The Dangers of Having Your Cat’s Litter Box in the Kitchen

It’s not recommended to keep your cat’s litter box in the kitchen. There are dangers associated with the pathogens found in cat waste, which can spread during cleaning or use. Plus, your cat may not be comfortable using the litter box when the kitchen’s busy.

3 Reasons Not to Keep a Litter Box in the Kitchen

1. It Could Make You Sick

Cat waste contains a wide variety of pathogens. From bacteria to parasites like Toxoplasma gondii. None of which have any business being in a kitchen. 

When your cat uses the litter box, soiled litter dust becomes airborne, where it can spread to nearby surfaces — like countertops, cutting boards, or any other exposed surface. Tracked litter can also harbor pathogens, and should be kept far from food and drink.

Though it’s relatively unlikely that an otherwise healthy person will become sick from having a litter box in the kitchen, why risk it?

There are plenty of other spots where you can place a litter box that are more sanitary for you, and more peaceful for your cat. 

2. Litter Boxes Should be in a Quiet, Peaceful Area

Cats, like people, prefer to handle their business in peace.

In the wild, cats find a secluded area to ‘go’. 

The risk of predators finding them in such a vulnerable moment puts them on high alert.

Unfortunately, the typical atmosphere of a kitchen doesn’t always lend itself to peace and quiet

From the dishwasher running to vegetables being chopped, kitchens are a hectic, busy place through portions of the day. 

If your kitchen’s too busy, your cat may not feel comfortable using the litter box at that moment. Holding it is bad for their health. They’ll simply find somewhere else to go. 

3. It’s Kind of Gross

Aside from sanitary concerns, a litter box in the kitchen is just kind of gross. 

The litter box, no matter how clean you keep it, is going to stink. No one wants to smell urine, ammonia, or feces while preparing food. And what’s to stop your cat from defecating while you cook?

No thanks.

What if the Kitchen is the Only Option?

Gray cat sitting on countertop in kitchen

We’ve lived in some tiny studio apartments in the past, and there was always a litter box location preferable to the kitchen. It’s a rare home setup where, with some creativity, you can’t find a better alternative. 

Common Misconceptions

Some believe that a litter box is dangerous to keep in the bedroom, but that’s mostly untrue. Unless you’re pregnant or have a compromised immune system, it’s perfectly safe to have a litter box in the bedroom. Regardless, it’s much more sanitary than the kitchen.

It’s also commonly accepted that you shouldn’t place a litter box on carpet. And, in some small apartments, the kitchen is the only non-carpeted area where a litter box can fit.

This one is more true. Carpets do harbor bacteria and other pathogens. But fortunately, with the right setup, it’s okay to place a litter box on carpet — just not directly on bare carpet.

Making the Best of the Situation

If your home truly won’t accommodate a litter box anywhere else, you can take steps to make it as sanitary and pleasant a situation as possible.

Ventilation is important, to allow airborne contaminants to escape and to manage odor. Consider leaving the kitchen window cracked within reason, whenever possible. Use fans to increase airflow throughout the home.

You should already be keeping the litter box clean. But in less than ideal situations like this, make every effort to keep the litter box squeaky clean.

  • Scoop solids daily, both poop and clumps.
  • Sift wood pellet litter, or remove soiled non-clumping litter daily.
  • Fully replace litter according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.
  • Clean the litter box with warm water and a mild soap every couple of weeks.
  • Replace plastic litter boxes every six months or so.

And finally, keep the kitchen as clean as possible.

  • Disinfect countertops and surfaces frequently.
  • Store clean dishes and utensils in closed drawers or cabinets.
  • Clean the litter box before preparing food.


Placing a litter box in the kitchen should be avoided whenever possible. Pathogens commonly found in cat waste can cause illness, litter odors are particularly offensive in a kitchen, and your cat may be hesitant to use the litter box when the kitchen’s busy.

But if you really have no other option, make sure your kitchen is well-ventilated and the litter box and kitchen are kept as clean as possible.


About Matthew Alexander

Matthew lives in Maryland with his two cats, Puff and Pancho. He’s been caring for and fostering cats with various special needs for more than fifteen years. He hopes to pass some of the insight and knowledge that he’s gained on to the readers of Pawmore.