Every day, your cat goes to the litter box, walks around inside it, and even covers their business up before they leave. Then they may go straight to jumping on your nice kitchen counters, into your lap, or onto your dining room table.
Is this sanitary? Have you ever wondered just how dirty your cat’s paws are?
Here’s the dirt on how clean–or not clean–your cat’s paws might be, and what you can do to stay sanitary.
Your Cat’s Paws Aren’t Perfectly Clean–But They’re Pretty Close
Cats are notorious for bathing themselves and staying clean. Of course, it’s still a fact that they walk in their litter box, and they walk on a dirty floor.
Once they clean their paws after they’ve used the litter, you don’t have to worry as much about fecal matter being stuck under kitty’s toe.
Unfortunately, there’s no way to know for certain that your cat cleaned their paws before jumping on your counters. However, you can rest easy knowing that cats, on average, clean themselves and other household cats during half of their waking hours, sometimes even more.
Keep Your Counters Clean
Despite how often your cat self cleans, you probably don’t want to rely solely on your cat’s fastidiousness to make sure the spaces where you eat and prepare food are clean.
It’s good practice when you own a cat to always clean your kitchen counters before preparing food, just in case. Hopefully, most of us are already doing that anyway, pet or no pet!
The Toxoplasmosis Danger
Toxoplasmosis is a disease caused by bacteria found in cat feces–and also found in certain meats, unpasteurized milk, and unwashed fruits and vegetables. The disease can cause flu-like symptoms in some people and birth defects if a woman gets infected for the first time while pregnant.
If the kitchen counters, knives or cutting boards come in contact with something that has the bacteria on it, you might get infected.
Because this could come from a cat jumping on your counter with contaminated paws or even an unwashed contaminated fruit touching your counter, you should wash your counters, utensils, and cutting boards frequently.
Pregnant women should also wash their hands before they eat. But let’s be honest, this is a good practice for everyone, whether or not you’re pregnant or own a cat!
What If Kitty’s Paws Are Dirty?
There may be times when your cat accidentally gets a bit of litter or feces stuck on their paw. Sure, they’ll eventually clean their paw and everything will be okay, but do you want to wait that long?
All you need to clean your cat’s paw is either a damp washcloth, a Q-tip, or a special cat bathing wipe that you can buy at a pet store.
Try not to make a spectacle out of the event. If your cat is used to being handled, just gently grab their paw and do a quick clean.
If they’re really fussy and nervous, you might have to wrap your cat in a towel with the offending paw left sticking out, and then clean the paw.
Using A Litter Mat
To ease the problems of dirty cat paws, you can also buy special litter mats that might help.
Look for litter mats with angled ridges that are designed to help pull away litter lodged in your cat’s paws. Put the mat outside the litter box so your kitty has to walk across it when they leave.
In general, cats’ paws are usually quite clean. Cats spend a lot of time grooming and bathing themselves, as cleanliness is a top priority. But this doesn’t mean you should rely on that cleanliness when it comes to your kitchen counters and eating areas.
Practice good hygiene by cleaning the counters regularly and washing your hands before you eat or cook, so you and your kitty can stay healthier and happier.
Do you think your cat’s paws are clean? Do you make sure to wipe off counter tops and wash your hands before you eat? Let us know in the comments below!