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Environmental impacts of cat litter: how to dispose it sustainably

by Megan M on

Cat litter is an essential part of a cat owner's daily routine. However, disposing of it improperly can have severe consequences for our environment. Many cat owners are under the impression that natural cat litters are more environmentally friendly than traditional alternatives, but the truth is, you should never flush cat litter down the toilet, regardless of the type of litter you use.

Firstly, flushable litters are made with biodegradable materials such as corn, pine, wheat, or other types of wood, and even though some cat litters, such as Catmate, may be advertised as flushable, it's not a good idea to flush them. Flushing cat litter down the toilet can play havoc with your plumbing system, and it will send harmful parasites into water treatment plants that are not equipped to handle pet waste. Furthermore, cat poo quickly dehydrates and hardens in litter, which is more likely to create a clog.

Pet waste is generally classified as a pollutant that can harm fish, wildlife, and foul drinking waters. Cat waste may contain the parasite Toxoplasma gondii, which can be deadly and poses a health risk to humans, especially pregnant women. Most water treatment plants are designed to manage human waste and not animal faeces that carry parasites.

So what's the solution?

The greenest way to dispose of litter is by first bagging the cat faeces into a biodegradable bag and placing this in your general waste bin, then compost the biodegradable litter that hasn't been soiled. If you're using regular clay or silicone-based litter, do not compost this waste because these substances do not break down. It's important to remember that while Catmate can be added to your compost, it should be kept away from edible gardens.

To prevent the transmission of bacteria-based diseases, pet owners should wash their hands at once after handling cat waste, and pregnant women should wear gloves or have a family member take over this task.

While disposing of cat litter is not the most pleasant task, it's crucial to do it in the right way. Flushing cat litter down the toilet is not an environmentally friendly option, and it can cause harm to our waterways and the environment. So, the next time you're faced with disposing of your cat's litter, remember to take a more sustainable approach and do your part to protect the planet.