What to Do When Your Baby Eats Kitty Litter

I had a rough first day back.  For one thing, Edward was not even crawling when I left for Florida, and now, a month later, he is crawling, pulling up on things, and generally making mischief.  Ruby has nicknamed him “Danger E” because, as she explained, he is always getting into trouble.

We dropped Ruby off at preschool yesterday morning, and then Edward and I came home to hang out, clean, and start packing.  I set him down amongst his toys, which is about when the cat starting puking everywhere.  Forgetting that Edward is 100% mobile now, I turned my back on him for a good minute or two to clean up cat puke, and when I turned back around, he had crawled into the bathroom, pulled himself up onto the cat box, and was eating out of it.

I completely freaked out and scooped him up.  I basically put him right into the sink and started rinsing off his hands and face.  I got the kitty litter out of his mouth, but I was sure he had swallowed some.  As I had no idea what to do in this situation, I turned to the internet for advice.  I found answers ranging from “It’s fine to eat kitty litter,” to “Take him to the emergency room immediately.”  So I did what any stupid and terrified parent would do: I called my mother.

This was not helpful, as my mother has stopped answering my calls for some reason, so I called the pediatrician instead.  They said that they didn’t know if it was bad or not, and gave me the number for poison control.  I called poison control, freaking out more by the second, although I must also point out that Edward seemed externally fine.  He didn’t choke, he didn’t seem sick or upset, and generally seemed pretty pleased with himself.

The pediatrician had told me that poison control would have all the information on different brands of kitty litter, and that once I answered all their questions, they would be able to tell me what to do.  It turned out to be much simpler than that.  Here is an approximate transcript of my conversation with poison control:

Poison Control: “Hello, this is poison control, what stupid thing did you do?” (this was more in the tone than the actual words)

Me: “Hi, my ten month old son just ate some kitty litter, and it wasn’t my fault, I was cleaning up puke, and I’ve been gone for a month, and I didn’t know how much he could get around now, and I’m not a bad parent, and please don’t call the police or anything, but omigod what should I do?”

PC: “It’s fine kitty litter is non-toxic.”

Me: “Ok, I have all the brand information on the kitty litter, it’s…”

PC: “All kitty litter is non-toxic, he’s fine.”

Me: “He wasn’t choking or anything, and he is acting normally, but I don’t know what to watch for…”

PC: “There is no problem, he’s fine, thanks for calling.”

Me: “I don’t think he ate any feces or anything, but how can I really be sure, you know, and…”

PC: “Click.”

There was a bit more to it than that, because they took my information down so they could contact me later if needed, but that was kind of the gist of it.  My mother did eventually call me back, and told me to call poison control, so that would have been helpful a few hours earlier.  Anyway, Edward is fine, but we did not get any cleaning or packing done.  And now we have a gate on the bathroom door.

Posted in Bad Parenting, Edward, Kitty Litter, Parenting, Stay at Home Dad.

18 Comments

  1. Ok, I am still laughing at this. Man, I had Mindy get out of bed to read this. Oh boy. I also trusted that this was only published because he was ok so I felt free to laugh thru the unfolding. Every parent has had a “kitty litter” incident.

  2. I thought I was the only one with this happening to them…OMG I freaked I just found my 11 month old eating litter I guess bc he hot to it before the catfood caught his eye….Glad I’m not alone

  3. As a former veterinary technician, I can tell you that it isn’t the litter that is the problem. The problem resides in the urine and feces of the cat. As adults, our immune systems can handle quite a bit of insult, children are different. The biggest worry with cats is a parasite called Toxoplasma. Most people contract Toxoplasmosis from eating undercooked pork, but occasionally those of us with underdeveloped immune systems can get it simply from being near a cat box. This is because the oocysts (immature form) become airborn after a day or two. If the box is not cleaned every day, there is a risk of these oocysts becoming active.
    I am truly suprised the pediatrician wasn’t more concerned about your young one! At the very least he should have recommended you watch for any sign of sickness in the next month, and bring your son in for a check-up in four weeks.
    Lots of children get into things they shouldn’t–this doesn’t mean you are a bad parent! Things happen in the split-est of seconds, but we should be able to rely on our health-care professionals to know what to do!!

