Your Cat’s Dirty Litter Box Is Putting You Both at Risk

Can a Dirty Litter Box Make You Sick?

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. Cats and litter boxes are a two-in-one package; you can’t take care of one and ignore the other. You might think it’s inconvenient to meticulously clean the dirty cat litter box every single day, especially at times wherein you had to work long hours. However, a couple of minutes spent on cleaning is certainly better than wasting numerous years salvaging your cat’s and your family’s health.

Health Hazards of a Dirty Litter Box

Yes, you read that right. A dirty cat litter box can pose a significant threat to your cat’s and family’s health. In what way?

One way to help with a dirty box affecting your cat is to use a cat litter mat that helps remove bits of litter stuck to your cat's paws. These convenient mats also trap loose litter leaving a cleaner area. However, you'll still need to clean it every so often. And while a litter mat would help it won't do any good if you don't clean up properly.

Possible Cat Diseases

Your cat will be the first to suffer. Well, she’s the one using the dirty litter box, you know.

Cats are finicky when it comes to their bathrooms. If the box isn’t clean, they will try to hold it in. The longer you delay the cleaning, the longer they try to avoid using the bathroom. This may eventually lead to a myriad of urinary tract diseases, the most common of which are UTI, bladder inflammation, and kidney blockage and failure. We have previously published a blog post explaining these feline diseases, which you can read here.

Dirty Litter Boxes Can Cause Feline UTI

The aforementioned cat diseases are curable, but the treatments take a lot of time and money. The burning pain sick cats feel when urinating may also make them dismiss the box altogether, causing unpleasant messes in different areas of the house.

Effects on Human Health

Some people think the effects of a dirty litter box extend only to the cats using them, but that can’t be further from the truth. Humans are as much at risk as cats. Here are just a few illnesses that you can acquire from facing and handling filthy boxes:

Dirty Cat Litter Boxes Produce Excessive Ammonia
Overexposure to ammonia—as urine and feces accumulate in the litter box, ammonia fumes are produced. Ammonia is a toxic gas that, at the mildest, causes queasiness and headaches and, at worst, may result in serious respiratory problems like pneumonia. The effects of this poisonous gas can especially be dire for children, senior, and those with already weak immune systems.
Bacterial infectioncat-scratch fever and Salmonellosis are just two of the bacteria-caused diseases that can be traced back to mountain clumps of cat pee and poop. The infections first spread in the cat host, although some may not show symptoms, and finds its way to humans during the belated cleaning process.

Parasite transfer—aside from bacteria, cat excrement are also home to a horde of parasites, the scariest being Toxoplasma gondii—a single-cell parasite that produces fever-like symptoms and has been linked to increased suicidal tendencies. Other parasites you need to be on the lookout for are hookworms, roundworms, and ring worms.

Dirty Litter Boxes Are Home to Nasty Parasites

As you can see, a dirty litter box can be a huge health threat to everyone around it. So don’t take the risk and jeopardize your cat’s and family’s health; diligently clean the cat litter box daily.

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