[BLOG] Hygiene of the litter box in catteries : my recommendations

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Few times a year, I get the following question: “what do you think of this type of litter? It is said that we can only change it once a week, once a month… “

I totally understand why cat breeders might look into those options. They are indeed more convenient, requiring less work on their side. I am sure they can be very practical… for private cat owners. For breeders, I have huge doubts. Especially when it comes to prevent diarrhea in kittens. Let me explain why.

The hygiene of the room your kittens are staying in is of great importance, no doubt about that.

Preventing diarrhea in kittens: sanitation-wise, focus on the litter box

Good news: most often cats and even kittens usually keep themselves clean (I say « usually » because as you know I am sure, we always have some exceptions!). When you want to prevent diarrhea in kittens, your main focus in terms of sanitation should therefore be on the litter box. Remember: many of the pathogens causing diarrhea in catteries (see picture below) are found inside the digestive tract, which means they are excreted via the feces…

Some of them like Giardia and Coccidia form cysts that are resistant in the environment, and can stay a while there waiting for a cat to pick them up. Even less resistant ones like T. fetus can remain for a prolonged period of time (maybe several weeks) if they are protected by organic matter (aka stools).

It’s a daily job

The litter box is therefore a potential source of reinfection.

Only scooping the poop on a daily basis IS NOT ENOUGH, you need to get rid of the entire litter! Even if you remove all the stools and keep the litter, bear in mind there is always a little “something” remaining. Some pathogens might persist. And infections can (re)occur.

FULL-CLEAN THE LITTER BOX DAILY. AND DISINFECT IT as well. If there was one thing that should be done, it is definitely this!

Few recommendations

#1 Have the right number of litter boxes (roughly 1 litter box for 3 kittens)

#2 Have extra-ones so that when you need to clean-disinfect one, you can simply replace it by an already clean one while you are doing the cleaning/disinfecting on the other ones.

#3 Protozoa are often the cause of kitten diarrhea > steam cleaning the litter boxes is a great alternative to destroy their cysts that are resistant in the environment. Do this daily.

It might sound like a pain, I agree, but remember, cleaning is the cornerstone of the protection of your cattery. Especially with kittens, you cannot cut on it.

If you have tips and tricks you use in your cattery to this effect, feel free to share them below in the comment 

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9 thoughts on “[BLOG] Hygiene of the litter box in catteries : my recommendations

  1. If all our adult cats have tested negative for digestive parasites, protozoan and bacteria by way of PCR is it necessary to take such extreme precautions such as completely changing the box and disinfecting everyday?
    Thank you!

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    1. Hi Michelle, thanks for your comment ! Indeed, it all depends on the situation of the cattery. Those measures are in my opinion extremely important when digestive troubles (like diarrhea/vomiting) are reported in the cattery. In a perfect world, they should also be used with kittens at the time of weaning. When there is a history of weaning diarrhea in the cattery, I see them as mandatory.

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  2. Have you heard of kitten weaning diarrhea caused by the mother going into heat when her kittens are 4-5 weeks old? I recently had this happen and the PCR results were negative for everything, but the kitten stools looked like curdled milk and the kittens vomited curdled milk also. Their litter boxes were changed twice a day. Several breeders have reported it caused by the mothers’ hormones.

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  3. Bonjour! Très heureuse de lire votre blogue. Je me bat actuellement contre de la coccidiose. Quel désinfectant me recommandez-vous? On m’avait dit eau de javel et changer la litière au 2 jours et visiblement que je n’ai pas eu de résultats. On m’a ensuite recommandé de l’Ammonium quaternaire et j’ai eu du succès dans certains cas. J’ai une salle où le problème persiste alors à la lumière de vos recommandation je vais décontaminer à tous les jours mais est-ce que l’ammonium est réellement le meilleur produit pour la décontamination car Je l’utilise aussi pour murs et plancher et je viens de me procurer un appareil de nettoyage à la vapeur, est-ce efficace pour la coccidiose? Merci pour vos judicieux conseils!

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    1. Remerciements sincères pour votre réponse. J’aurais tellement aimer connaître l’existence de votre blog avant! J’ai réellement été mal guidé dans ma lutte contre la coccidiose. Que d’énergies dépensées inutilement, que de stress subit par nos petits protégés pour aucun résultat et sans compter les factures de produits inutiles et la médication qui ne pouvait fonctionner puisque l’environnement n’était jamais décontaminé. Merci de rendre la connaissance accessible et ainsi me permettre d’en fin espérer voir la lumière. Comptez sur moi pour transmettre votre documentation à qui de droit pour éviter que d’autres personnes traverse ce que je viens de vivre par ce manque d’information.

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