    • i know this is a really old post but hoping to still get a reply. I read while i was pregnant that toxoplasmosis can only be in your cats waste if it goes outside sometimes because it comes from other animals it can kill and eat. Is this correct? My cat is strictly an indoor cat and my 2 year old got to the litter box and scooped it out onto himself but didnt eat it.

      • I’m not a doctor or anything, but from what I understand it is much more likely for an outdoor cat to carry toxoplasmosis, it is only in the feces, and if he didn’t get it in his mouth or eyes (and I assume you washed him off after!) he should be fine!

  4. My 2 year old just did it too, today. I was completely horrified that he could eat such a nasty thing! So glad I came across this to know that im not the only one and that I don’t really need to call poison control (again) for something else that this boy has gotten into lol

  5. My 3 yr old has too. honestly I couldn’t tell you when. I picked him up a couple of days ago, and he has now been sick for a couple of days. fevers on and off, body aches, not saying too much. completely unaware that he may have eatn kitty litter. lastnight he comes in my room, he can’t sleep. he says that he wet himself, and that he needs to change clothes. I get up there is shit everywhere but the toilet I was pissed. give em a bath clean up, gave him medicine boom he is asleep less than five mins. I’m totally freaking out!

  6. Our 3 year old got into the litter box as well but he also ate some cat food on top of it (he later confesses this part). Around midnight he woke up puking and did so until about 4 am. Later that morning he began to crap water (you know, no form whatsoever).

    We just got the cat earlier this week so this is all new to him and we are now just watching to see if any other symptoms arise. He was hungry and ate breakfast so that was encouraging.

    I often think to myself that because something is non-toxic doesn’t mean it can’t make you ill or cause damage. Take table salt for example, non-toxic but if an adult male consumes a few tablespoons it will kill him.

    Better to overreact and it turn out to be nothing than not react at all. PERFECT PARANOIA IS PERFECT AWARENESS!!!

  7. Thank you so much- my little one just did this and I was scared shit-less (pardon my pun)- you just totally put my mind at ease <3 Blessings <3

  8. My soon to be 2 year old daughter just did this as well, fortunately our cat doesn’t use the litter box often but she did manage to get some little into her mouth. I’ve never brushed teeth so profusely in my life before this moment. She was upset for a while (Probably because of me freaking out) but she’s acting fine now (This was literally about an hour ago). I was freaking out internally more so because I had no clue what kind of effect this would have on her, but this really calmed me down.

  9. My soon to be 2 year old daughter just did this as well, fortunately our cat doesn’t use the litter box often but she did manage to get some little into her mouth. I’ve never brushed teeth so profusely in my life before this moment. She was upset for a while (Probably because of me freaking out) but she’s acting fine now (This was literally about an hour ago). I was freaking out internally more so because I had no clue what kind of effect this would have on her, but this really calmed me down.

  10. my 22 month old just ate some today when they were at the babysitters I freaked out. Im soo relieved to now that I am not alone in this situation and that other parents do go through the same mishaps with their kids as I do.

  11. So today I got really freaked out see my cat got locked in are pantry closet and peed and pooped on some noodles as i was cleaning and sanitizing everything my 2 year old son eat a noodle that fell on the ground i called Poison Control and he said that my son should be okay but to look out for vomiting and diarrhea and bloody stools and fever and if he has any of thoughs symptoms happen to call back that dose not make me feel any better i feel so dumb for not watching him close enough after reading this blog i can see that im not alone. although i getting some mixed messages about thing although i guess everyone’s experiences is different but im sure glad to know im not alone.

  12. I’m just wondering what would happen to a child who continues to eat kitty litter constantly and the parents does nothing about it.

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