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    • #11596

      Hi Everyone,

      Has anyone ever been told to avoid cleaning cat litter following their diagnosis of IPF/PF?

      While this isn’t a task I enjoy anyways, I know it is important to do but as I was cleaning my cat’s litter recently, I went into a coughing fit due to the dust from the litter. I have since purchased a cat litter that is supposed to be dust free, and it does seem better than the brand I was using previously. I also try and wear a mask now when I clean her litter, just to be safe but I find it still bothers me.

      I know cat litter can pose some other health hazards, as I know pregnant women shouldn’t be cleaning a cat’s litter box. What about those with lung diseases? Has anyone’s doctor ever told them to avoid this chore, and explained why?

      Thanks, I look forward to hearing any/all responses 🙂


    • #11609

      I have 7 cats. All indoors and lots of litter boxes. I use Petco’s clumping litter, dust is not too bad. Personally I have not had any issues with it.

      My doctors are aware of it, and the only time I was told to not do the litter boxes was after I had a lung biopsy done. I could not do the litter I think for about 1 month. After that it was a non issue.

      One of my big concerns was when and if I need a transplant how would my having pets affect the need for a transplant. I have known people who have had transplants and could not have pets. But doing research I found that where my cats are all indoor cats, having them is not an issue. Phew, the thought of not being able to keep my furbabies was horrible. Evidently if they are allowed to go outdoors, then there is a problem.



      • #11620

        Hi Paula,

        Thanks so much for contributing your experience to this thread. 7 cats must make your home a cozy one, especially if they are friendly/cuddly kitties 🙂

        Do you wear a mask when you do their litter Paula, or is the litter contained in a specific area of your house? Ours is in the basement for my cat, but I find cleaning even one litter box makes me cough quite a bit.

        That is really interesting to know about transplant and your cats. I suppose this is the difference with dogs too, since all dogs would have to go outside, perhaps this is why dogs have to live somewhere else for a brief period of time while recovering from transplant. The thought of being without my dog breaks my heart too, so I can imagine your relief when you discovered that your cats can be home with you while you recover from transplant. This is really good information to know as well, thank you for sharing.

        Wishing you well!

        • #11630

          Hi Charlene,

          No I do not use a mask. The litter we use really does not have that much dust, as it does not bother me.

          Yes I was very relieved that my cats would not be an issue. That could have been a deal breaker for me.

          I do have to lose weight (have lost 18 pounds since my appointment in Boston and being put on Esbriet), I told the doctor in Boston that if they want me to lose the weight to stop putting me on prednisone. And really quite honestly I do not get that much of a relief when they do put me on it.

          Just reading the comment about pine litter, I do not know much about it. I know with my crew when I tried Fresh Step, they did not like the odor from it.  Another option could be Fresh News which is actually recycled newspaper so there is no dust that I am aware of.  For me the Petco brand does a good job.

          I have a total of 9 litter boxes. 8 are in the basement and I have one upstairs because someone (no one will claim responsibility lol) was peeing upstairs where they were not suppose to. So we moved a box upstairs and knock on wood have not had an issue since. Since we have hardwood floors upstairs, I put puppy pads under the litter box in case someone misses. I also bought new boxes that have the high sides on 3 sides to limit the amount of litter outside of the box.

          I had at one time considered one of those self cleaning boxes but besides the cost of how many I would need, I remember a program with Jackson Galaxy talking about how those are not great because if they start cleaning while the cat is in there, the cat will be spooked and not use it. Not sure how true, but I did not want to take the chance.

        • #11672

          Hi Paula,

          Thank you so much for your response to my further questions about the cat litter boxes!

          So many responses here from others’ experiences with cat litter, and how they manage it has been very helpful for me. I also am thankful that your cats were able to remain with you – I couldn’t imagine my life without my furbaby.

          I couldn’t agree more about prednisone and weight loss, the two seem to just combat each other. I don’t find I gain a lot of when when put on prednisone, however, my face, arms and legs balloon like crazy and it feels like weight gain, but might just be water retention, I’m not sure. Either way, I am not a fan. Did your team agree to take you off of it, if they want you to lose weight? Good for you for losing 18 pounds though, that is amazing! 🙂

          I posted above what someone shared with me about using a couple drops of essential oils in the litter box just before I clean it out, to try and mask the smell a bit. Do you think your cats would use it, if I just put it on the litter that I am removing from the box, not left the lemon drops in the the box for her to smell? I am wary about trying this because I don’t want to wreck her comfort of using it, because if she started going on the floor that would not go over well. I didn’t even think about the self-cleaning box spooking the cats, but that absolutely makes sense!

