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Dale's kitty litter idea --- Dung beetles.

 
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Dale's kitty litter idea --- Dung beetles.

As the name suggests, this isn't something that I have done or am even likely to do in the near future. I don't own a cat. My friend owns two cats and spends a few minutes every morning, stirring through their poop and piss clumps. When she's away, I am the person who does this. Not a pleasant experience.

I have stated elsewhere, how I used to manage my dog's poop in a maple tree bog, where I simply incorporated her poop into the soil with a rake. This worked, without any bad smells. I think it's safe to say that most cat owners don't own a maple tree bog. Therefore we need something different.
........
Introducing, the dung beetle, outdoor kitty litter box. This would be inside one of those enclosures that are created to allow indoor cats, to venture outside. I imagine a box of relatively sandy soil, which is protected from heavy rains. We might want it to have sides, similar to a sandbox. It might also need to have some sort of metal edging, bent in a manner that prevents The beetles from escaping.

 I can think of a few things that could happen to these beetles. Predators, including cats, might think that it's fun to hunt them. It should be easy enough to keep birds out. Most snakes don't want to meet a cat, so hopefully we can keep them out.

 Something needs to absorb the large quantity of nutrients. Any number of nutrient hungry plants, could be grown. Cats love to destroy plants, so they would need to be resilient. There are probably concerns with producing edible plants with this sort of scenario. I don't think the problem is absorption through the root systems. Splashing on to leaves would seem the more likely problem. Solution, cook everything that comes out of this area. Or, grow things that are not edible.

I've checked it out, and it turns out there are dung beetles that eat predator poop. Most dung beetles want the waste from grazing animals.

That's about all I have, just an idea that I'm hoping someone has already tried or heard about, and they can enlighten us all. It's possible that we need crickets or roaches, instead of dung beetles.
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Aquaponics cat litter.

I think this same basic concept, could work, if a bed could be set up where water from the fish system is lightly sprinkled, rather than flooded through the grow bed. We don't want to drown our beetles. This would allow the nutrients to be moved around and if the beetles become overpopulated, they could be fed to the fish.
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Lloyd produces very stinky poop
 
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Hi

My daughters kindergarten has a sandbox outside and the neighborhod cats use it. Even though they take the poop out every day, and its completely open to the weather, it is full of dung beetle larvae. I think if its not too dry (the larvae are soft bodied)  it would work like a soldier larvae box. the beetles would also just eat it outside so a closed compost box (to keep kids and other mammals out, theres a parasite risk) and something natural like woodshavings used in the house would be easier. you could just dump the entire box out and not have to dig through the litter. Id be surprised if your neighbors (or anyones) would be open to a dung beetle population in the house. I was considering getting a small bio gas harvestor for the dog waste from my campground but they are a bit expensive and a bit technical to build as methane explodes I might try this out. its a good topic anyway for any containated waste even human sewage as i live near a river so i havent put in a compost toilet yet either. I think there are enough dung beetles that every climate could find one to live through their extremes of summer and winter.  In germany we have blueish black dung beetles that are prolific enough to collect a good few and also eat in my regular plant and meat compost pile.  They could be a cold climate alternative to a worm or soldier fly bin which need heating more than half of the year.
 
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I'm in a cold climate. I have to pick up poop about 12 times a year with 1 large dog in about 30x30ft area. Worms and who knows what gets it pretty fast usually. The rest I throw in the compost and just don't use on fresh veggies. My friends have 4 healthy outdoor cats down the street. I've never seen cat poop from them. In fact, I would assess that I've only seen cat poop once while living here 3 years from normal cats. (My friends were nursing a sick one who had issues).

As for indoors, I'd think that type of poop is similar enough to human doo  to go in the toilet/composting toilet.
 
Taryn Hesse
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I don´t know what type of kitty litter you could flush in a standard toilet i think there would be blockage. I wanted to avoid leaving poop from dogs out for any amount of time because of the parasites transmitted from fox and wild cats and dogs in the forest and its a common dog walking area for locals. we have fox tape worm in the area that is also a concern for people and our dog in particular likes to investigate poop. I think if we had an area or bin to process dog and other animal waste, locals and some tourists would use it. When the nights drop below zero we accumulate plenty of waste along the edges of forest trails that stays there till snowmelt. its kind of gross to go sledding by february. I think that rats might become an issue in an outdoor beetle breeding box but probably no more than any other compost. They don´t seem to be put off by cats much.
 
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A permaculture teacher from Taiwan visited my region last year and told us that he has a nice worm bin for disposing dog poop at his house in Taiwan. He just sank a container partly into the ground, a container with a lid, and with holes underneath. He started some compost worms and bedding in there, and just throws the dog poop in it. The worms reduce it to very little and I figure it will either never fill, or if it does, you can dump the contents into a new hole and start over. Also, I'm sure that if you use sawdust or some other compostable kitty litter, you could do the same with that.
 
Dale Hodgins
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I like the idea of a worm bin litter box. The problem with cats is that if they develop any distaste for the litter you choose, they may choose their own. I know somebody who has a big potted tree in the house. The cat peed there so much, that he nearly killed it.

There are any number of ways to dispose of poop that you gather up by hand. It's a little more complicated to get the cats to do their business in the right spot.

