Can You Compost Cat Litter?
Wanting to be a responsible steward for the environment, you may wonder if your cat’s litter is compostable. The good news is that, yes, some cat litter is compostable.
Continue reading to find out more about which kinds of cat litter are compostable and how to compost it correctly.
Is Cat Litter Compostable?
Yes, cat litter can be compostable depending on what type of litter you use. Only cat litter that is biodegradable and does not have any additives can be composted. Also be sure to only use the compost on ornamental (non-edible) plants.
What Kind of Cat Litter Is Compostable?
The first thing to check for in making sure that your cat litter is compostable is to make sure that your cat litter is biodegradable.
Some examples of cat litter that is typically biodegradable include cat litter made from the following materials: wood pellets, paper, walnut shells, tofu, corn, coconut, wheat, or grass.
Materials that are not biodegradable or compostable or litter made from crystals or clay.
Even if it is made from one of the materials listed as biodegradable, you still need to check to make sure that there are no other additives that have made it non-biodegradable.
Is Compost from Cat Litter Safe
Even if you are properly composting only the appropriate cat litter, it is very important to only use this cat litter on non-edible, ornamental plants.
This is because cat waste can contain harmful parasites and pathogens that might not be killed in the composting process.
These toxins are especially harmful for pregnant women (and their unborn babies) as well as to people with compromised immune systems.
One of the main parasites known to be present in cat waste that is especially dangerous is Toxoplasma gondii.
Toxoplasma gondii is a single-celled parasite that can cause a dangerous infection called toxoplasmosis which can cause blindness in humans, can be very dangerous for an unborn child, and in a worst case, even be fatal especially in people with compromised immune systems.
Temperatures of at least 165 degrees are necessary to kill this parasite, however, compost will not typically get this hot and therefore is unlikely to kill these dangerous toxins.
If you were to use compost containing cat litter on or near edible plants, you would be very likely to spread these dangerous toxins onto the food that someone will eat.
Be safe and only use this litter on non-edible, ornamental plants. Make sure that children and animals do not play in the dirt where you spread this compost, and be sure to wash your hands very thoroughly after handling it yourself.
Also, be sure that the cat litter compost always stays separate and away from edible plants. Be careful to avoid cross-contamination or runoff from areas where the cat compost is into areas with edible plants.
How to Compost Cat Litter
Choosing a Location for your Cat Litter Compost
To start your cat litter composting, you will need to start with a suitable location for your composting pile.
Part of this also includes checking on the composting rules in your area. Is composting outdoors allowed? Or is it prohibited in your area due to concerns about rats or other pests? Check with your city or waste disposal company to be sure.
If outdoor composting in your area is allowed, then composting outdoors will be ideal. Find a good open area outside on bare dirt. Make sure it is away from any edible plants, and away from any areas where pets or children play.
Also, place it so that even runoff from it will not go into and contaminate edible plants.
It’s best to keep it screened, as well, so that pests do not get into it.
If you cannot compost outdoors for any reason, of if you do not have any areas of bare dirt that are suitable, then you can use a composting bin. You can try making your own or looking into whether a digester or tumbler-type compost bin will work best for you.
See the next section for more details about composting your cat litter.
Composting Cat Litter Details
Wherever you decide to create your cat litter compost pile, you will need the proper balance of carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, and water. The carbon can come from the litter itself, and cat waste is very high in nitrogen.
You’ll add in other biodegradable food and garden scraps, avoiding things that have artificial chemicals, but this all needs to be done in a certain order.
To start with, you must create a compost base. This consists of three to four inches of straw, topsoil, sawdust, and/or dried leaves. If you are using a container, make sure it covers the entire bottom. If you are using a bare area of earth, loosen the dirt in that area.
Now add layers of brown and green kitchen and garden waste and scraps, without any cat litter just yet. Aim for making the pile nicely rounded overall and flatten the top a bit.
Finally, you can add cat litter and waste to the top middle of the pile of compost. Cover it with more brown garden waste.
Continuing Your Cat Litter Compost
Continue to add layers of brown and green material to your compost pile. The layers should be three to four inches each, always ending with a brown layer on top.
You can store these separately until you are ready to add them to your pile. You can store your cat litter and waste securely in an airtight bin until you are ready to use it, too.
Make sure to store brown materials in a dry area until ready to add to your compost pile. Green materials can be stored in a container for about a week, or frozen if they will be stored longer.
Cover with a rug to keep moisture in, if needed, or a tarp to keep a heavy rain from making your pile too wet.
Turn every couple of weeks with a pitchfork to aerate, if needed.
When it looks like dark, rick soil, it’s ready to use on your non-edible plants!
Can you Compost Cat Litter?
Yes, depending on what kind of litter you use, you may be able to compost your cat’s litter. Cat litter can be composted as long as it is biodegradable without any additives. It’s very important to only use this compost on non-edible (ornamental) plants.