Is it safe to flush cat litter or will you be throwing money down the toilet in blockages and repairs?
The simple answer: You should NOT flush cat litter down the toilet as it can block up waste pipes and cause major plumbing problems.
You should also beware of flushable cat litter, which suggests in the name it can be flushed, yet it isn’t advisible.
There’s also some health risks by flushing cat feces and urine in the main waste that you should be aware of. I’ll share all the details in the article.
Let’s dive in.
Table of Contents
- Can You Flush Cat Litter? Is Cat Litter Flushable?
- Can You Flush Cat Poop Down the Toilet?
- What About Flushable Cat Litter?
- Can You Flush Cat Poop in a Septic System?
- What to Do If You Accidentally Flush Cat Litter?
- How to Unclog Cat Litter from a Toilet?
- How To Dispose of Cat Poop
- Final Thoughts
Can You Flush Cat Litter? Is Cat Litter Flushable?
Unfortunetly not. It is highly advised to never flush cat litter down the toilet.
The main reason is due to potential blockages cat litter can cause in your waste pipes.
There are different types of cat litter, so I have broken down the key differences between each one and why some are more dangerous than others to flush down the toilet.
1. Clumping Clay Cat Litter
Clumping litter is the most popular type of cat litter and is used by the vast majority of cat owners.
It’s mostly made from benzonate clay that is designed to form hard clumps when it comes into contact with water or moisture.
This is the worst type of litter that you could attempt to flush, because it is more likely to block you pipes.
Many of these litters swell and expand as it absorbs moisture, so flushing it over time can form a blockage in your system.
Plumbing costs are never cheap and trying to locate and fix the blockage could cost thousands of dollars.
2. Non-Clumping Cat Litter
This type of litter is also a clay based litter, but it doesn’t swell up.
Nonetheless, it is made from clay and when flushed, can remain in the waste pipes.
Over a longer period of time this will also build up and potentiallu cause a blockage.
With a clumping litter the blockage in waste pipes will happen pretty quickly. With the non-clumping type the build up of litter could take longer, but it will eventually block.
3. Silica Gel Cat Litter
If you are not familiar with silica litter, these are made from silica gel and are usually in the form of round crystals.
They look like round balls and are quite messy if they get spilled. Many cat owners are now starting to use those in preference to clay based litters.
Like with clumping litter these are also designed to absorb moisture and swell up, which can cause major blockage problems if flushed down the toilet.
Some crystal litters clump and some don’t. Either way they are not suitable to be flushed down the toilet.
Can You Flush Cat Poop Down the Toilet?
So, if you can’t flush cat litter, does that mean you can’t flush cat poop?
Again, it’s not advisable, but for a completely different reason.
Cat poop may contain parasites and also contain dangerous substances which can impact on water treatment and sewage plants.
This may actually sound like a huge over statement, but let me to explain.
All pet waste, and that of course includes cat waste, is classified as a pollutant by the Environment Protection Agency.
In particular, they refer to the viruses, bacteria and nutrients found in pet waste. Their reason for this is and I quote from their website:
“These pollutants can harm fish and wildlife populations, kill native vegetation, foul drinking water, and make recreational areas unsafe and unpleasant.”Environment Protection Agency
If humans come into contact with a cat with Toxploasmosis, most humans can fight this off if our immune system is at a healthy level.
Those with a lower immune system or pregnant woman are at a higher risk of infection.
Important note if you’re pregnant: You should take extra precaution around cat litter if you’re pregnant. For more details, please take the time to read this article.
For most people, symptoms of Toxoplasmosis aren’t noticable, but can sometimes feel similar like a mild flu. You may experience typical aches, pains and a hot fever for a few weeks.
If cat waste is flushed down the toilet and the cat is carrying this parasite, the waste is essentially being placed into the normal waste system.
It will eventually get to a waste treatment plant where they cannot treat this kind of harsh parasite.
In terms of risk, it is considered to be small as few cat owners actually flush cat litter down a toilet.
The number of cats with the parasite is also a small number. That means the risk is low.
Nevertheless, it still remains a risk, especially for anyone with a reduced or weakened immune system.
In addition to this, many public waste systems have been upgraded and can deal with this parasite. That said, not all waste plants can.
The bottom line is that it is recommended that cat owners should not flush cat poop down a toilet.
What About Flushable Cat Litter?
Some cat litter manufacturers claim that they make litter that can be flushed.
There are self-flushing litter toilets which are expensive, which use washable granules. These granules sit in the bottom of the cat toilet and get washed rather than get flushed.
To see what happens with usual cat litter (and other “flushable” items), take a look at this video.
Spoiler Alert… They don’t flush!
For other “flushable” cat litter on the market, make sure you do your own research before using this type of litter down your toilet.
You might also want to make sure your cat hasn’t been infected with Toxoplasma Gondii before flushing their waste down the toilet.
Can You Flush Cat Poop in a Septic System?
You will not be that surprised to know that you can’t flush cat poop or litter in a septic toilet system.
The same rules apply and cat litters will clog up the pipes in septic tank.
There are a different types of septic system, including the basic gravity, pressurized and proprietary systems, but no matter which one you have, you should avoid flushing cat litter in them.
If these get blocked, it could be an expensive fix.
What to Do If You Accidentally Flush Cat Litter?
The first thing you should do is not panic.
If the amount was not huge then you should be fine. Nevertheless, it might be a good idea to get a plunger and use that and see if it gets out any of the litter.
If the litter has clumped further down the pipes you may need something like drain rods to try and get it out.
More often than not though you will have to call a plumber and pay the hefty price.
How to Unclog Cat Litter from a Toilet?
This can be a very difficult task for a couple of reasons.
The first big problem is trying to find the actual blockage.
Locating the actual blockage can be both frustrating and very time consuming. In some cases the pipe can be blocked under the ground and in the worst scenario, may require a lot of digging to locate.
The second problem is that once you do find it, it needs to be unblocked and you can imagine that is an unpleasant thing to do.
It will stink and I would always recommend paying a professional to do this, even though it will cost a lot of money.
If a toilet does get clogged, the first thing to try is a plunger. If that fails then try a commercial drain unblocker and see if that works. If not you will have to call a plumber.
How To Dispose of Cat Poop
The only proper and safe way to dispose of cat waste is to put it into a plastic bag and then into your main waste bin.
Yes that will go to a landfill site which I know is not that good for the environment. However the alternatives to this are certainly more dangerous.
Also, you should never use cat waste to make compost or fertilizer for your garden and cat litter should definately not be recycled.
I hope you have found this article helpful.
In conclusion, cat litter shouldn’t be flushed down the toilet because it can clog the waste pipe.
And, if your cat has contracted Toxoplasmosis, flushing their poop can be a health risk as there will be parasites going to the waste treatment center that they might not be able to handle.