Defecation Habits of Cats and Dogs and Contamination by Toxocara Eggs in Public Park Sandpits

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  • Department of Medical Zoology, Kobe University School of Medicine, Research and Technical Laboratories, Chemical Division, Shinto Paint Co., Ltd., Kobe, Japan

The defecation habits of cats and dogs in three sandpits in urban public parks were observed by camcorder. Cats were the main cause of fecal contamination of these sandpits. Most (80%) feline defecations occurred at night between 6:00 pm and 6:00 am. Each of the sandpits was used habitually as a defecation site by 4–24 cats, but these cats seemed to defecate elsewhere, as well. Fecal deposits within the sandpits were evenly distributed and did not tend to be concentrated in one area, suggesting that the cats avoided previously deposited feces when choosing a place to defecate. One sandpit was strongly contaminated and two were weakly contaminated with Toxocara eggs. Because sandpits are widely used as play areas for young children, effective sanitation measures should be implemented to prevent the contamination of sandpits by Toxocara eggs.