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Should I clean the cat box?

You may have heard that if you're pregnant, you shouldn't clean the kitty litter box, or maybe even that you should stay away from the cat completely. The concern is that you'll get toxoplasmosis, an infection that can cause miscarriages and birth defects.

Here are a few more details about toxoplasmosis:

  • It's possible to get toxoplasmosis from touching the litter box, but it's more likely you'll get it from contaminated meat.
  • Indoor cats are highly unlikely to transmit the disease.
  • Younger outdoor cats are more likely to be contaminated than older ones.

To be on the safe side, always use gloves when you change the litter, and change the litter often.

You can ask your doctor to test your blood for toxoplasmosis antibodies. If they are present, you're immune to the condition and you don't have to worry.


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Source: Jeffrey D. Kravetz, MD; Daniel G. Federman, MD, Cat-Associated Zoonoses, Archives of Internal Medicine, Vol. 162 No. 17, September 23, 2002

First published: 03/07/2000
Last updated: 05/12/2008

Reviewed by: Michael Slama, MD, Allina Medical Clinic-Coon Rapids Women's Health