No one likes to clean a dirty little box, and it can be tempting to skip over the scooping once in a while, particularly if you’re tired and have had a busy day. But what would happen if you didn’t clean your cat’s litter box?
Not cleaning the litter box routinely can do more harm than just making your house smell. It poses many health risks to your kitty and also everyone else in the household. An unclean litter tray can drastically affect your feline’s well being and cause cases of stress and anxiety for them.
How Is A Dirty Litter Box Dangerous For Your Cat?
Bacteria & Fungus
A litter box full of waste creates the ideal environment for bacteria and other disease-causing microorganisms to breed. If your kitty has to step in waste to use their litter box, they could contract a fungal infection like ringworm, which is very contagious to humans and difficult to get rid of once it’s in and around your house.
Urinary & Kidney Problems
Felines have an incredible sense of smell, one that is 20 times stronger than that of their owners. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that a cat will refuse to use its litter box if it’s too dirty. They might choose to eliminate their waste elsewhere, such as on the carpet or bed, or even worse; they might hold it in.
Like us, if kitties hold in their urge to pee for prolonged periods, it can cause a painful UTI or bladder infection. If not treated quickly, this can lead to harmful kidney problems. These feline health problems are not just extremely uncomfortable for your fur baby, but they are also costly to treat with your vet.
Stress & Anxiety Issues
If a cat does not have a clean and comfortable place to relieve themselves, they will become stressed or anxious. Anxiety in cats can lead to a host of behavioral problems such as aggression, destructive acts, and extreme vocalization to indicate they’re unhappy.
How A Dirty Litter Box Can Impact The Owner’s Health
As well as being detrimental to your fur baby’s health and wellbeing, cat waste poses several concerns to human households members when left unscooped.
Cat Scratch Fever
Cat scratch fever (also known as bartonellosis) is one of the most recognized bacterial infections humans can contract from their cats. It’s so common that experts estimate that around 10,000 owners contract the disease each year. One of the leading causes is connected to inhabiting a home with unclean litter over a period of time.
Bartonellosis comes from a bacteria called Bartonella Henselae. If your kitty has this, they will shred it in their poop. It’s not just outdoor felines that carry this bacteria either. Indoor kitties can contract it from ticks and fleas if they’re tracked in the home. Cat scratch fever can be a severe health problem and can even be fatal to young children and the elderly if left untreated.
Toxoplasmosis is a parasite found in feline waste that can be spread to humans and cause infections and fever-like symptoms. Many outdoor cats, particularly those who hunt, are exposed to this Toxoplasma parasite and will track it in the house.
Toxoplasmosis can significantly threaten the health of a pregnant woman and her unborn baby. If exposed to this bacteria, she would be at risk of miscarrying, or the baby could even be born with defects. This is why pregnant women should avoid cat litter and not scoop during their pregnancy to ensure safety.
Most people know you can get Salmonellosis from eating uncooked meat. However, this bacteria can live in a dirty litter box too. Like with Toxoplasmosis and Cat Scratch Fever, if your kitty has this bacteria in their system, it will most likely showup in their feces. If you accidentally touch their poop when cleaning the tray, you’ll be at risk of picking up the infection. Therefore, ensure you always wash your hands thoroughly after handling your cat’s litter box.
Tips For Keeping Your Litter Box Clean & Safe
To keep your whole household healthy, implement a regular and thorough litter box maintenance routine. Here are our top tips on keeping your kitty’s bathroom space as hygienic as can be.
If you have one cat, you should scoop once a day at the very least. For two or more felines, scoop no less than twice a day, morning and evening to keep things clean.
Ensure you remove all waste particles too. Even with clumping litter, sometimes the urine waste breaks up into small pieces, which can be hard to sift out.
Deep Clean & Change Out The Litter Weekly.
Because small amounts of waste can sometimes remain after scooping, aim to change the litter entirely once every week or so. When doing this, wash and disinfect the litter box with non toxic cleansers that are safe for cats. Ensure that there is no residual waste sticking to the bottom or sides of the litter box.
Sweep & Vacuum The Tracking Particles
If your fur baby has a habit of tracking litter around the house, sweep or vacuum around the litter box, and use a litter mat to catch the loose particles before they get any further.
These grains may be contaminated with feces bacteria, so you should aim to minimize litter tracking around your house.
Avoid Direct Contact With Cat Poop
When scooping and using the litter box, wear gloves to avoid touching potentially harmful bacteria. Additionally, wear a face mask to prevent inhaling ammonia and other toxic fumes from their waste.
As we mentioned earlier you should ofcourse wash your hands thoroughly anytime you can handle your cat’s litter box.
Invest In A Self-Cleaning Litter Box
To make life easier for you, and give your precious kitty the clean litter bed they deserve, upgrade your traditional tray to an automatic litter box.
These self-cleaning units will take care of the litter maintenance for you, so you won’t even have to scoop any more. Automatic litter boxes like the ChillX AutoEgg thoroughly remove waste after each use with a horizontal raking system. Giving your the peace of mind of a job well done and litter box your cat can be happy with.
While automatic litter boxes may seem like a major shift from the traditional litter tray, the hygenic benefits of leaving the scooping to the machine will far outweigh the upfront investment. Learn more about all of their bells and whistles here.
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