Hidden Dangers of Cat Feces And Ways To Prevent Them | We Add Up

Hidden Dangers of Cat Feces And Ways To Prevent Them

05 October, 2015 20 comments Leave a comment

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Our feline friends are great fun to have around; they lower stress and blood pressure and make for great companions. However, just like human feces are harmful to us, cat feces can also lead to many zoonotic diseases and allergies. Cat feces are particularly known to be responsible for many fatal diseases including Toxoplasmosis. In this article, we will cover the hidden and unknown dangers posed by cat feces and cat urine and also study ways to protect ourselves from them. It is particularly important to know how to maintain the cat litter box properly in order to avoid cat feces related infections.

The dangers posed by cat feces

Two of the most common illnesses occurring from cat feces are:

  • Escherichia Coli bacterial infection-Commonly known as E.coli, this bacterium is responsible for various infections that can affect human and animal digestive system as well as the urinary tract. If ingested through cat feces, this bacterium can lead to severe abdominal cramps and diarrhea. Antibiotic treatment is necessary to cure E.coli infections.
  • Toxoplasmosis- This is another common infection in humans caused by cat feces. Cats often poop in the backyard instead of their designated litter box. Children playing outdoors in uncovered sandboxes, or adults participating in activities like gardening unknowingly come in contact with such infected soil. Toxoplasmosis can be fatal to the fetus in pregnant women. Most healthy human adults could unknowingly have the organism causing toxoplasmosis (T.Gondii) but their immune system prevents its symptoms from showing up. However, in the elderly patients or patients with weak immune systems, severe symptoms like high fever, diarrhea etc may develop. Toxoplasma has also been shown to alter our personalities, with infected women 54% more likely to attempt suicide, among other disturbing side effects.

Cat feces also contain roundworm eggs and larvae which can then enter the intestine of humans.

Cat Urine infections

Cat urine is also harmful to humans. If cat urine is allowed to sit for long hours without cleaning, it can emit ammonia which could lead to severe allergic reactions in humans. Typical symptoms of cat urine allergy include: red eyes, itchiness of the skin, nose etc, sneezing, headaches, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, coughing etc. Highly concentrated ammonia in cat urine can also cause dangerous diseases like pneumonia and bronchitis. Kids are at a greater risk from these infections owing to lower immunity and body weight ratio compared to adults.

Keeping safe from dangers of cat feces

  • Wash your hands thoroughly from time to time, especially after petting cats or after performing activities like gardening etc.
  • Thoroughly wash fruits and vegetables from home gardens before consuming them.
  • Educate kids about the importance of hand washing after playing in the sandboxes or petting cats.
  • Avoid placing the litter box in carpeted areas as urine can seep into the rugs and form ammonia crystals.
  • Immediately clean up cat poop or cat urine when it is outside the litter box.
  • Use pine or cedar sawdust in the cat’s litter since both these substances absorb urine and prevent urine crystals from forming.
  • If the cat’s urine is foul smelling it might have a urinary tract infection. Do have it examined and treated promptly by a vet. The same is true in case of cats suffering from diarrhea.
  • Do line the cat litter box with litter lining paper as this can greatly ease the process of emptying the box.
  • Do cover sandboxes and kid’s play areas to prevent cats from littering there.
  • Do clean any spillage outside the litter box immediately. Do not rub the sprayed area-rather, blot it clean using tissues or rags. This will limit the urine/feces to small area and prevent the bacteria from spreading.
  • Do not use ammonia based cleaners to clean cat urine as the ammonia in the cleaner can react with the ammonia in the cat’s urine.
  • Do use natural cleaners like diluted Vinegar or baking soda and water to get the urine out. Hydrogen peroxide is also very effective for cleaning soiled areas.
  • Do use gloves when gardening outdoors and also when cleaning the litter box.

Dos and don’ts of maintaining cat litter boxes

Have your cat’s urine and feces tested from time to time to ensure they are free of bacteria, roundworm and other disease causing pathogens.


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  1. Kitty lover July 15, 2017

    I have a kitten, her litter box is always kept in our balcony . As sometimes the balcony door is keep closed, the kitty does her business around the house, the odor smell is not bare able. The kitten spends half her day in the balcony too. Is their still a chance for me to get round worm and other deseases ? Please let me know soon

  2. Carol Waters July 12, 2017

    Im sorry..thats suppose to say my sister doesnt clean cat box for a week at a time

  3. Carol Waters July 12, 2017

    My sister doesnt clean her cats boxes so they go on floor n for urine she just lays paper towels on it and feces just picks up with paper towel but doesnt wash floors..i have 2 cats but they stay in bedroom with me where i am almost 24/7..im on ssdi..ive lived her for 18 months..was cleaning all her n daughter’s animals and house up until august when they brought in a huge blue tick hound who scares me so very bad so ive retreated to my room…the smell along with dog is so very terrible. I have weak immune system and never been sick so what are symptoms from smell too?