I wonder how a worm bin would do if it received all of the cat pee as well? I think it would need to be larger, and possibly have something very nitrogen hungry, like wood chips added. Then there's the question of whether cats would excavate and hunt the worms. Lloyd hunts every living creature that he encounters. He has greatly reduced the number of silverfish in my friend's townhouse.

I'm going to offer to build an indoor worm bin, litter box. My friend has so much crap heaped into her house that she may not be willing to have anything larger than the existing box.
 
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Any updates?

I actually have a cat so this would be actionable.  

I'm thinking if the litter she uses really is just clay, as it advertises, then that could be scooped into a worm bin outdoors (I'm not likely to be able to sell other humans on the idea of keeping this indoors)--with a lid or at least hardware cloth screen lid.  Drop the brown paper bag filled with the clumps of poop, pee, and litter right in there, and let the worms have at it.

Or if I can get Frannie the Cat to read Permaculture One (anti-cat rants notwithstanding) maybe she could be convinced to use sawdust litter...

I've just been tolerating this waste stream so far, but it is time to do something about it.
 
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My cats do pretty good with woodstove pellets that turn into sawdust . Granted, we started this when they were kittens, just slowely mixing in more pellets to their bentonite clay kitty litter. Now they just poop in the pellets and we put it in one spot in the woods where we don't grow or eat anything.
 
Joshua Myrvaagnes
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Thanks!  city slicker question here, what's that word "woods" mean?  

actually we do have a little patch nearby that could be used.  Wood pellets, hm...so I'm assuming those are smaller than wood chips, but less dusty than sawdust.  

Nicole Alderman wrote:My cats do pretty good with woodstove pellets that turn into sawdust . Granted, we started this when they were kittens, just slowely mixing in more pellets to their bentonite clay kitty litter. Now they just poop in the pellets and we put it in one spot in the woods where we don't grow or eat anything.

 
Nicole Alderman
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"The woods" is another word for forest. We've got forest around our buildings. The specific pile for out kitty litter is behind the shed, which is situated half in the forest.

"Woods" refers to any patch of trees and native-ish under story. At least, that's how I've always used it.
 
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Joshua Myrvaagnes wrote:Any updates?

I actually have a cat so this would be actionable.  

I'm thinking if the litter she uses really is just clay, as it advertises, then that could be scooped into a worm bin outdoors (I'm not likely to be able to sell other humans on the idea of keeping this indoors)--with a lid or at least hardware cloth screen lid.  Drop the brown paper bag filled with the clumps of poop, pee, and litter right in there, and let the worms have at it.

Or if I can get Frannie the Cat to read Permaculture One (anti-cat rants notwithstanding) maybe she could be convinced to use sawdust litter...

I've just been tolerating this waste stream so far, but it is time to do something about it.




We use a pelletised recycled paper product that comes in a 30 litre bag and is itself made from recycled paper. The pellets have a rather clean paper smell and low dust content.

We put the litter pellets in the cats toilet box and after about 7 days it's ready to be emptied into a compost bin specifically allocated for cat litter - we don't mix cat compost into the vegetable or fruit gardens as a safety precaution, it gets reserved for ornamental trees and shrubs - commercial cat food can be laced with all kinds of stuff.

The multiple compost bin method works fine.

 
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F Agricola wrote:

Joshua Myrvaagnes wrote:Any updates?

I actually have a cat so this would be actionable.  

I'm thinking if the litter she uses really is just clay, as it advertises, then that could be scooped into a worm bin outdoors (I'm not likely to be able to sell other humans on the idea of keeping this indoors)--with a lid or at least hardware cloth screen lid.  Drop the brown paper bag filled with the clumps of poop, pee, and litter right in there, and let the worms have at it.

Or if I can get Frannie the Cat to read Permaculture One (anti-cat rants notwithstanding) maybe she could be convinced to use sawdust litter...

I've just been tolerating this waste stream so far, but it is time to do something about it.




We use a pelletised recycled paper product that comes in a 30 litre bag and is itself made from recycled paper. The pellets have a rather clean paper smell and low dust content.

We put the litter pellets in the cats toilet box and after about 7 days it's ready to be emptied into a compost bin specifically allocated for cat litter - we don't mix cat compost into the vegetable or fruit gardens as a safety precaution, it gets reserved for ornamental trees and shrubs - commercial cat food can be laced with all kinds of stuff.

The multiple compost bin method works fine.



I really like your method of split-stream composting. That way it's possible to make sure that the worst offenders, pathogenically speaking, get hot-composted. Hell, if you needed to, to protect at-risk individuals, you could black bag (black tarp, black barrel, whatever) the pathogenically bad stuff to cook it dead in the sun before composting.

We use a similar paper product for our Flemish Giant rabbit, but ours presents as a compressed block of raw paper wads. As she is an herbivore, pathogens aren't so much of a worry as they are with cats, or with dogs and humans and other omnivores, for that matter. I do a ground-connected bin compost, for containment, that gets regular mushroom slurries and butts, and seasonal additions of red wigglers, at least theoretically, though it and the raised bed beside it was writhing this spring so I didn't bother.

Dale, I love the dung beetle idea, at least in principle. I am also assuming that Toxoplasmoides can't be carried and transmitted by dung beetles. Do we know this definitively, though?

But I do love the concept. I like the idea of dung beetles taking away the nasty cat poop. If it was something else, it would be best, I think, if it was a colony insect, or else an opportunistic decomposer that could coexist with dung beetles, as the most logical insect to go and gather poop.

-CK
 
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