Composting cat litter can help keep biodegradable litter out of your garbage while turning the waste into something useable. While it isn't difficult to compost litter, there are some things to consider to ensure you stay safe during the process.
Ask any cat-lover what they like the least about owning cats, and their answer will usually have to deal with litter. While cats are cute, cuddly, and just all-around amazing, cats' waste is not fun to deal with. Cat litter cannot be flushed, so it ends up in your garbage, which in turn ends up in the landfill. Wouldn't it be great if there was a better way to deal with cat litter? Well, there is. Some cat litters can actually be composted. Composting cat litter is an eco-friendly method to reduce landfill waste while creating a rich soil amendment.
Can You Compost Cat Litter?
The short answer to "can cat litter be composted" is yes, you can compost cat litter. However, not all cat litter can be composted. Also, you must take care to avoid potential health hazards from composting cat litter. While the process of composting cat poop isn't difficult, it can be intimidating, especially if you have never composted before. That is why you should start composting only the soiled litter until you get the hang of the process. Once you are more comfortable, you can begin composting the old unused litter as well.
What Types of Litter Can Be Composted?
Compostable Cat Litters
Before you can compost the litter, you need to make sure that it can actually be composted. Only fully biodegradable cat litter can be composted. This includes:
Nut Shell Litter
Coconut Husk Litter
and other natural cat litter
Non-Compostable Cat Litters
Litters that are not biodegradable and litters containing fragrances, sand, clay, or ones that are clumping cannot be used in compost. A good general rule of thumb is that you cannot compost any of the following litters:
Pretty Litter (which changes color when it comes into contact with urine)
If you're unsure whether a litter is compostable, it is best to err on the side of caution and not try to add it to your compost bin.
Composting Cat Litter Isn't for Everyone
Despite it being the most eco-friendly way to dispose of litter, not everyone is up for composting, especially not when it's pet waste. While composting cat waste is an eco-friendly alternative to simply tossing it in the trash, it does take a lot more effort. Not only will you have to keep safety in mind, but you will have to deal with cat poop directly. In fact, you may even have to keep it stored in an airtight container until it is time to add it to the compost pile. That fact alone is enough to turn a lot of people off the idea of composting litter. Once you get used to the fact that you are composting your cat's litter, the next thing you will be composting is dog poop!
Is it Safe to Compost Cat Litter?
While it is generally safe to compost kitty litter, there are some things you should consider beforehand. Cat poop, as well as dog poop, can contain bacteria and parasites. If you're not careful, you could transfer those nasty organisms to your finished compost. Cat feces, for example, can carry Toxoplasma-gondii, which is a parasite that causes the disease toxoplasmosis. This parasite is also found in improperly cooked meat. This disease is serious for people with weakened immune systems and those who are pregnant. Because of these risks, it is important to follow all safety guidelines when composting cat litter. This will help prevent the chance of coming in contact with Toxoplasma-gondii.
How to Compost Cat Litter?
Cat litter is composted in the same manner as other organic waste. It is placed in a composter or compost bin, along with other biodegradable materials, and allowed to break down naturally over the course of several months. This process can even take as long as a year. During this time, you will have to mix the compost pile every so often to help introduce aeration into the mixture and keep the natural composting process going. It is a long process that can provide you with nutrient-rich compost that you can incorporate into your flower beds and gardens to help improve the soil's overall health.
What are the things to consider before composting cat litter?
Before composting cat litter, you will need to have a compost pile ready. Compost piles can take up a good amount of space, which may not be an option, especially if you live in an apartment building. Instead, consider utilizing a kitchen composter such as Lomi. This nifty device is a useful kitchen appliance for anyone, no matter what their previous composting experience. Even if you have a compost pile in your yard, Lomi can still help the composting process by producing nutrient-rich dirt right in the comfort of your own home.
Along with a composter or compost bin, you will need to wear gloves when dealing with cat waste. Even if you're not touching the waste with your bare hands, you should still wear rubber gloves. Furthermore, always wash your hands afterward. This will help prevent the spread of bacteria and parasites.
Where can you use the finished cat litter compost?
Composted cat litter can be used in a variety of areas throughout your yard, including on your ornamental plants and in your flower beds. Avoid placing the new cat litter compost in vegetable gardens, and instead, add it slowly as the base layer in the compost pile. This will help dilute the composted cat litter and break it down even further, which is another method to help increase the safety of the composted cat poop.
Steps to composting cat litter
Composting litter is done in the same manner as traditional composting. The compost pile will need a base layer and alternating layers of brown and green materials. However, the cat litter and cat waste will go on the very top of the compost pile.
After you have made the initial layers, you can continue to add to the compost. However, instead of tossing the brown and green materials into the compost whenever you need, try to save them until you have enough for a full layer. This improves the effectiveness of the compost. You can store green materials in an airtight container, while brown materials can be stored in a dry location. As for cat waste, keep it stored separately in an airtight container.
Continue adding to the compost pile for several months before mixing the pile. Mixing the compost pile helps to aerate it, which is vital for the breakdown process. After turning and mixing the pile, continue to add to it as you normally would. Don't forget to always add the cat waste layer at the very top of the compost pile.
Starting Your Compost Pile
Starting your compost pile isn't difficult and can be done with either a homemade compost bin or one purchased at a store. The process is the same no matter which one you use. The compost pile can also be used for more than just pet waste; you can also add natural materials such as food scraps and yard waste.
Prepare the base of your compost pile
The base of the compost pile is a layer made from course materials, such as sticks, corn cobs, husks, or fibrous stalks from tall flowers or vegetables. This layer provides aeration and keeps the air and moisture flowing throughout the compost, which is needed for nature to do its job and break down the materials.
Add alternating layers of brown and green materials
Create a bottom layer in the compost pile that consists of brown materials, such as dried leaves, topsoil, straw, pine needles, branches, wood, or sawdust. Then add a layer of green materials, such as food scraps, grass clippings, fresh green leaves, tea bags, and coffee grounds. Continue adding alternating layers of brown and green materials.
Finally, add your initial batch of cat waste
The cat waste and cat litter are the last layers to go on the compost pile, which is placed on the top. You can also place a layer of the brown waste directly on top of the cat waste, but this is not a requirement. It can, however, help the cat waste break down faster.
Composting cat litter isn't hard, and you can do a lot of good for the environment by composting all sorts of green waste, not just cat poop. Now that you know what litters you can compost and how to do it safely, you can use your Lomi kitchen composter to help the composting process with nutrient-rich soil.