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How to Dispose of Used Cat Litter: 4 Vet-Approved Suggestions

Written by: Christian Adams

Last Updated on March 22, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team

cat on a disposable litter box

How to Dispose of Used Cat Litter: 4 Vet-Approved Suggestions


Dr. Luqman Javed Photo


Dr. Luqman Javed

DVM (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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No matter how much you love your cat, there’s nothing fun about scooping out their litter box. It’s smelly, but you have to do it at least twice a day, and depending on how many cats you own, used litter can be heavy.

There’s also the matter of disposal. Used cat litter isn’t just stinky; it can also pollute the environment and cause damage if you’re not careful. In this article, we talk about the safest options when it comes to disposing of your cat’s used litter.

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The 4 Ways to Safely Dispose of Used Cat Litter

1. Bag and Bin It

The classic and most straightforward method for disposing of used cat litter is to bag it up and toss it in the trash. Use biodegradable or compostable bags to reduce your environmental impact. Simply scoop the soiled litter into the bag, tie it securely, and place it in your garbage bin—done!

A person placing clumped cat poop in a disposal bag
Image Credit: Anciens Huang, Shutterstock

2. Compost It (With Caution)

Certain types of cat litter, such as sawdust, wood shavings, or other biodegradable materials, can be composted. However, remember to create a separate compost pile for pet waste, as cat feces can contain harmful parasites. Never use this compost on edible plants or in vegetable gardens. It’s best suited for ornamental plants or flower beds.

3. Try Vermicomposting

Vermicomposting is a process that uses worms to break down organic waste, including certain types of used cat litter. To do this, set up a separate worm bin with bedding and food scraps for the worms. Add the soiled biodegradable litter, and let the worms work their magic. As with regular composting, it’s important not to use this compost on anything you plan to eat.

compost box filling up
Image Credit: Antranias, Pixabay

4. Look For a Green Waste Bin

Some communities offer green waste bins for yard trimmings and other compostable materials. If your cat litter is biodegradable, you may be able to dispose of it in your local green waste bin. Be sure to check your local regulations, as policies on pet waste disposal can vary.

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Why You Should Never Flush Used Cat Litter

Being able to flush used litter would make life so easy, wouldn’t it? Unfortunately, doing it will only cause trouble.

Cat litter, especially the clumping clay kind, is highly absorbent, so it can swell up and clog your plumbing. Even litter marketed as flushable may not break down fully, so you probably shouldn’t take the risk.

There’s also the environmental risk to think about. Cat feces can contain tons of bacteria and parasites. Flushing them down the toilet directly introduces these contaminants to your local waterways. Aside from harming aquatic life, they can also pollute water sources like rivers and lakes.

Feline excrement in cat litter box with silica gel filler
Image Credit: Al More, Shutterstock

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Disposing of used cat litter is a necessary evil of owning these furry cuties. No matter what kind of litter you use, the easiest way to do get rid of it is by bagging the used litter and throwing it in the trash. If you have the time and inclination to do so, you can also try composting your used litter, as long as it’s biodegradable.

No matter what you do, never flush used cat litter down the toilet. You’re not just destroying your plumbing, but you’ll wreak havoc on your surroundings too.

Featured Image Credit: Mr.Piya Meena, Shutterstock

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