Many cat litter brands produce flushable versions of their products. But is cat litter flushable, really?
No one likes cleaning cat litter. So the convenience of getting rid of used litter with a quick flush of the toilet is attractive. And on the surface, it seems more eco-friendly than chucking it in the bin and sending it to landfill.
Although some cat litters are flushable, the bigger question is should you flush it?
The answer is no, you shouldn’t. Flushing cat litter can cause several problems. Not only for your plumbing but also for the wider environment.
In this article we’ll cover:
- Which cat litters are flushable, in theory
- Why you shouldn’t flush cat litter, regardless of whether it’s marketed as flushable
- What to do with use cat litter instead of flushing it
What Cat Litter is ‘Flushable’ in Theory?
Cat litters marketed as flushable are litters that;
- Are made from biodegradable materials,
- That don’t expand too much or swell a lot on contact with water
This means they’re made from materials such as paper, wood or corn.
Clay-based litters don’t biodegrade. Plus, it’s very absorbent, especially clumping clay litter. It expands and can block your waste pipes. As a result, you’ll never see flushable clay litter.
3 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Flush Cat Litter Down the Toilet
There are 3 reasons why you shouldn’t flush cat litter. Regardless of whether it’s flushable or not.
1. Cat Litter Can Cause Blockages in Your Waste Pipes
Clay litters are super absorbant. A single piece of clay litter can expand up to 15 times its original size in contact with water.
Even if it’s already absorbed your cats’ wee, it’ll expand even more when you flush it. When it dries, it becomes like cement. So even a single scoop could cause a blockage.
If scoop your cat’s litter and flush it every day, you could cause major damage.
Even flushable litter can block your pipes. Especially if you’re emptying the whole tray.
Toilets and connecting waste pipes aren’t designed to handle that amount of waste.
That means you’ll need several flushes which waste water. If your goal is to be more eco-friendly, this defeats the whole point.
Also, cat faeces becomes solid when it dries. A build-up in your pipes can cause a blockage
2. Cat Faeces is a Health Risk to Humans
Some cats carry a parasite called Toxoplasmosis gondii.
UK water treatment and sewage systems aren’t designed to kill Toxoplasmosis gondii. This means it will continue into the water system we use every day.
Although in most cases, our immune systems can deal with this parasite. That said, it can cause serious health issues for some people.
Pregnant women are more at risk than others. Exposure to Toxoplasmosis gondii can cause birth defects. brain damage and in some cases, miscarriage.
For people with weakened immune systems, it can be fatal.
3. It Also Harms Aquatic and Wildlife
It’s not only humans that Toxoplasmosis gondii can harm. Flushing cat litter can also harm wildlife.
It can find its way into rivers via waste outlets in treatment plants. Once in the rivers, it can affect the fish and wildlife that use them.
How to Dispose of Used Cat Litter Instead of Flushing it Down the Toilet
So how should you dispose of cat litter if you can’t flush it?
Well, if you prefer to use clay cat litter, putting it in your general waste bin is your only option.
Flushable cat litters, on the other hand, are biodegradable. And biodegradable cat litters are compostable, providing you follow some basic guidelines.
This article explains how to compost cat litter safely.
You can also put it in your green waste bin for the council will take away and compost. Take the poo out first though!
Can you flush cat litter?
You can, but you shouldn’t.
Lots of brands advertise their cat litters as flushable. But there’s a high chance of causing a blockage in your plumbing which could be expensive to fix.
On top of that, flushing cat faeces down the toilet can cause harm to humans and wildlife.
That said, flushable is biodegradable. So composting is an option if you follow some basic rules.