Disposing of used cat litter may seem so easy that even a trained monkey could do it, but it actually needs to be handled carefully to prevent possible illness. No, you won't have to shoot Kitty's business into space or ship it out to sea, but some precautions are in order.
Put on a pair of protective gloves to prevent the used cat litter from coming into contact with your skin. If you're pregnant or have a weak immune system, you should also wear a protective face or dust mask, which are available at most drug and hardware stores. Pregnant women and those with compromised immune systems are at greater risk for contracting the parasitic disease, toxoplasmosis, which spreads through cat feces, according to Mayo Clinic.
Take the litter box outside or into a room with good ventilation.
Wrap the disposable lining that contains the used litter carefully and tightly seal it with a twist tie. You can find disposable litter box linings at most pet supply shops. Never dump loose used kitty litter into a garbage can, which could scatter the dust and make it more possible to inhale, leading to possible infection with the Toxoplasma gondii parasite.
Place the sealed inner lining into a plastic garbage bag. Tightly knot the garbage bag or seal it with a twist tie. For the best protection, look for specially designed double-lined cat litter disposal bags at pet supply stores.
Drop the sealed garbage bag inside a trash can. Cover it with a tight-fitting lid.
Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water, even though you wore gloves.
Items you will need
- Protective gloves
- Dust mask
- Disposable litter box lining
- Twist tie
- Garbage bag
- Garbage can
- Disinfect the kitty litter box at least once per month. Fill it with boiling water and allow to stand for 10 minutes. Avoid using commercial disinfectants, which don't always kill Toxoplasma gondii and can be harmful to cats.
- Never flush used cat litter down the toilet, warns the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. The Toxoplasma gondii parasite and its eggs may survive sewage treatment, leading to possible harm to marine life and contaminated waterways.
- If you're pregnant or have a weakened immune system, try to find another family member or friend to dispose of the used litter.
- Keep the cat litter box away from food. Never allow your cat or her litter box on a kitchen counter or dining table.
- Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection: Pet Waste
- VetInfo: The Environmental Impact of Used Litter
- Natural Resources Defense Council: Pets and Their Poop
- San Francisco Chronicle: Don't Flush Cat Feces Down the Toilet
- City of Poulsbo: Pet Waste FAQs
- PAWS: Safe Pet Guidelines
- Mayo Clinic: Toxoplasmosis: Prevention
- BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images