Quick Answer: Can You Compost Cat Litter?
Yes, you may compost cat litter that is free of additives with safety precautions. But, soiled cat litter may contain harmful pathogens dangerous for pregnant and immune-compromised individuals. The compost pile should reach a temperature of 165oF to kill these pathogens. Avoid composting cat litter with chemical additives, clay, or fragrances. Also, use the cat litter compost only on ornamental plants.
This is a handy guide on the do’s and caveats of composting cat litter.
Let us find out more about composting cat litter.
Can You Compost Cat Litter?
Yes, you can compost fully biodegradable cat litter. It is important to follow safety guidelines when composting them as the soiled cat litter may contain harmful pathogens that are infectious to humans. So, avoid adding them to the regular home compost bin. Also, the compost pile should reach a temperature of 165oF to kill the pathogens.
Cat droppings may contain Toxoplasma gondii which may be dangerous to pregnant women, It may affect their unborn baby, causing brain and eye disease.
Cat feces also contain a roundworm, called Toxocara cati that may cause infection of the eyes and other organs.
These pathogens may survive the composting process.
So, many composters warn against keeping the contents of litter boxes away from children, pregnant ladies, and immune-compromised individuals.
If you still compost cat litter, you may use the finished compost on ornamental plants and flower beds. Avoid placing them in vegetable gardens.
How To Compost Cat Litter With Ease?
Cat litter can be composted in a dedicated compost pile. Wear gloves while dealing with cat litter. Take care to wash your hands after use to prevent the spread of bacteria and parasites. It is highly recommended to keep the cat litter compost pile separate from regular kitchen scraps and yard waste.
The different steps to compost cat litter with ease are as follows:
- Prepare the base layer– The base of the compost pile is made using sticks, corn cobs husks, or fibrous stalks. It helps in providing aeration and keeps the air flowing through the compost.
- Toss into the compost pile– Add alternating layers of brown materials, including dried leaves, topsoil, straw, pine needles, or branches, and green materials, including food scraps, fresh green leaves, and coffee grounds. Empty cat litter on the top center of the compost pile. Cover a layer of brown material.
- Maintain the compost pile– Mix the compost pile often to aerate the mixture and fasten the decomposition process. Wait for at least a year till the compost smells rich and crumbly.
Here is a useful video on composting cat litter:
What Type Of Cat Litters Can Be Composted?
Not all types of cat litter can be composted. You can compost only biodegradable cat litter, including wood litter, pine litter, corn litter, paper litter, nutshell litter, wheat litter, and coconut husk litter.
Some litters contain fragrances, sand, clay, or clumping. These can not be added to the compost pile.
These include clay litter, crystal litter, and pretty litter. You may avoid adding cat litter to the compost pile if you are not sure of the material.
Is It Safe To Compost Cat Litter?
It is safe to compost cat litter especially if you follow certain precautions. Cat poop may contain harmful bacteria and parasites. These may be infectious and affects different organs if not handled properly.
Also, you may transfer these harmful pathogens to the finished compost and affect its quality. It may be serious for people with weakened immune systems and pregnant ladies.
So, it is important to follow safety guidelines when composting cat litter to prevent coming in contact with these pathogens.
How To Deter Cat Pooping In Your Garden Areas?
You may discourage cats from pooping your garden area by spreading chicken wire, laying cardboard coated with tanglefoot, or using a sprinkler with a motion detector.
Spread chicken wire over the vegetable garden. It will prevent the cats from entering the vegetable garden.
Some gardeners lay cardboard coated with tanglefoot at entry points. It will discourage cats from stepping on it.
You may use a motion detector that will let you know when a cat enters the garden.
You may use the finished cat litter on the ornamental plants and flower beds. Avoid using them in your vegetable garden as they may have harmful pathogens. You may dilute them and add them to increase the safety of the cat litter compost.
No, you can not flush cat litter and waste. It is potentially harmful to the environment. They may clog the pipes, contaminate the water, and damage the ecosystems due to potential pathogens. Also, many septic systems may not break down the cat waste.
Yes, cat litter can be composted using the Indore method. A layer of brush forms the base. Add a layer of green or dry vegetable matter, a layer of cat litter, and a sprinkling of soil to control flies. Repeat the layers until the pile is five feet high. Turn the piles after 6 weeks. It is best done in bins or pits.
Hopefully, this guide will be handy in understanding the problems with composting cat litter. Do share your experiences in composting it!