I'd love to have a cat but I hate the smell of cat poop and disgusted by the prospect of cleaning a litter box being my daily routine.

I live in a quiet lane and my house has a quiet large garden covered with lawn. I can also make a cat door so that my would-be cat can go outside freely do her business.

On the other hand, I read horrible stories (like this and this) about letting cats outside. in addition, I cannot afford to buy fancy self-cleaning litter boxes.

So I'm wondering what to do about this. Should I try to suppress my desire to own a cat? Or is it ok to have a cat and let her outside? Appreciate your hints on this.

  • Little late to the party, but I have to take my cat with me in a few days to my nanas who is also slightly reluctant to agree on his, but fortunately has done! 🙏 Due to the litter tray issue... she's an indoor cat. If kept on top you should be fine! I've also learnt knowledge from this thread about scented litter and enclosed litter boxes. I believe these will make a difference and I'll be looking into it too :)
    – Jrlew95
    Jan 27, 2021 at 6:52
  • LOL. If you think a litter box is bad, try keeping a cat without one. You can't just let the cat out, because the cat will still piss everywhere. The cat sees the outdoors as just an additional place to piss. For the cat, the main place to piss will be whatever area is handy, which will be the different corners of your house. Jan 27, 2021 at 9:53
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    Whatever you ultimately do, there will almost certainly be times when even an outdoor cat is under house arrest - when they are sick or injured or e.g. on New Year’s Eve when there’s fireworks and it’s simply unsafe for the cat. Even a “usually does her business outside” cat in a safe environment occasionally needs access to an indoor toilet. No toilet is not going to be an option.
    – Stephie
    Jan 30, 2023 at 16:29

3 Answers 3


If the idea of cleaning up after a pet disgusts you, then for the sake of the cat, please don't get one. It's not fair to the cat, and it's like saying "I'd love to have a kid, but I don't want to ever change its diaper." LITERALLY. It's EXACTLY like that. Certain responsibilities go with having any kind of pet or anything else that you have to care for, and if you are unable to meet those basic needs, you shouldn't have one. Either get over your disgust at having to perform a necessary action associated with having a cat, or PLEASE don't get one. There are predators and lots of other dangers outside, and cat poop doesn't really smell, especially compared to dog poop. As long as you keep it cleaned, there's no smell. Our cat has a scented litter that actually smells like Hawaiian tropical scents--I never smell anything like pee, ammonia or poop. But again, if you can't deal with the idea of having to scoop the litter box once a day, for the cat's sake--please don't get a cat.

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    just to add to this answer,toileting is not all an outdoor cat do outside it do hunt and bring the corpses home to you and if you have problems handeling a cats waste think about handeling dead bodies every week or multiple times a week.i have had outdoor cats for close to 50 years and this is a part of life for me.i have a litterbox inside for my cat to use if she want. Mar 24, 2018 at 18:08

I don't know the last time you dealt with cat litter and litter boxes, but there have been some dramatic advances with both. Clumping litters and crystal litters all but eliminate the smell completely. And without spending a lot, you could get one of these rolling litter boxes that mean you wouldn't even need to scoop. (Caveat: I haven't used one of these, but I know people who love them.) That said, there is the possibility that you get a fussy cat that doesn't like certain types of litter. So while I can't guarantee that you won't have problems, I'm pretty confident that with a bit of experimentation you can find a solution that both you and the cat are happy with.

I am a firm believer in keeping cats indoors; they are safer and live far longer than their outdoor counterpart. That said, if you're want to adopt a cat from a shelter, you'll be giving it a far better life, even if you let it outdoors, than it would have in the shelter for the rest of its life. So if the choice is between having no cat and adopting a cat that you allow outdoors, go for the second option.

Also, most shelters will give you a trial period where you can return the animal if it doesn't work out. If you're not sure how well you can cope with the smell, you can use the trial period to find out. Or you can foster a cat for a limited period of time. That way, even if you find the smell objectionable, you know it's only for a short time.

Finally, don't underestimate the power of love. When you feel that unconditional love from an animal, cleaning up after it doesn't seem like nearly as much of a chore. I'm living proof. Frankly, I'm not a neat person, and my home is always a mess. I detest cleaning. But paradoxically, the litter boxes get scooped and cleaned regularly, and I don't mind litter duty.

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  • I have the same self-sifting litterbox shown in the photo, and it's been working fine for me. Sifting evey day gives best results, especially since I have two cats , but I've stretched it over a weekend when necessary. It does require a heavier litter, please note
    – keshlam
    Jul 2, 2016 at 1:27
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    Seriously: cat waste is usually much drier and less smelly than dog out human, so you may be less bothered than you expect. I just wish these two would learn what my previous cat did: that it's a lot easier to clean hairballs off hard surfaces.
    – keshlam
    Jul 2, 2016 at 1:29

If you like cats and you would own one, do it. We have a cat. She is 5 year old and the <5 minutes daily to clean her toilette is the daily to-do for me. The cat is an indoor cat and she is happy.

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