You can’t claim you are taking care of your cat while you ignore its litter box. You might be finding it difficult or inconvenient to clean the dirty litter box, but you ought to know that it’s vital to ensure this essential kitty item is ever clean. The time you spend on cleaning the dirty cat box is better than wasting numerous years salvaging the health of your cat and possibly of other members of your family.
So, is cat litter toxic? Opinion seems divided on which litter box is the best for your pet, between the industrially-manufactured and the natural homemade cat litters. Naturally, as a cat owner, you want a cat litter that will not put the health of your feline friend and other family members in jeopardy.
Types Of Cat Litter Boxes
There are different varieties of litter brands and types. Some of these are described below;
These types of litter boxes are expensive and are usually made of silica. They last longer than others and have better control of odor. However, these litter boxes are not biodegradable.
Natural Corn And Wheat Litter
These litters are made from recycled corn and wheat. They are biodegradable and don’t clump with little or no dust. It’s easier to collect feces in these boxes as they are not dense. However, the main problem that this type of litter poses is an allergy. If the cat has an allergy to any of the substances that are used in the manufacture of the box, it might develop a reaction. This happens because cats, in one way or the other, ingest little.
It is also important to mention that the Natural Corn And Wheat Litter makes use of no silica or clay. Instead, it’s a blend of wood which is biodegradable, inexpensive and easy to use. It also has a remarkably pleasant odor.
One of the reasons people go for this type of cat litter box is because it’s easy to clean. The box is made from bentonite. However, it creates a lot of dust and is not biodegradable.
These boxes are made from clay as opposed to bentonite. They are not easy to clean and require meticulous cleaning. Lastly, Clay No-Clumping boxes are also not biodegradable.
Hidden Dangers Of Cat Litters
The dangers of cat litter can be attributed to two factors; dirty litter box and the type of litter you got for your cat. These factors are crucial if you wish to ensure the health of your cat as well as other members of your family.
Dirty Litter Box
If you do not adequately clean your cat litter box daily, you might end up endangering your health and that of your cat. Cat feces and urine are associated with many fatal diseases.
Some of these diseases and their effects on man are discussed below;
This is a parasitic disease that produces fever-like symptoms. It’s caused by cat feces, and cats have a predisposition of acting as carriers of the parasite. This disease leaves the cat body along with feces in the form of oocyst that reproduce rapidly. The oocyst has an incubation period of about 5 days.
Inhaling dust from the contaminated litter or direct contact with the parasite can make you sick. You can also contract the parasite if, after removing dirt from your cat litter, you make a snack without washing your hands. For certain individuals with stronger immunity, its symptoms may not show at all. However, for elderly people and individuals with suppressed immune systems, there will be severe symptoms like diarrhea, fever, sore body, headache, and enlarged lymph nodes. Pregnant women need to be especially cautious about this disease since the disease can lead to miscarriage and other antenatal complications.
Escherichia coli(E.coli) Infection
Making snacks like a sandwich with hands infested with E.coli might be one of the most dangerous hygienic mistakes you could ever make.
E.coli is responsible for various diseases that affect human and animal digestive and urinary tract and causes diarrhea and abdominal cramps.
Cat urine contains a high degree of ammonia, and as we all know, ammonia is a toxic gas. It causes respiratory problems and can be fatal to individuals who already have respiratory problems like asthma. It can also be bad for children with weak immune systems.
Cat Allergic Symptoms
Most of the allergic symptoms associated with a cat’s urine manifest in the same manner as fur allergy. Symptoms of cat urine allergy include running nose, rashes, red eye, itching eye, headaches, coughing, sore throat as well as dizziness. Cat urine can be a health risk to humans as well.
The Effects Of Dirty Litter On A Cat
As your cat is the one always making direct contact with the dirty litter, she will be the first one to suffer from it first. Cats hate to see their litter dirty and stinky. If you cannot keep their litter clean, they will avoid going there altogether. They will prefer to hold themselves, and if they continue to stay for an extended duration, it could lead to various life-threatening diseases.
Some of these diseases include the following;
Urinary Tract Disease(UTD)
A cat with UTD might find it difficult to pass urine. This might be caused by bladder inflammation.
If your cats keep on holding urine, kidney stones might occur. In this case, the cat feels full but will experience frequent urination. When the urge to pee comes, the cat litter box might not be close by. So, she pees wherever she finds herself. When you start to notice such behavior, you need to confirm if something is wrong by taking your cat to your vet for checkups.
Parasites in an infected litter can infect your cat and cause intestinal problems. Some of these problems could lead to weight loss, frequent pooping and abdominal pain.
Dangers Of Cat Litter
Going back to the types of cat litters mentioned above, we can see that crystal filter types are made of silica. This substance has been linked to upper respiratory problems.
Clay clumping litter is made from bentonite and bentonite is generally considered safe. But when cats ingest this material, and it gets mixed with the fluid in their gut, it swells inside, causing gastric upsets including fatal gastric rupture, vomiting, nausea, abdominal swelling, and shock. This can lead to death.
Also, some litters do have chemical scents that might be toxic to your cat.
Maintenance And Hygiene Tips
- Wash your hands thoroughly after cleaning your cat litter.
- Change the litter often to protect your health and that of your cat.
- Use natural cleaners like baking soda, vinegar, and water to get the urine out.
- Use gloves when cleaning the car letterbox.
- When the cat poops or urinates out of its litter box, you should immediately clean it up.
- Educate kids about the importance of keeping cat litter clean and hand washing after petting cats.
Cat litter is toxic only if you keep it unclean. In order to prevent all the diseases mentioned above, the best thing is to keep the litter box clean and to get a litter that won’t be poisonous to your cat.
You May Also Interested In:
- 10 Best Cat Litter Box Reviews and Buyer Guide
- Litter Box Training Tips for Your Cat and Kitten
- What Do Cats Spray?
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