Risks of a Keeping a Dirty Litter Box

One of the great pleasures of owning a cat is how their personalities are so independent. Cats groom themselves, a shoelace can keep them occupied and they don't get overly upset if you have to work late occasionally. However, just because it is easier to care for a cat than a dog doesn't mean that cat owners are exempt from all responsibilities.

Regularly cleaning a litter box is one of the most important parts of owning a cat (besides vet visits and feeding them, of course). A clean litter box is essential for a cat to feel comfortable while using the bathroom, but a dirty box does more than anger your cat, it can also make your home vulnerable for nasty illnesses.


What's The Worst That Could Happen?

In general most diseases in the world are not zoonotic, meaning that they can only be spread between each species (human to human, cat to cat, etc.). However, there are some illnesses that can be spread from cats to humans. Most of these diseases can be transmitted from handling a cat's feces, so it's important to make sure that litter boxes are cleaned about once a day. Here are some of the risks associated with dirty litter.

  1. Catch Scratch Fever: Also known as bartonellosis is one of the most recognized zoonotic diseases associated with cats. According to a recent study, more than 25,000 people are diagnosed with cat scratch fever in the United States ever year. For elderly people the infection can be fatal.
  2. Salmonellosis: Many people think you can only get salmonella from tainted food, but dirty litter boxes can be home to the disease, too. Make sure to wash your hands after handling your cat's waste.
  3. Toxoplasmosis: Single-celled parasites can spread infections from your cat's litter box. If you don't take time clean the box, you can be exposing your home to diseases that cause serious illnesses.
  4. Fungal Infections: A cat that spends too much time in a dirty litter box can contract fungal infections like ringworm, which can quickly spread to children.

Easy Ways To Keep a Clean Litter Box
We all love our cats, but sometimes the mundane chore of cleaning a litter box can be enough to start considering your kitty to become an "outside cat." Luckily, there are a few different products that help making the poop scooping much easier task while keeping your litter box a more sanitary area.

Litter Gitter is a simple tray that sits beneath your cats litter inside the box. When it's time for cleaning you can simply shake out the entire pan without worrying "Did I get it all?" The Litter Gitter can then be washed separately.

Toilet Training System If you have ever seen the comedy Meet The Parents" with Robert DeNiro and Ben Stiller, then you might remember the cat Jinxy that uses the toilet instead of a litter box. The Litter Kwitter Toilet Training system can teach your pet to do just that. With a universal toilet base plate, instruction booklet, training disks and 30 minute step-by-step DVD, you can have your cat using the toilet and be gone of the litter box days.

Self-Cleaning Litter Boxes If you have a busy schedule, are forgetful or even if you just hate dealing with smelly waste, a ScoopFree litter box could be just thing to give your cat. These new and innovative litter boxes use disposable, leak-proof litter trays so you never have to see, touch or smell messy waste. Every 20-minutes an automatic sensor checks the box to see if your cat has gone to the bathroom so no waste is left sitting for an extended amount of time.

Whatever you choose to use for keeping a clean litter box, always remember to dispose of the waste properly and to keep the area surrounding it clean. A messy, unkempt litter box can be one the most germ-filled areas in a home, so it's imperative to keep it spotless. Your cat (and your good health) will be happy you did.

By Sean Bowes
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