Cat Litter Ammonia Poisoning – Is This Something To Be Worried About?

In this article you’re going to learn about cat litter ammonia poisoning

Is it something to be worried about?

What precautions should you take

How you can prevent ammonia poisoning

Why it’s very important to clean the litter box every day

So if you want to safeguard yours and your family health as well as your cats then you’re going to love this article

Let’s get started!

Having a cat around the home is fun for everyone and provides great company and amusement to all the family – a statement that cat lovers will definitely endorse!

There are many people however, who do not feel the same about cats and one of the main reasons they cite is the awful smell of the cat litter box.

They have a good point, although there is no reason for a cat litter box to smell!

The reason the cat litter trays smells is the build up of ammonia from the cat’s urine.

Not only does it smell bad it is toxic and if it is not dealt with promptly, it can be harmful to all the family.

Young and old family members are particularly at risk and it is really important that you minimize their exposure to ammonia.

The good news is that the problem is easily avoided by maintaining really good hygiene where the cat litter box is concerned, something which is not difficult, but just a little time-consuming.

Understanding the reasons why it is important to keep a clean litter tray, will ensure that this daily duty figures high on your ‘to do’ list!

Why It’s Important To Clean Cat Litter Every Day

Cat urine, may appear harmless as it is mainly water, but it does contain several chemicals, including ammonia.

Fresh cat litter successfully absorbs both the cat urine and the odor, but when it becomes saturated it is unable to do so and it is at this point that owners can smell the strong odor of ammonia.

It does not take many days for this to happen because cat pee is far more concentrated than human urine.

Ammonia is a toxic gas that is a combination of nitrogen and hydrogen that produces strong fumes. 

These fumes easily cause irritation to the sensitive bronchial membranes of the lungs and this in turn can lead to coughing and difficulty in breathing.

Ammonia is a nasty irritant and can quickly irritate the nose, eyes and throat – and in some cases, cause really strong headaches and nausea.

As well as the cat urine being a potential health risk to your family, it is important to remember that cat poo is too, as it contains parasites including hookworm, roundworm, ringworm and Toxoplasma gondii .

Toxaplasma can make even the healthiest person sick with a flu-like illness and can make a vulnerable person really ill, especially those with a compromised immune system.

Cat poo should be removed from the litter box several times a day to minimize the health risks and as you do this you should remove any clogged cat litter, where your cat has peed. 

Cleaning the cat litter daily of cat poo and clumped/ wet litter is an essential routine to get into.

Simply scoop up the poo and any clumped cat litter and pour some replacement into the tray.

There are many other types of non-clumping cat litters on the market including various crystals, corn, pine and wheat grass, but these hold very little urine and do not combat the smell of ammonia so they will smell quickly- even if you do try to scoop out any poo and mop any pee regularly.

Changing the cat litter completely every two-three days is really important and for this to be really effective, it must be done thoroughly – as follows:

  • First of all, put on a pair of rubber gloves, to protect our skin. Remove any cat poo and then pour the used cat litter into a bag, seal the bag firmly and dispose of it promptly outside in the dustbin. You may have heard that you can flush cat litter down the toilet, but this is not so and you are likely to cause some expensive problems with your plumbing.
  • Clean out the litter tray thoroughly. The best product to use is an enzyme cleaner as this eliminates all germs very effectively. If you do not have such a cleaner, use an unperfumed one to do the job. It is important to choose an unperfumed cleaner as your moggy has a keen sense of smell and will refuse to use the litter tray if it smells ‘wrong’  The scent of lemon is one loathed by most felines – you have been warned!
  • Once you have dried the litter tray, you can carefully refill the tray with fresh litter. Do this carefully as the dust created by cat litter can also be an irritant – particularly if you are asthmatic.
  • Before you return the litter tray to its usual parking place; it is well worth cleaning the wall/ cupboard doors behind the tray, in case your cat has sprayed it and also the floor too as cats can sometimes miss their target!
  • Place the litter tray on a large sheet of newspaper as this can help collect some of the pieces of cat litter thrown out of the litter tray by your cat’s enthusiastic digging and scraping!

Why You Need a Automatic Litter Box

Scooping litter every day is very important but let’s be honest – it’s a difficult chore

It’s not something a cat parent will look forward

For example coming home from a hard days job and then thinking

“I can’t wait to clean the litter box!” – I don’t think any cat parent would think like this!

Here’s the worst part

If you don’t scoop the dirty litter everyday then you’ve just read about ammonia and all other bacteria and disease

On top of that

Your cat will not use a dirty litter box so they’ll go elsewhere to do their business

Yep – on your beautiful carpet

Or poop somewhere in the corner of the house

The smell of cat urine in the house can be really bad!

That’s why I would recommend an automatic litter box

Which is the best?

I would recommend

Litter Robot 3

What is the Litter Robot?

It’s a automatic litter box that cleans itself

You never have to scoop litter ever again 

How does it work?

You set a timer

So what happens is, when your cat has used the Litter Robot

The Litter Robot has a sensor that knows when the cat has left

For example, you set the timer 15 minutes

15 minutes after your cat has left the Litter Robot

The Litter Robot will start to sift the litter and moves any soiled litter into a special compartment so that your cat has clean cat litter to use each time 

You then just need to empty the waste drawer every few days

That’s it!

How easy does that make your life sound?

The best part?

You won’t have to worry about ammonia poisoning because there is no dirty litter lingering around

It’s cleaned pretty much straight away

2 main benefits of the Litter Robot

Self cleaning

It’s a healthy option for your family and cat because it cleans the litter straight away

Who’s Litter Robot for?

