One of our least favorite things to do is changing the litter box. But hey, everything for our sweet, little fluffy! But how do we dispose of the used cat litter? Is it safe to just throw it outside or in the toilet? In this article, we answer all your questions on this topic. Happy scooping!
Is kitty litter biodegradable?
No, not all kitty litter is biodegradable. There are many different types of cat litter available. Most brands fall into these three categories:
Clay-based cat litter is the oldest type of cat litter. Clay absorbs a big amount of moisture. This type of cat litter must be changed and cleaned often.
Silica-based cat litter is, as the name suggests, made out of silica gel. Although this type of cat litter produces less dust, some cat owners worry about what happens if their cat swallows this product.
The last option is a biodegradable kitty litter. These are often made out of recycled paper, wood, wheat, corn or soybeans. The perfect option for people who would like a more eco-friendly way or a green way to dispose of cat feces, as we dump quite a lot of cat litter each year.
Can you put cat litter down the toilet?
The short answer is: NO. You can’t flush cat litter down the toilet. And here’s why…
Some cat litter producers marketed their products as biodegradable and tell you that it is OK to flush the used kitty litter down the toilet. But there are two huge reasons that you shouldn’t listen to this advice.
Clogs – A lot of cat litter is designed to absorb a lot of moisture. For this reason, the cat litter can expand up to 15 times its regular size. So when the cat litter enters the sewage pipes, they can cause huge clogs. Especially when you throw cat litter down the toilet on a regular basis.
Some cat litter brands can be flushed down the toilet, but even then it is strongly adviced not to do it. And here’s the shocking reason why.
Health risk – Cats are carriers of the parasite Toxoplasma gondii. A parasite that can be found in cat feces. That’s why pregnant women are adviced not to clean the litter box. When the parasite infects a fetus, it may cause damage to the brains and eyes.
The parasite is also linked to some serious mental conditions like obsessive-compulsive disorder and schizophrenia. By flushing used kitty litter down the toilet, the sewage water becomes contaminated with this dangerous parasite.
Can you dump cat litter outside?
Even though some kitty litter products are marketed as biodegradable, it is not advised to dump cat litter outside, for the same reason as we mentioned above. Cats are carriers of the parasite Toxoplasma gondii, a parasite that can be very dangerous. Especially pregnant women should stay clear of cat litter because the parasite could cause eye damage or brain damage to the fetus.
A lot of communities therefor may forbid you to dump cat litter outside and ask you to dispose of cat litter in a different way.
Can you put cat litter in compost?
Short answer: Yes, you can, but there are some important things to keep in mind if you want to safely compost your cat’s feces.
Use biodegradable cat litter. As we mentioned above, there are three types of cat litter. If you want to put cat litter in the compost bin, you should first switch to biodegradable cat litter. This because the clay litter can contain chemical additives that can interrupt the composting. Silica-based cat litter is not fit for composting at all.
If you are pregnant, or if your immune system is very low, it is advised to stay away from cat litter. This because of the dangerous parasite Toxoplasma gondii, which cats are carriers for. This parasite can cause blurry vision and blindness, and can even cause brain damage to a fetus. So always wear gloves when composting cat litter and don’t forget to thoroughly wash your hands afterward.
When you compost cat litter, it is important that the environment is moist. Also, make sure the compost pile has just the right carbon/nitrogen ratio. Although cat litter contains some nitrogen, you should add other components like leaves, chicken manure or grass clippings to get the ratio right. Want to start composting? Read our article “How does a compost bin work?”
How to dispose of cat litter?
So we’ve already established how NOT to dispose of cat litter. We’ve also mentioned that it is possible to compost cat litter, provided that you take certain measures for safety.
But what are some other options? How, for example, do you dispose of cat litter when you live in an apartment? Well… let’s get some answers!
The best and safest way to dispose of cat litter is to scoop the litter into a double-lined plastic bag and wrap it up. This prevents odor and bacteria from spreading out of the garbage and into your house or apartment. You can use scented dog poop bags for example. Throw the plastic bag into your trash can, preferably one with a closed lid. Change and clean the trash can on a regular basis, especially during summer with high temperatures.
Tip: You can buy a small trash can with a lid that you use for cat litter only. You can keep this trash can out in your garage or on your balcony.
Tip: Looking for a more eco-friendly way to dispose of cat litter? Switch to a biodegradable cat litter and use biodegradable plastic bags for dog poop or cat litter.