  4. Perry Wideman July 05, 2017

    My sister has two cats that she’s had for two years or so now, and in those years her migraines have gotten worse. I say because of the cat poo in litter box that’s in her room.. thought?

  5. Gail Schwindt June 24, 2017

    So if you get one of these diseases or suspect you have it…what do you do about it?

  6. Gail Schwindt June 24, 2017

    So if you get one of these diseases or suspect you have it…what do you do about it?

  7. Jim May 22, 2017

    It is reckless and irresponsible, not to mention animal abusive to over-feed your cats. There is no upside whatsoever in doing so. It’s all bad. It’s bad for your cat’s health and it increases the risks covered in this article.

    Do not over-feed your cats. Just don’t do it. If your cat does not have an obvious and visible from all angles slim waist, then your cat is fat. This is not brain surgery. Calories in calories out.

    Do not over-feed your cats. Just don’t do it.

  8. Vicky May 12, 2017

    If anybody knows what can happen to an individual who lives in house with 40 cats that destroyed her house literally from poop&pissing& scratching everything. Hardly any of the cats use the litter box it’s all over the walls floors baseboards are so saturated you can cut it like cheese. The individual is elderly and I’m worried what health concerns. I already got ringworm from helping her clean up once a week. What diseases can you catch from cleaning up cat poop & piss for hours each time there about 4 hours.

  9. Liz April 23, 2017

    While I understand that cat feces is dangerous just like all waste, I don’t agree that you need to be washing your hands constantly after petting your cat. I don’t know about you but my cats sit where I sit and lay where I lay. I’d be constantly washing everything or shutting my cats into one room forever. This article makes it sound like cats are dangerous and dirty creatures who will definitely make everyone sick and that’s not true.

    Just be careful handling the litter and cleaning up any messes they make with caution. Washing your hands every time you come into contact with your pet is just a little over the top.

  10. Sandy cheeks April 22, 2017

    I know someone who owns a cat and every time I visit, the cat litter is full of feces and urine. The smell is so overwhelming. Might I add that this person has small children living in the home. What can I do to get their attention about cleaning the litter box?

  11. Jill April 03, 2017

    I live in a house that smells of mold. I opened the trap door in the bathroom floor and under was old cat feces in the dirt.
    Can this cause me health problems? What can be done? My landlord is already avoiding the mold issue. I haven’t told her about the feces yet.

  12. drobert March 16, 2017

    We live in a small town that is over run with cats. The house that we live in is a doublewide trailer and we have battled keeping the stray cats out from under it but no matter what we do they find ways in my husband and I already have health issues but seems like since we moved in here we never feel good I have alot of sinus issues and we both just plain don’t feel good could these stray cats living under our house be causing some of our health issues

  13. Paul Phillips March 10, 2017

    I did some gardening last year and have symptoms itchy skin which I take antihistamines every couple days and a savage pain in my asohophagus area could this relate to cats urinating in my garden, doctors found hpilori bacteria but symptoms still persist.

  14. tdg February 04, 2017

    oh my. went to see a friend. over 20 cats in the house. the smell was overpowering. carpets ruined with pee and feces. everywhere. They have lost control of their house. She has a child living in this. I was shocked and dumbfounded at how bad this was.

  15. cheryl dore January 30, 2017

    Can feces of a cat contribute to lymphoma? My Dr. Has me wear a mask when cleaning the litter box. I believe it attacks the immune system.

  16. Patricia Sutton October 19, 2016

    I have 2 eldery cats. I get pnemonia about every 2 mos. Drs. Don’t know why.could it be bacteria from my cats.m

  17. TES August 22, 2016

    To Gillian;
    My daughter contracted Cat Scratch Fever when she was 7 years old from a kitten and had your symptoms. The specialist that finally diagnosed it explained that it would never completely go away, would reoccur and her children would be born with it. She just turned 30 and has a daughter and is pregnant again. Her daughter does have it and has only been exposed to dogs her entire life.

  18. Consuelo Barrow October 08, 2015

    This is good to know to
    Help us protect ourselves from getting sick children should always wash their hands after playing with pets my sister always lined her cat’s box with a plastic bag she kept the box clean every day.

  19. Consuelo Barrow October 08, 2015

    This is good to know to
    Help us protect ourselves from getting sick children should always wash their hands after playing with pets my sister always lined her cat’s box with a plastic bag she kept the box clean every day.

  20. Gillian Tewkesbury October 07, 2015

    Several years ago I contracted a form of glandular fever from cats. It does not cause the production of normal glandular fever antibodies so it is much more difficult to detect but has the same symptoms.

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