          Oh, what we wouldn’t do for our furbabies, huh?

          Hope you are doing well Paula and thanks again for sharing your wonderful insights.


    • #11610
      Aishia Moaishia

      I have wondered the same thing but I use an all natural Pine litter so there is no dust. maybe something to consider.


      • #11621

        Hi Aishia,

        Thank you so much for sharing this link! I’ve actually never heard of a pine litter before, but am very interested in learning more. Did you always use this for your cats, or did you transition to it after your diagnosis? Did your cats seem to mind? Mine has an attitude and if I were to switch her litter, I hope she would adjust to it. She will even poop outside the litter box if it is not “clean enough” for her…. she can be a bit of a brat!

        I’m going to look more into this link now 🙂
        Also, I know I owe you a private message back, will work on that today! Hope you’re doing well, my friend.


    • #11611
      Joyce Douglas

      Hello, from Joyce.   I haven’t tried to clean litter boxes since I have been diagnosed with IPF, but I know I would find it difficult. The odor cuts my breath quite badly and though I didn’t find the dust a problem, I have not done any cleaning for about 2 years.  I was diagnosed a year ago this May. However, I know that I did have issues that weren’t being diagnosed or paid attention to before that, so possibly that was the beginning for me and I did not know.   Enjoy your indoor furbabies. They are special.

      • #11622

        Hi Joyce,

        Thank you so much for sharing a bit of your experience with us. I share that experience with you that, dust aside, the odour of our cats litter box makes me want to hold my breath and that is obviously very difficult for me now. Even breathing under my Vogmask (which I don’t use near the litter box, I only use this for medical appointments) or a surgical mask is difficult, and I think my bottom line is simply that I don’t like doing our cat’s litter box. Even when I walk my dog, I find picking up after her easier than dealing with cat litter. Although I do admit, I hired and paid someone to clean up after her winter mess and get the lawn ready for spring. This wasn’t something we wanted to do ourselves!

        Do you find dusting and vacuuming hard as well Joyce? My vacuum released a smell of dust (likely not much dust though) that also really bothers me but I love having a clean house so sometimes I just push through. I just hope I’m not further damaging my lungs or ability to breathe….

        I hope you’re doing well and I’m glad to hear from you 🙂


    • #11624
      Aishia Moaishia


      My switch to the pine litter had nothing to do with my ILD. I actually switched because my old man dog Buddy cannot stay out of the cat box and I was worried about how the clay clumping litter would affect his respiratory system and his stomach. I was concerned it might cause a blockage or something. So I switched to the natural pine litter because it doesn’t have dust and I figure it wont hurt his digestion if he continues to snack on kitty roca. Dogs can be so gross!  Either way it seems to work well, my cats adjusted no problem and Buddy isn’t snacking as often. I think the Pine might even deter him a bit.

      For your cat I would suggest slowly introducing the new litter by adding a little at a time to the old litter until it becomes a complete transition. That should help with her finicky potty preferences.

    • #11625

      Hi Aishia,

      Thanks for your reply! So interesting to learn the reasoning behind your switch to pine litter. What a goofy dog you have! Although, I suspect if given the chance my dog would do this as well. The litter is in the basement for that reason, plus the dog doesn’t go downstairs. I know this is common for dogs, and was always a worry of mine as well that she would eat the litter and it would cause a blockage in her belly.

      I think you’ve convinced me to switch to pine litter. Does it help mask the smell a bit as well? I know pine can be quite a strong odour, but definitely more pleasant then a cat’s mess. Now I just have to ensure my finicky kitty tolerates the change, but I’ll do it gradually as you suggest.

      Thanks for the info!

      Charlene 🙂

    • #11662
      Aishia Moaishia

      C- It is actual pine shavings so the smell is just that of a pine tree. I don’t find it to be too strong. It does absorb the cat urine and is clumping but I find it doesn’t mask odor as well as the commercial clay scented litters do. However I scoop out the box once or twice per day so it doesn’t seem to be an issue.


    • #11666

      Hi Aishia,

      Thanks so much for getting back to me as always 🙂

      I think I would actually like the smell of pine. One thing someone recently suggested, which I thought was a cool idea, to help with the smell of cat litter odour, was to put in a couple drops of lemon essential oil before scooping it. I think I’ll try this and then scoop the litter, because my cat I’m sure won’t use the litter box with the strong smell of lemon in it. However, if I put it in right before I scoop it, to help me, it would likely be okay.

