Cats are adorable, and so are their activities. Whether they gaze back at you with their big inquisitive eyes or get angry at their own reflection in the mirror—they are, in one word, “awesome”. Like all other pets, cats come with a user manual, and they can be quite fussy at times.
They like to keep themselves clean at all times by self-grooming and can throw tantrums if their food is not ready or their litter box has not been cleaned up. You should clean the cat litter boxes quickly and how you do it is also important. Cat owners often ask, “How to dispose of used cat litter?”
Speaking of litter boxes, this is one thing about cats that are not that adorable—guffaws, no, even that is cute. As meager as the question may sound, since cat feces is just an organic waste and not a bio-hazardous compound, but how and where you throw the cat litter is something to think about.
This article will inform you about safe and quick ways to dispose of cat wastes. Without further ‘paws’, let’s jump in right ‘meow’!
Can You Flush Cat Litter Down the Toilet?
Some households with cats find flushing cat litter down the toilet an easy way to dispose of used cat litter, but can you flush cat litter? Little do these cat owners know that it could be extremely harmful to them as well as their environment if they flush it down the toilet.
If you flush cat litter down the toilet, the waste may clog your plumbing pipes and even damage the proper functioning of your septic tank. Your septic tank is an ecosystem of helpful microbes that decompose organic waste into something less harmful.
Flushing cat litter may damage this ecosystem and create an imbalance in the microbial population. If the septic tank ever leaks for any reason, these microbes will harm the environment in ways you cannot even imagine.
Cat feces may contain a parasite called Toxoplasma that is particularly toxic to humans, especially to expecting women or ones with weakened immune systems. A septic tank has been designed to detoxify organic waste, not substances like feline parasites.
For this reason, the septic tank might be unable to remove Toxoplasma from the wastewater supplies, and the rest is quite obvious. The wastewater supply, with the Toxoplasma, would flow to the water treatment facilities, and from there may be disposed to the aquatic ecosystems like rivers and seas.
Creatures such as otters or shellfish may consume this Toxoplasma infected water, which will eventually end up in their brains and damage their nervous system. Such are the consequences of a single mistake.
You might argue that the cat’s feces are mixed with the rest of the litter that contains plant materials, such as pine or wood pieces, but even then it would prove to be a burden for the septic tank. Therefore, the best and the safest bet would be not to flush the waste down the toilet.
How To Dispose Of Used Cat Litter
1. Collect them in bags and throw them in the bin
Traditionally, cat owners used plastic bags to collect fecal matters before throwing them but plastic bags are not quite preferable since most of them are not biodegradable. Before biodegradable bags became popular, people used waste packets that are already destined to end up in the landfills.
They went for chips or cracker packets, cereal boxes, cat or dog treat bags, pasta bags, tortilla bags, coffee bags, or brown paper bags, for example. Any bag made of paper or cloth is more preferable. Collecting cat feces in biodegradable bags and throwing them in the bin is by far the best way to dispose of cat litter.
If you have a lot of cats, then you might need to clean up quite frequently. In that case, collect all the waste into smaller packets first, then transfer all of them into a larger packet, preferably made of paper or cloth. After this, simply place the larger packet into the bin to be collected by the trash collectors.
If you live in an apartment house or share your room with others, make sure the packets are sealed properly and the lid of the bin you throw them into is also tight. Ensure this vigilantly otherwise it might start to smell and people around will start complaining sooner or later.
Another thing to note is that the bin or bucket you are collecting the waste packets in may start to stink after a while. A good way to clean and disinfect them is to use vinegar—it will definitely remove that bad odor from the bucket. You can use vinegar to clean the cat litter boxes too.
If you do not want to reuse old food or shopping boxes or bags, then go for garbage disposal bags. Scoop up the liquid or solid fecal matters, and place them in smaller garbage bags. Then collect all the bags and place them inside the large garbage bags.
2. You may turn cat litter into compost but maintain caution
The first category of compostable litter was a type of fuller clay introduced by an American Businessman names Ed Lowe in 1947. He thought this clay could make a very effective cat litter compound since it is able to absorb its weight in water.
Since then, many other cat litter substrates have come into existence, including corn or wood chips, or even compressed paper. All these options are biodegradable. The problem lies in the cat feces itself because sick or infected cats may defecate pathogens like E coli or Toxoplasma gondii.
These pathogens may cause harm to both humans and other animals if they ever make their way to drinking water supplies or the septic tanks. The cat litter you use for your cat may be biodegradable, but if your cat is infected, you may have to think twice before using the cat litter as compost in your gardens.
If you may, use them for flower gardens, but not for fruit or vegetable gardens, under any circumstance. Ensure that the compost bin heats up to 145°F, and you have access to especially existing enzymes that can break down the cat waste into harmless compounds—only then can you or should you use cat litter as compost.
Q.1) What is a cat litter made of?
Ans: Cat litter is made of bentonite clay that remains soft at first, but hardens later. If you add water to bentonite, you will see that it assumes a consistency like cement.
If you throw the cat litter into the toilet and flush it, it will end up in the pipes and harden there. In that case, it will cost you to clean that mess up. If the pipes get clamped completely, then they would need replacement.
Q.2) Where should I correctly place the cat litter box?
Ans: All cat owners have faced this unanswerable dilemma that why their cat would defecate here and there when a clean litter box is just a few inches away.
That has something to do with their territory marking. Cats will not share litter boxes for territorial reasons, so if you have two cats, get two separate ones and place them far apart from each other.
Do not place the boxes side by side in a remote place, like in a corner of a room or garage, or behind the washing machine, or in the mudroom. Cats do not need privacy while they are defecating or urinating, much to the contrary of popular belief, so you really do not need to be bothered about it.
Place them in locations where you can see them, and they can see you, a bedroom would be a good place. Also make sure that if the litter box is hooded, the entrance is facing an open direction, not a wall.
If a cat feels ambushed and cannot get out of the box without making a hassle, it is never going near that box again. If they feel insecure shifting to a new place to defecate or find the litter box menacing or intimidating, they might decide to unload themselves elsewhere.
Q.3) Can I burn cat litter?
Ans: People living in rural areas might decide to burn the organic fecal matter with other waste materials. Burning may not be a good idea since the process may release harmful toxins and carbon monoxide into the atmosphere.
Cat litter is not exactly toxic, but if the cat is infected with any stomach pathogen like E Coli or Toxoplasma, the feces of the unsuspecting cat could prove to be dangerous to both humans and other animals.
Cat owners often have questions on how to dispose of used cat litter, and knowing how to get rid of cat litter safely is a useful thing to know. The best way to dispose of used cat litter is to collect them in biodegradable bags, wrap in larger bags, seal the mouth properly, and throw them in the trash can.
Simply flushing cat feces down the toilet or intending to use it as gardening compost, without much research done, might have harmful consequences.
You love your cats as they are little pleasure packets— every moment spent with a kitty is cherishable. However, where to place the litter boxes, what the litter boxes contain, and how should they be disposed of, should be within your knowledge, and you should be strict about it.
So, dispose of cat litter responsibly, and keep yourself and your environment clean.