Owning a cat has several benefits but along with them come a few downsides, including the fact that you will need to deal with your feline’s poop, especially if your cat lives indoors. There are a few ways that you can get rid of your cat’s fecal matter so lets take a look.
How to dispose of cat poop?
The best way to dispose of your cats poop in most cases is to simply put it into the trash. Start by scooping urine clumps and poo using a litter scoop.
Afterward, place these in a small plastic bag. Tie the bag in a knot and then place it inside another plastic bag. Double bagging is essential for preventing wafting throughout your home. Plus, this also prevents harmful bacteria from contaminating your home. After double-bagging your cat’s poo, throw the bag inside the trash can, preferably one that is placed outdoors.
Do not place poop and urine clumps directly into a trash can. Not only is this gross. The trash can will be stinky in just a matter of a few hours. Worse, specks of litter and fecal matter can rise in the air and contaminate your home every time you open the trash can.
If you live in a rural area, you might think of burning your cat’s poop as well as the litter. However, that is a bad idea. For one, if you are using clay litter, it would not burn completely. You will still be left with some clay. You should also avoid burning biodegradable litters. Although these can burn, you might be risking the release of harmful toxins into the air.
Pros and cons of composting cat litter
If you have ample space on your property, one option that you can explore is composting cat litter.
Pros of composting cat litter
One of the advantages of composting your cat’s fecal waste is that you are drastically reducing his carbon pawprint. This is because you are no longer using plastic bags to throw away his poo.
Second, your cat’s manure is rich in nutrients like nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus that plants require to grow optimally. You can use your cat’s poo to fertilize your plants.
Third, you are preventing harmful contaminants in your cat’s poo and litter from entering bodies of water and landfills. These include nitrate, ammonia, and bacteria.
Cons of composting cat litter
The first barrier to composting is space. Composting does not require too much space. However, if you live in a city, composting may not be feasible.
Second, you have to be mindful of the smell the compost can emit. This is especially true if you live in the city or suburbs.
You should also be aware that cat fecal matter may contain parasites and other harmful organisms. One of the parasites present in cat poo is toxoplasmosis. Toxoplasmosis eggs live in your cat’s poop and can infect people, especially people with weak immune systems. Pregnant women are particularly vulnerable to this parasite. Exposure to the parasite can lead to birth defects.
Worse, conventional composting cannot kill the parasite. To kill the parasite, the compost pile should reach a temperature of 73 degrees Celsius. Unfortunately, compost piles rarely reach this temperature.
Additionally, you cannot use cat poop compost on your fruits and veggies. You can only use the compost on your ornamental plants.
How to compost cat litter
If you have weighed the pros and cons and you have decided that the benefits outweigh the risks, you should consider hot composting. Hot composting is a method of composting pet waste that can kill a substantial amount of pathogens in pet poo.
Be aware that you cannot compost clay-based litter. If you want to compost your cat’s poo, you should choose litter that uses either paper or pine.
The compost pile will inevitably create an awful smell. You can minimize the stench by putting the compost inside a plastic trash can that has a lid. Drill holes on the sides of the body of the trash can and cut off the bottom. Do not put holes on the lid.
After prepping the plastic trash can, the next thing that you should do is to dig a hole on the ground. The hole should be deep enough to fit the trash can. Additionally, a deeper hole makes it easier for creatures that break down the compost to enter the pile.
Once you have placed the plastic trash can into the ground, the next thing that you need to do is to add layers of leaves or straw inside. Alternatively, you can use old newspapers or a combination of any of these.
You can then add cat litter inside along with additional straw, leaves, or newspaper. Once you are done, secure the can’s lid. Remember to keep the compost pile constantly moist to hasten decomposition. From time to time, you can also mix the compost pile.
It will take about two years for harmful pathogens to die inside the compost pile. After that, you can use the compost on your plants.
Never flush your cat’s poop
You are probably thinking about flushing your cat’s poo and litter down the toilet. It is probably the most convenient option. However, convenience does not necessarily mean that it is the right thing to do.
One of the risks involved in flushing cat poop in a toilet is that you risk spreading Toxoplasma around your home. Although feral and outdoor cats are at a greater risk of contracting this parasite, it is still possible that your indoor cat may be infected.
Apart from causing problems with pregnant people and persons with weak immune systems, the parasite can infect wildlife, especially marine animals like whales and dolphins.
When you flush down your cat’s poop, the Toxoplasma eggs go to your area’s sewage treatment facility. Unfortunately, sewage treatment cannot kill all the parasite’s eggs. Worse, sewage water can wind its way to bodies of water, infecting animals.
The best way to dispose of cat waste
Although there are a few ways to dispose of your cat’s feces and litter, the best option in most cases would be to double bag his waste material. Composting is a more eco-friendly option but not possible in all situations.
Image: istockphoto.com / ZoranMilisavljevic83