It’s for any cat parent that wants to provide a healthy and safe environment for their cat and family

Those cat parents who are super busy because of work and children so they don’t have much time to clean the litter box everyday

It will make your life so much more easier

The price?

It is expensive but it’s deffo worth the investment

If you are interested then make sure to take advantage of their special offer

$25 OFF your purchase 

I don’t know how long this offer is on for or if it’s still working so you might want to act quick!

>Click Here To See If The Offer Is Still On<<

If you want to learn more about the Litter Robot then I have written a very in-depth review which covers everything you need to know

Check it out by clicking the link below

Litter Robot 3 Review 

Here’s a short video showing you how the Litter Robot works

Which Is The Best Cat Litter For Cleaning Cat Litter Daily?

There are many different absorbent cat litters on the market and they are all moderately successful at containing the dreadful smell of cat urine.

The trouble is that all the products can only do so for so long.

To maximize their effectiveness, the cat litter must be placed in a clean, dry litter box and the cat poo and urine-clumped litter need to be dealt with several times every day.

It is best to experiment with a few different brands to find the one that you feel is most effective and the key to success with all of them is not to let the cat poo or pee accumulate as this will be harmful.

Keep an eye on the pet shelves as new types of cat litter are being regularly produced – and many of the news ones are trying to eliminate the hazards of ammonia, by stopping it from forming.

I would recommend getting litter that is dust free because it’s more safe for your cat and for your family too

Dusty cat litter can cause respiratory problems

Have a look at my article Top 6 Best Dust Free Cat Litter For Asthma 

What If The Ammonia Smell Doesn’t Go?

If you have been changing the litter box daily and airing the room, but there is still an increasingly strong smell of ammonia, this would suggest that your wonderful cat has chosen an alternative toilet!

Check the smell of your cushions, your cat’s bed and also the linen basket as cats love to pee on soft things.

Once you have found the source of the problem you can deal with it promptly.

You will probably find that washing items normally in the washing machine will not get rid of the smell of the ammonia, so add a teacup of white vinegar with the washing liquid as this will definitely banish the odor.

If your cat has peed on the carpet or on any other surface then it’s best to use an enzymatic cleaner

Which one is the best?

Have a look at my top 3 best urine remover

What Are Side Effects Of Breathing Cat Urine Ammonia?

In the short term, ammonia can cause to irritation of the nose, eyes and throat and coughing as well as nausea.

If the ammonia is not dealt with and allowed to build up, this can lead to various respiratory problems including irritated lungs, bronchitis and even pneumonia as the ammonia fumes injure the soft tissue of the trachea and lungs.

The longer a person is exposed to ammonia fumes, the more their health is at risk 

As well as the problems caused by the ammonia in cats urine, there is also  bacteria found in cat urine that can cause health problems if it gets into your bloodstream through contact with your skin.

The bacteria can cause sickness, fever and diarrhea so it is essential that you or any family member who handles the litter box, really washes their hands thoroughly straight away. (If you have a automatic litter box you don’t have to worry about this)

Millions of people are allergic to cats.

Many mistakenly believe that their allergy is caused by cat hair; but usually, the allergy is caused by a unique protein that is found in the skin, saliva, and urine of cats.

People are not allergic to cat urine itself, but the unique protein found in it. 

Allergic reactions caused by cats are twice as common as those caused by dogs. Interestingly, an allergy can develop at any stage in your life – depending on the amount of exposure you have experienced

Is There Ammonia In Cat Litter?

Fresh cat litter does not contain any ammonia, but will have within a few hours when your cat has a pee in it.

Cat litter is designed to absorb cat pee and many of the different brands claim to effectively deal with any odors – but they can only do this for a limited time which is why the cat litter box must be changed every day if you can 

If you do not change the cat litter regularly and live somewhere that has poor ventilation or you do not regularly air the place, there will be build-up of ammonia in the air and the quality of the air will not be good and will be potentially harmful to you and your family.

The smell of ammonia intensifies as the cat urine dries.

Again, if you don’t have time to scoop everyday then it would be wise for you to invest in a self cleaning litter box

If you have multiple cats then check out my article

Best Self Cleaning Litter Box For Multiple Cats 

Can Ammonia From Cat Urine Make You Sick?

If you do not change the cat litter regularly and live somewhere that has poor ventilation or you do not regularly air the place, there will be build up of ammonia in the air and the quality of the air will not be good and will be potentially harmful to you and your family causing ammonia poisoning and a variety of respiratory problems.

The smell of ammonia intensifies as the cat urine dries and this should act as a warning that the cat litter tray really needs to be changed promptly.

The increasing smell of ammonia in a room when you know that you have cleaned the cat litter tray well and filled it with fresh litter means that your cat has peed somewhere else and you need to pinpoint where and clean everything really well to stop your cat peeing in the same spot again and also to ensure that you have eliminated the ammonia to prevent any health hazard to your family  


Even if this information about cat urine isn’t the most fun subject, it is an important one, because cat owners and potential cat owners need to be aware of the various health problems that can arise if the cat litter box is not dealt with properly.

The best way to avoid any potential health risks to you and your family is to regularly scoop the poop and urine clogged cat litter from the litter box and to replace the cat litter with fresh every day if possible.

I know it’s not something that is fun and can be a chore

So if that’s the case then I would suggest getting your cat a automatic self cleaning litter box

The most popular among cat parents is Litter Robot as I mentioned earlier in the article

Have a read of my review and see if it’s something that will be of interest to you

Litter Robot 3 Review 

Knowing that the litter box is being cleaned readily without you even touching it and knowing there’s fresh litter everyday for your cat.

It’s more safe and healthy – it gives you a piece of mind.

That way, you can happily snuggle up in the armchair with your kitty knowing that there are no potential health issues.

Leave a Comment