Cat litter in the humanure compost?

The International Compost Sanitation Forum and Message Board: Humanure Composting Around the World: Cat litter in the humanure compost?
Author: Utopian (Utopian)
Thursday, August 18, 2011 - 4:00 am
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For several years I have used a combination of equal parts World's Best Cat Litter (corn based), Swheat Scoot (wheat based), and sawdust. I add this directly to the humanure compost pile at the same time that I empty my other buckets. This works just fine and, given that my piles heat up to well over 140F and are left for two years, I have no concern about residual pathogens.

Author: Muttmom (Muttmom)
Tuesday, August 16, 2011 - 11:53 am
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Have been bucket composting humanure for 2 years yeah)and now have a separate pile for the cat litter,which is the same rotted leaf mulch that I use in my bucket toilet so successfully. The cats went right to using it, no smells, and FREE!! The cat pile is a small version of the humanure compost pile.

Author: clear sky meditation and study foun (Clearsky)
Wednesday, February 18, 2009 - 7:30 pm
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Hello Joe, thank you for your quick response - I realized that I put my questions under the wrong heading and am answering your questions under the "JAPAN" heading. Just in case there are other people interested in this topic.
Greetings from Ela at Clear Sky Meditation Centre

Author: Joe Jenkins (Joe)
Wednesday, February 18, 2009 - 4:12 pm
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Clearsky - it's unlikely that the compost is too wet. It would have to be under water to be too wet. Starting in October could be a problem, especially with the first pile. You may need to develop a good thermophilic population and colder outdoor temperatures will suppress the compost population, especially when you're just starting out. Also, what is the mass? How big is the pile? Small piles are unlikely to heat up at all. How long have you been collecting material? How old is the pile?

Author: clear sky meditation and study foun (Clearsky)
Tuesday, February 17, 2009 - 6:47 pm
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We started a humanure composting toilet in Japan last fall (as an experiment for our meditation centre and before introducing it there on a large scale). Unfortunately our monthly temperature measurements show that the pile is only around 10 degrees higher than the temperature in the environment/soil around the compost. Could it be too wet? Japan is a very humid place with lots of rain fall. Did we start it at the wrong time of year (October)?

Or might it be related to the cover materials? Since saw dust is not so easily available we are using peat moss in the bucket toilet and as a biofilter on the pile itself, while creating layers using leaves/weeds from the garden and kitchen composting material. As the peat is very heavy one other possibility could be a lack of air-space in the pile. Now our compost area is full and there's no space in our Japanese garden for any more experimentation. Greatful for any advice. Thank you!

Author: Julian Gregory (Julianeve)
Monday, October 27, 2008 - 7:36 pm
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Another source of great pine sawdust kitty litter is

https://www.planetwiseproducts.com/index.htm

With 7 cats, I'm going to start to compost their excretions via this kitty litter.

Author: Nan (Nan)
Sunday, November 04, 2007 - 11:52 am
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Hi to all and thanks for the helpful posts!

I've been trying to reduce the amount of garbage that I generate and that's going well EXCEPT...Every week I put lots of kitty litter in the trash, which seems a waste. I've been wanting to compost it, especially since I use a brand which is made solely of wheat (SweatScoop) but have some questions that maybe you can help me with.

First, my situation is that I am a renter/caretaker for a suburban property with a nice large backyard. So, I don't want to do anything to annoy the neighbors or cause problems for the owner, who is a friend and has been very generous to me and tolerant of all my projects! I am already composting yard waste, and doing worm composting of food scraps in the basement without any problems.

My concerns:
*Does anyone know of any studies on the safety of composting cat litter (after feces have been removed but the clumps of urine remain)? I read the great post above about toxoplasmosis not being really likely, which was helpful. Has anyone actually had the kitty-litter compost tested for pathogens? Maybe the best bet would be to simply make a separate pile for use on non-edibles?

*I have two cats who generate a fair amount of litter. Do you think smell would be an issue? Do you think adding fall leaves to it would be enough to counteract this? (Fall leaves are my only easy source of carbon--no saw dust in sight.)

*Since it is wheat, do you think it could attract mice/rats/etc? Or would the leaves plus the scent of cat urine be a good enough deterrent for that? :-) Should I bury it?

*Any concerns with contamination of ground water when you add large quantities of nitrogen-rich material in one small area? It's not like there are any wells in my area, but we're in a major watershed area. The soil here is rather sandy/silty so I imagine nitrogen would leach through it easily. (I'm adding organic materials, trying to correct this.)

