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Can Litter Boxes Make You Sick? (Self-Clean Better?)

If you are researching cat litter boxes you may be concerned about it causing sickness. But, is this really the case?

Can litter boxes make you sick?

Litter boxes can make you sick if they are overly soiled. This can cause too much exposure to ammonia. Which, in extreme cases, cause headaches or even pneumonia. However, if you can keep the litter box cleaned regularly, or use a self-cleaning litter box, it can help to reduce this risk.

Quick Self-cleaning Cat Litter Box Comparison

Description Image My Rating
01. ScoopFree Ultra Litter Box (Best Option)
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5 stars
02. Cat Genie Litter Box
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03. ScoopFree Litter Box
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4 stars

So, now you know. But, what can you do to keep a litter box clean, to reduce your exposure? Can you get sick from having the litter box in your room? What is the best self-cleaning litter box? Keep reading for these answers, and much more…

How can you keep your litter box clean?

To keep your litter box clean you have a few options such as the type of litter you use or the method by which you clean it. Regarding the type of litter, there is standard or clumping litter. And, for the method, there is manual or automatic (self-cleaning).

01. Using Clumping litter

Clumping litter is easy to keep clean because the mess can easily be picked out, in clumps. this will reduce the exposure to ammonia when it’s kept clean.

As opposed to standard litter, which may seem cheaper, but will require more work to clean, and require the entire litter tray to be changed instead of the soiled areas.

02. Using a Self-cleaning litter box

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A self-cleaning litter box (Click here to see the reviews, on Amazon #Ad) is desirable because it allows the cat owner to let the soiled litter be dealt with in the background. It is efficient for busy people, or those that choose not to get their hands dirty, but who does, right?

It will perform the clean-up on a set schedule, or some will detect when the cat has used it to trigger a cleaning.

Can you get sick from having a litter box in your room?

If you have a litter box in your room it can cause sicknesses such as cat scratch fever, headaches, or even pneumonia. This is because the litter box in your room will increase your contact with the ammonia. And, if the litter box is unclean, which it usually is, you will be heavily exposed.

Firstly, a litter box in your room, such as a bedroom is not ideal, regardless if it’s clean or not. Why? Well, let’s be honest it’s not pleasant to look at or smell, right?

What you need to know about self-cleaning litter boxes

Before you rush out and buy one of these self-cleaning devices it’s important to understand the best features and appreciate the benefits they offer. Let me explain…

  • Smell control
  • Avoids litter-tracking
  • Easy to maintain
  • Dust-free
  • Easy to setup

Smell control

This feature is important because it means that the litter box will hold in the unsavory smells that conventional cat litter usually puts out, which I am sure you can relate to. Look out for one that locks in the smell.

Avoids litter-tracking

If you have had a standard cat litter tray whilst using conventional litter, the chances are you have come across litter-tracking. It means that the litter sticks to your cat’s paws and trails around the house. And, if you are unlucky some of it is messy and smells.

With a good self-cleaning litter box, they should avoid this. lookout for one that can deliver this feature to save you some hassle.

Easy to maintain

The best litter boxes should be really easy to clean. You may be wondering what I am talking about, shouldn’t it self-clean? Yes, it self-cleans the litter mess. But, I am talking about the actual device itself. General maintenance of the device, are you with me? Therefore, make sure you choose one that is easy to clean, to save yourself some hassle.


The best litter is dust-free, it will avoid dusty deposits around your house. Most of the good ones use crystals to help get around this issue.

Easy to setup

One of the most important things, in my opinion, is simplicity. Therefore, the setup of this device should be simple.

3 of My Best self-clean cat litter boxes (Cat Genie vs ScoopFree)

In this section, I will compare three of my best self-cleaning litter boxes. This is based on Cat Genie and ScoopFree models. So you can see which one best suits your needs. I will explain what I like and do not like about each one.

What is the best self-cleaning cat litter box, Cat Genie or ScoopFree? This is the best one (Click here for the price on Amazon #Ad). I love this one because it’s automatic and saves me time uses efficient crystal litter granules, simple to clean, and avoids litter-tracking (more details below).

But, keep reading to see if you agree and to understand my full list of reasons for this choice.

01. ScoopFree Ultra Litter Box (Best Option)

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  • Litter cleanup is automatic
  • Controls the smell
  • Crystals are dust-free & stick-free
  • Simple to clean
  • Avoids litter tracking


  • Quite large, especially when compared to standard litter boxes.
  • Waste may get stuck on the side-fins (may need manual clean up)

What I like about this ScoopFree litter box

The thing I love about these litter boxes is the convenience. If you are like me you won’t like cleaning up stinky conventional litter trays, right? I mean, who does, really?

