You've stumbled upon something unexpected in the litter box: moldy cat poop. This might be a sight that has you recoiling and puzzled, maybe even a bit alarmed. What does it mean? More importantly, what should you do about it?
Moldy cat poop can be unsettling but fear not. This article is here to equip you with everything you need to navigate this situation.
We'll start by guiding you through immediate steps to take upon discovering moldy feces in your kitty's litter box. Next, we’ll discuss various types of molds you might encounter at home and explain their potential implications on your cat's health.
Finally, we’ll provide details on the signs of mold-related illnesses in cats. In essence, we'll be your guide to understanding, managing, and preventing any mold-related problems involving your beloved cat.
Overview Of Basic Steps If You Find Moldy Cat Poop
If you find moldy cat poop in your cat’s litter box you should:
- Immediately remove the moldy poop with a scooper and discard it into a sealed trash bag.
- Change the litter in the litter box and thoroughly wash the box using warm water and mild detergent.
- Wash your hands thoroughly after handling used litter.
- Scoop clean the litter box more frequently than your usual routine, particularly during humid weather, to prevent mold growth.
- Monitor your kitty. Consult your veterinarian if you observe any symptoms of mold inhalation or ingestion.
Now, that is a very basic overview. Keep reading to learn about common types of household molds and how to keep your kitty healthy from mold exposure.
What are the Common Types of Mold in Houses?
Mold is a common fungus that thrives both indoors and outdoors in warm, moist climates. Mold species are essential to maintaining a healthy ecosystem because they aid the breakdown of organic matter.
Amidst over 100,000 types of mold, these five mold species are most commonly found in households and yards:
This mold is found in soil, plant material, food, textiles, and other organic materials. Cladosporium does not cause disease in humans or pets. Read more about Cladosporium here.
With over 200 species of Penicillium found in the air and soil, this widespread mold is best known for its life-saving use in the production of antibiotics. But, some Penicillium does produce mycotoxins. Read more about Penicillium here.
Naturally occurring in decaying, organic matter, this widespread mold is commonly inhaled by humans and pets without causing any adverse health effects. Read more about Aspergillus here.
Typically found indoors on damp or wet materials, Fusarium spores do not easily become airborne. Exposure can cause infection of the eyes, skin, or nails. Read more about Fusarium here.
Known as black mold, exposure via inhalation can occur only when the mold has dried, and spores are released into the air. Inhalation of large quantities can trigger allergic reactions, cause eye or skin irritations, or aggravate respiratory conditions. Read more about Stachybotrys here.
Can Mold Make Cats Sick?
Several mold species produce mycotoxins that can trigger allergic reactions or adverse health effects in cats. If you think that your cat has inhaled or ingested mold spores, monitor for these symptoms:
- Respiratory distress (rapid breaths or difficulty breathing)
- Nasal Discharge (mucus or blood)
- Loss of Appetite
- Itchiness (scratching, biting, or licking skin)
- Skin Sores
- Fur Loss
Consult your veterinarian if you observe any symptoms of mold exposure. Generally, cats have a good prognosis for recovery from mold exposure.
Treatment for Mold Exposure
Supportive care can be provided to alleviate respiratory distress, prevent dehydration or malnourishment, and detoxify your cat. Seeking medical attention as soon as possible reduces the risk of permanent organ damage or nerve damage resulting from mold exposure.
Treatment for Mold Allergy
Mold allergies in cats are typically treated with medication to alleviate symptoms by stopping the immune response. Eliminating the mold from the vicinity will prevent future allergic reactions.
How Can I Prevent Mold Exposure?
You can prevent your cat from being exposed to mold by:
- Wash food and water dishes daily and keep them in a dry location.
- Keep cat food stored in an air-tight container.
- Scoop litter boxes daily. Discard used litter in a sealed receptacle or compost located away from the litter box.
- Launder bedding frequently.
- Wash chew toys frequently.
- Keep trash out of reach.
Check out our blog, “How Often Should You Clean a Litter Box?”
How Dangerous is Cat Poop?
Cat poop poses a health risk to humans because it can transfer a parasite called Toxoplasma gondii. This parasite can reside in a cat’s body for several years or an entire lifetime without the cat ever experiencing adverse health reactions. But, when transferred to humans, the parasite can cause an infection known as Toxoplasmosis.
Handling cat poop appropriately reduces the risk of parasite transmission. Scoop the poop out of the litter box using a scooper and discard it into a sealed, or bag-lined container. Wear gloves to handle used litter or wash your hands thoroughly, immediately after handling.
What Does Hairy Cat Poop Mean?
Moldy spores are apt to grow on cat poop after your cat has defecated because the litter box environment is moist and warm. On closer inspection, however, you might determine that the cat poop is not moldy; instead, it contains cat hair.
Poop containing hair can be an indication that your cat is over-grooming. Cats do ingest some hair while grooming, and this is natural. But, over-grooming can lead to other health ailments like constipation or obstructive hairballs.
Check out our blog post, “How Often do Cats Pee and Poop?” to learn what your cat’s elimination can tell you about his health.
Wrapping Up: Safeguarding Your Furry Friend From Mold Exposure
In summary, mold is an integral part of our daily environment, co-existing with humans and animals alike. However, it's essential to understand that not all molds are benign. Some species can lead to allergic reactions and other health problems in your pets and you.
A key strategy in avoiding adverse mold-related health issues is to maintain a clean and dry environment for your cat. Regular cleaning, particularly in areas like your cat's litter box, can help prevent mold growth.
Nevertheless, always stay vigilant for signs of mold exposure in your cat. If you notice any unusual symptoms as described earlier, don't hesitate to seek immediate veterinary care. Remember, it's always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to the well-being of your furry family member.