Cat Feces in Sandbox

Updated on May 07, 2013
K.W. asks from Bronx, NY
12 answers

My brother in law has been feeding 2 stray cats in our yard. We have an area of 12X 25 sand where the playhouse and swing set are. The cats have been pooping in it all winter. Can we just scoop out the poop and move the sand around? or do we have to empty the whole thing. Its probably about 5 yards of sand.

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answers from Boise on

You can sanitize the sand, sand can get expensive to replace. I know and have run into this problem a time or two. Ideally dumping and starting over is best, but if there is a problem, it's not just going to go away because you have replaced the sand.

Bleach, 1/2 and 1/2 ratio of bleach and water in a sprayer. First spray the top layer, mix it up and spray the next layer and repeat till you are certain that you have gotten all of the sand. Then let the sun dry it out. Good to go.

One way to stop the little kitty's is to use a motion sensor sprinkler in that area, kinda like people do when they have a problem with deer. I know there are some essential oils that can be sprayed around the area, there are some animal repellents out there and even some plants that work, but I don't know which ones off hand.

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answers from Detroit on

I would replace all the sand, and figure out a way (fencing, or a covered sandbox) to keep the cats from using it as a toilet. Cat feces (especially stray cats that may be hunting and consuming prey) can carry numerous intestinal parasites, some of which can be transmitted to and cause illness in humans, particularly children. Just getting rid of the stool doesn't mean the sand is not contaminated - the parasites are microscopic, so it's not like you can tell just looking at it. Sometimes cats can be carriers of Salmonella bacteria in their stool as well. Try Googling "roundworms in children" and see what you find. Some kids have lost their eyesight in one eye from being infected with roundworms that end up migrating there once they enter the child's body.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

The previous posters are correct. The funny thing about it is that toxoplasmosis is a concern, but not as big as other things that can be caught from stray cats. Stray cats aren't vacinated, so they can have just about anything including worms. There's the pin worms, round worm, all kinds of worms your child can catch, as well as ticks and fleas. Ticks can be deer ticks. Any animal can get deer ticks, and deer ticks carry lime disease. You really not only have to throw out the old sand and put in fresh, but you really have to find a way to cover the sandbox. Cat's don't just peeing and pooping in winter. They will go in that sandbox all year around. If you have to buy a new sandbox that has a cover.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I worry about cat poop and urine, especially strays. There is a lot of bacteria, parasites, and viruses that can be spread through cat poop and urine. It's really unsafe. I would dump it, absolutely. Get a cover for it. Even if you just stake a tarp into the ground.

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answers from Washington DC on

Yep, remove all the sand. All of it. And sanitize heavily before you put in fresh sand and then keep it covered when kids are not actually in it.

If you are pregnant, do NOT go anywhere near this yourself.

Toxoplasmosis (someone else mentioned it below) not only can harm kids--it can cause miscarriages. Not a myth, a truth. This is why pregnant women are told never to clean out litterboxes. Even a healthy indoor cat can carry it; imagine how a feral cat could be infected with it.

Cover that sandbox once it's sanitized and cleaned. Or if your kids are getting past sandbox age, just get rid of it and get them some other outdoor toy etc.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Hartford on

Remove ALL of the sand and replace it with the clean, fresh, play sand. If it's a plastic sandbox then disinfect it. If it's a homemade one using 2X4's then I would get rid of those 2X4's and replace them with new ones. I would relocate and after getting as much sand out of the old spot, maybe sprinkle lime over it, then cover it over with topsoil and plant some grass.

Then in the new sandbox be sure that you cover it with a sturdy cover every single night of the year. Otherwise the cats will continue to use it as their personal litter box and so will the rest of the critters in the neighborhood.

You don't have to worry about the toxic stuff with indoor-only cats. It's the feral cats and the indoor-outdoor cats that poop in sandboxes and also use indoor boxes that you have to worry about regarding passing along Toxoplasmosis to children and pregnant women. That's been backed up by our pediatrician, my own obstetrician, and our vet (we have cats and always know pregnant women plus I have three girls). Our cats are indoor-only cats and this is one reason.

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answers from El Paso on

The biggest concern here is that since these cats are stray (and obviously outdoor) the risk of exposure to and contraction of toxoplasmosis (and other diseases/parasites) is SIGNIFICANTLY increased. I don't know how old your kids are, but if the sand is intended for them to play in (not just for something underneath the playhouse/swingset), I would get it all changed out.



answers from Honolulu on

Get rid of ALL the sand.

How old are your kids?
Maybe you don't even have to have sand there in those areas, anymore.
And just plant grass.

The least of the worries are: worms.
Stray animals, are notorious for having worms. All kinds.
And humans can get it, too.


answers from Dallas on

I agree with the other moms. I would totally dump that sand and get brand new. I would get a cover for the box to avoid this in the future.

I know...... it's a pain, but I think it would be much healthier this way.


answers from Detroit on

Empty the whole thing, toss out the sand. You not only have feces, but also cat urine in the sand. Also sanitize the area (or move to another). Get a animal proof lid.



answers from Baton Rouge on

The problem isn't getting rid of the poop, but the pee.
Is ther a way to fence off th area so the cats can't get in?



answers from Sacramento on

I'd replace the sand, then put up a smallish fence with either a forty or forty-five degree angle along the top to keep the cats out. cats cant jump over it. I saw an episode of "My Cat From Hell" in which Jackson Galaxy did this to keep a cat from jumping over to a neighbors patio. Since I'm a cat nut, i'd probably make the cats their own little patch of sand out of the sand you'll be removing. good luck!

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