Fortunately, with this device, it is all handled automatically. Not only that the design is quite clever. Why? Well. just the simple hooded top helps to keep the litter concealed and odor inside.

The great thing about the crystal litter that it comes with, in comparison to the conventional cat litter is the fact that absorbs the cat’s urine. Not only that it helps to extract the moisture out of solid feces to make the cleanup easier, are you with me?

While we are on the topic of litter. I have to comment on the fact that it is track-free. Meaning, it helps to stop your cat from spreading cat litter tracks after walking in it. This is quite a big problem for conventional litter.

To keep things clean and simple the trays are disposable. You simply throw it away, no hassle.

Also, if you are curious about your cat’s behavior. In particular how many times he visits the litter tray a day, no bother. You can rest assured with the motion sensor that keeps track of each of your cats visits.

What I do not like about this ScoopFree litter box

Be warned this device can be a bit noisy, this is one of the downfalls of convenience, I guess. Also, its size. If you are thinking about a direct replacement (size-wise) for your standard litter tray, forget it. This one is much bigger. It does its job to be fair, but it’s big.

Finally, it has a tendency to get waste stuck in its fins (located around the edge). It means you may need to clean this up from time to time. Not a deal-breaker, in my opinion, but worth knowing.

02. Cat Genie Litter Box

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  • Automatic cleanup
  • Uses washable granules (cats like to cover their mess with this)
  • Flushes away waste
  • Dust-free litter granules
  • Septic-free litter (Avoids pollution in landfill sites)


  • Quite loud
  • The cleanup cycle can take up to 45 minutes

What I love about this Cat Genie litter box

Again, another automatic cat litter cleaner that appeals to my lazy tendencies, ha! You’ll love this convenient way of living, especially when compared to scooping out stinky cat feces, like before.

In addition to this, it has three cleaning modes for your convenience. Firstly, it can be set on a schedule, say a few times a day for example. Or, you can get it to detect when your cat uses it, and it will attempt to clean up after her.

The final mode is on demand. Meaning, there are times when you feel that it is just too dirty and feel it needs to be cleaned then and there, are you with me?

Once it finishes cleaning it conveniently flushes down the toilet or drain, depending on how you installed it. With regards to it being flushed away, you can rest assured with the fact that the litter is septic-free. This means it helps to avoid pollution in landfill sites.

I also, love the fact that the litter is dust-free, meaning it won’t leave a big mess when your cat exits the tray and steps on your new carpet, are you with me?

What I am not loving about this Cat Genie litter box

One of my biggest gripes is the time it takes to complete a cleaning cycle. You can wait up to 45 minutes. So, if your kitty needs the loo during this time, you will be left cleaning up the mess.

Also, when it is actually cleaning, be warned it’s quite loud. It does the job to be fair, but it rumbles like a tumble dryer, in my opinion. Also, it’s quite large. So, make sure you place it in your largest room option.

03. ScoopFree Litter Box

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  • Automatic cleanup
  • Protects against leaks (Keeps your floor clean)
  • Fast setup
  • Crystal litter controls odor better
  • Safety sensor (makes sure your cat is not in the tray when cleaning)


  • You may notice that some mess sticks to the rake
  • The litter crystals tend to spread on the floor

What I appreciate about this ScoopFree litter box

I love this automatic cleaning cat litter because it just works, and saves me the hassle of doing the work, are you with me? I like the way it protects against leaks, keeping the floor clean.

It’s pretty fast to set it up, so no concerns from that perspective. The manufacturer claims it can be set up in minutes, in fact.

It also uses crystal litter. This litter is great because it absorbs the cat’s urine as well as dehydrating the feces to make them more manageable. More effective than the standard cat litter, in my opinion.

It also comes with a safety sensor. This sensor is cool because it detects your cat, using motion sensors. It basically double-checks that your cat is not in the litter box before it cleans up.

What I do not really like about this ScoopFree litter box

Just be warned, as great as the litter crystals are, you may see some of them littered on t=your floor during its lifetime. And, they are not nice when you step on them with bare feet, are you with me?

Also, there is a cleaning rake inside, which for some reason tends to get mess stuck on it, Meaning, from time to time, you may have to clean this off.

Related Questions

In this section, I will answer some questions related to cats, litter, and behavior. If you have any more related questions you need answering drop me a comment below.

Can cats use toilets?

Yes, cats can use the toilet, but they need a toilet system to achieve this (Click here to see one). These kits will have special adapters to allow your cat to use them safely and also provide training to get her to use them regularly. Which will effectively get rid of the cat litter tray.

Personally, I prefer the idea of the automatic litter box because once it’s set up there is very little work required on your part, are you with me?