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Finding the best flushable cat litter - a complete guide with all the answers

Did you know that there are over 95 million domestic cats in the USA? (source: Wikipedia) Yes, the cats are definitely people’s favorite pet, and we love them oh so much. We love to walk them, feed them, groom them with some fine tools like deshedding cat brush, we love everything about the cats.

On the other hand, that means 95 millions of cat litter boxes, give or take, and that’s the part we don’t like that much. That is really a lot of litter to buy, use, scoop and toss to the garbage.

The best flushable cat litter can make the life of the cat owner much easier by simplifying the disposal of the cat litter. This article will inform you of all the things you should know about the flushable cat litter.

What exactly is a flushable cat litter

Admit it, it has crossed your mind many times, when scooping the cat litter box, or dragging the dirty litter to the garbage bin, to ease the process and just toss all that litter into the toilet.

Well, now you can, thanks to the invention of the flushable cat litter. Beware, because not all cat litters are flushable, although you could swear they are.

The producers will always underline on the package of the product if it’s flushable, and if you try to flush the non-flushable one, you can cause some serious problems, but more on that subject later.

Why should I use a flushable litter?

Why should I use flushable cat litter

From the very start of the cat litter commercial production, clay litter held the first place in popularity, because it was affordable, simple to use and cats liked it.

However, the uprise of environment protection changed the market and made way for a new sort of litter, the one that is eco-friendly and biodegradable. Clay litter has many benefits, but being eco-friendly definitely isn’t one of them.

To be honest, there are many benefits to using flushable cat litter. Soiled cat litter can get pretty heavy, given the fact that it absorbed a lot of fluids. If you have a multi-cat household, you will need a lot of time and space to dispose of all that litter.

Buying a special litter for multiple cats simplifies your life a lot, but the main problem persists. Disposing of the used litter can be a serious issue, especially if you live in a crowded area, or a skyscraper, and your garbage disposal solutions are limited.

Same goes for the cat owners that reached a certain age or have trouble with movement. Flushing the litter down the drain is much easier than tossing it in a garbage bin 5 miles from your building or having to wait for a weekly garbage collection.

And, of course, there is environmental protection. You, me, every person in this great planet are responsible for the preservation of nature.

By using the flushable cat litter, you are reducing your carbon footprint by not using the nylon garbage bags and of course, by using a biodegradable and environment-friendly product. Furthermore, you are helping to reduce landfill waste that is becoming a serious problem. As we said, 95 million cats in the USA only.

How does a cat litter that can be flushed work?

You see, all the great flushable cat litters are made of natural material, including even clay. The clay types have had a bad reputation, mostly because of sodium bentonite clumping clay litter, but there are new types of clay litters that are completely flushable.

Given the fact that all the natural materials are biodegradable (with the addition of new clay type litters), you just scoop the dirty litter and toss it into the toilet, according to package instructions.

When the soiled litter gets in the contact with the water in your toilet, it will dissolve into small pieces, that will easily pass through your drain.

You just need to correctly follow the instructions, and no harm can be done. Always flush small quantities of the litter, never the whole litter box. Patience is a virtue.

What are the ingredients of the flushable cat litter?

The usual ingredients are natural ones and clay. Both of them have their pros and cons, so we will reveal them to you.

Natural ingredients

Natural ingredients

The most common natural ingredients used in making the flushable cat litter are corn, wood, wheat and paper. There is a variety of wood products: coconut, cedar, pine, cassava, walnut shells and so on.

Cats really like the litter made from natural ingredients as it resembles their natural habitat. Also, they are free of artificial scents, chemicals and colors. However, corn and wheat litters sometimes can get moldy, which can influence your cat’s health.

Corn-based litter can be pretty dangerous in the moisture environment as the deadly aflatoxin mold can appear. Also, there were some complaints that natural sorts of litter attract ants and other bugs in the house.

Clay – the new type

Clay - the new type of flushable litter

As incredible as it may sound, but there are brands of the clay cat litter that can be completely flushable. The producers took a different approach and designed a litter with the different sizes of granules, in a range from 1mm to 3.5 mm.

This design enabled the clay litter a decent quality of clumping together with the ability to dissolve in the water. However, you should be extra careful with this kind, flush a very small amount and wait a few extra minutes before you flush, allowing the clump to dissolve better.

How To Choose the Best Flushable Cat Litter

There are many things you must do, to truly achieve greatness. And not just you, but your cat litter too. Here are our terms, non-negotiable:

Good litter ingredients

Ah, it is clay vs nature, our basic subdivision. Of course, every material has its advantages and disadvantages, based mainly on your preferences, the number of cats, the cat’s preferences etc.

Natural ingredients have little or no dust at all, but their clumping ability can be weak, and their ability to fight odor, too. Clay has much more success in that field but produces a lot of dust, that affects the health of your pet, as well as yours.

That, among other arguments, is the main reason why some manufacturers combine the ingredients in their flushable cat litter products, to maximize the good sides of every ingredient.

Biodegradable and eco-friendly

As we learned, biodegradable and flushable are not the same thing. For instance, clay litter simply isn’t biodegradable, or eco-friendly, but can be flushable.

