In this article you’re going to learn about the health hazards of a litter box
How you can reduce these hazards
What you should do to keep your cat, you and your family safe with a litter box
So if you want a clean and healthy environment for your cat and your family then you’re going to love this article!
Let’s get started
It has to be said that regularly cleaning out the car litter box is the most tiresome chore going!
You put in a great deal of effort, getting rid of the dirty litter, washing the empty litter box carefully and then lovingly filling the box with sparkling clean cat litter for your wonderful Kitty – and how do they reward you?
By instantly jumping into the box, parking a huge poo and then flinging the cat litter everywhere as they try to cover the poo up – terrific!
Of course, in between the grand cat litter changing ceremony, you must be on duty several times each day to play the unusual party game called ‘scoop the poop’ which involves carefully balancing your cat’s poo or smelly urine soaked clump of cat litter on a flimsy plastic scoop and trying to get it into a plastic bag for disposal – without dropping it.
Easy though this may sound, many a grown man has cried when they have failed in this skillful task, but this is probably because of the dreadful smell!
When all is said and done, the cat litter box is the downside of sharing your home with your gorgeous feline friend and would you change this? ‘Never’ you all cry!
It is important to appreciate that although the chore of cleaning the cat litter box is dreadful, the health hazards to you and your family if you don’t are much worse.
Your cat is probably a wonderful, loving companion, who thinks of you constantly as they nab your favorite chair, so in all honesty, the cat litter tray ritual is a small price to pay for all the fun and cuddles you share with your furball
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Why It’s Important To Clean The Litter Box Every Day
There are a number of reasons that the cat litter box should be cleaned every day.
Before discussing the potential health hazards, the most important reason is to keep your cat happy!
Cats are extremely clean animals and really do not like soiled litter trays – even if it were they who soiled it!
It really is important to remove any cat poo and any clumps of cat litter that smell of cat urine several times a day to keep your pusscat happy.
Now you may well say – tough, the cat will have to like it or lump it, but this will definitely backfire on you!
Cats are really fussy about where they do their business and if your cat is unhappy with the state of the cat litter tray, they will simply find an alternative toilet – be it your bath, best rug or pile of dirty laundry. So in reality, was the struggle worth it?
But when you think about it – you can’t blame them right?
I mean, would we use a washroom that is dirty? Not really
Same goes with your cat
The other really important reason for cleaning the cat litter box every day is that cat poo contains various parasites including hookworm, roundworm, ringworm and Toxoplasma gondii.
It stands to reason, that if the cat poo is not dealt with promptly, these parasites can quickly multiply – and so will the chances of the litter tray becoming a health hazard.
[su_box title=”What is Toxaplasma gondii?” box_color=”#faeb35″ title_color=”#221313″]Toxaplasma gondii is a really common parasite and whilst it is not fatal, it can make even healthy people sick with a flu-like illness. If you have young or old family members or someone in your family with a compromised immune systems (for example they are undergoing chemotherapy), the health risks to them are considerable. [/su_box]
It is really important to know that Toxoplasma can also cause serious health problems to pregnant women and that they should never go near the cat litter box.
The best way to keep all the family safe at all times and to avoid any risk of infection, is to keep the cat litter box really clean.
It is important, to protect yourself too, by wearing rubber gloves when you complete the cat litter box cleaning routine and always wash your hands regularly if you touch the litter tray.
[su_heading size=”19″]I Don’t Have Much Time To Clean The Litter Box Everyday[/su_heading]
I get it
We are all busy
The hustle and bustle of life
Working all day then you have the family and the kids
Where do you fit in the time to clean out the cat litter
It’s not like it’s a 2 minute job
Let’s be honest – it’s a chore
Problem is, if we don’t clean the litter box the chances are, they will pee all over the house
And it’s not healthy to have a dirty litter box
That’s why I would recommend investing into a self cleaning litter box
What’s a self cleaning litter box?
Well, it’s pretty self explanatory – The litter box cleans itself automatically
It will make your life so much more easier and will also free up some time for you
With that time you can spend bond with your cat
What’s the best automatic litter box?
