Cats love clean spaces. One of the things cats fuss the most over is their litter box, and how clean you keep it. It’s best to clean out the litter box twice a day. And when it comes to tossing out the contents of the litter box, what is the best way to dispose of used cat litter? Well, to put it simply, used cat litter must go into the garbage bin. Crucially, used cat litter must never be flushed down the toilet. Let’s find out why.
Why Can’t You Flush Cat Litter Down the Toilet?
There are two main reasons you should NOT flush used litter down the toilet.
1 / Clogging of pipes
If you use clumping litter, it will clog your pipes. Clumping litter is generally made of clay, which will clump and cause a lot of plumbing issues for you, or, further down the pipes, for the local authorities of the water system. So, do not flush litter down the toilet (not even biodegradable litter).
2 / Toxic infection-causing parasites
Cat poop can contain toxic germs, and the dangerous one is the single-celled parasite Toxoplasma Gondii that causes Toxoplasmosis. You may be at risk for severe Toxoplasmosis, or you may be pregnant and want to prevent getting infected. So, all of us need to be careful when handling cat poop, but additionally, we must not flush it down the toilet because if the poop has the parasite, it can go on to infect other animals and even humans downstream.
The Best Way to Dispose of Used Cat Litter?
It goes in the trash can.
That’s it? Well, yes but no. Scoop out all the pee clumps and poop pieces, and used litter, from the box and put in a biodegradable trash bag. Tie the bag in a tight knot (to prevent smells from escaping) and drop it in your trash can – that goes to the garbage collector and eventually to the landfill.
The biodegradable bag will decompose (or not, depending), and so will the contents, eventually. This is the best option we have now.
Here are some additional tips:
1 / Bag the litter
Don’t scoop up the used litter and directly empty it into your garbage bin (i.e. without putting it first in a waste bag). Not only will it stink up your place, but the cat litter dust can cause health problems – and so can any possible parasites.
If the used litter and poop smell a lot, consider double-bagging before trashing.
2 / Don’t pollute the outdoors
Due to the aforementioned reasons, it’s also not a good idea to dump cat litter outside.
3 / Can you burn used cat litter?
Well, clay litter will not burn well. Plus, you never know what toxins may get released when you burn litter, even compostable litter. So, stay away from that option.
4 / Still smelly?
Check out the Naturally It’s Clean Pet Stain & Odor Remover. This plant-based, biodegradable, cruelty-free liquid safely and effectively removes stains and odors. Do try it out. Plus, it’s a small business that needs support!
5 / Non-plastic options
Use plant-based biodegradable litter waste bags like beyondGREEN. And read on.
How do you dispose of cat litter without plastic bags?
Set up a litter disposal system, like the Litter Genie Plus Cat Litter Disposal System. It’s a bin especially for used cat litter, to keep the nasty smells and germs inside. It also serves to accumulate used litter over a few days before disposal, and so you get to use fewer plastic bags than you would without this system.
When you’re cleaning your cat’s litter box, drop the used litter into the litter disposal system. There’s a locking mechanism that keeps the smell contained. When the system fills up, you cut off and knot up the bag, and drop it into the garbage bin. This bag and its contents will still end up in the landfill, but it’s a slightly more eco-friendly and hygienic way of doing things.
Check out LitterLocker.
What about compostable cat litter?
Check out our post on eco-friendly cat litter. Even if you buy eco-friendly litter (which you should), never flush it down the toilet – because of the not-so-minor Toxoplasmosis problem. Biodegradable litter comes in many types – made from wheat, corn, paper, etc. You can compost these in your apartment compost, but make sure you’re aware of which compost batch has cat litter in it – due to the Toxoplasmosis problem. Do not, for example, use the cat-litter compost in your edible vegetable garden bed. Toxoplasmosis isn’t something to scoff at. It may not cause clinical symptoms in most people, but it can be very dangerous if a pregnant woman contracts it. Toxoplasmosis can cause complications to the fetus.
With such a big risk, make sure you are aware of the best options for disposing of your used cat litter.
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