A new litter box spray (Zero Odor; http://www.zeroodorpet.com) was evaluated to determine whether its use would change cats' use of litter boxes. In one study, owners of 10 cats were instructed to spray the product twice daily into 1 of 2 litter boxes for 4 days, and to record the total number of urine and fecal clumps scooped from each of the boxes. In a second study, 11 privately owned cats in 7 households were videotaped for 48 consecutive hours. At the beginning of the second 24-hour period, litter boxes were sprayed with the product at the onset, and again 12 hours later. Litter box visits were scored for behaviors indicative of "dissatisfaction" with the litter box. In a third study, 12 owners of 26 cats were asked to record number of inappropriate urine and fecal eliminations in a 2-week phase, then again after spraying all litter boxes with the product twice daily over a 2-week test phase. In the first study, no preference for litter boxes was observed. In the second and third studies, however, significantly fewer behaviors associated with feline litter box dissatisfaction and fewer incidents of inappropriate elimination were seen. The authors conclude this spray appears to decrease odor and increase litter box attractiveness to cats.

COMMENTARY: Handling inappropriate elimination generally focuses on cleaning soiled areas, adding boxes or moving them, changing litter brand or type of box, and regular scooping/cleaning of the litter box. The spray evaluated reportedly eliminates odor by irreversibly changing the structure of odor-causing molecules. The results described appear promising, but further investigation with controlled, blinded studies would be useful. In the meantime, this litter box spray may be a useful addition to traditional recommendations for owners.

Effect of an odor eliminator on feline litter box behavior. Cottman N, Dodman NH. J FELine MED SURG 9:44-50, 2007.