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Houston Plumber Tips: Never Flush Kitty Litter

Litter Box

Unfortunately, as a Houston plumber, we often see plumbing issues from flushing kitty litter. While your plumbing can handle human excrement, you should never flush kitty litter or cat feces down your toilet. This includes supposed “flushable” kitty litter and biodegradable options. Otherwise, you could be calling your Houston plumber for clog removal or major repairs. Kitty litter and cat feces can wreak havoc on your plumbing system and can even contaminate the municipal water supply. Instead, be sure you’re disposing of kitty litter the right way – not putting it down your toilet or your drains.

Flushing Kitty Litter Down Your Toilet Could Mean an Emergency Call to Your Houston Plumber

If you have a cat, you may have wondered at some point if you can just flush their waste down the toilet. We know that cleaning the litter box may be unpleasant, but it’s important to get rid of used kitty litter by throwing it in the trash, not into your toilet. Kitty litter contains materials that can quickly cause a plumbing emergency.

Most kitty litter is made of bentonite clay. As you likely know, clay is solid yet moldable while it’s wet and then hardens completely when dry. Flushing kitty litter down your toilet means you’re introducing bentonite clay into your plumbing. The moisture from your pipes may cause it to expand, blocking off the drain. Then, it can harden inside your pipes.

Therefore, flushing this kitty litter could cause a Houston plumbing stoppage. If you’ve ever forgotten to clean out the litter box, you know how hard those clumps can be. Now imagine that inside your plumbing. When you flush kitty litter, it can basically become the consistency of cement inside your pipes. This can clog your toilet or other drains.

When you flush kitty litter down your toilet, your pipes can break or burst from the pressure of the clog. This means you could end up with water damage and extensive plumbing repairs. Also, it can lead to sewage backups in your home, which can make you and your family sick. When you have kitty litter clogging your toilet, your Houston plumber will need to remove the stoppage. Often, this requires specialized tools, but sometimes they’ll even need to replace the entire pipe to resolve the issue. Instead, dispose of kitty litter properly to avoid these plumbing issues.

Even So-Called “Flushable” Kitty Litter Can Cause a Houston Plumbing Stoppage

You may have seen kitty litter recently that says it’s flushable. However, your Houston plumber still recommends disposing of this kitty litter in a trash bag rather than down your toilet. Even flushable kitty litter can clog your plumbing.

These products are generally made of things like shredded newspaper, sawdust, pine pellets, and whole-kernel corn. Would you flush any of these things down your toilet normally? Probably not. These can quickly cause issues with your toilets and pipes. While many of the ingredients used to make flushable kitty litter are biodegradable, they don’t break down quickly like toilet paper. Therefore, they can get stuck in the wastewater pipes from your toilet and cause the same problems that clay kitty litter might. Also, sewer systems may not be able to handle animal waste. Therefore, even if your toilets and pipes survive flushable kitty litter, you may be calling your Houston plumber for sewer repair.

Kitty Litter Damages Your Septic System

Additionally, if your home uses a septic system, flushing kitty litter can cause major problems. For example, many flushable kitty litters recommend only flushing one or two clumps at a time. If you need to clean out the litter box, you’ll likely need to flush the toilet multiple times to follow this rule. This can overwhelm your septic system with water, which can cause your system to fail.

Even if kitty litter makes it all the way to your septic tank, it won’t break down properly. This can create problems for your plumbing. In most cases, the kitty litter will sit just underneath the inlet pipe. Even biodegradable options take a long time to break down. Therefore, it can put unnecessary stress on your septic system. It can also clog inlets into your tank, which may lead to sewage backups.

Flushing Cat Feces Could Contaminate the Water Supply

Aside from the hassle and cost of repairing and replacing your plumbing, there’s yet another reason you shouldn’t flush cat feces down your toilet. Cats are carriers of a parasite named Toxoplasma gondii. When you flush kitty litter and cat excrement down the toilet, you could be introducing this parasite into the water supply. Toxoplasma gondii can cause major health issues and is also the reason why doctors advise pregnant women not to clean litter boxes. In pregnant women, this parasite can cause eye and brain damage to fetuses. Therefore, stick to throwing used kitty litter in the trash, rather than flushing it down your toilet.

Call Your Houston Plumber for Kitty Litter Clogs

If it’s already too late and you’re reading this because you’ve already flushed kitty litter down your toilet, you’ll likely need to call your Houston plumber. While you may be able to take care of some types of clogs by yourself, kitty litter toilet clogs will likely require specialized equipment.

It’s important to keep in mind that you shouldn’t use chemical drain cleaners on kitty litter clogs. Most drain cleaners will not be able to break up the clog, as they’re meant to handle different types of materials. Pouring a drain cleaner down a drain stopped with kitty litter can cause several issues. For example, drain cleaners use a chemical reaction to heat up clogs, but if they’re unable to break up the stoppage, then they sit in the same place. The heat could damage your pipes.

If you’re determined to try to break up the clog on your own before calling your Houston plumber, a plunger is your best bet. However, in most cases, you’ll need your plumbing specialists to snake the toilet or even manually remove the clog.

At Santhoff Plumbing, we are a local, veteran-owned Houston plumbing company. We’ve built our reputation on high-quality, thorough plumbing services for homes and businesses of all sizes. Our staff provides you the same level of service we expect in our own homes. Call us today at (713) 360-2185 to schedule service or at (713) 360-2185 for 24-hour emergency service. We are here to serve you.

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