How to Compost Your Cat’s Litter
More and more pet owners are becoming more aware of their pet’s environmental impact. When you throw away cat litter, for example, what do you use to dispose of the waste? Most probably a garbage bag, right? Or maybe recycled plastic from your groceries?
But what if you could drastically decrease or even eliminate your cat’s waste and carbon footprint?
One of the ways you can do so is by making your very own cat litter compost. Not only will you lower your pet’s impact on the environment, but you’ll also have your very own natural fertilizer to nourish your plants.
And so, how do you do this? It might seem complicated making your own natural fertilizer out of your cat’ litter, but it’s actually pretty simple.
Here are 4 steps to making your own cat litter compost
1. Buy or Make Your Own Compost Bin
You can buy a compost bin (Worm Factory 360 is a good way to start) from any household supply store. They usually come with instructions so all you have to do is follow the steps and add natural cat litter with your cat’s waste to the mixture. Usually, it takes cat waste 18 months to fully compost. This duration ensures that the cat litter is free of parasites such as e.coli, toxoplasmosis, and tapeworm, which can be toxic on edible plants.
You can also make your own compost bin from scratch. The key is to make a bin that’s not airtight. You can start by layering several planks of wood on top of each other to create a bin. You can then add topsoil, dry leaves, or sawdust to the bottom before dumping cat litter waste on top. You can put a lid over the bin to cover the cat’s waste odor.
2. Choose Natural Cat Litter
Do not use cat litter that’s synthetic, otherwise, it won’t compost. Clay-based, sand-based, and crystalline litter are also not ideal as they can damage the structure of your soil and even cause toxins to spread into your garden.
The best cat litter to make cat compost are made from natural, living sources, such as plain sawdust, cedar or pine cat litter, wheat-based litter, and even litter that’s made of recycled newspaper. Though some of these options are more expensive, they’re the best options if you plan on making your cat waste into compost.
3. Start Making Your Compost
If you’re making your own composting litter, then you need to start with the first layer, which is on the bottom of the bin. Make the first layer with the following: sawdust, soil, and dry leaves. You can then dump the first layer of cat poop or cat litter filled with urine over the first layer. Cover this first layer with 1” layer of soil, dry leaves, and sawdust, then leave it alone.
We wrote about Composting ratio!
Because it takes quite a while for kitty litter to compost, you’d need to aerate the litter every few weeks to speed up the process. To aerate the compost, you simply need to turn the litter using a shovel or pitchfork.
You can also add earthworms in your compost piles. You can buy them at a farm-and-garden store. Earthworms help to speed up the process by digesting the cat feces.
Now, all that cat poop and urine can start smelling awfully bad, so you’d need odor control so you can tolerate having the compost bin in your garden or yard (Where to put compost bin?). To do this, simply add a layer of sawdust or soil over the waste to help dilute the ammonia and cover offensive smells. Frequent aeration can also help to hide the odor.
4. Use The Compost
So how do you use the compost? About 6 months to a year after you made your first layers of compost, you can start using it on fruit trees and ornamental plants. Depending on the climate of your location, soil composition, and the type of litter you used, the compost should start looking like soil. This means the litter and waste no longer look like cat poop. They should look like soil and have a sweet, earthy smell and texture.
Do not use them on edible plants just yet because they still might contain parasites. Wait for 18 months or longer so you can start using them on edible plants such as herbs and vegetables.
If you have the time and you have a yard, garden, or even plants in pots around your home, making your own natural compost is a great endeavor to try. You’re not only saving money from buying fertilizers, but you’re also helping to reduce waste from filling up landfills, and you’re also reducing your carbon footprint.
Related: How to Compost Dog Waste?