What’s the Best Cat Food for Smelly Poop?

All poop stinks, and cat poop regularly out-stinks that of other species. But for most cats, the smell is nothing a little ventilation and good hygiene can’t handle.

With good cat litter, scooping, and a spritz of cat-friendly deodorizing spray, your cat’s waste odor shouldn’t be noticeable and shouldn’t necessitate a dietary change.

If, however, the smell is long-lasting, intense, or changes for no apparent reason, something is wrong.

Correcting smelly cat poop is often a matter of modifying the input to create a differently-scented output, but it isn’t always that simple.

Dietary modifications only work if your cat’s diet is causing the odor. Before choosing a new food, you need to rule out other causes.

Causes of Smelly Poop in Cats

Remember that your cat’s feces is the product of gastrointestinal alchemy. Food composition, inflammation, gut bacteria, transit time, intestinal pH, hydration, and muscle tone all convene to create a unique end product, determining shape, size, consistency, and most relevantly, smell.

If your cat’s stool smell is different than usual, evaluate the situation as you’d assess any other change in your cat’s litter box habits. Look for lethargy, loss of appetite, blood in the stool, vomiting, or diarrhea. If they’re exhibiting signs of illness, it’s a good idea to bring your cat to the veterinarian.

Parasites, nutrient malabsorption, infections, poisoning, and a variety of other conditions can cause smelly poop. Your veterinarian can help you to determine if one of these issues is to blame.

If your cat is their sprightly self, eating normally, and if their litter box habits are normal in every aspect but odor, turn to their diet for answers.

Here are the foods that make your cat’s poop stink.

Low digestibility means waste.

Muscle and organ meat deliver species-appropriate nourishment and don’t leave much waste. Eggs and high-quality meat are the most digestible form of nourishment for your cat, but they’re expensive.

To save money, most cat food manufacturers reach for meat by-products instead. By-products aren’t all terrible, but because we don’t know exactly what animal tissues are in the by-product slurry, it’s difficult to gauge digestibility.

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Similarly, plant ingredients are a low-cost alternative to premium cuts of meat. Thanks to their low biological availability, plant ingredients create more waste and smell.

Fillers increase fecal odor.

For this reason, dry cat food is the biggest offender when it comes to fecal odor. It’s full of minimally-digestible ingredients like corn gluten meal, wheat middlings, pea protein, and other fillers. For this reason, and because dry food doesn’t provide the hydration your cat requires, it’s a good idea to ditch dry cat food.

If you must feed your cat dry food, opt for something like Dr. Elsey’s clean protein grain-free cat food. This kibble is ultra-digestible, made without fillers, and can minimize waste and odors.

Thickening agents can contribute to the stench.

Wet foods contain binders and thickeners like agar-agar, guar gum, cassia gum, xanthan gum, and locust bean gum. These ingredients can increase water retention in the stool and make it smellier. When shopping for a wet cat food for smelly poop, seek gum-free recipes with as few ingredients as possible.

Dairy products create smelly poop.

Most adult cats are lactose intolerant, so consuming cow’s milk, cream, and certain cheeses is a recipe for loose, sick-smelling stool. Avoid lactose-rich dairy treats and inspect ingredient lists closely.

Watch out for allergenic ingredients.

Smelly poop may be a manifestation of a food allergy. Their smelly poop may be accompanied by diarrhea, vomiting, and non-GI symptoms like poor coat condition, itchiness, and hair loss.

Cats can develop allergies after years, especially when they’re given the same food every day. The most common food allergens in cats are, generally, the ingredients most common in cat food. Cats are frequently diagnosed with allergies to chicken, beef, dairy, and eggs.

If you suspect that your cat is allergic to an ingredient in their food, an elimination diet can help you to identify the culprit. An elimination diet involves a single protein, preferably one your cat’s never eaten before.

If you notice that your cat’s stool odor is lighter on this stripped-down diet, you can gradually re-introduce familiar proteins one-by-one until the issue returns. When it does, mark that protein on your “do not feed” list and don’t give it to your cat again.

What type of food will reduce the fecal odor?

The best cat food for smelly poop is one that’s highly-digestible and efficiently utilized by the body. You’re looking for balanced macronutrient levels, minimal filler material, and no allergens.

