Can You Flush Cat Litter Down the Toilet?

Can You Flush Cat Litter Down the Toilet

We love our pets and treat them like family, but when it comes to disposing of their waste you should never flush it down the toilet! Septic systems are designed specifically to treat human waste, so introducing another type of waste can affect your plumbing and cause clogs and other types of damage to your septic tank. If you live in a home on a septic system and you’ve been flushing cat litter for years then you will want to schedule a septic tank maintenance right away!

How Cat Litter Harms a Septic Tank

Cat litter and cat waste are solid substances that will only add to the solid waste already building up in your septic tank. While there are microbes in your septic tank that are there to break down waste, they are specifically designed to address human waste and biodegradable toilet tissue. Introducing another solid waste form can throw off the septic tank’s microbial balance and affect the septic tank’s ability to effectively treat solid waste. Cat waste can also contain parasites that can lead to serious health problems in humans and damage the nearby ecosystem.

In addition, cat litter has chemicals and materials designed to actually cause clumping, which can wreak havoc on your septic system which would prompt you to call for septic tank services. Your septic tank functions to break down solids and other waste, but the goal of cat litter is to actually absorb moisture and form easy-to-scoop clumps that take a very solid form. Those clumps can get stuck in your pipes and cause backups and poor draining.

What About Flushable Cat Litter?

While some cat litter is marketed as flushable and often come with fine-print instructions about the amount of waste you can flush at a time. Due to the wide variety of septic systems and toilets, this has the possibility of overloading or overflowing your septic system. Consider those clumping abilities mentioned earlier. Low flow toilets move water more slowly than other types, which could lead to the litter starting to clump on its way through your pipes and cause serious blockages. Even flushable litter types that are marketed as biodegradable may not work for your septic system.

How Cat Litter Harms the Environment

Cat litter and waste can also harm the environment, including the ecosystem in your very own backyard. While flushing pet waste might seem like a better option than sending bags of waste to the landfill, pet waste can do some serious damage to your septic tank that could require immediate attention. Cat waste is actually considered an environmental pollutant that can spread disease, contaminate drinking water, and even harm wildlife. The better option for handling your pet’s waste is to dispose of it in biodegradable bags and avoid the septic system at all costs.

What If I’ve Already Been Flushing Cat Litter?

The short answer is: you should schedule septic tank maintenance immediately. It will be helpful for your septic tank specialist to know how long it has been since your last septic tank pumping in Buford GA and whether or not you have been flushing cat litter that entire time. There is no shame in not knowing about the risk cat litter can pose on your septic system, but once you are aware it is important to stop immediately.

Recognizing Problems with Your Septic Tank

Your home’s septic system is designed to take liquid and solid waste from your kitchen, bathrooms, laundry, etc., and process those in a large septic tank that is generally underground in your backyard. The waste begins to naturally separate once inside the septic tank itself, with solids sinking to the bottom and liquids staying toward the top. The septic tank then treats the liquids and processes some solids into liquids for treatment as well. Then those liquids are dispersed from the septic tank and into the drain field, which is also underground on your property. That’s how a septic tank works.

The solid waste that goes untreated will sink to the bottom and will build up over time, which it is generally recommended that you get your septic tank pumped approximately every three years. Dumping cat litter and pet waste adds to the amount of solid waste that goes unprocessed and builds up in your septic tank. Even if the cat litter materials miraculously don’t lead to significant clogs or backups, the solid substances will cause your septic tank to fill faster than you may expect. An unexpectedly full septic tank can overflow and seep into your yard and nearby water sources, which can be incredibly harmful and toxic.

If you’re worried about cat litter in your septic system then schedule an immediate septic tank maintenance appointment with Septic Masters, LLC. We offer appointments every day of the week and are available for calls 24 hours a day and able to assist with any type of septic emergency. Contact us today.

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