• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic

composting kitty litter?  RSS feed

 
Christy Domino
Posts: 13
Location: Buffalo NY
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
i've heard varying angles on this matter, from saying its a straight up no no due to the risk of bringing toxoplasmosis, and e.coli into your garden soil, to people saying that its ok as long as youve let the waste decompose for a certain amount of time.

i was wondering if any of you guys do (or don't) do this.

we use biodegradable cat litter especially since our dog is a shameless corpophage and has gotten sick from getting into the clumping clay variety. but letting all that biomass go to waste is just shameful. especially with the strong ammonia smell cat urine has, i know my plants would be thankful for that nitrogen, i just dont want to put anyone at risk from using it in a garden application

 
John Elliott
pollinator
Posts: 2392
79
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I would agree with those who say
let the waste decompose for a certain amount of time.


Toxoplasma is a fairly ubiquitous organism, according to the Wiki, "Highly resilient, oocysts can survive and remain infective for many months in cold and dry climates." The solution to that is to make sure that your compost pile is warm and wet, exactly the right conditions to encourage fungal growth. Fungi conduct effective warfare in the microbial realm, spewing out their digestive enzymes that kill bacteria and protozoa, and some have even developed mechanisms to trap multi-cellular organisms and hold them still while they digest away. I would imagine that after a few weeks in some moldy wood chips, your cat litter will no longer be a problem.
 
Christy Domino
Posts: 13
Location: Buffalo NY
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
thanks a lot!

our backyard is very damp and shady and with the typical humid eastern summers, i think this would work out well.

as i was replying i got to wonder if any residual cat smell might be left after its fully composted and i wonder if that could help as a rabbit repellent hmmmm

so many things to think about but im definately gonna try this at least on a small scale for experimentations sake
 
Meryt Helmer
Posts: 395
Location: west marin, bay area california. sandy loam, well drained, acidic soil and lots of shade
15
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
what types of kitty litter will compost the best? I imagine clay would not work so well and clay is also supposed to be bad for cats lungs, do wood pellets have too much carbon? what about wheat pellets and the newspaper kitty litters?
 
John Elliott
pollinator
Posts: 2392
79
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
There's no such thing as "too much carbon" for fungal decomposition. Remember, fungi work on whole trees, not much nitrogen to be found there. So with wood pellets, wheat straw, newspaper, etc., whatever nitrogen has been added by the cat is just fine to keep the fungi going.

Clay is a different matter. If you have places that could use more clay (i.e., very sandy soil), then dumping the catbox there and working it in, along with some organic matter is a good idea. I once had a magnolia tree that was just surviving, but not thriving, because it was in a very sandy location. Then I began to work in the used clay cat litter. That tree really perked up as the clay began to change the soil under the tree.

 
Ronnie Ugulano
Posts: 65
Location: Zone 9, CA
4
books urban
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
For years, we used stove pellets for cat litter, and it was not only a total odor killer but also fully biodegradable.
 
Mary Saunders
Posts: 94
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Every fruit tree I have ever had has appreciated that ammonia source. Also, I have put it down in the hole before planting and got fruit production before I was supposed to, sort of like geoff lawton with figs in 3 months in Greening the Desert, though I doubt he mulched with cat stuff. I would not use it near root crops, but I can't grow those anyway--too many possums, raccoons, squirrels, mice, coyotes, and assorted other creatures, and I live in the city (Portland--so I have to watch out for Grimm creatures also). I have heard raccoon poop is especially un-recommended for root crops. Root veggies are cheap in the stores anyway, mostly. Fruit is not so cheap.
 
Christy Domino
Posts: 13
Location: Buffalo NY
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Mary Saunders wrote: I have heard raccoon poop is especially un-recommended for root crops.


on an unrelated note raccoons are disproportionately prone to worms and other parasites. i've heard hunters and trappers say raccoons with parasites of some kind or another outnumber uninfected raccoons by a ridiculous amount. so thats why you dont want raccoon droppings around, it poses a big health risk to people and pets. somehow you only ever hear about rabies with these guys, even though skunks are actually the highest carrier of rabies

possums are surprisingly resistant to a lot of diseases though, including rabies. they groom themselves pretty good and eat the ticks they pick up and actually help remove ticks from the environment

(sorry i just like talking about critters)
 
Michael Vormwald
Posts: 154
Location: Central New York - Finger Lakes - Zone 5
2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I don't do it, but if I did, I would compost it separately and only use it on ornamentals and trees.
 
