Cat Owners: Keep Your Pipes in Purr-fect Condition with These 3 Plumbing Tips

If you share you home with a cat, there's one thing you need to keep an eye on that many pet owners forget about: plumbing. Cats may be part of the family, but they present plumbing risks that humans don't have. Here are three top plumbing tips to keep in mind if you're a cat owner— or rather, if a cat owns you! 


Never Flush Cat Litter

If you want to keep your plumbing in good working order, you should never flush litter. Many modern cat litters are made from 'convenient' clumping clay which sticks together when wet. This makes the litter easier to clean out of the litter box, but it also means it can clump together in your pipes and cause a blockage.

Even non-clumping litters and those marketed as 'flushable' should be kept away from your toilet; these brands may be biodegradable, but they can still lead to blocked pipes as they don't break down as quickly as toilet paper.

Alongside the blockage risk, flushing cat faeces also poses a health risk: cat poop can harbour Toxoplasma gondii, a dangerous parasite that can survive sewage systems and get into fresh drinking water.

It's always best to throw litter away with the rest of your household waste. If you don't like having dirty litter in your household bin, consider buying a separate bin for litter that you can keep outdoors.


Don't Let Cats Drink From Toilets and Sinks

Flushing isn't the only way litter can get into your plumbing system. It can also be washed down the drain if you let your cat drink from the toilet or sink. 

Cat litter often gets stuck in cat paws. When they drink from toilets and sinks and put their paws into the water, this litter gets washed down into the pipes. While a few pieces of litter in the drain are unlikely to do any harm, these deposits will quickly build up as your cat takes a drink several times a day.

Also, just as cats pose a risk to sinks and toilets, these fixtures are dangerous to cats. Many of the chemicals used to clean toilets and sinks aren't safe for cats to ingest, leading to potential poisoning incidents.

Keeping the bathroom closed is a good way to prevent cats from accessing the toilet bowl. If you can't keep your cat out of the bathroom, try to keep the toilet lid down at all times. Turning off taps will keep most cats from drinking out of the sink. If your cat prefers drinking running water, try a purpose-made cat fountain instead.


Brush Bedding Before Washing

While cats rarely need bathing, their fur can get into your plumbing system from another source: their bedding.

Blankets and soft cat beds provide a cosy place for cats to curl up, so it's not surprising that they collect so much fur. Whether your cat likes it or not, this bedding needs to be cleaned regularly to prevent bacteria buildup and unpleasant smells.

The easiest way to clean them is to throw them in the washing machine, which is what many cat owners choose to do. Unfortunately, this is also the easiest way to cause a fur blockage in your plumbing system. All the hairs from your cat's bedding will be washed down the drain at once, creating fur balls that get lodged in pipes.

Instead of putting blankets and beds straight into the washing machine, remove the hairs first with a sticky lint roller or brush the bedding down outside with a bristled brush. Once the bedding is hair-free, it's safe to wash without any blockage risk.

Following these three tips should keep your drains clear and your pipes in good working order. If you already have a blockage, whether it's from your cat or not, remember to avoid using heavy-duty drain cleaning chemicals. These substances can be highly caustic and corrosive, making them dangerous for cats and for your plumbing.

The safest way to get your drain unblocked is with the help of an experienced plumber. Contact A & C Plumbing to get the job done.