*Does anyone who has some long-term experience composting kitty litter have any specific suggestions on the best way to do it? Use a closed (but air accessible) container or an open pile? Bury it? Should I consider some sort of impermeable base? Would worm composting be a better option? Or do I just need to try all the above and let you know? :-)

Any guidance that you can give me is much appreciated.

Author: Tim Smith
Monday, May 21, 2001 - 6:26 pm
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I recently acquired a cat, and I'm curious if there are any problems with putting cat litter into the humanure pile. The type of litter I'm using is cedar sawdust. Can anyone think of a reason not to do this?

Author: shelly skye
Tuesday, July 24, 2001 - 11:59 pm
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I can't think of any reason not to. I am doing the same with my elderly cat, but I am using soil and rice hulls. I think the ceder sawdust would be a good choice. good luck with your new friend.

Author: Unsure
Thursday, September 06, 2001 - 3:21 am
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Hi,
from a recent discussion with this guy who is a pretty knowledgable organic gardener i too asked this question of dog and cat poo. He said dried-ish dog poo was o.k. but not cat poo cos it contains some bizarre stuff ( i think it was worms or somethin similar) but the general consensus was no. However i spose if it gets hot enough why not. Anyway i don't know if this helps but it may pay to check it out if you are usin your heap for veggies and the like. Cheers

Author: viviane
Wednesday, October 03, 2001 - 6:37 pm
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Cedar has properties which slow down or even kill the composting process. That's why it doesn't rot easily, and is often used for decking and siding.It's not recommended for compost toilets or compost piles.

Author: Vere Scott
Wednesday, October 24, 2001 - 1:09 am
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See my posting under the conversation, "Worms" for my experiences vermicomposting used cat litter.I vermicompost it separately from humanure, though, because of the potential for disease transmission (however slight it may be) if humanure mixed with cat litter is subsequently used as an amendment to soil that grows food crops.

Author: DaronPage
Wednesday, March 06, 2002 - 4:48 pm
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My family and I have recently moved out to 15 acres, we had to get a water tap and hook up elect, but we have not done the septic thing yet. Since reading your book (online) I am going to build some bucket toilets and try my hand at composting our waste. I have done composting before with leaves and kithen scraps, and grass clippings, but havent used manures. But that still leaves the grey water? Do you know of any good sources of information for grey water use?

Author: red brown
Tuesday, November 19, 2002 - 10:20 pm
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i use the same sawmill sawdust for cat litter as my own outhouse. i have been humanuring for four years and this summer had temperatures around 140 degrees in the pile. mr jenkins' research seems to indicate the ability of thermophilic bacteria to crowd out all competitors. i believe it but still plan to see a doctor about that itchiness down there.

Author: Mark Choi
Thursday, January 23, 2003 - 2:47 am
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FWIW, the disease most people worry about being transmitted in cat litter is tomoplasmosis, from the micro organism toxoplasma gondii. High temps in the compost pile WILL kill it, but more importantly, it is well nigh impossible to really have a problem with it. However, under some conditions, toxoplasmosis can cause serious pathology, including hepatitis, pneumonia, blindness, and severe neurological disorders. This is especially true in individuals whose immune systems are compromised (e.g., AIDS patients). Toxoplasmosis can also be transmitted transplacentally resulting in a spontaneous abortion, a still born, or a child that is severely handicapped mentally and/or physically.

The reason it is not very likely to be a problem from cat litter is manifold. First, the cat can only transmit the organism in its feces for a short time (at most a few weeks) after its initial infection. After that time, the parasite enters to host tissue and is not shed in feces.
Second, The organism is only transmissible to fetuses during a rather narrow window during gestation, and then, only if the infection is new.
Third, the organism is transmitted by prey animals, and so only if your cat has eaten one will it have the parasite, so few indoor only cats will have it.
Fourth, the parasite IS highly infectious, so if you have a cat, and you clean its litter box with anything short of a biosuit, you have already been exposed to the organism, and have built up immunity to future infection.
Thus the likelihood of Tpg transmission to fetuses, or to the adult is VERY small, and then only in a very circumscribed set of circumstances. You need to have just gotten the cat, and it needs to have been your first outdoor cat, AND it needs to have just gotten infected, AND you need to have gotten pregnant at just the wrong time, AND cleaned the litter box in such a way as to contact the organism, AND gotten infected.
In fact, a recent study of the organism looked at factors in volved in the transmission of the organism, and found at the top of the list contact with infected food. Not only was cat ownership not at the top of the list of risk factors, it was not at the bottom either. In fact, they found no evidence that contact with cat feces presented a significant risk AT ALL.