These qualities appear in some canned food and a few kibble foods, but for anyone who wants to cut down on their cat’s stool odor, it doesn’t get better than raw cat food.

Raw feeders describe their cats’ feces as smaller, drier, and better-smelling. A well-balanced, species-appropriate raw diet is ultra-digestible, delivering almost pure nutrition and energy with minimal waste. It’s possible that the enzymes and bacteria present in raw cat food act as probiotics in your cat’s gut, helping to promote healthy digestion.

Best Cat Food for Smelly Poop—Our Top 6 Picks

The following five cat food products tick the boxes outlined above. All are nutritionally streamlined for the feline body, with minimal excess and no fillers.

Food Price Nutrition Rating
JustCatsJustCats Fish & Chicken
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Varies A+ 5 stars
KASIKS Cage-Free Chicken Formula Grain-Free Canned Cat FoodKASIKS Cage-Free Chicken Formula Grain-Free Canned Cat Food
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$3.24 / 12.2 oz can A+ 5 stars
Stella & Chewy's Freeze-Dried Raw Absolutely Rabbit Dinner Morsels Cat FoodStella & Chewy’s Freeze-Dried Raw Absolutely Rabbit Dinner Morsels Cat Food
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$3.22 / oz A 5 star
ZiwiPeak Venison Canned Cat CuisineZiwiPeak Venison Canned Cat Cuisine
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$5.52 / 6.5 oz can A 5 stars
Primal Turkey Formula Nuggets Grain-Free Raw Freeze-Dried Cat FoodPrimal Turkey Formula Nuggets Grain-Free Raw Freeze-Dried Cat Food
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$2.21 / oz A- 4 stars
Tiki Cat Hookena Luau Ahi Tuna & Chicken in Chicken Consomme Grain-Free Canned Cat FoodTiki Cat Hookena Luau Ahi Tuna & Chicken in Chicken Consomme Grain-Free Canned Cat Food
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$2.42 / 6 oz can A- 4 stars
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JustCats Fish & Chicken

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

First 5 Ingredients: Alaskan Pacific Wild-Caught Cod, Whole Atlantic Sardines, Dried Yuca Root, Chicken Thighs, Chicken Hearts

JustCats Fish & Chicken is hand-made in kitchens open to the public! This fresh food is made with high-quality ingredients such as yuca root for hydration and digestion, Alaskan Pacific Wild-Caught Cod for protein, and sardines for  Omega-3 fatty acids and a rich source of vitamin D. This recipe is high in protein and low in carbs. The Alaskan Pacific Wild-Caught Cod is low-calorie and a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, niacin, vitamin B12 & B6, potassium, phosphorus, and selenium. Cat food that contains easily digestible EFAs, like those in fish, helps contribute to a healthy, shiny coat. If you choose this food for your cat, you can have peace of mind knowing that it is formulated to meet the nutritional levels established by the AAFCO Cat Food Nutrient Profiles for maintenance.


  • Fresh ingredients
  • Hand made in kitchens open to the public
  • High protein


  • More expensive than other foods

KASIKS Cage-Free Chicken Formula Grain-Free Canned Cat Food Review

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

KASIKS Cage-Free Chicken Formula Grain-Free Canned Cat Food

First 5 Ingredients: Boneless Chicken, Water Sufficient For Processing, Pea Starch, Sodium Chloride, Calcium Carbonate

This canned food has a sleek ingredient list centering around highly-digestible boneless chicken. Ninety-six percent of the recipe’s total protein comes from Canadian chicken meat. Unlike some meat by-products or plant protein, boneless chicken is utilized efficiently by your cat’s body. This means less waste and less odor.

Because it features a single animal protein source, this food may be a good choice for allergic cats. Remember that chicken is one of the top food allergens for cats—if your cat has a suspected food allergy, a novel protein may be a better alternative.

With the exception of pea starch and trace amounts of berries and coconut, this food is free from the fruit and vegetable ingredients that can contribute to litter box odor.

Like all KASIKs foods, the formula is free from binders, which some cat guardians say intensify their cats’ fecal odor.


  • Made with a single animal protein
  • No thickeners
  • Minimal plant content
  • Highly-digestible


  • Some people say their cats didn’t like the taste of this food

Stella & Chewy’s Freeze-Dried Raw Absolutely Rabbit Dinner Morsels Cat Food Review

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Stella & Chewy's Freeze-Dried Raw Absolutely Rabbit Dinner Morsels Cat Food

First 5 Ingredients: Rabbit With Ground Bone, Olive Oil, Pumpkin Seed, Potassium Chloride, Sodium Phosphate Monobasic

Raw cat food can reduce stool odor and volume.

