Can a Dirty Litter Box Make my Cat Sick?

Us cat lovers know there’s going to be a day or two when the cat is going to act like a jerk, but we don’t care!

They’re our cats, and they can be jerks to us for as long as we want, we’ll still love them anyway!

We May love our cats, but I for one -HATE- the cat litter! And I do wonder can that litter box make my cat sick?

Even if they leave some of the most foul-smelling waste, you’ve ever smelled when you clean the litter box.

The odor coming out of that makes you wonder if your cat is eating anything else besides the cat food you’re giving them. Or if it’s the cat food that’s making it smell so bad.

I, myself, stopped giving wet food to one of my cats because of the awful smell.

We already know if you don’t clean a litter box often, your family could get sick. You need to clean the litter box every day to keep your family healthy.

If you have anyone pregnant or with a weakened immune system in your home, they shouldn’t be the ones to clean out the litter box every day.

But what about the cats?

We know if the litter box isn’t clean often enough, your cat will get angry and start using the bathroom outside the litter box.

But what about your cat’s health? Can a dirty litter box make a cat sick?

The answer is yes, a dirty cat litter-box will make your cat sick.

Think of your cat, like a high-maintenance roommate. They’ll have a lot of demands out of you, and if you don’t do things their way, they’re going to find a way to get back at you until you do what they asked the correct way.

Cleaning out the litter box is like meeting the demand of your high-maintenance roommate.

If you walked into a bathroom at a business, your first instinct would be to complain to the manager. Then, when you came home, you’d take a long, hot shower to make sure you felt clean after going into a disgusting bathroom.

A cat feels the same way when they walk into a dirty litter box!

Cats are finicky creatures. If the litter box is too dirty, they’re not going to use it.

If you have multiple cats, it’s a good idea to have multiple litter boxes also.

The Humane Society suggests you have a litter box for every cat plus one more so that there’s no chance of any litter box being too dirty for any cat to use.

If the litter boxes are too dirty, not only will they not use them, but they’ll start going to the bathroom outside of their litter boxes, and you’ll be spending a lot of time changing that behavior.

Can a cat get an infection from the act litter box?

As mentioned above, a dirty litter box could add some health problems to not only your family but to your cat as well.


Remember how we said cats wouldn’t use the litter box if it’s too dirty? If there arent’ cleaner litter boxes available, a cat will hold its bladder for as long as it can.

Holding it for too long could give them urinary tract infections, bladder infections, and kidney failure.

Sometimes, the pain could be so intense for a cat they’ll stop holding it and go to the bathroom, regardless of whether or not there’s a litter box in the room.

If you notice your cat going to the bathroom outside the litter box, you should take a trip to the vet. Going to the bathroom outside the litter box could be a sign of your cat being in pain from holding it in for too long.

If they do have an infection, it could take a lot of time and a lot of money to clear up. However, none of the diseases are fatal. So your cat could make a full recovery over time.

Can a cat get parasites from a cat litter box?

At some point in a cat’s life, they will become the host of a pest.

They’ll bring it in and pass it on to other cats and humans through their urine and feces, especially if all of the cats share litter boxes.

Even the family dog could get the parasite if he likes looking in the litter box for treats. Yes, some dogs want to do that. It’s why I prefer cats.

While the most common parasite cats can pass on is Toxoplasmosis, which pregnant women are the most likely to get, other parasites exist in the cat stools as well.

One cat could easily contract ringworm and pass it on to her fellow cat roommates through a dirty litter box.

Hookworm is another parasite that could quickly be passed from one cat to another with a dirty litter box.

All of these parasites are treatable. If you take your cat to the vet, he will give your cat the medication she needs to clear the parasite out of her system.

Extra tips for litter box cleaning.

The cleanliness of the litter box will determine how healthy your cat is going to be. Here are some additional tips to make sure your cat stays using the litter box and stays healthy.

  1. Clean out the litter box once a day.
  2. Thoroughly wash out the crate and change the litter once a week.
  3. Don’t put the litter box next to the food bowl.
  4. The cats will have negative associations with the food and the litter box.
  5. Make sure you have enough litter boxes for all of the cats in your house.
  6. Don’t put all the litter boxes in one place.

For example, I have three cats in my home. I would need a minimum of four litter boxes in my house.Don’t put all the litter boxes in one place. You might end up causing a stressful situation for the cats.


When a litter box is left dirty for too long, your cat will be the first one to suffer for it.

No one is expecting you to clean the litter box the moment the cats finish using it. But if you consistently clean it once a day, your cat will avoid infections and parasites that would discourage future litter box usage.