Cat Litter Box Health
By Patsy Palmer
Cats are the maximum popular pets within the United States. According to the contemporary model of the U.S. Pet Ownership & Demographics Sourcebook (2002 Edition), there were nearly 70 Million pet cats within the United States. Why are cats so famous? There are as many answers to this query as there are cat proprietors, but the low health risks cats pose to their owners is truly near the top of this listing. Even though the capability of fitness dangers cats pose to humans is small, it’s far important that cat proprietors are aware of these risks and understand how to reduce them.
The majority of all risks stemming from cat ownership are related to the cat muddle container and/or cat feces. There are two classes of risks. The first category consists of health dangers posed with the aid of microorganism and parasites to both cat proprietors and their cats. The second category includes accidents because of an automatic litter container or self-cleansing litter field.
Primarily the health troubles skilled by cat proprietors or their cats come from the first category and the maximum huge of those dangers is called Toxoplasmosis. Toxoplasmosis is an infection as a result of a tiny parasite referred to as Toxoplasma gondii which can be discovered in uncooked or undercooked meat, unwashed fruits and vegetables, dirty cat litter packing containers and outside soil wherein cat feces may be located. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), greater than 60 million people within the United States may be inflamed with the Toxoplasma parasite(1). Fortunately, very few humans ever experience any signs and symptoms due to the fact a wholesome individual’s immune gadget usually maintains the parasite from inflicting illness. However, pregnant girls and people who have compromised immune systems, consisting of individuals infected with the HIV virus, are at the chance and must take precautions to avoid being inflamed by the parasite. For people in this institution, a Toxoplasma contamination ought to reason severe health issues to the person or to a pregnant girl’s unborn toddler.
Again, most of the 60 million-plus American’s infected with Toxoplasmosis parasite will in no way experience any signs. Most of the people who do enjoy signs and symptoms will surely suppose they have got the Flu as the most common signs and symptoms include swollen glands, fever, headache, muscle pain, or a stiff neck. For those in the excessive hazard group, Toxoplasmosis can purpose harm to the mind, eyes and internal organs. According to the United States Food and Drug Administration, kids born with Toxoplasma gondii can be afflicted by listening to loss, intellectual retardation, and blindness with some children growing brain or eye issues years after start(2). The CDC estimates that 400-4000 fetuses are inflamed with the Toxoplasma gondii parasite every 12 months and as many as 80 babies die from Toxoplasmosis yearly(2).
So how does an individual agreement Toxoplasmosis? Toxoplasmosis infection is as a result of eating the Toxoplasma Gondi parasite. Most cat proprietors are inflamed with the parasite through accidentally eating inflamed cat feces. This occurs while someone touches their mouth after handling a cat clutter box, operating in a garden or sand container or touching something that has come in touch with cat feces(3).
People in the high threat organization might also surprise whether or not or now not they should surrender their cat to keep away from contamination. According to the CDC, it is not important for cat enthusiasts to surrender their cats, but it is essential for them to guard themselves against infections. The USFDA makes the following tips for averting infections(2):
- If feasible, have a person else alternate the clutter box. If you have to clean it, put on disposable gloves and wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water afterward.
- Change the litter field daily. The parasite would not turn out to be infectious until one to five days after the feces are deposited in the cluttered field.
- Wear gloves whilst gardening in a garden or managing sand from a sandbox due to the fact cats may also have excreted feces in them. Be certain to clean your palms with soap and warm water afterward.
- Cover outdoor sandboxes to prevent cats from using them as clutter packing containers.
- Feed your cat industrial dry or canned meals. Never feed your cat raw meat due to the fact it could be a supply of the Toxoplasmosis gondii parasite.
- Keep indoor cats interior. Be in particular careful in case you carry out of doors cats indoors.
- Avoid stray cats, particularly kittens.
- Don’t get a new cat at the same time as you are pregnant.
- Safer Child, Inc. Makes the following extra recommendations(four):
- Have your veterinarian test your cat for the Toxoplasmosis parasite. If your cat is inflamed, you could want to remember having someone else hold your cat for the duration of your pregnancy.
- Keep sandboxes included preventing cats from the use of the sandbox as a clutter container.
- Be aware of neighborhood sandboxes as the parasite can be added domestic on shoes, garb, and toys.