I would recommend
Litter Robot 3
This awesome litter box is the best on the market for sure
It’s recommended by cat parents and it’s the best investment they have made
How does it work?
You set a timer for when the Litter Robot should clean itself after your cat has answered the call of nature
For example 10 minutes
Your cat enters the litter robot to do their business
10 minutes after your cat has left, the Litter Robot will start to rotate
It begins a sifting process where soiled and clump litter is removed into a waste drawer leaving it with only clean fresh litter to be used again
How long does this take?
2.5 minutes! Quick right?
It has a large waste drawer so you just need to empty twice a week
It’s great at odor control because it has a fully enclosed carbon filtered waste drawer that is designed to greatly reduce odor
After the sifting process, the globe returns to it’s normal home position ready to be used again
Leave all the cleaning and scooping to the Litter Robot whilst you relax
I know what you’re thinking
Is it safe for my furbaby? What if my kitty goes back inside when it’s rotating?
You got nothing to worry about because it’s fitted with a weight sensitive switch that detects any time your cat enters the globe
As soon as it detects, the globe will not rotate or if it’s rotating will stop completely
It’s pretty much the best automatic litter box
The features, benefits everything about it is perfect for every cat parent
Plenty of space for your cat to feel comfortable
I don’t want to go too much into detail because I have written a very in-depth review which you should check out to see if it’s for you
I talk about the pros and cons
Here’s a video showing you how it works so you get a better idea
If you want to purchase this then make sure to act quick as they have special offer
You get $25 OFF your purchase
I don’t know how long this will last for
Can Dirty Cat Litter Cause Other Health Problems?
Unfortunately, the answer is ‘yes’. On occasions when you have not cleared the litter tray by de-pooping and remove urine clumps with a scoop nor have you totally changed the cat litter as often as you should (recommended time frame is every 2/3 days), you will have been very aware of the increasing smell of ammonia.
Ammonia is toxic and the fumes are very unhealthy for everyone.
The ammonia fumes are caused by an accumulation of cat urine in the litter box.
Whilst fresh cat litter can absorb both the urine and any odor, as the cat litter becomes saturated, this is when the problem begins because cat urine is surprisingly concentrated so the smell of ammonia is strong.
Inhaling ammonia is definitely bad for you as it can cause nausea and bad headaches and can also irritate the eyes, nose and bronchial membranes.
Inhaling ammonia regularly over a period of time, can result in serious respiratory problems including pneumonia. The effects of ammonia are particularly dangerous to people suffering with asthma and bronchial conditions, young children, the elderly and those with weak immune systems.
As well as the problems caused by inhaling ammonia, there is also a bacteria found in cat urine that can cause sickness, fever and diarrhea – if the bacteria gets into your blood stream.
The only way to avoid this is to keep the cat litter box really clean and to always ensure that you wear rubber gloves when performing the cat litter duties.
It is important that vulnerable members of your family – children the elderly and anyone who has a compromised immune system plus any pregnant mums, all stay well away from the cat litter tray and they should not be allowed to clean the cat litter box at any time
[su_note]RELATED ARTICLE – Cat Litter Ammonia Poisoning – should you be worried?[/su_note]
Is a Litter Box Harmful to Humans?
The straight answer is that it can be really harmful – but if care is taken, it need not be harmful at all.
As well as the health risks that have been mentioned already, another to be aware of is caused by the dust from the cat litter.
You have probably noticed that there is quite a cloud of dust if you pour the cat litter quickly into the litter tray.
This dust is particularly found in the clumping type of cat litters as most are made with sodium bentonite.
Unfortunately, for people with asthma or other bronchial conditions, the dust can be a real irritant.
The solution is straight forward – to swap to another type of cat litter and one of the ones made from natural products such as wheat or corn could well suit you best and these are available as clumping cat litter to help absorb cat urine..
I would recommend Pretty Litter which is a revolutionary litter that can detect any health signs in your cat by changing color!
You can check out my in-depth review >> Pretty Litter Review
Even if you do not have any bronchial problems, it is best to avoid any inhalation of the dust and this is especially important when you are changing the cat litter in the box.