This is a freeze-dried product made primarily from fresh rabbit meat. Because rabbit is a novel protein for most cats, it’s unlikely to stoke any allergic fires that could worsen your cat’s fecal odor.

It contains a small amount of plant matter, but it’s free from fillers and plant proteins that could bog your cat down.

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The food contains probiotics, which contribute to improved digestive health and may reduce fecal odor. However, it’s unclear how viable these microorganisms are by the time they reach your cat’s food bowl.


  • Rabbit is a novel protein – ideal for allergic cats
  • Added probiotics
  • Highly digestible


  • Rehydration takes a few minutes

ZiwiPeak Venison Canned Cat Cuisine Review

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

ZiwiPeak Venison Canned Cat Cuisine

First 5 Ingredients: Venison, Venison Broth, Venison Liver, Venison Lung, Venison Heart

Most cats don’t eat venison every day. That’s why this venison-based formula is a good pick for cats with suspected food allergies. The food has single protein source and it’s a novel one, meaning that it’s unlikely to stimulate an allergic response.

It’s made primarily from highly-digestible fresh meat, organs, and bones with 93% of the total recipe coming from animal sources.

Besides a small amount of chickpeas, the food isn’t packed with plant ingredients and fillers that could make your cat into a toxic waste factory.


  • A limited ingredient diet
  • Made with a single novel protein
  • Highly-digestible


  • Expensive
  • Contains chickpeas

Primal Turkey Formula Nuggets Grain-Free Raw Freeze-Dried Cat Food Review

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Primal Turkey Formula Nuggets Grain-Free Raw Freeze-Dried Cat Food

First 5 Ingredients: Turkey, Turkey Necks, Turkey Hearts, Turkey Livers, Organic Collard Greens

This food consists of freeze-dried nuggets of fresh turkey muscle meat and organs. Turkey isn’t a top allergen for cats, so it’s a safe alternative to chicken. The freeze-drying process destroys pathogenic bacteria, while leaving the texture, flavor, and nutrient value of raw meat intact.

With ninety-six percent of the protein in this recipe coming from animal sources, this is a highly-digestible product.

That said, it’s not a plant-free recipe. It contains organic collard greens, squash, celery, cranberries, and trace amounts of other nutrient-rich fruits and vegetables. These ingredients make the food nutritionally complete in lieu of synthetic vitamins and minerals.

Primal says that carbohydrate content adds up to a tiny .4% of the product.


  • Limited ingredient food
  • Free from common allergens and irritants
  • Highly digestible


  • Demands rehydration

Tiki Cat Hookena Luau Ahi Tuna & Chicken in Chicken Consomme Grain-Free Canned Cat Food Review

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Tiki Cat Hookena Luau Ahi Tuna & Chicken in Chicken Consomme Grain-Free Canned Cat Food

First 5 Ingredients: Chicken Broth, Tuna, Chicken, Sunflower Seed Oil, Tricalcium Phosphate

This food from Tiki Cat highlights chicken and tuna meat, both of which are highly-digestible and leave little waste.

Though the two animal protein sources might make this food a questionable choice for cats with suspected food allergies, it’s a simple formula with no thickening agents, fillers, or minimally-digestible proteins.

It’s a good choice for cats who like fishy flavors in addition to the standard poultry fare. While it might help to reduce your cat’s poop smell, the food itself is on the smelly side—watch out if you’re sensitive to the smell of fish.


  • A stripped down, ultra-digestible recipe
  • Primarily animal protein
  • No binders


  • Expensive
  • Made with sunflower oil

Of course, food might not be your odor solution.

So you’ve done everything outline above and your cat’s poop still reeks.

You’ve ruled out health conditions. Your cat is eating a species-appropriate, nutritionally streamlined food. They don’t have any food allergies or sensitivities.

In this case, it’s time to concentrate on the litter box. Ensure that your cat’s toilet is doing everything it can to minimize odors. Choose a great litter for odor control, scoop once or twice daily, and change the litter out regularly. Litter deodorizers can also help.

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