While reading up on alternative cat litters online, I was excited to find several that were touted as flushable, including Feline Pine and World's Best Cat Litter. The idea made sense to me - no litter in the landfill, no stinky cat box garbage can.
At the pet store, I read the packaging of a box of World's Best, and found a warning saying that the state of California prohibits flushing cat feces. I was confused by this. The best guess I could venture was that since California has such a tight water usage, flushing litter was a waste of water.
A few weeks later, I came upon this article on Feline Pine's website. Basically, it states that the parasite Toxoplasmosis Gondii that some cats carry (the reason pregnant women shouldn't change cat litter) can survive sewage treatment and make its way to the ocean. Once there, it is harmful to marine life, most notably the sea otter. According to the site:
While Feline Pine & other alternative cat litter varieties are flushable, and while that aspect may seem convenient to cat owners, we at Nature's Earth strongly urge our customers to dispose of their cat's feces in the garbage - especially if you live in a coastal community.
I take away two lessons from this discovery. First, the seemingly environmentally-friendly choice may not always be so. Second, every action we take has some impact on our world. It's our responsibility to weigh those impacts and choose our actions wisely.