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Litter Box in the Bedroom: Is it Safe and What Are the Risks?

by Ben Doyle | Reading Time: 5 minutes

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One of the most common problems cat owners face is where to put the litter box. This is especially true for those that live in small houses or apartments.

But is it safe to put the litter box in the bedroom?

In this article, we’ll explain;

  • The potential health risks
  • Other reasons why it’s not ideal
  • How to sleep with a cat litter box in the bedroom if you have no other choice

Key Takeaways

  • If possible, keep your cat’s litter out of the bedroom.
  • While the risks of getting ill from a dirty litter box are small, they are risks never-the-less. Especially if you’re elderly, pregnant, or have a weakened immune system.
  • Health risks aside, the smell and noise of your cat using the litter tray at night could prevent you from sleeping.
  • If there’s no other option but to keep your cat’s litter tray in your bedroom there are things you can do to minimise the risks and impact.

Potential Health Risks of Having a Cat Litter Box in the Bedroom

soiled cat litter in a bedroom

The risks of getting ill as a result of having a cat litter box in the bedroom are small. 

At least for most of us.

That said, they are risks nonetheless and some people are at greater risk than others.

Potential risks include;


Toxoplasmosis is a parasitic infection caused by the parasite, Toxoplasmosis gondii.

The risks of contracting this infection are small. In fact, according to, only around 350 cases of Toxoplasmosis are diagnosed each year. 

On top of that, not all cats carry the parasite. You’re more likely to get it by;

  • Eating raw or undercooked meat like rare steak
  • Eating cured meats like parma ham and salami
  • Eating unwashed vegetables that have grown in cat poo-contaminated soil
  • Drinking unpasteurised goats milk, or eating foods made from it

If a healthy adult gets it, chances are, they won’t even know they have it as they won’t show any symptoms. If they do show symptoms, they’re often flu-like.

Pregnant Women Are At Greater Risk if They Contract Toxoplasmosis. 

The risk is that a pregnant mother could pass the infection to the foetus which could result in; 

  • Miscarriage
  • Stillbirth, or
  • Birth defects

That’s why doctors tell pregnant women not to empty cat litter boxes.

That said, according to the NHS, the chances of passing it on to your baby are very small.

Also, according to, a baby charity, only 190 cases were recorded between 2008 – 2012. And only 1 in 10,000 babies is born with Toxoplasmosis in the UK.

People With Weakened Immune Systems Are Also At Higher Risk


  • Having chemotherapy
  • Have HIV, or
  • Who is immunocompromised in any other way

Is also at greater risk if they contract Toxoplasmosis.

Again, these risks are small. But if they do develop symptoms, they could develop into something more serious.

Ammonia Exposure

As bacteria break down cat urine, it produces ammonia which stinks. And when inhaled can cause symptoms like;

  • Throat irritation
  • Lung irritation
  • Respiratory infections
  • Bronchitis, and sometimes
  • Pneumonia

That said, it takes a large amount of ammonia ingested over a long period of time to create these symptoms. So for healthy adults, the risks are very small.

If you clean your cat’s litter box as often as you should (at least once a day), you should never have a problem.

Those with Asthma and pulmonary illnesses like COPD are at greater risk. Still, it’s a small risk.

Roundworms, Tapeworms and Hookworms

If you worm your cat often then worms should never be a problem.

If you don’t, the risks are higher as these worms are often present in an untreated cat’s poo. As a result, these worms can find their way into the box.

Although it’s rare, roundworms and hookworms can infect humans. They work their way into the intestines. In fact, some people can become quite ill and display symptoms including;

  • Abdominal pain
  • Blood in urine or faeces
  • Diarrhoea
  • Tiredness and fatigue
  • Wind and bloating
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Dehydration

Kids and elderly people are most at risk.

3 Other Reasons Why the Bedroom Isn’t the Best Place For a Cat Litter Tray

Health risks aside, your bedroom isn’t the best place to put your cat’s litter tray, for 3 main reasons;

  • Cat poo can stink – Some cats’ poo smells disgusting. Nobody wants that smell in their nostrils when they’re trying to sleep and no amount of cat litter freshener will help! The smell could force you out of bed to clean the mess when you should be sleeping.
  • Trip Hazard – This is especially true for older people or those that can’t see very well. If you get out of bed for any reason, you could risk kicking it, stubbing your toe or falling over it. At the very least, you might end up standing on litter that’s left on the floor.

How to Live and Sleep With a Litter Box in the Bedroom

living with a cat litter tray in the bedroom

As you can see, keeping your cat’s litter box in your bedroom is less than ideal. That said, sometimes there’s no getting around it.

For example, if you live in a house share that doesn’t allow cats in the rest of the house.

So, if the bedroom is the only viable place to put your cat’s litter box, here are a few tips to make it a little less of a problem;

  • Tire your cat out before bedtimeplay with your cat to get rid of any energy that might otherwise keep them awake.
  • Remove their food a couple of hours before bedtime – this will reduce nighttime trips to the litter box.
  • If you have an en-suite bathroom or toilet – put the litter box in there. This will keep it out of the way.
  • Keep the litter box as far away from your bed as possible – if possible, behind a protective screen or plant.
  • Choose an appropriate litter boxthe best litter box for a bedroom is an enclosed or self-cleaning model. An enclosed box will contain much of the noise and smell. Or if you have the budget, the best self-cleaning litter boxes will scoop smelly waste without any input from you.
  • Keep the litter box away from walkways – put it in the corner of the room, behind a screen or plant. This will stop you from falling over it if you need to get up during the night.
  • Keep the litter box cleanscoop and clean the box as often as possible. This will prevent smells from building up.

In Conclusion

Keeping your cat’s litter box in the bedroom isn’t ideal so if you can, move it to a more appropriate part of the house.

Although the risks are small, you could become ill if you contract Toxoplasmosis, worms or you’re exposed to too much ammonia.

More likely, the noise and smell of your cat doing their business in it will either wake you up or keep you awake when you should be sleeping.

If you have no other choice and the bedroom is the only viable place to put it, follow the tips in this article to reduce any health risks and get a better night’s sleep.

Photo of author

Ben Doyle

Ben Doyle co-owns Pet Checkers with his wife, Vicki. He spends his days looking after all kinds of animals, from dogs to eagles. When he's not taking care of animals, he's writing about them.

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