      I also don’t scoop it near as much as you do, so I’m sure if I did that it would help me too 😉

      Chat soon and hope you’re doing well!


    • #11678

      Hi Charlene

      Not sure about the scent drops. Because we have so many I clean the litter boxes each day. Very rarely I will miss a day. So for me, at least as far as I know, there is no odor issue. Although, I have been downstairs when someone does a stinky. lol

      As for the prednisone, no one has talked about it for several months. But if they do, I probably will beg off of it.

      I have just gotten over shingles, fortunately it did not affect my breathing too much but I have been unable to go to pulmonary rehab. Will be back there this Monday.

    • #11684

      Hi Paula,

      Thanks so much for your reply!

      Aishia also let me know how often she cleans her cat’s litter boxes in an effort to ensure odour is not problematic. I think based on both of your responses, I’ll need to try harder to clean the litter box more frequently. I usually do it every couple of days (max 1 week) and even though the litter box is in our basement, I don’t like the smell when I use the treadmill or do laundry. Doing it more often will help with this I suspect 🙂

      Oh I am so sorry to hear about the shingles! I hope they weren’t too painful for you and glad to hear that they didn’t impact your breathing too much. Goodluck continuing pulmonary rehab tomorrow (Monday)… I hope it goes well for you. Are you finding it helpful? I find my ’rounds’ of pulmonary rehab very helpful, as I’ve done three programs thus far.

      Take care of yourself and glad to hear you’re on the mend.

    • #11687

      Hi Charlene

      Thanks for the comments about the shingles. Now I just have to wait for the pain and the itching (which quite frankly is not as bad as the shooting pain and numbness) to go away.

      Yeah I think the rehab is doing ok. I only go once a week as it costs me $25 a session.

      As for the litter. I am a fairly big fan of Jackson Galaxy and I can remember him saying that some people clean their litter boxes multiple times a day (definitely not me lol) and he said that was not good as it affects the scent that the cats pick up on and if they do not smell it, they might go else where. Kind of makes sense. Same when your washing your litter boxes, which I only do twice a year. They say not to use harsh cleaners as the smell might put off the cats. So I use pine sol and dawn. And then I let them air dry in the sun. Knock on wood I have not had any issues with the cats not liking the boxes.

      How many cats do you have? and how many boxes do you have? As I indicated earlier, I have 7 cats and nine boxes. The rule, according to Galaxy is 1 for each cat plus one extra.  My husband thinks I am crazy but……. lol. The longest I go without cleaning is 2 days.

      I am curious. Where are you located? Currently I am close to Cape Cod but we will be moving soon.

      Hope your having a wonderful day.


      • #11718

        Hi Paula,

        Thank you so much for taking time to reply 🙂

        I hope you are feeling a bit better? When do they anticipate the pain and discomfort for the shingles will go away? I know it can take some time but I hope the medications you are on lessens the time you are uncomfortable.

        I’m also glad to hear that your pulmonary rehab program is helping!

        I have one cat, who will be 7 next month and she is a nasty little thing. I think she might actually be a wild cat, as I can’t hold her or pet her (unless she is annoying me in bed because she wants to be fed) so her and I don’t have the best relationship lol! I got a dog 3 years ago, who has become the favourite pet by far but my cat and I co-exist successfully in my home. She’s has quite about the attitude. I’ll definitely make note of cleaning the litter boxes more frequently, she doesn’t seem to mind with how often I am cleaning them now but I do think it will help reduce the odour for me.

        I am in Canada, about 2 hours west of Toronto. I’ve been to Cape Cod before, I actually spent sometime there as part of a road trip one summer and absolutely loved it. Such a beautiful area, and I am mega jealous of the ocean, which is my favourite place in the world. I can’t wait to visit Vancouver next weekend and dip my toes in the pacific ocean!

        Thanks for your message, I love hearing from folks on this forum and I also hope you are having a wonderful day!


    • #16423

      Hi Charlene,

      I would recommend changing the litter box as I believe it depends a lot on it. Try to find some really good cat litter boxes from here. I believe you can find something useful for your needs,


    • #16440

      Hi Jonnam,

      Thanks so much your reply to this topic! I appreciate hearing from you because just recently, it popped into my mind to post it again on the forums and obtain others thoughts about cleaning the cat litter. It is getting even more difficult for me to do now as my disease progresses, and it is something I wonder if I should still be doing. There are also self-cleaning litter boxes too I hear? I’ll take a peak at your link now and I appreciate your sharing.  Take care and feel free to connect anytime!


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