Christy Domino
Posts: 13
Location: Buffalo NY
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Michael Vormwald wrote:I don't do it, but if I did, I would compost it separately and only use it on ornamentals and trees.


thats the direction i was leaning towards at first, since thats what you're supossed to do with composted humanure anyway,
 
Harmony Hunden
Posts: 18
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Back when I lived oa homestead before he told me to kick rocks when I ran out of money and started looking for a day job we had a humanure composting toilet. For a few months he bought cat litter and I thought gee this is stupid since it was one of the few non utility expenses. So I gradually switched the cats over to sawdust and wood chips and just added it all to the humanure pile. This pile I turned every other day and watered in the summer and fall and then mixed in with the manure compost from the chickens and goats. Then after turning it several times a week it was a lovely shade of dirt by this spring. Hope this helps...
 
Tristan Vitali
Posts: 314
Location: south-central ME, USA - zone 5a/4b
38
cat dog duck food preservation forest garden fungi solar trees
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Ronnie Ugulano wrote:For years, we used stove pellets for cat litter, and it was not only a total odor killer but also fully biodegradable.


Too funny - we were just sitting here talking about trying that out to see if it would work well when I read your post so $4 for a bag of bentonite that's going to clog the cats lungs, not help at all with odor and merely contribute to making an already very heavy clay soil more heavy OR $4 for a bag of hardwood wood pellets that will kill the odor, enrich the soil and protect the kitters...

decisions decisions
 
Amber Phenneger
Posts: 18
Location: Kansas
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Ronnie Ugulano wrote:For years, we used stove pellets for cat litter, and it was not only a total odor killer but also fully biodegradable.


I've heard that that's the best and safest to use. I've thought about trying it for my kitterz, but I'm not sure how they'd feel about me changing it from regular kitty litter. My concern is they'd stop using the cat box. Was that ever an issue for you? I'd rather not have them making messes in the house. LOL My male cat is pretty stubborn....That's why I call him little bastard hahahaha.
 
Ronnie Ugulano
Posts: 65
Location: Zone 9, CA
4
books urban
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I've thought about trying it for my kitterz, but I'm not sure how they'd feel about me changing it from regular kitty litter.


No, although we expected it to be. Our cat was afraid of dust specks (she was extremely timid), so we braced ourselves. But she never blinked at this. If your cat does resist, slowly introduce it into whatever you're using now - start at ~20% and slowly increase the percentage. In any case, it's an inexpensive trial.

Pellet stoves are kind of a specialty item, but if you know someone with one, you might be able to talk them out of a gallon bag of pellets. Or perhaps you can go to a stove store or hardware store and see if they have a broken bag of pellets you can get a small amount from
 
duane hennon
gardener
Posts: 770
Location: western pennsylvania zone 5/a
45
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator


a few years back
I used rabbit pellets for cat litter
it seems to do a good job
and composted easily

at that time it was cheaper than cat litter
(bought large bags at feed store, not super market)

i don't know what the prices are now
 
Amber Phenneger
Posts: 18
Location: Kansas
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Ronnie Ugulano wrote:
I've thought about trying it for my kitterz, but I'm not sure how they'd feel about me changing it from regular kitty litter.


No, although we expected it to be. Our cat was afraid of dust specks (she was extremely timid), so we braced ourselves. But she never blinked at this. If your cat does resist, slowly introduce it into whatever you're using now - start at ~20% and slowly increase the percentage. In any case, it's an inexpensive trial.

Pellet stoves are kind of a specialty item, but if you know someone with one, you might be able to talk them out of a gallon bag of pellets. Or perhaps you can go to a stove store or hardware store and see if they have a broken bag of pellets you can get a small amount from


I'll try it. Thank you!
 
All of the world's problems can be solved in a garden - Geoff Lawton. Tiny ad:
Video of all the PDC and ATC (~177 hours) - HD instant view
https://permies.com/wiki/65386/paul-wheaton/digital-market/Video-PDC-ATC-hours-HD
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!