Can You Flush Cat Litter?

Can You Flush Cat Litter

If you are tired of scooping and disposing of cat litter, you might consider flushing it down the toilet. But, is it safe to flush cat litter? Read on and let us discuss the pros and cons of flushing cat litter down the loo.

Can you flush cat litter?

No, you should not flush cat litter down the toilet. Traditional cat litter is designed to absorb liquid like cat urine so that it may be removed conveniently. Because of this the litter will swell and cause clogging in the toilet and/or the sewer. It is made from very absorbent clay minerals that help bind the odors in cat urine.  

The same goes for clumping cat litter, which should not be flushed either. This type of litter is designed to clump and stick together when it gets wet resulting in clogged toilet pipes and sewers. Clumping litter is made of sodium bentonite clay which clumps when it is wet, allowing soiled litter to be removed or replaced. 

Is it okay to flush biodegradable or flushable cat litter? 

Biodegradable or flushable cat litter is made from materials that break down in the environment such as corn, wheat, wood products and shredded paper.  These materials do not harden when mixed with water and are supposed to be safe to flush. However, while they are called “flushable” we would not recommend flushing it down the toilet.  While a small amount may be okay,  it should be placed in a compost bin and not in the toilet. 

Pros and cons of flushable cat litter 

Pros 

1. It is sustainable.

Flushable cat litter is environmentally-friendly, renewable and sustainable compared to conventional cat litter which is collected using a strip-mining process. This process removes the top layer of soil and rock to extract clay, thus, affecting ecosystems and polluting waterways. 

2. It is convenient.

Since this type is flushable (although we still recommend doing that only in small quantities) it is more convenient compared to conventional cat litter that needs to be scooped in a bag and disposed of in the trash. 

Cons 

1. It does not clump.

Flushable cat litter does not clump which makes it hard to scoop urine. It also makes it messier to clean up.

2. Animal health concerns

Some of the types of flushable litter include common allergens such as wheat which may cause allergic reactions.  Marine animals are also afflicted with toxoplasmosis from cat feces that may contain toxoplasma. 

3. Plumbing concern

It can cause clogs despite being flushable and most septic systems are not designed to handle extra solids from this type of litter.  Also, new toilets flush lower water volumes while older systems are fragile which may contribute further to the potential plumbing problems. 

4. It is more costly.

Flushable cat litter is more pricey compared to conventional cat litter. 

Can you flush cat poop?

No, you should not flush cat poop because it contains toxoplasma gondii, a protozoan parasite that could infect warm-blooded animals and humans, causing the disease toxoplasmosis. It is also harmful to pregnant women as it may cause fetal death or fetal development disorders. People with compromised immune systems like children, seniors and cancer patients are more at risk.  

Environmental Protection Agency or EPA considers cat feces as a pollutant because it has public health risks, thus, it should be disposed of in the garbage so that water will not be contaminated and people and animals will not get sick.  EPA also notes that cat poop and pet waste as a whole can harm fish and wildlife populations, kill native vegetation, result in foul drinking water and make recreational areas unsafe. 

Conclusion

Traditional and clumping cat litter are popular choices among cat parents because they are convenient, easy to scoop and absorb urine well but they should not be flushed as it results in clogging of toilets and septic systems. Flushable cat litter may be flushed but only in small amounts because it may still cause clogging. However, the biggest reason why you should not flush cat litter regardless if it is traditional, clumping or flushable is because of environmental and health concerns since cat poop in cat litter may cause toxoplasmosis.  

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