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The Scoop: Deadly Cat Poop for Sea Otters

While not many of you were instantly on board with composting dog poop, I thought I'd mention some important information for those feline owners. A common parasite that kitties can get is actually very deadly to wildlife, like these adoro sea otters, when cat litter is not properly disposed! Cat feces can contain Toxoplasma gondii, a parasite that commonly gets into feline systems from eating infected rodents, birds, or other small animals. When kitties later expel these parasites in their droppings — sometimes hundreds of millions at a time — each can survive in soil and water for over a year!

Although many different kinds of animals can serve as intermediate hosts for the parasites, cats are the only animals known to shed the parasite's eggs in their droppings. (In fact, this cat-parasite link is the reason pregnant women are advised against cleaning cat litter boxes.) Because of this danger, cat poop should not be flushed because it can then be carried via storm drains and sewage outflows into near-shore ocean waters. But, what about those indoor cats? Find out when you


Even cats who don't make it outside could still be at risk from a mouse in the house, for example. In fact, California’s legislature passed a bill in 2006 to protect sea otters, in part by requiring that all cat litter sold in the state carry a warning label advising cat owners not to flush cat litter or dispose of it in storm drains. They recommend that litter always be discarded in trashbags so it will end up in a landfill where precautions are taken to prevent environmental contamination.


Join The Conversation
Just-Oh Just-Oh 9 years
Another fine reason to eschew cats.
ALSW ALSW 9 years
We always throw ours in a trash can. And now I feel great about that!
Jude-C Jude-C 9 years
I never use flushable anymore, anyway, and this makes me feel really good about that! I always found the flushable to get stinky faster, anyway.
bluesarahlou bluesarahlou 9 years
I mentioned this months ago when PetSugar did a quiz on the types of cat litter we use...glad to see a whole story about it :)
wren1 wren1 9 years
We always throw ours away, thank goodness. I had no idea about this! poor little otters :(
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