Similar to Toxoplasmosis, Escherichia coli (generally referred to as E. Coli) can infect human beings thru contact with pussycat fecal fabric, although the primary way of contamination is thru ingestion or uncooked or undercooked meats. E. Coli is a bacterium normally found inside the intestinal tract of humans and animals. Almost all strains of the bacteria are innocent. However, some lines can produce effective pollutants and motive extreme illness, specifically in children below five years of age(five). Symptoms typically consist of diarrhea and stomach cramps. In kids under five, 2%-7% of E. Coli instances can reason kidney failure. Fortunately, E. Coli is straightforward to prevent. Using the preventative measures, outlined above for Toxoplasmosis will substantially lessen the risks of you or your kids contracting an E. Coli contamination.
In addition to these human risks, there are a few health risks best cat litter box simply pose to cats that cat proprietors must be privy to. Just as a dirty muddle field poses health risks to human beings, cats are similarly at threat if forced to use a grimy clutter box. Since cats live smooth with the aid of licking themselves, permitting a cat’s litter box to get too grimy can motive infections whilst a cat cleans its paws after the use of the dirty muddle container. The most not unusual contamination is urinary tract contamination, and despite the fact that this type of infection is hardly ever fatal it is able to be very uncomfortable to your cat and will most possibly require remedy through your veterinarian.
Finally, a lesser-recognized health danger to cats is genuine because of cat litter itself. What many cat proprietors do not realize is that some forms of cat clutter can be dangerous or maybe deadly to their cat. Both clumping and non-clumping litters pose health troubles to cats. Clumping cat litters are likely the maximum popular kind of cat clutter because of their convenience, hygienic features and the reality that clumping litters are required for use in self-cleaning muddle packing containers. Unfortunately, some clumping litters may be harmful to cats. Clay primarily based clumping litters can include the mineral sodium bentonite, which can be dangerous or deadly to your cat. It is great to keep away from the use of clay-based totally cat litters, especially with kittens. Wheat or corn primarily based clumping litters such as Swheat Scoop, World’s Best Cat Litter and Littermaid cat litter work very well and are non-toxic(6).
By their very nature, non-clumping litters do no longer soak up and isolate a cat’s urine or feces like clumping litters do. As an end result, it’s far an awful lot harder to keep your cat’s muddle box clean while the use of non-clumping muddle. When the use of non-clumping muddle it’s far vital to regularly easy and disinfect the litter container itself to lessen the hazard of bacterial buildups that could cause urinary or other infections for your cat.
The 2d class of fitness risks covers accidents because of an automatic clutter box or self-cleansing muddle field. Occurrences of this type of injury are uncommon, however, they are able to appear. An automated or self-cleaning litter box does simply what its name implies. Usually, between 10-15 minutes after a cat uses the middle box, the muddled field mechanically cleans itself by means of “sweeping” or “raking” the cat waste into a sealed compartment or bag. For cat owners, injuries can arise if a small child or infant plays with the automated clutter container throughout the cleansing cycle. All foremost brands of computerized muddle bins comprise sensors to save you the cleaning mechanism from activating while a cat or different foreign object is in the box. However, kids can nonetheless be injured in the event that they positioned their hand in the cleaning mechanism in one of this way as to keep away from the sensors.
Although those kinds of injuries are very rare it is fine to take precautions. Placing the muddle container in a place in which your cat can get to it however small children can’t is a smooth technique. This is an ideal recommendation for any muddle container as this is the first-rate manner to keep youngsters from contracting one of the illnesses described earlier in this newsletter. If you couldn’t hold the automatic clutter container out of a child’s reach then it’s far great to put the muddle container inner a clutter field cover. There are many sorts of covers and all of them will help prevent an infant from attaining the litter field and the cleaning mechanism. A final alternative is to unplug the muddled field or put it right into a “guide operation” mode. Both of those options will require the cat owner to begin the cleaning cycle each time vital. Although this reduces some of the ease of an automated clutter field it truly removes the chance to children.
Automatic or self-cleaning muddle containers are absolutely secure for almost all cats. However, most manufacturers advise that the cluttered field is used in “manual operation” mode for cats beneath 5 lbs. Cats below 5 lbs many now not be huge enough to prompt the sensors and the cleansing mechanism ought to motive damage. Since most adult cats weigh over five lbs, it’s far simplest important to use the “manual operation” mode until kittens grow to 5 lbs.