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Pet poo?  RSS feed

 
Jennifer Wadsworth
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Location: Phoenix, AZ (9b)
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No...not like pet rocks (ew)!



Can one put pet poo in the composting toilet? I know people say not to compost it normally because of "pathogens" but they say that about human poo, too. Any issues with composting dog/cat poo in the CT?

 
Catlow Shipek
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Location: Tucson and Phoenix, AZ
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Dog poo composts very nicely. I have seen several humanure style composting piles specifically for dog poo heat up, compost, and turn into a rich resource. Following the similar aging, heating guides to humanure the composting process is robust in taking care of potential pathogens. Plus it keeps those plastic bag methane bombs out of the landfills.

I have not seen anything definitive regarding composting cat feces. There are more direct pathogen risks to humans. Time for some good 'ol hands on research...
 
Jay Angler
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Catlow Shipek wrote: I have not seen anything definitive regarding composting cat feces. There are more direct pathogen risks to humans. Time for some good 'ol hands on research...

Hi Catlow,
I've been trying to get more information on this issue in this thread: http://www.permies.com/t/41181/composting-toilet/sawdust-kitty-litter
If you've got any good sources about making cat litter safe with regards to the Toxoplasma gondii parasite, please add to these threads. I agree that sometimes it's just fear mongering but a quick search didn't really give me any idea of how long this parasite hangs around or what natural process reduces its load (after all, lots of cats are outside peeing and pooing where ever they darn well please).
"Hand on research" would be most welcome,
Thanks J.
 
Su Ba
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Location: Big Island, Hawaii (2300' elevation, 60" avg. annual rainfall, temp range 55-80 degrees F)
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First, be aware that one can get toxo from sources other than infected cat poo. Infected, raw, fresh meat is a prime source, with pork, lamb, chicken, and venison being the most likely infected. Untreated drinking water can also be an infected source. And of course, anything that contacted these sources and were not properly washed can pass it along.....hands, knives, cutting boards, etc. Toxo can only be caught by ingesting it, so be aware of what you put into your mouth.

Second, cats pass toxo in their feces for a few weeks after being infected themselves, usually by eating mice or raw meats. After that there is no risk from that episode. Thus cats aren't always passing toxo, so don't get rid of your cat.

Third, toxo in the cat feces doesn't become infective to humans until 24 hours to several days after the cat poos. I've always recommended that cat owners who are worried about toxo to scoop out the litterbox at least once a day, but morning and night is safer. Then simply wash your hands.

Fourth, if your cat is always indoors, then simply don't expose it to toxo in the first place. No raw meats. That way the cat won't get infected itself.....unless your home has mice.

Fifth, if you worry about toxo in your garden, then simply wash your hands and veggies. Washing flushes toxo away. It's not inside veggies, it's on the surface if it's there at all. And by the way, cats aren't the only ones passing toxo in the feces. So eliminating neighborhood cats doesn't make your garden any safer. Killing the cats doesn't won't stop your toxo risk. Besides various nocturnal rodents, toxo has been found in numerous bird species. The more species that are tested for it, the more the researchers have been finding it. Toxo is far more prevalent that we knew before. It's been among us all along. Thus there is no way to keep your garden totally safe from toxo. In fact, it's most likely already bern there from time to time.

Hot composting will kill off pathogens. Cold, long term (2 years) composting will eliminate the infectiveness of most too.

Oh, just to make you more paranoid, dogs can also get toxo although it is not reported very often. Perhaps that's because it seldom causes severe enough problems so the dog doesn't go to a vet? And the vet doesn't test for it? I know that in my 39 years in veterinary medicine I never gave thought to testing. So was it there? Who knows. Vast numbers of people have been infected with toxo, but they too have never been tested. So toxo exists all around us but seldom do we think about it. It is only in pregnant women and people with suppressed immune systems where toxo is a concern.
 
Jay Angler
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Thanks Su - great information. J.
 
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