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Cougar bedding as compost amendment  RSS feed

 
Fredy Perlman
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Location: Mason Cty, WA
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A friend of mine has access to large amounts of straw soiled with predatory cat pee and mixed with their scat, from mucking out enclosures. It's not as horrible as it sounds; the straw seems to have mitigated its offensiveness as it does with human wastes. The poops are human sized with lots of hair like any cat's, lol. She says that it usually gets thrown in the woods, but it would be easy to keep it for composting. In fact here is a pile now, thrown out of a dry enclosure on Tuesday and rained on once.

I have long dreamt of access to unusual dungs (not every day you hear that...). Elephant seems particularly rich. But I'd wager large cat dung would have as many problems as human or dog: all-meat diet, pathogens for example. And the pee to be intensely nitrogenic. In some cases the bedding shouldn't be used because of fleas. The whole thing makes me think, if it's used at all, it has to be hot composted. But it seems a shame to waste such a rich resource, though giving stuff to the forest is far from a waste.  Thoughts?
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Amit Enventres
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Location: Ohio, USA
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As long as it's not coming in direct contact with food, and you use waste processing safety when handling, I don't see an issue. It may even repel some pests. So, like an orchard or to overwinter the garden maybe without hot composting or waiting. But hot composing and maybe waiting 3 years for anything that will go on your veggies?
 
Cody DeBaun
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I agree with Amit- if it's possible to safely compost human poo (it is), then any other poo processed to the same extent should be safe in the same way. While there are fungal/bacterial/insect parasites that move from one species to another as part of their life cycle, it's hard to imagine them not cooking out like all the dangerous critters in our own poo. That does DEFINITELY mean hot composting though.

That being said, my disgust reaction when I think of composted housecat poo, just on a bigger scale, tells me I would probably only use it on trees. Trees out along the property line. Far from the garden.
 
Paul Lutz
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I suspect a line of that bedding would make an effective deer fence. I use housecat waste for that purpose and to date the deer have avoided any orchard trees I am protecting.
 
Ben Zumeta
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Location: Redwood Country, Zone 9, 60" rain/yr,
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I love the idea of utilizing any kind of animal waste wisely, but would strongly recommend using extreme caution and against using this for anything but animal repellent, which it would work well for.  I am not poo-shy around my birds, but cats are entirely different than virtually any other type of animal.

This is an extremely unnatural concentration of some of the toughest, nastiest bacteria in the world that live in the gut of [almost] purely carnivorous cats. It is 30x as acidic in their gut as ours in order to break down meat. This is far more acidic than dogs', who naturally eat upwards of 40% vegetative matter in the wild. Therefore, the conditions that these feline born bacteria are adapted for are far beyond what our bodies can produce. If you get any inside you, as would be hard to avoid without a hazmat suit, you will have little immune system defense.

A cougar's natural range, and therefore distribution zone for its scat and bacteria, is 40-80 sq miles for a female and up to 400sq miles for a male. This has now all been condensed into one pile of bedding. It would definitely scare deer and probably any other animal shitless, but if handled wrong the subsequent GI distress could wring you dry too.
 
Fredy Perlman
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Location: Mason Cty, WA
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Cody, that was an interesting poo article from BBC. Esp wrt mice: I think they prefer areas containing mouse poo because it is a marker and a communication between mice. A poo at the very least says "I didn't die here!" which would explain the trouble they go to in placing a poo on the cap of a sealed vinegar bottle, for example.

I really need to work on my hot composting. Now that I live rural there are bodies and poops to dispose of and I waste nothing. I still like the idea of using corpses to feed BSF farms, but can anything help by eating/neutralizing poops? (If there's info on this anywhere, it's here . I just haven't looked.)

Ben, very good points, logical when I think about it. My property is on a hill, so piling the bedding in an area where it can't get into the water table or anything I'm growing uphill seems wise. Would be great to have big hot composting stations around perimeter of property...slowly break down the bedding and scat while scaring deer away from my plantings! My big concern would be keeping the bacteria from leaching out of there before they are killed, over the long period of time required, without having to monitor and hold their hand all the time.

 
Marco Banks
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In the vein of "the problem is the solution", I'd be curious if you could market it as a natural deer and pest repellent?  Does it still scare the varmints away if it's been composted a bit?  Sell it by the box or big bag with clear instructions that it must not come into contact with food or be used near a veggie garden, and that you need to handle it with care.  But for people who are at their wits-end in trying to keep the deer from eating their flower gardens, buy a box of "Cougar Sentry" for $5.99.

Bambi eating your roses?  Spread a box of Cougar Sentry and send him scampering back to the forest.

Trouble with a neighbor's dog crapping in your yard?  Just spread a box of Cougar Sentry along the borders of your property and watch Fido tuck his tail and scoot away.

Raccoons tearing up the place?  Put the Cougar Sentry on patrol, stopping the bandits in their tracks.

Are you tired of the stray cat strut out back by the garbage cans under a full-moon at night?  Show them who the big cat is, with a box of Cougar Sentry.

Cougar Sentry -- all natural and scary as all hell.  Buy it at a nursery near you.
 
Fredy Perlman
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Location: Mason Cty, WA
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Marco, this is definitely in the cards. The smell of that big cat piss is INTENSE, not in a good way like you want. It is also corrosive enough to eat through deer fencing after a couple years, so I bet it's pretty persistent. My friend with the cats was thinking it could be an income stream for the cat house.  I'd be happy to help them test it by making borders of the stuff around my property. If it depresses deer pressure, we could try making a cold extract and hot extract of the bedding, then compare which one keeps deer pressure lowest, longest. I don't know if this is already on the market (there is wolf piss and fox piss, I know)  but it's worth looking into.
 
Bryant RedHawk
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That can become a great compost, you will need to use enough fresh green material to get a high heat for a week or two but then it would be free of pathogens.
I would take that pile and use a mix of spent coffee grounds and fresh cut greens as my heat producing layers then turn it once it started to cool down in the center.

For composting these types of manures (meat eaters) you need temps to get up to 160f for a fair period of time (1-2 weeks).
That means you are going to use more greens than the normal heap, I use a 60/40 blend (browns to greens) this gets the temps up to where they need to be to insure complete pathogen death.
From there compost for an other few weeks as if it were a normal compost heap or even better, add that heat finished heap to a normal heap using it as part of your browns composition.

Redhawk
 
Just put the cards in their christmas stocking and PRESTO! They get it now! It's like you're the harry potter of permaculture. richsoil.com/cards
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