And when you flush it, the sewage water treatment plant treats it with the same treatment as human waste, making it dangerless and eco-friendly. Besides that, it is always better to use products that help preserve nature, are recyclable and made from recycled materials.

Clumping effectiveness

Clumping is a cat litter ability to form small clumps for easier managing your cat’s feces. The clumping ability is one of the most important things you need to look after when you start litter shopping.

The flushable cat litter that doesn’t clump will give you a cleaning nightmare because it will be harder to scoop and the area around the box will be a mess.

Of course, the clumping cat litter pays off more on the long part, as with the non-clumping cat litter you must change the whole content of the litter box often.

There can be quite a difference between the clumping abilities of the cat litters, so open your eyes wide when you are searching for the good cat litter.

Nobody likes the dust

The cat litter that produces a large amount of dust is a big no-no. Cats have a sensitive sense of smell and inhaling the dust can cause them allergies and other breathing problems.

Not to mention the health problems that the cat owner and his family can get from breathing the dusty air every day. Pick a flushing cat litter that produces a really small amount of dust, because it’s quite hard to find the product that produces zero dust.

Many producers claim that their product is completely dust-free but, but frankly, only a few cat litter brands can claim that completely dust-free title, so get your cat a decent low dust litter.

Something is smelly and fishy…

“Smelly cat, smelly cat, it’s not your fault”, sang Phoebe in one of the legendary episodes of “Friends”. Nobody likes a smelly cat, and nobody likes a smelly home.

The great flushing cat litter always has to have great odor control, as you shouldn’t be able to sense any bad smells from the box. The products made from pine, cedar or other types of wood usually have their own natural scent that covers the bad smell of the dirty litter box.

Also, some brands use artificial scents to fight the nasty odors better and that makes them the effective litter for odor control.

The size of the granules

Nowadays, cat litters come in a variety of the granule size, so it is important to pick one that suits your cat’s preferences the most. The small texture of the sand is suitable for cats that recently had their claws removed, or for kitties with soft, gentle paws.

Also, the finer texture is much easier to flush. However, finer texture can stick to a cat’s fur easily and produces a great amount of tracking, so you will be cleaning a lot. If you have that problem, we recommend getting a trapping cat litter mat.

Although the bigger granule’s size is far more convenient to use, cats simply don’t prefer them that much and they are less flushable. Find the granule’s size that offers you the best ratio of non-tracking, cat comfort and ability to clump and flush.

Some brands even offer the cat litter with the different granule size, so you can make your own mix, regarding your pet’s preferences.

Avoid chemicals at all cost

Remember, you are flushing the litter down the drain, that will pass the sewer system, through the cleaning process, and eventually end up in nature. You don’t want any harder chemicals in the soil or the ocean, do you?

And besides that, a flushable cat litter that has little or no chemical compounds added is much healthier for your cat. You have a decent amount of choice with the all-natural brands, so pick one that will not be harmful to the environment.

Is the price of the flushing cat litter directly connected with its quality?

After quite detailed research of the various brands and customer reviews, we have come to a conclusion, based on all the information gathered during the process.

Although price itself shouldn’t be the most important deciding factor, the fact is that all the high-quality brands cost a bit more than their low or medium quality competition.

In the long run, the difference in quality will pay off, as it always does. Don’t try to save a penny or two and end up destroying your drains or cat’s health just because you decided to buy unchecked flushing cat litter.

When and why you shouldn’t be using a flushable cat litter

When and why you shouldn’t be using a flushable cat litter

We gave you a list of the reasons why and how you should use and choose the best flushable cat litter. On the other hand, there are situations not only you are not recommended to use it, but strictly forbidden. It’s only fair that we give you that list, too.

The different type of pipes

To be honest, not many cat owners know the exact type of pipes used in their homes. The plumbing job isn’t easy or understandable, or to be honest, interesting for most of the cat owners.

Every flushable cat litter is tested thoroughly in realistic conditions, but technically there is no guarantee that it was tested on the same type of the sewer pipes that you use in your home.

The manufacturer’s flushable label is valid only if you use the exact same type of pipes and drains like the one that the litter was tested. If you have any doubts, the risk is not worth it, especially if you use any kind of cat litter that expands in the water.

This is a catastrophe waiting to happen, and the best thing to do is to simply avoid it.

Is flushable cat litter septic safe?

We wouldn’t advise it. Although some brands claim that they are absolutely safe to use in a house septic system, it is a risk. Most of the smaller septic systems aren’t designed (or able) to break down the cat’s feces and the litter, and it just adds up to an existing quantity of solid waste in it.

If you still decide to use the flushable cat litter in your septic tank system, expect frequent visits from your plumber.

Flushable Kitty Litter and Toxoplasmosis – the Main Danger

Toxoplasma gondii

Toxoplasma gondii is a single-cell parasite that causes the disease called Toxoplasmosis. This parasite can be found on every continent and can infect all the warm-blooded beings.

