In this article you’re going to learn if cat litter is harmful to humans
You’ll learn what cat litter is best and the safest to use
You’ll also discover the importance of having a clean litter box
So if you want to create a safe environment for your family then you’re in the right place
Let’s get started
For most of us, part of ‘the package’ of being a cat parent is that as well as having a cuddly cat (on their terms!) and losing your favorite armchair to said cuddly moggy, you have to invest in a cat litter tray and lug heavy bags of cat litter regularly home from the supermarket.
What most cat owners are oblivious of are the hidden dangers of the cat litter tray…. both in the cat poop deposited in it and the dust that is created when you change the cat litter.
Cat litter trays should carry a health warning for both the cat and your family…
Dangers Of Cat Litter Dust- What You Need To Know For Your Family
We have all seen how the dust can billow out when you pour some fresh cat litter into the litter box, but did you realize that the dust can be bad for both you and your cat?
The clumping type of clay cat litter is usually made with sodium bentonite – which is what makes the cat litter clump.
Whilst sodium bentonite is a natural clay, it has been found that it can cause respiratory problems in both humans and cats and should be treated with caution.
In some humans, the dust can be an irritant and cause problems and is definitely something to be avoided by someone suffering from asthma (Like me! I’m asthmatic and the minute I get into contact with dust. I’ve had it!).
Some cats can also develop an allergy from the dust as they breathe it in when they are scratching in the litter box to cover up their mess.
….And For Your Cat
It has been recorded that in a small number of cases, young kittens have died and that the cause has been the inhalation of cat litter dust.
If the cat litter being used is a clumping cat litter made with sodium bentonite, it is possible for kittens to swallow some of the dust as they groom themselves and by its very nature, the litter dust has clumped inside the kittens causing blockages.
This is something to be aware of if you have a young kitten.
Likewise, if you have a dogs in your home, dissuade them from eating any cat litter for similar reasons.
Best Cat Litter For Respiratory Problems
If you or your cat begins to suffer any form of respiratory problem, the quickest and easiest solution is to switch to a different type of cat litter straight away.
For speed you can use soil, sand or shredded newspaper to replace the cat litter and then you can look for the most suitable alternative in the shops.
There are some really good alternatives on the market that are corn and wheat based or made with tree bark.
You may choose to try the new generation Pretty Litter.
This cat litter is made from fine silica crystals that are suitable for both cats and kittens.
The product was designed by Vets, has little dust and is very absorbent.
This brand of cat litter also monitors the acidity and alkalinity of your cat’s urine and changes color if it registers a potential problem.
It is proving popular as it is a subscription cat litter so is delivered right to your door with no carrying for you involved at all!
It’s a cat litter that I tend to recommend and trust me when you discover more about it you’ll be blown away!
Want to learn more?
Have a read of my very in-depth review of Pretty Litter (Link will take you to my review article in a new tab)
Why not check out my Top 6 Best Dust Free Cat Litter For Asthma
Is Cat Litter Poisonous To Humans?
If you do not look after your litter box properly, the answer is ‘yes’.
Various different parasites including hookworm, roundworm, ringworm and Toxoplasma can be found in your cat poop.
If the poop is left for a couple of days, the parasites quickly multiply and you have a potential health risk on your hands. Toxoplasma gondii is one of the most common parasites in the world and although it is not fatal to most healthy people, it can cause a horrid illness similar to flu.
Toxoplasma gondii can cause severe problems to young children, pregnant women (causing miscarriages and birth defects) and also to the elderly.
Family members with a compromised immune system – including those who are having chemotherapy treatment for cancer or who have recently had surgery – will also be at risk.
Rather than put your family at risk, the easiest and best way to avoid the chance of any infection is to always keep the cat litter tray really clean.
Have a read of my article Cat Litter Ammonia Poisoning
Can Dirty Cat Litter Cause Other Health Problems?
You will remember fondly the odd times you have not changed the cat litter on time and how there is soon an awful smell of ammonia.
Toxic ammonia fumes are caused by the accumulation of urine and cat poop in the litter box.
Inhaling ammonia is bad for you; if you inhale ammonia in a small amount, it can cause nausea and headaches and a larger intake, can result in serious respiratory problems like pneumonia.