Author: admin
Thursday, January 23, 2003 - 4:49 pm
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Wow, that's some good info and pretty comprehensive. Where were you when I was writing the Humanure Handbook? I could have used another research assistant. Maybe next time?

Joe

Author: Jodi Lopez
Wednesday, July 09, 2003 - 8:42 pm
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Regarding cedar sawdust/wood shavings, I understand from Viviane's post in Oct. 2001 how cedar can be bad news for compost. However, I wonder if it's dangerous for the integrity of the pile if it's mixed with other woods, primarily pine. The lumberyard that gives us (free!) sawdust and shavings just mixes it all together and it's there for the taking. I just now noticed the line in the Handbook mentioning cedar (p. 217).
We've been using the mostly pine with a bit of cedar mix in our bucket outhouse out at our land where we're building an adobe house.
Peat isn't available. We use straw and clippings and such as pile cover, but what else could we use as bucket cover?

Author: anonymous
Friday, August 22, 2003 - 11:33 am
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Hi guys--I'm just checking in on the board for the first time today. There is a product called "Feline Pine" which is a pine-based cat litter--if you don't want to spend that much money on that product, you might try reading the package and seeing if it's just pine shavings/sawdust; that might be helpful if pine degrades better than cedar.

Author: Anonymous
Thursday, March 31, 2005 - 12:05 pm
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Is it possible to use clay-based kitty litter for composting? Our older kitty is somewhat picky and seems to only want to use Arm and Hammer "Super Scoop" cat litter.

From https://armhammerpets.com/faq.aspx?id=4 for the regular (not "Fresh Scent") type: "The product contains ingredients to aid in odor control and to aid in the even distribution of all these ingredients. To form rock solid clumps, ARM & HAMMER® Super Scoop® contains a premium grade of sodium bentonite, a special type of clay. To eliminate odors, the product contains pure ARM & HAMMER® Baking Soda."

Will the clay content cause problems? I assume if we were to put it in the humanure pile we'd want to just use the clumps that contain the cat urine/feces, not dump the whole litter box worth into the pile when the box is changed.

Thanks for all the great information in this forum, and thanks specifically for any help anyone can give on this question!

Author: Anonymous
Tuesday, November 22, 2005 - 6:39 am
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Is ceder sawdust safe for horse stalls

Author: Ron
Tuesday, November 22, 2005 - 8:45 pm
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YES

Author: Vere Scott
Tuesday, January 03, 2006 - 10:33 am
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Vermicomposting Used “Yesterday’s News” cat litter

Can anyone tell me if Purina's Yesterday's News cat litter, Original, Unscented, contains ANY additives (beyond newspaper)? And, secondly, does it contain any additives that are inimical to Eisenia foetida?

My worms are completely avoiding used Yesterday's News (i.e. cat feces + urine + Yesterday's News). I am vermicomposting the used cat litter indoors in a "hi-top" 38-litre plastic worm bin.

It has occurred to me that some characteristic of cat feces or urine may drive the worms away: pH? salts? ammonia?

I have heard of one other person, however, being able to vermicompost used cat litter newspaper pellets successfully. He indicated that the cat feces were processed by the worms.

In some palletizing/extruding processes, calcium sulphate hemihydrate (CaSO.sub.4.1/2H.sub.2 O)(gypsum plaster)is added to form the newspaper slurry. The bulk density and moisture absorbency are controlled by varying the water content relative to the plaster. It is also possible to control such characteristics by including various additives in various amounts. The water content is varied in conjunction with the additive.

"Such additives are light weight naturally absorptive materials, as for example, paper pulp, or finely divided paper, or wood dust, peat dust, or light weight clay dust. Normally such additives are introduced into the mixing in the proportion of 1% to 20% of the weight of the plaster."

See: https://www.freepatentsonline.com/4163674.html

Thank you.

Vere Scott
Green Party of Canada candidate
Winnipeg South Centre

Author: TCLynx
Tuesday, January 03, 2006 - 7:23 pm
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as for the cedar, I've heard of people haveing an ok time with cedar so long as it is sawdust (not shavings) and not kilndried.

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