You should not flush cat poop with litter because:
- It can cause plumbing blockages
- Can harm aquatic life
- Toxoplasmosis found in cat poop is dangerous to humans
Clay-based litter swells and can cause clogging.
Water-saving toilets can’t provide enough water to flush poop and litter away.
Cat feces are harder and drier than human feces.
As a responsible cat owner, you have probably wondered where cats’ litter goes when you flush it.
At one point, you might also be concerned about how doing so impacts the environment.
Keep reading, to know if flushing your cat’s litter with poop down the toilet is the right thing to do. I will also tell you about safer alternative ways to get rid of cat poop.
1. It can cause plumbing blockages
Cat poop in litter quickly dehydrates and hardens. By the time you come to scoop it, it’s petrified and likely to create a clog.
Unfortunately, it is still not advisable to flush even cat litter advertised advertised as flushable..
Manufacturers claim that the flushable litter is fine to deposit in the toilet in small amounts. However, plumbers still come across sewer clogs caused by natural litters combined with fats, and oils you would normally find in the sewer.
Sewer clogs can be expensive and time-consuming repairs. This is the reason it’s not worth the convenience of flushing your cat’s poop.
Septic tanks cannot handle organic kinds of natural litters. The litter collects and solidifies in essential parts of the tank, which can cause major problems.
When your plumbing system gets blocked, you will need the services of a professional plumber, and this will cost you a good amount of money.
2. Risk of toxoplasmosis
Studies now prove that toxoplasmosis, a parasite found in infected cat feces, causes death in marine mammals such as otters, monk seals, whales and dolphins.
Sewage treatment cannot destroy this parasite, and it can easily escape into our waterways. This jeopardizes the life of marine animals and those who feed on them, such as crabs, and starfish.
Toxoplasmosis can cause brain damage to sea otters. This is the main reason manufacturers of feline litter warn on their packaging not to flush cat feces down the toilet, as it exposes the entire water system to the parasite.
Since it can be carried over long distances in water, it becomes difficult to locate which water sources are safe.
3. It can harm human health too
There is also a health risk to humans too. For someone with a weakened immune system, handling cat poop can cause serious health problems. Pregnant women are especially at risk.
You may accidentally ingest the parasite if you touch your mouth after coming into contact with infected cat feces.
The parasite has been linked to birth defects, miscarriages, and mental disorders.
4. Cat poop can make your bathroom smell bad
Depending on your cat’s diet or health condition, the poop can have a horrible smell. Flushing it down the toilet can make the odor linger over there for some time, making your bathroom smell awful.
It’s Best Not to Flush Clay-Based Litter
If you are using clumping clay cat litter, there is even a stronger reason you should not flush the poop with litter.
Clumping litter is made from bentonite clay, which forms like a cement-like compound in water. It forms hard clumps when wet.
Flushing even a little amount of the clay-based litter can cause serious blockage and damage to septic systems. Some of these clumping litters can swell up to a thousand times their original size, and cause clogging.
Flushable Cat Litter Still Causes Plumbing Blockages
Regular litter maintenance is no fun job for any cat owner. So, purchasing a flushable cat litter, which allows you to flush the stinky litter droppings down the toilet, might sound ideal.
Even if you try to separate the litter from the poop, it is quite impossible to do so. Some litter will stick to it and go down the toilet if you decide to flush it.
To understand if the flushable litter is eco-friendly as often advertised, let’s understand how it differs from regular cat litter.
- Regular cat litter
It is made from clay-based products. Some more expensive litter products are made from silica. These products often contain odor-controlling ingredients, and swell when wet to encourage clumping for easier disposal.
Do not flush regular cat litter as it can seriously clog your toilet and pipes. It also won’t compost, and has damaging effects on the environment.
- Flushable cat litter
It is made from bio-degradable materials such as corn, wheat, sawdust, or wood. It’s non-clumping to encourage flushing.
We consider these ingredients environmentally safe, as they allow for easy disposal through flushing. However, flushable cat litter is not that eco-friendly.
Some aren’t designed for septic systems, and some septic systems can break down materials like fecal matter, and litter.
