You otter know . . .

If you flush your cat’s feces down the toilet or dispose of it in other ways that allow it to seep into the water supply, you might have a hand in killing an adorable otter.

California has a sea otter population of about 2,500. But an unusual number of adults in their prime breeding years have been dying.

Recent research shows that a parasite in cat feces is one of the primary killers of sea otters. The parasite, toxoplasma gondii, may find its way to the ocean – and to sea otters – when cat feces are flushed. Between 1998 and 2004, 52 percent of dead sea otters found on the beach along the California coast were infected by the parasite.

It’s also good to note that many “clumping” cat litter products may claim that flushing the clumps is safe for your septic system but this doesn’t mean that the its safe for the otters.

Introduced in 2006, Assemblyman Dave Jones’ Bill 2485 has a requirement that cat litter sold in California contain a statement to discourage flushing the litter down the toilet. So it’s easy — put it in the trash!

Citations: Sacramento Bee, 4/2/2006 and Press Release from Assemblymember Dave Jones, 9th Assembly District.