Cat litter odor may be the reason why Kitty is refusing to use his litter box.
Cats' noses are much more sensitive than ours, so an odor which smells very feint to us could well smell like a skunk's hideout to Kitty.
Also, smells that we think are OK or even pleasant may be completely revolting to cats.
The smell that Kitty doesn't like may be to do with the litter itself or the box.
So, let's look at the nasty pongs that may be sending Kitty running away from his box:
1) His own pee and poop
Cats, by nature, are very clean animals. If Kitty's toilet isn't cleaned out enough, he won't want to use it.
We don't like to use a dirty bathroom, and Kitty is no different.
It's not just the stale smell of his old pees and poops he won't like; it's also the fact he's having to pick his way through them to try and find a clean spot. If you imagine yourself in his position on this one I'm sure you can empathize.
The only way to solve this cat litter odor problem is by regularly cleaning his litter box. The sooner his deposits are removed, the better.
His box should preferably be scooped several times a day, and completely emptied two or three times a week.
This needn't cost a fortune; contrary to popular opinion, litter boxes don't need to be filled inches deep. A thin layer is sufficient - enough to allow Kitty to cover up his business.
I appreciate that getting rid of his deposits as soon as he's done them isn't always possible or practical. Also, some people seriously wretch at the smell of their kitty's waste products, so cleaning the cat litter box is something of an ordeal.
If either of these scenarios applies to you, an automatic litter box may be worth considering.
Most automatic boxes sense when a cat has been and gone, and then sift or rake the litter at a set time interval (usually 5 - 10 minutes) after the cat has left.
The dirty litter is then deposited into a bag-lined tray underneath, which can be disposed of at your convenience. Automatic boxes can help to reduce cat litter odor considerably.
Click here for some useful information about the different types of automatic litter boxes available.
2) Cleaning products
You may be religiously scooping and cleaning Kitty's box, but as far as he's concerned, it still stinks.
Cats don't like citrus smells. They generally hate the smell of bleach, pine disinfectant, toilet cleaner, lavender and anything else that we humans consider to be a clean, hygienic smell.
Hopefully you can see where I'm going with this. You shouldn't be using any product with a lingering smell to clean out Kitty's toilet.
Anti-bacterial washing up liquid can be used sparingly, as long as you completely rinse it away afterwards so that no traces of its smell are left in the box.
3) Litter box deodorizer
If your cat litter contains a perfumed deodorizer, or you're adding one to it, there's a good chance Kitty will hate the smell.
If he's got a hooded box, the cat litter odor is even worse for him because it's concentrated. His choices? Either hold his breath whilst trying to do his business (difficult), or find an alternative spot that doesn't stink (easier).
If you have been using a deodorizer, completely remove the smell
of it from Kitty's box, and see if that makes any difference to his
toilet habits. If he does return to his litter box, you've identified
and solved the problem.