You need to wait long enough between flushing clumps; otherwise it can result in clogs. You will also need to break larger clumps prior to flushing. If you don’t, it will result in a lot of nasty problems.
Pros of Flushable Litter
Flushable litter is a greener alternative to conventional cat litter. This is the main reason so many cat owners are going for this option.
The clay used in the normal type of litter is collected through a process called strip mining. This process removes the top layer of the soil and rock to access the clay. This affects the ecosystem and waterways.
Flushable cat litter is made from biodegradable materials that don’t harm the environment. This makes it more environmentally friendly, even if you want to dispose it in bags, and send it to landfills instead of flushing.
Good odor control
Most commercially available natural cat litters have good odor control. It, therefore, is a good choice if you detest the strong poop smell in litter boxes.
The corn and cassava ingredients in some natural litters provide excellent odor control.
Disadvantages of Flushing Flushable Cat Litter
- Even though flushable litter is made from bio-degradable materials, cat poop itself can have certain infectious bugs that can harm human and animal health.
- There is also a chance flushable litter may still clog your pipes, the same way clumping litter does. Water-saving toilets only produce 1.6 gallons of water per flush. This is not enough to push down cat feces, as they are harder and drier than human feces.
Some states have taken their stance against flushing cat poop. California and Rhode Island have strongly advised pet owners not to flush cat litter down the toilet.
Flushable cat litter also doesn’t clump easily like the clay-based ones. They are expensive, and contain common cat allergens such as wheat and corn.
Safer Alternative Ways to Dispose of Cat Poop
You should never flush down a cat’s poop down the toilet because of the negative effects discussed above.
There are various green and eco-friendly methods to dispose of your cat’s waste without harming the environment.
Let’s look at some of these methods:
1. Put it in the trash
This is one of the best methods to dispose of your cat’s litter. Scoop the litter box at least once a day. After you have sifted out urine clumps and stool, place them in a biodegradable bag, and seal it tightly.
To prevent odor and bacterial leakage, double bag your scooped litter. Place it in an outside trash can, and cover it with a tight-fitting lid.
However, do not let it sit there. It can get smelly after some time. Small particles of cat litter dust, and contaminated cat feces can enter the air every time someone opens the can.
2. Use biodegradable litter
It’s important to be aware of the cat litter’s ingredients before purchasing to make the most sustainable decision.
Choose a litter made of natural materials that break down, and can easily return to the earth. Materials such as wood shavings, recycled paper, pine, sawdust, and grass seed.
Most biodegradable cat litter is made of plant-based products. They might cost you more but are worth it.
Keep in mind, though, that most cat litter boxes have silica dust, which causes respiratory problems in humans and cats.
Avoid clay-based litters that contain sodium bentonite clay or any fragrances. These can be harmful to your cat.
3. Compost it
If you have the space in your backyard and don’t mind dealing with stinky materials, you can build your compost pit.
It will require plenty of precaution and patience because ideally, pet waste compost should sit at least several months or one year before use. It takes plenty of time and heat for a compost pit to be able to kill pathogens.
You will also want to get expert advice to know whether it’s legal to do so in your area, and how to do it properly.
It’s important to practice good composting habits for maximum aerobic decomposition. Such as:
- Checking the temperature
- Covering the compost every few days
Make sure there isn’t too much of one type of organic material in your compost. This may all take a considerable amount of time, but it’s worth the effort in the end.
Litter disposed of in waste bins ends up in landfills. But if you compost litter, you can later use it as fertilizer, giving it a new purpose.
Here are basic steps to get you started composting litter:
- Add a layer of sawdust, soil or leaves, at the bottom of the compost bin.
- Add a layer of used cat litter.
- Cover the cat litter with leaves, sawdust, or soil.
- Repeat the process, and this time you can add other compostable material, such as vegetable waste.
- Aerate your compost regularly.
- After 6 months or one year, your compost is ready to use.
Stick to using the compost as fertilizer for non-edible plants. If you want to use it for edible plants, wait for at least 18 months to eliminate the risk of E. coli, tapeworms, or toxoplasmosis.
Protect Yourself when Cleaning Cat Poop
Cleaning up the litter box may not be a pleasant activity but is part of being a responsible cat owner.
