Would You Compost Your Dog or Cat's Poop?

barbourians/CC BY-SA 2.0

News that coke can kickstart your compost heap was greeted by some readers with disgust. "Why would I put THAT in my garden!?" asked a rather purist organic friend of mine.

But there are other supposed composting "no nos" that intrepid composters are experimenting with, albeit with all due caution. I've asked, for example, about the compostability of dirty diapers, and a little while back I posted on one urban homesteading couple who were attempting to compost kitty litter.

Now those cat poop composters have posted a follow up over at Root Simple, and the report is that it is very much a work in progress. Here's the, errm, scoop:


Just like turning, adding a nitrogen source to the pile heats it up. All compost piles are a balance between carbon and nitrogen sources, aka "greens and browns." Too much carbon and your pile is cool and slow. Too much nitrogen and its slimy and stinky. But if you get the balance right, you end up with lovely compost.

In kitty litter composting, the litter is the carbon and the urine and poo deliver the nitrogen. Starting out on this path, I had no idea how the natural carbon to nitrogen ratio in a cat box would play out. Now it seems to me that the ratio is carbon heavy. Cat litter materials, such as compressed sawdust, are really dense carbon sources and need tons of nitrogen to balance them. So my preliminary finding on this point is that it might be help to add extra nitrogen when you add a new layer of litter. Extra nitrogen could come in the form of green yard trimmings, veg scraps, urine, fresh horse manure, etc.

Head on over to Root Simpleto learn more about cat poop composting. And remember, if you do try it, don't go putting this stuff on your veggies.

Tags: Animals | Composting | Composting Toilets | United States | Waste

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