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Here's a very related question but seems to be about clay litter: Flushed cat litter, maybe clogged?

I flushed paper cat litter down my toilet. I have been doing this for 5 years without any problems, but I wasn't paying attention and flushed way too much at once, so it clogged.

Plunger did nothing. Also tried Green Gobbler with boiling water, 2 overnight attempts, did nothing. I got a 6 ft auger, and it met resistance about 5 ft down. I was able to break through it, but the toilet still won't flush, so the 6 ft auger is just a little too short.

I was able to pull some of the litter out with the auger. But I'm a little unclear on how the auger is supposed to work. It seems that for a larger item, it's supposed to catch on so you can pull it back up and out of the toilet. But for paper litter, would I just have to pull a small amount out each time, or can it just break it apart?

I was thinking of trying a 50 ft auger next, but my main concern is that it will just push the clog deeper and it will get even more difficult to clear. Or does the pipe get larger when it gets pushed deeper, so that isn't a concern? I'm on a house with a septic. The shower and sink in the same bathroom are not clogged.

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Picture of the litter. It is small pieces of compacted paper

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  • Unless that litter specifically says it it septic safe, it is not. It is accumulating in your septic tank and will cause problems later. Big, smelly, expensive problems. – JPhi1618 Jan 27 at 18:16
  • @JPhi1618 it claims to be septic safe. What kind of problems? And I drain the septic every 2 years, does that not prevent them? – ferret Jan 27 at 18:20
  • If it mentions septic safe, then you are probably ok and it sounds like you keep up on maintenance. I just wanted to mention that because sometimes people move into a house with septic and take things for granted. Of course non-septic safe items will just accumulate in the tank and can harm the microbe unvironment. – JPhi1618 Jan 27 at 18:24
  • NO-NO-NO-NO!!! Do NOT flush this stuff down ANY toilet! Since you are on a septic you are running a double-risk!! First of all this stuff is prone to get stuck in the waste pipe. It swells when it absorbs water and can create a blockage as you now have. Second, it's POISON to your septic system which will become clogged with this stuff. My recommendation is to get a plumber to come and clear out your pipe then call a septic service to come clean out your septic tank and inspect your finger system. Put the used litter in your household trash. – jwh20 Jan 27 at 19:16
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    @ferret Would you flush newspaper down your toilet? Of course you wouldn't as it's not designed to be broken down in septic systems. In fact, even TP can be problematic. It's best to avoid or minimize the amount of "hard" solids that go into it. This type of cat litter is made out of recycled newspaper and will cause issues. Keep in mind that septic system repairs are VERY expensive. this is a case where prevention is much better than repairs. – jwh20 Jan 27 at 19:58
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There are no clear cut rules on how an auger should work. They're designed to "screw" into the clog and either break it up so it flows down the drain or catch the clog so you can pull it out with the auger. Keep trying to remove bits of the litter like you said you have done. Chemical stuff probably won't work since the litter is compressed paper and has expanded. They have 25' augers at home stores that would be easier to work with than the 50'.

Without building information it would be hard to determine if the pipes will get larger as they go down. My experience is that the toilet drains are the largest installed, in residential.

Keep trying with the augers and flushing to clear this yourself. If that doesn't work you might try a 50' auger going down from the vent on your roof close to where the toilet is located. You might be able to rent one from your home store. If all else fails, call a plumber. Good luck.

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I ended up removing the toilet from the wall. First I used a shop vac to vacuum up the sewer pipe. There was hardly any litter in there. It must have been just a small amount that fell out the last time I flushed it.

It turned out the clog was in the toilet itself, at the very bottom of the goose neck. So, as Jack recommended, if I had kept trying with the auger, I probably would've eventually broken it up or pushed it into the sewer pipe and cleared it.

But I'm glad I did it this way anyways - a) I learned quite a bit about plumbing, b) it was a lot easier to clear the clog going up from the bottom of the toilet rather than to keep trying with the auger, and c) it was reassuring to see the clog and visibly clear it vs. attacking blindly with the auger

Anyways I can see my fear about simply pushing the clog deeper into the pipe wasn't anything to worry about.

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