A clean litter box is more pleasant for you and your cat. Regular cleaning can cut down on unpleasant odors in your home.
Before you clean the litter box, wear protective gear. Wearing rubber gloves and a breathing mask will protect you from potential illnesses that can be caused by coming into contact with cat poop.
Use a litter scoop to remove feces from the litter every day. Especially if you use clumping litter, it is recommended to scoop the litter daily.
Once every week, you should throw away the old litter into a trash bag. Use a litter scoop to scrape away any litter stuck to the sides of the box.
Wash the box with a mild disinfectant or unscented soap and water. Remember, cats hate strong scents. When cleaning the box, think like your cat. For example, perfume may appeal to you, but your cat finds it repulsive.
It may cause litter box aversion, making them find somewhere else to do their business.
Let the box air dry and then refill it with fresh litter.
Why Cat Poop Smells so Bad
Perhaps you want to flush cat poop with litter because you can’t stand the smell coming from the litterbox.
The reasons behind the bad smell in your cat’s poop vary. Naturally, the stool has an unpleasant smell. But sometimes it can have a strong foul smell for reasons such as diet, or medical conditions.
Have your cat checked by the vet to determine if the smell is that bad, and there is a medical condition.
Sometimes the smell can be from something they ate, or it could be a more serious matter.
Here are the top reasons why it smells so bad:
Introducing new foods to your cat can cause the stink in its poop. Just like humans, cats are sensitive to certain types of food, or specific ingredients found in some foods.
For instance, your furry friend could be sensitive to foods with high vitamin content, or grains that cause diarrhea.
Keep a record of what you feed your cat daily and monitor their poop habits. This can help you determine which foods are the culprits.
Naturally carnivores, cats like to prey on other small animals to eat as food. This natural drive can sometimes land them in trouble, and make them eat what they are not supposed to.
This is especially true if your cat spends a lot of time outdoors. Your cat can eat meat infected with E.coli bacteria, which has symptoms such as diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and digestive discomfort.
3. Medications and hormonal changes
Certain pain-relieving medications or those that affect the hormones can affect your cat’s natural chemical balance.
These changes can cause your cat to excrete foul-smelling poop.
4. Anal glands infections
All mammals, including cats, have anal glands that sometimes clog.
If these glands get infected your cat can produce a discharge that has a terrible smell that lingers all over the litterbox after they use it.
5. Digestive disorders
Just like in humans, digestive disorders can wreak havoc on your cat’s gastrointestinal tract. Each time your cat uses the litterbox, the result would be a very pungent smell.
Digestive disorders in cats often result from poor digestion, and absorption of fats and starches.
Certain digestive supplements can reduce the number of bacteria present in your cat’s body.
6. Protein-rich foods
As natural carnivores, cats like food rich in proteins, and some source these proteins outside.
Because of taking too much protein, your cat’s stool can smell horrible.
A change in diet can fix this. Once you determine which foods your cat is sensitive to, put them on a new diet and feeding routine.
A vet will help you determine the proper diet suitable for your furry friend.
A parasitic infection can upset your cat’s stomach and make its poop smell really bad. Trichomoniasis is a common parasite that affects cats which can cause diarrhea and stinking feces.
Take your cat to the vet immediately if you suspect that they have a parasitic infection.
Disinfect the litterbox and clean it regularly to minimize foul odor in your house. Scoop cat poop daily, and sprinkle baking soda on the litterbox to kill germs, and other forms of bacteria.
Change the litter once every week and replace it with fresh litter. Plastic litter boxes easily harbor bacteria, which is why it’s important to maintain cleanliness.
Vacuum the carpet, draperies, couches, chairs, and other areas in your cat goes into.
The Final Word
Don’t flush cat poop with litter because it will cause plumbing blockages, and doing so can harm human health and kill marine life.
Allowing cat feces to enter the water system is considered a pollutant by the Environmental Protection Agency.
Cat poop, whether with litter or not, should not be flushed so that the water doesn’t become contaminated, or people don’t get sick.
The best route to follow is to try alternative ways to dispose of poop, such as composting, or throwing it in the outside trash while wrapped inside a biodegradable bag.