It is one of the most widely spread parasites in wealthy countries, but most of the healthy population never develop any symptoms of it. This parasite can only sexually reproduce in cats, and that makes them the final host and the biggest source of the disease.

Toxoplasmosis

Toxoplasmosis is a serious, yet underestimated disease that attacks people with the compromised immunosystem. That’s why people with a history of illness and pregnant women should never get in contact with the cat feces, as they will surely get contaminated.

Not every cat has the parasites, but we recommend maximum caution. The disease itself can cause a lot of problems, from mental issues to a complete loss of vision, and can get carried from a pregnant woman to her fetus. That is something you should take seriously.

Flushing the infected litter

The main problem is that Toxoplasma Gondii is an incredibly durable and hard-to-kill parasite. It will endure almost all of the treatments, including the standard industrial treatments used for wastewaters.

Also, it can live in the soil or cold water for years. One way or another, it will come to the oceans, and there it represents a major threat to any sea mammal, especially for endangered species.

The state of California demands that all the cat litter manufacturers put a warning on their brand package, and to warn against flushing the litter or disposing of it in any place where it can eventually get to the sewer system.

Reducing the risk of getting the Toxoplasmosis

The usual way for your cat to get a Toxoplasmosis is by eating an infected mouse or a rat, or through playing with other cat’s feces.

If your cat is an indoor pet, and you feed her with the appropriate cat food, you can be pretty safe. Never feed your cat with raw or undercooked meat and you eliminated almost all risk for getting the Toxoplasmosis.

Problems with the plumbing system

If your plumbing system is faulty and breaks a lot maybe you should stop flushing the cat litter. The plumbing system that gets blocked is a smelly horror, and trust me, you don’t want that to happen.

Even if you took all the precautions and waited some extra time before flushing the moderate amount of litter, it could happen again. No plumbing system is perfect, especially the older types with the narrow pipes, that can easily get clogged.

State/Federal Government Regulations

Different countries and regions have different regulations on the subject of flushing the cat litter. Some American states strictly prohibit flushing the cat litter down the drains, as it might have a negative impact on the sewer system.

However, the other ones encourage it, as the sewer treatment removes harmful components that may be present in the litter, making the waste biodegradable.

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) recommends flushing cat litter as opposed to dumping it in landfills, as it helps to preserve nature. As you can see, there is no unique firm stand regarding that issue.

Living on the coast

People living close to the sea or ocean should never use any flushable cat litter. The sad truth is, especially for the older buildings, that your sewer probably leads directly to the sea.

Even if your can doesn’t have toxoplasmosis, you will literary be putting a lot of cat poop in the sea. And if your cat is infected with Toxoplasma Gondii, you will be responsible for endangering the marine life and putting swimmers in danger of infection.

Does and Donts to do with a flushable cat litter

DO:

  • follow the instructions on the label strictly
  • check your plumbing system regularly
  • inform yourself on your government regulations regarding the flushable cat litter
  • try to always use environment-friendly products
  • take precaution about Toxoplasmosis
  • get yourself a high-quality product
  • shop only from renowned manufacturers, those who built themselves a good reputation

DON’T:

  • think that every cat litter is flushable
  • be impatient and try to flush an unreasonable amount of the litter
  • take any risks if your sewer system is faulty
  • be ignorant. Ignorance will not save you if you broke the regulations of your country
  • buy low-quality brands from unchecked sources
  • think that preserving the planet isn’t your concern. It is everybody’s concern!

Frequently asked questions

Is paper cat litter flushable?

Theoretically, every natural source cat litter is flushable. But, as we said if the manufacturer didn’t emphasize that on the label of the product, don’t take any chances. The reward isn’t worthy of the risk.

Is flushable cat litter really flushable?

Of course, it is, as long as you follow the instruction. Otherwise, the manufacturers put their reputation at stake and are in danger of lawsuits. As long as you follow the procedure labeled on the packaging, the flushable cat litter is perfectly safe and flushable.

Can I use flushable cat litter to potty train my kittens?

That’s a great idea, especially because kitties can poop and pee a lot, and the flushable option will help you deal with it. Our advice is to use the non-scented litter, with the finer texture.

The scented types of litter can easily confuse and repel your kitten, while the finer texture is important regarding their squishy little paws.

What’s the thing with the California law?

WHAT’S THE THING WITH THE CALIFORNIA LAW

Source: click here

So what have we learned today?

The flushable cat litter has its ups and downs, advantages and disadvantages, but hey, who doesn’t?

Through this article, we guided you on all the things you should know before you make the final decision and pick the great flushable cat litter, the one that will suit your cat’s needs, along with your comfort.

Only use the litter if you have removed all the risky factors and if you have the slightest doubt about the safety of your pipes or environment, it would be best to switch to a different kind of cat litter.

Photos from: Seregraf / depositphotos.com, liudmilachernetska / depositphotos.com, belchonock / depositphotos.com, belchonock / depositphotos.com, Aleutie / depositphotos.com. 

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Big pet lover and a dog training and behavior expert who loves to share his knowledge and experience. Happy owner of two amazing dogs Labrador Bela and Jack Russell Terrier Piksi and one cuddly cat Tom.

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