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Sweetwater Plumbing Blog

Important Caution: Don’t Flush Cat Litter!

cat-sleeping-on-radiatorThis is a post for all our cat-loving clients out there. It’s one of the big misunderstandings about plumbing that doesn’t get enough attention. You’ve probably heard a list of various items that shouldn’t be disposed of down a toilet: paper products aside from toilet paper, sanitary wipes, dead goldfish, and any type of trash that normally goes into the trash can. (And don’t pour chemical “drain cleaner” into a toilet either. If you can’t unclog a toilet with a plunger, call a professional plumber for drain cleaning in Fullerton, CA.)

Here’s another item to add to the “do not flush” list: cat litter.

What’s wrong with cat litter?

It seems so easy: people often place their cat litter boxes in rooms with toilets, such as a downstairs bathroom or a small utility room. This makes it tempting to dump the litter into the toilet and flush it rather than bagging it up and taking it out to a garbage can. In fact, some cat litter companies advertise their litter as “flushable.”

But no car litter is flushable! To start with, cat litter clumps. The clumping action makes it easier for you to clean up after your feline friends and also is helpful for odor control. But clumping is terrible if it goes down any sort of drain. The clumping creates heavy blockages that quickly stop up a toilet with a clog that’s difficult to remove and almost certainly requires a call to a professional plumber.

There’s also sanitary risk. After a cat has used the litter, it may contain toxoplasma gondii, a harmful parasite to humans. It’s not usually a problem for healthy adults, but it may be dangerous for pregnant women as well as sea animals. Flushing this waste down the toilet can mean the parasite getting into the water system and escaping wastewater treatment.

Always bag up cat litter and take it to a closed outdoor receptacle. You’ll keep the community healthy, and your plumbing system healthy as well.

Sweetwater Plumbing serves all of Southern California. We are always open for business!

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