The effects of ammonia can be especially dangerous to children, the elderly and those with weak immune systems. These dangers should be avoided at all costs.
That’s why it is very important to clean the litter box regularly which leads me to my next point..
Cat Litter Box Health Risks- The Importance Of Cleaning Regularly
Keeping the cat litter box as clean as possible, is the single best way to reduce the risk of infection.
The cat litter tray(s) should be ‘scooped’ every day to remove cat poop and should be changed every few days.
Any poop you remove from the tray should be disposed of carefully and quickly in an outside rubbish bin
When you are changing the cat litter. Remove the soiled litter carefully to minimize dust and dispose of it in an outside rubbish bin immediately – do not try and flush it down the toilet.
Clean the inside of the cat litter box using an enzyme cleaner as this will ensure that the box is perfectly clean, but will leave no smell.
Refill the tray carefully with fresh cat litter to the required depth.
Once you have completed the task, wash your hands thoroughly and to be really safe, change your clothing too- it may sound like a drag, but a few minutes wisely spent at this stage could save days of sadness and pain for your family or cat.
Keeping the cat litter box really clean makes good common sense as it will minimize the chance of a family member becoming ill.
It will save you time too as cats are finicky and if you forget to clean the litter tray, your cat will show its disapproval by using the bath or a pile of dirty clothes as its toilet – cats dislike dirty litter trays.
Interestingly, if you are keeping the cat litter tray scrupulously clean but your cat is still avoiding it, could it be that your cat is being affected by a perfume?
Cats have a keen sense of smell and a number of cat litters on the market are artificially perfumed to make them seem more attractive, but your poor Kitty may hate the smell!
Likewise, if you cleaned out the cat litter tray with lemon fragrances cleaner, you will soon have a feline protest on your hands as cats HATE the smell of lemon!
Changing The Cat Litter Can Be a Chore And Tiring – Here’s To Never Scooping Cat Litter Again!
I get it
Cleaning cat litter
It can be difficult
You know, you come back from a hard days work
Or the kids have been driving you insane and now that they’ve gone to bed you just want to relax
But then you remember
The cat litter needs scooping!
And if you don’t clean it, your cat may use anywhere in the house to do their business
Not to forget keeping a dirty cat litter box is not good for your health too
It can be difficult
But what if I told you, you don’t need to clean it. Ever again
Yep, the litter box will clean itself!
You must have heard of Litter Robot
It’s this awesome automatic self cleaning litter box
How does it work?
In a nutshell
Your cat uses the litter box, after 15 mins or so the litter box cleans itself!
You just got to remove the waste. That’s all!
How awesome is that!
I don’t want to go into too much detail about it because I have written a very in-depth review of the litter robot
You can check it out by clicking here >> Litter Robot Review
Here’s a video of how it works
A Clean Litter Tray Is Important For Cats Too.
As well as minimizing health risks to you and your family, by keeping the litter tray clean, you will also minimize health risks to your cat.
As you will have discovered, your cat is a really fastidiously clean creature and this includes their toilet habits.
Cats don’t like to share litter trays with another cat and nor do they like using a soiled tray – even if it is their own mess!
What happens in this situation is that your cat would dearly love to use the litter tray, but feels that they can’t and will try and avoid going to the toilet.
If this situation arises repeatedly, by ‘bottling up’ the need to go toilet, your cat could be causing themselves a medical problem such as a urinary infection, bladder inflammation or worse still – kidney failure.
When these medical problems arise, even if you have cleaned the cat litter, your poor cat will not want to use it as they associate it with the pain of the infection.
It is far better to save your cat from all this misery by keeping the litter tray in tip top order.
It is important as a cat parent to be aware of the various health problems associated with cat litter for both yourself, your family and your cat.
Luckily, the solution for keeping you and your family healthy is very straight forward
1) scoop daily
2) change regularly
3) maintain good hygiene throughout.
Many new cat litters appear on the supermarket and pet shop shelves each year, but they are currently not tackling the dangers to health as the waste factor is the most important issue, with most cat litter ending up in landfill sites – and that is a phenomenal amount.
The way forward is definitely the use of biodegradable cat litters to help protect the planet.
Importantly, these new cat litters will still need cat owners to adhere to the 1,2,3 cat litter rules to minimize health risks to their families and their beloved cat
It’s best to get in the habit right away!