Health Risks From Dirty Cat Litter Boxes

sick health issues cat kitten-min
(Last Updated On: August 8, 2018)

Having a cat is one of the best feelings in the world. You get a companion and a best friend
in your home. However a pet is also a great responsibility. You have to feed them, bathe them,
and clean their mess. This involves cleaning the dirty litter box which serves as your cat’s bathroom.

The best automatic litter box is as important as providing him or her food and water.

Although you might think that it is a hassle to regularly clean a litter box you might do a second take when
you find out the health implications of a dirty litter box on both you and your cat.

That’s right, it is not just your kitty that will be affected by a dirty litter box bu you and your family as well.

So before anyone gets sick in your family, make sure to always clean the litter box.

sick health issues cat kitten-min


Cat Diseases from A Dirty Litter Box

Cats are very particular when it comes to their hygiene. They do not like using dirty bathrooms
for themselves. That is why, if you fail to keep the litter box clean, the cat will only try to hold in
their urine and avoid using the litter box.

Keeping urine in their bladder for too long can result in
urinary tract infections and bladder inflammation. These can further worsen and result in kidney
blockage or kidney failure. These are complications that are harder and more expensive to cure
and can end fatally for your pet cat.

Human Diseases from A Dirty Litter Box

Humans are at risk of getting diseases from exposure to a dirty litter box. Normally, diseases
can only be transferred from one species to another.

However there are some cat diseases that
can be transferred to you if you keep them dirty for a long period of time. Such diseases come
from fungal or bacterial infection and parasite transfer from the cat or from the dirty litter box

Ammonia Overexposure

The urine and fecal matter that accumulate over time in the litter box produces a toxic ammonia
fume that can cause dizziness, headache, pneumonia. Children, pregnant women, the elderly,
and those with weak immune systems are more at risk when exposed to ammonia.

Fungal Infection

When a cat steps on a dirty litter box, it can contract fungal infections and even transfer the
fungi to you and your children. One of the most common fungal infections that affect cats and
humans alike are ringworms. Ringworm is a skin infection caused by fungi and can be

transmitted when you come in contact with the fur or through environmental contamination. Cats
infected with ringworm should be quarantined until they are no longer infected and a thorough
clean up and disinfection of the house is needed as well.

Bacterial Infection

The cat scratch fever, also known as cat scratch disease or bartonellosis, is a disease that
affects human because of bacteria transferred by cats with Bartonella henselae bacteria. Cat
scratch fever happens when your cat scratches or bites you as well as when infected cat gets its
saliva into the white of your eyes or on an open wound.


Common symptoms of cat scratch fever are bumps, blisters, or swollen lymph nodes in the bite area, fatigue, headache, and fever.

Salmonella is a bacteria found in chicken, raw eggs, and feces. You can get infected with
Salmonellosis if you do not wash your hands after cleaning or handling the litter box. The longer
the feces stayed in the litter box, the higher the chances of you getting infected. Remember to
always wash your hands thoroughly after touching a dirty litter box. You can also use disposable
gloves for added protection.

Parasite Transfer

Toxiplasma gondii is one of the most commonly found in cats. The cat hosts the parasite and
can also shed them through their feces.The Toxiplasma gondii is a single cell parasite that can
also be contracted from contaminated or uncooked meat.

How to Clean a Litter Box

Cleaning your cat’s litter box is one of the best ways to ensure that you and your cat will be
healthy. You might think that you cannot handle the foul smell of your cat’s litter but it is a small
sacrifice everyday compared to getting various infections and diseases from your cat’s stool.
Because the feces and urine in the litter box can be dangerous to you, it is advisable for the one
cleaning the litter box to use masks and gloves to prevent contaminating their hands.

Cleaning the litter box should happen at least every week while scooping out feces or stool from
the box should be done at least twice a day. When cleaning the litter box, first scoop out feces
and urine clumps then throw out the entire content of the litter box into a trash bag. Make sure
that anything that falls on the floor should be swept inside the trash bag too. Then seal it tight
and throw it into the garbage receptacle outside.

Next, use a a sponge, detergent, and warm water to clean the litter box thoroughly. Scrub all
over the inside and outside of the box as well as the scooper. Then you dry it with a dry towel or

let it air dry outside. Once the box is dry, fill it up with a new litter up to 3 inches of the box.

To Conclude:

With all these cat litter box health risks, cleaning your dirty litter box is a small sacrifice to make
everyday. Cleaning your cat’s litter box will take only a few minutes of your time and will save
you and your cat from the risks and dangers of a dirty litter box. It is especially necessary when
you have children or pregnant women in your home who are more susceptible to these



  1. Kim

    This is something that a lot of people don’t even know about. I knew about it because of being pregnant. I love my kitties though!

  2. andrea

    there are so many risks for both you and your cat. i clean my cats litter everyday it is so important and i know he needs it and its also good because of the air and everything.

  3. Cassie

    It’s shocking really how many health issues and risks there are from dirty cat litter boxes! I’m allergic to cats so it’s the least of my concerns but I know a lot of people who own cats and definitely need to do this more often!

  4. Cassie Tucker

    Wow… I didn’t know that there were so many risks involved with not keeping a cat litter box nice and clean. I’ll make sure my husband cleans our cat’s more regularly.

  5. Blythe Alpern

    I had a roommate once who had cats. I felt like I did more of the litter clean up to keep my dog from eating things he shouldn’t. You really do have to be diligent with keeping the litter box clean.

  6. Jeanine

    Oh gosh how scary! I have 3 cats, and we are always on top of the litter box. I couldn’t imagine anything happening due to a litter box, but I am very cautious!

  7. Kristina

    We have a cat and we clean her litter box daily. I agree it definitely is important as their food and water. Should be kept clean as much as possible.

  8. Amanda Love

    We have 2 cats and I always make sure to have the litter boxes cleaned. It’s really important especially since my kids are all about cuddling with the cats at home.

  9. Rachel Catherine

    I’m allergic to cats but I feel like all these things are so important. If you’re going to have a cat then you should really take care of them to avoid all these things. Great post!

  10. Veronica P.

    My cat gave me a few very good lessons regarding his litter box. I didn’t clean it for a couple of days so he just left a puddle on the floor. I learned my lesson and now clean his box at least once a day 🙂

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