh by using these.
Fresh Wave Odor Removing Gel
Similar to the solid air fresheners, odor removing gels are functional and safe for pets as well. Fresh Wave goes the extra step in securing all natural ingredients to help them eliminate pet odors. They are plant based, so there’s no strange chemicals you can’t pronounce in there. Odor removing gels work similar to solid air fresheners, making them one of the safest pet air freshener options that can actually eliminate odors.
Types Of Air Fresheners To Avoid
Now that we’ve given you our picks for what to use, let’s discuss what needs to be avoided.
Spray Air Fresheners
As we’ve already said, spray air fresheners are not great. We’ve listed one that we know doesn’t contain phthalates, but most of them do. If you opt for a spray air freshener be extremely careful in ensuring there are no toxic chemicals in them. Cats are curious, there’s a good chance they will walk right up to the area you just sprayed and try licking it.
Tea Tree Oil
Everyone loves using tea tree oil for just about everything it seems. But you cannot expose your cats to this, it is extremely toxic. It’s probably safe to avoid essential oils all together, at least if you care about your cats. Like spray air fresheners, the oil can linger for a lot longer than you predict, and at least in the case of tea tree oil. And make no mistake, cats don’t need to ingest it, they simply need to come in contact with it. Tea tree oil can be fatal for cats if they are exposed to little over a teaspoonful.
Additional Tips To Keep Your House Smelling Good
No one wants to be in a situation where they need to research ingredients in an air freshener to create a harmony in their home with their cats and their noses. It’s not pleasant, and there’s generally other alternatives that may work better and definitely will be safer.
Keep A Clean Litter Box
Yes, our favorite topic here at Love of Paws is litter boxes. And keeping them clean is something we preach often. But it has a huge impact on you and your cats wellbeing. Ensuring that your cleaning your cats litter box daily will ensure that it never smells too awful from a litter box.
Place Your Litter Box Somewhere Smart
Think logically about the location of a litter box. Is it tucked away in a dark corner? If so, maybe placing it in a larger room with better ventilation could be a smarter choice. Small rooms make it easier to smell litter. We recommend using some sort of furniture to hide the actual box, and place it in a room with good ventilation. Bonus points if you can put your cats litter box under a window that you can open.
Change Their Diet
If you’re still struggling with bad smells from your cats litter box, or even from your cats fur, it might be time to reevaluate their diet. We’ve written about this extensively here, but the short version of it is that dry cat food isn’t doing your nose any favors. Introducing wet food or raw food will help your cat's feces smell, their fur, and their overall health.
If you’re fighting with foul smells in your apartment there’s tons of natural ways to alleviate the odor. If you can’t do it, or you just need the additional support of an air freshener, be sure you’re buying something that’s natural. They won’t work as effectively as Febreze plug-ins, but they also won’t kill your cats. Have patience and be sure to pick up the bamboo charcoal bags, they take a little time to get working, but once they do they clean bad smells like it’s no one's business.