When you are emptying the box of the soiled litter, place the whole box in a large plastic bag and hold it closed before you tip our the cat litter.
This should avoid creating any dust. Likewise, when you are refilling the litter tray, with fresh cat litter, do so by pouring the litter into the box at a moderate and steady rate as again, this will minimize the amount of dust caused.
The bottom line is that the cat litter box is not harmful to humans and using a natural cat litter that does not create dust will ensure that it really is safe.
However, the moment the litter box is used, the cat litter has become contaminated and there is a health risk.
The Safe Cat Litter Box Routine.
To ensure that the cat litter box is not harmful to anyone, it is essential that the urine soaked clumps of cat litter and any cat poo are removed several times a day using one of the brightly colored plastic scoops sold for the purpose.
Every second day (or third if you are using a better quality cat litter) it is essential that you change the cat litter completely and thoroughly clean the litter tray. Although this is a tedious chore, it will ensure that your family is kept well.
Before you start, don a pair of rubber gloves and if you suffer from any bronchial problems, it is worth slipping on a face mask too.
* First, place the whole cat litter box in a large plastic bag. Hold the bag closed, whilst you pour the soiled litter out of the box into the bag. Once this has been done, tie the bag closed and take it directly out to the dustbin.
* Next, clean the cat litter box thoroughly, using an enzyme cleaner. If you don’t have one of these powerful cleaners (which is good to get as they really eliminate germs), use a non-perfumed cleaner. This is essential as your cat might not like the fragrance – especially if it is lemon – and refuse to use their cat litter box – full stop!
* Ensure that the litter box is thoroughly dry, using kitchen paper. Clean the area where the litter box usually stands as there are probably stray pieces of cat litter.
* Place the cat litter box carefully back in position and gently pour fresh new cat litter into the box to your cat’s preferred depth.
* Stand back and wait for your cat to regally saunter in to enjoy leaving their first ‘calling card’ in their litter box!
When you are next in the pet store/ supermarket, have a browse through the different brands of cat litter as new ones are appearing all the time and it is well worth considering making the switch to one of the new types of cat litter made from natural products like bark, walnut or wheat that absorb cat urine, but also prevent it from forming ammonia.
Another important point to remember is that if you have a garden your cat – and others in the area- will love using the flower beds for their toilet and because of this it is essential that you always wear gloves when you are gardening.
Can Cat Litter be Harmful to Cats?
As well as being harmful to humans, cat litter can cause a variety of health problems to your cat – and not all of them are from soiled cat litter.
Unfortunately, some cats develop feline allergic bronchitis from the cat litter.
Although many packets of cat litter proclaim that they are dust free, if they are not, the airborne particles can prove an irritant to your cat and trigger an allergic reaction.
Unfortunately, this problem cannot cure itself and in fact becomes progressively worse as your cat continues to be exposed to the dust.
If you suspect that your cat is having difficulty breathing, arrange to see your Vet as quickly as possible and immediately switch your cat litter brand to a dust free, unscented one.
Another serious problem that can occur with kittens and cats is caused by granules of clumping cat litter.
If your kitten or cat swallows some granules, they can expand up to 15 times their size inside your cat and can cause an internal blockage – if you suspect this, again, visit your Vet quickly.
If you are wondering how your cat could ingest the cat litter, this can be easily done if the granules have stuck on your cat’s fur or paws and they have then groomed themselves.
The Benefits Of a Clean Litter Box
The benefits of having a clean cat litter box are many as it will ensure good health to you and your cat.
You and your family will not be at risk of being ill from the various parasites – including Toxoplasma gondii – found in cat poo, nor be at risk from the dreadful ammonia fumes caused by cat urine.
Your precious pusscat will relish having a lovely fresh cat litter tray, their health will not at risk and they will not have the bother of searching around the house for a pile of clothes or a fluffy rug to use as an alternative toilet!
Keeping the litter tray clean and odor free will definitely gain you points from your family and your cat – now what more could you want in life?