skip to Main Content

Cat Litter

Low Risk

Also known as:

Arm & Hammer ™ Clump & Seal cat box Fresh Step® kitty litter Purina® Tidy Cats Scoop Away™

cat litter in a cat litter box with a scoop
Possible Symptoms
  • No symptoms except possible minor stomach upset and vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Eye irritation
What to Do
  1. Wipe or rinse out mouth.
  2. Give a serving size of water to drink.
  3. Rinse any exposed skin with lukewarm water.
  4. Call 1-800-222-1222 for additional instructions
If Exposed to Eyes

If someone gets nuisance dust from cat litter in the eye there can be immediate sensation of something being in the eye, which requires prompt first aid to avoid an eye injury.

  1. Start rinsing eye(s) with lukewarm water.
  2. Call the Missouri Poison Center at 1-800-222-1222 for further recommendations.

Additional Information

Quick Facts about cat litter:

Cat litter is available in a variety of loose, granular material that functions to absorb moisture and odors and allows the cat to follow their natural instinct to bury their waste. Popular options today are the traditional clay litter with either sodium or calcium bentonite added. The bentonite makes it more absorbent than just clay, and once used it forms clumps making it easy to scoop out the used litter without removing all the litter. Another type is a silica gel “crystal litter”, which is even more absorbent than the bentonite litter allowing longer times before the litter box needs to be changed. The newest type available is a biodegradable litter that comes in granules or pellets. It is made of recycled newspaper or sawdust that forms under high pressure. It works very well to absorb urine, and the crumbled pellets with absorbed urine can be flushed or composted.

Is cat/kitty litter toxic to humans?

What happens if a kid ate cat litter? Children, especially curious toddlers, get into cat boxes and eat taste amounts of the litter. Regardless of the type of litter involved, ingesting clean, unused litter is minimally toxic if you swallow a mouthful or less. This can be a choking hazard for a young child and may result in minor constipation. Used litter causes parents more distress but ingesting urine and feces in small amounts is generally considered non-toxic. In theory, this could lead to more severe symptoms; however, in the small quantities ingested by children, there are usually no symptoms.

Why can’t pregnant women change cat litter?

Clean litter does not pose a risk for pregnant women; however, used or dirty litter carries a risk for a parasite to be present. The parasite is called T. Gondii and is responsible for causing toxoplasmosis, which can pass from the mother to the baby. This can happen if the pregnant woman ends up breathing in cat litter fumes. Toxoplasmosis can cause allergic reactions, flu-like symptoms, swollen lymph nodes, and muscle aches. For this reason, doctors recommend that pregnant women avoid cleaning the litter box. If there is no other choice, the best practice is to wear gloves and a mask while changing the litter and cleaning the box and to wash hands thoroughly once done.

Is cat litter poisonous if eaten?

If you find someone has eaten small amount of cat litter do not panic. Wipe out the mouth with a soft, wet cloth, go between the cheeks and gums to find and remove any granules in the mouth, and give them some water to drink. If problems start or you have questions, call the Missouri Poison Center right away at 1-800-222-1222. The poison center is open all day, every day for poisoning emergencies and questions.

**Note: Don’t forget, every case is different. To make sure you are getting the best information for your individual situation, click below to call or chat. It is fast, free, and confidential.

Take The Missouri Poison Center With You

Emergencies don’t wait for you, so you shouldn’t have to wait to call for help. Get the Missouri Poison Center app with poison information and a link to the Poison Help Line. It is just a click away during the most stressful moments. Our registered nurses and pharmacists are here 24/7/365 days a year to help guide you through poison exposures and overdose emergencies.

Don’t wait. Download now.

Graphic illustration of the MPC app on an iPhone home screen
Call Now