Is cleaning the litter box during pregnancy safe?

Scooping cat poop can be dangerous when you’re pregnant, because of a parasite called Toxoplasma gondii. But don’t worry, you and your kitty won’t have to part ways!  

If you have an indoor cat who only eats canned or dry cat food, your risk of encountering parasites from cat poop is extremely low. However, it’s best to get someone else to clean the litter box for you, if you can. 

Whether it becomes the job of your partner or the cat-loving kid next door—or even if you still need to do it yourself—the litter box will need daily scooping. Here’s why.

Is It Safe to Clean the Litter Box If You’re Pregnant?

When it comes to cleaning the litter box during pregnancy, the main thing to worry about is toxoplasmosis. It’s a parasitic infection that cats (and humans) can get from eating spoiled meat or touching contaminated feces.

Chances of contracting this parasite are very low for humans, but there is a higher risk if you’re pregnant. Toxoplasmosis can cause birth defects, so if you have a cat, taking some extra precautions is wise.

Why the Litter Box Needs Daily Scooping

The most important thing to remember is that the litter box needs to get cleaned out every single day

It takes five days for the Toxoplasma parasite to become infectious, so daily scooping is the best way to prevent toxoplasmosis. A clean litter box also keeps your cat from spreading germs around with their paws.

If you have a partner who lives with you, they will need to take over all the litter box chores. But if you’re single or if your partner travels a lot, don’t worry—you won’t have to part with your cat. Instead, you’ll simply need to take a few precautions. 

Tips for Cat Care During Pregnancy

  • Keep your cat indoors, so they have less chance of coming into contact with parasites.
  • Feed your cat only dry food or canned wet food. Never feed them raw meat.
  • Store your cat’s food properly, and don’t leave uneaten food sitting out.
  • Get someone else to clean the litter box if you can! 
  • If not, wear disposable gloves while cleaning the litter box, and wash your hands thoroughly afterward.
  • Dispose of any trash containing cat litter right away, and wash your hands well after you take it out.

To prevent toxoplasmosis you should also follow these rules:

  • Wear gloves when gardening to avoid touching contaminated soil, then wash your hands with soap and water.
  • Do not handle raw meat.
  • Don’t touch stray cats, adopt or foster new pets, or pet-sit for other people.

Bring Your Cat to the Vet for Tests

It’s rare for cats to show symptoms of toxoplasmosis, but blood tests can reveal whether or not they’ve had contact with this parasite before. If you want to make sure your kitty has a clean bill of health, schedule an appointment at Anasazi Animal Clinic in Gilbert, Arizona.


You can request an appointment online or give us a call at 480-497-0505.


Photo by Fidel Fernando on Unsplash used with permission under the Creative Commons license for commercial use 9/1/2023.