Is Cat Urine Dangerous?
Cat’s pee. It evokes livid nightmares in our minds just thinking about it. The stench is horrible, and it comes to no surprise to anyone of the effects it has on the household. But the real question on the mind of many cat owners is, “is cat urine dangerous?”
Like most things in life, the answer is complicated. The short answer is yes–but there’s much more to the story than that.
What is cat urine?
We all know what pee looks like and smells like. But what is urine? The exact chemicals that urine consists of varies from species to species, but a cat’s urine is fairly unique. Cat urine, like most urine, consists mostly of water. This is how the cat removes excess water and waste from its body.
In fact, a cat’s urine is 95 percent water. But what about that remaining 5 percent? That’s where things get tricky.
The last 5% of cat urine consists of mostly urea and chloride, but there are other chemicals as well. Most importantly it contains .05 percent ammonia.
Those of you who remember being in science class might remember working with ammonia. It’s a common chemical that has many different uses. But it can also be harmful to humans.
Great, now I know what cat pee is. Is it dangerous?
Now that we know what cat pee is made of, we still need to answer the lingering question: is cat urine dangerous? As I said before, technically yes. Even though there are only trace amounts of ammonia in cat urine, it can be harmful to humans. Before you panic and put your cat up for adoption (there’s no need for that!), let’s look at some of the facts regarding ammonia in cat urine.
Even though there are only trace amounts of ammonia present in cat urine, it can still be harmful. Cat urine is especially problematic for people who are exposed to it over long periods of time. It’s also an issue for people who are allergic to cats. In fact, many people who claim to be allergic to cat fur are actually allergic to cat urine!
Potential harmful effects of cat urine
If you’re allergic to cat urine, some symptoms to keep an eye out for include coughing, rashes, and an itchy or a runny nose. Even if you aren’t allergic to cat urine, the ammonia can cause harm to an otherwise healthy person over time as well. These symptoms include nausea and vomiting, lightheadedness, and sore throats to name a few.
Overtime, ammonia’s insidious effects can creep overtime and cause some serious harm if one is exposed to high concentrations of it. Possible harmful effects include diseases like bronchitis, pneumonia, and serious damage to the trachea. Keep in mind that children and people with respiratory problems are at an even greater risk of developing these illnesses.
How to prevent these illnesses
While a cat’s urine can be dangerous, it doesn’t take much to be safe. Here are a few helpful tips to keep you and your family safe:
- Keep the litter box away from carpeted areas. Carpets can absorb the ammonia
- Empty litter boxes every day
- Clean up cat urine immediately
- Never use ammonia-based cleaning products when cleaning up after your cat. The ammonia in the urine can react with the ammonia in the product and make things worse.
- Use a litter tray liner to help prevent spillage onto the surrounding area.
It’s not just the urine either…
Is cat urine dangerous? Yes. That should be clear by now. But what about your cat’s poop? Surely that can’t be dangerous too! Unfortunately, it is. Fortunately, most people have enough common sense to take some basic precautions when dealing with feces in general, so this is less of an issue.
While cat feces can cause a variety of diseases, the two most common are E. Coli and Toxoplasmosis. E. Coli. These strands of bacteria are known to cause symptoms such as abdominal cramps and diarrhea and requires antibiotics to cure.
Toxoplasmosis can be extremely harmful as well. It can be fatal to the fetus of a pregnant woman, alter personalities, and even compromise immune systems.
The easiest way to avoid these scary diseases is to clean the litter box daily and make sure all of your cat’s feces are properly disposed of. Make sure your children know not to go near any cat feces as well.
Children playing outside may accidentally come into contact with your cat’s feces. This puts them at a greater risk of getting those illnesses.
Some other great tips to help avoid the dangers of cat feces:
- Make sure your kids know to wash their hands after playing outside or with the cat
- Clean up any feces immediately
- Cover any sandboxes in the yard to prevent the cat from using them as a second bathroom
- Lining paper can make cleaning the litter box easier and safer
It’s not all bad though…
Reading all of this information may seem scary but it’s really not! This article is designed to help you understand how to better take care of your cat. By simply following the suggestions above, you and your family will have a great time with your pet cat.
Above all else, it’s important to remember that cats are wonderful! Is cat urine dangerous? Absolutely. Along with their feces. But that’s no reason to not get a cat. Cats make great companions. They provide love and joy to people all over the world. However, just like any other pet, we need to be responsible owners. This includes proper clean up to make sure we don’t get sick.
If you suspect you or anyone in your family has had any illnesses related to your cat, please see a doctor immediately. Be sure to consult a vet if you’d like any more help taking care of your cat and properly cleaning up after him.