Cats and litter boxes go hand-in-hand; you can’t have one without the other. And, much to many a cat parent’s dismay, cleaning that litter box on a regular basis is crucial. Felines are meticulous about their cleanliness, and therefore, they are less inclined to use a soiled litter box. It’s also important to note that, believe it or not, a dirty litter box can lead to health complications for both your kitty – and for you.
The Problem with Dirty Kitty Litter Boxes
As mentioned, cats are pretty picky about where they use the bathroom. If the litter box is dirty, your kitty will likely avoid relieving herself, which can wreck havoc on her urinary tract and lead to diseases and infections; urinary tract infections (UTIs), an inflamed bladder, and a blockage in the kidneys, which could ultimately lead to kidney failure. While these health complications are treatable, they can cause a significant amount of pain and the vet bills that are associated with them can be quite costly. Plus, there’s a chance that you may not realize your feline friend is suffering from a urinary tract disease, and if they aren’t addressed, they can be life-threatening.
Dirty litter boxes are hazardous to humans, too. Excessively dirty litter contains high amounts of ammonia, a toxic gas. The side effects of breathing in excess ammonia can include severe headaches and respiratory health problems, such as pneumonia. Bacterial infections are another risk that dirty litter boxes pose, and those infections can easily be spread to humans. Lastly, toxoplasma gondii, a parasite found in cat excrement, is another serious concern. If your cat uses a dirty litter box, these parasites can be passed to you, and you could suffer serious side effects, including fever, sore throat, headaches, and muscle stiffness. Those who have weak immune systems are at risk of developing brain disease is they are exposed to toxoplasma gondii.
How to Avoid Health Concerns
What’s the best way to avoid these health risks? The answer is simple! Make sure that you clean your cat’s litter box on a regular basis. It may not be the most enjoyable activity, but nevertheless, it must be done. Scoop out clumps of excrement several times a day and change out the litter completely every few days. The longer you wait, the greater the health risks will be.
Kitty Litter and Health Concerns
While it’s important to clean your cat’s litter box on a regular basis, like a lot of pet parents, you may be wondering if the excrement the box contains isn’t the only thing that can lead to health issues; you might be wondering if the kitty litter itself can pose health concerns.
As you pour cat litter, you’ve probably noticed that it creates dust, and that dust is what a lot of pet parents are concerned about. While there haven’t been any scientific studies that prove whether or not kitty litter itself can be hazardous to feline and human health, and what results have been revealed have been merely anecdotal, still, a lot of cat owners are concerned about litter and the potential health risks that are associated with it.
Many veterinarians and physicians believe that there may, in fact, be a link to cat litter and health problems; specifically clay cat litter. It’s believed that this type of litter can cause a host of issues, which may possibly include:
- Feline asthma, as the dust that is inhaled can aggravate the respiratory tract, leading to breathing problems.
- Serious infections, particularly toxoplasma gondii, as these parasites seem to thrive in clay litter
- Internal blockages, if the litter is ingested, for example, it could potentially cause an internal, life-threatening blockage.
How can you avoid these potential complications? Select a kitty litter that isn’t made out of clay; instead, opt for a natural cat litter. There are many different options available, and they don’t pose the same health issues as clay-based litter. Another benefit: they are biodegradable, so they’re good for the environment.
A dirty litter box can lead to severe health problems for felines and humans alike; but, so can clay cat litter. Make sure you clean your kitty’s box on a regular basis, and instead of using a clay-based litter, opt for a natural alternative.