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To flush or not to flush. The kitty litter question.

Posted by twincitiespets on September 18, 2014 at 8:35 AM

Cat Sitting on a Toilet by Shutterstock

Here at Twin Cities Pets we try to be as eco friendly as possible. So when the question of flushing cat feces came up I figured it was something I should look into. It makes sense. Why bag up litter and dispose of it in a landfill when you can just flush the waste? We flush human waste. People teach their cats to use the toilet, so there shouldn't be any issues flushing kitty litter right?

Flushing kitty litter sounds like a good idea, but it's not as easy as it sounds. If you are considering this more environmentally friendly method of disposal, it is possible, but a few steps must be taken before your kitty litter will be flushable.

Switch to an Environmentally Friendly Litter

A few problems can pop up when you are debating flushing kitty litter. The first issue is the kitty litter you use. Most kitty litter is made of non-sustainable bentonite clay. DO NOT EVER flush clay kitty litter. Your cat will need to make the switch to a flushable litter. World's Best, Swheat Scoop, and Nature's Miracle all claim to be flushable and are more environmentally friendly options than clay based litter. All three are made from agricultural products such as corn and wheat. It may take some time for your cat to accept the new litter, but once kitty has made the switch you are on your way to flushing some kitty litter!

Toxoplasma Gondii

The second, and probably biggest issue with flushing cat litter is Taxoplasmosis. Toxoplasma gondii is a parasite cats can contract from mice and birds. It is present in cat's feces and is such a tough parasite sewage treatment procedures do not even kill it. Toxoplasma has been known to harm sea otters and has been found in other sea life such as whales and dolphins. It can also cause brain disease in humans with compromised immune systems. So, if your cat is indoors only, and never eats raw meat or dead animals you can have your vet screen your cat for toxoplasma antibodies. If the test comes back negative you should be ok to flush your kitty's litter.

Consider your Toilet

Finally, remember that toilets and sewage systems are only designed to handle human waste. If you decide to flush your cat's waste you are taking a chance. Especially if your house and pipes are older, your toilet may not be able to handle it. Consider yourself warned!!!

While flushing litter reduces the amount of bags and waste that goes into landfills you could be contaminating sea life with Toxoplasma gondii. My conclusion...go ahead and flush litter if your cats are indoors only. If your cat is an outdoor cat the best option is to switch your cat to an environmentally friendly litter, and cut back on the amount of plastic going into the landfill by using small biodegradable bags or recycled plastic bags, then just throw the waste in the trash. While flushing litter might seem like the most eco-friendly idea, it isn't if you are helping spread a harmful parasite.

Need your kitty litter scooped while you are away? One of our our great pet sitters at Twin Cities Pets can help. Contact us now!

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