Monday, July 14, 2008

How green is your pet?

So maybe by now you're conserving on gas (these days, who isn't?), turning out the lights when you don't need them, using summer's heat to dry your clothes, using fewer pesticides and herbicides, composting, and lots of other "green" ideas you've been hearing about.

I know I have. And yet every time I feed the herd of cats we've acquired and I toss yet another aluminum can in the recycling, or scoop out the cat boxes into old plastic grocery bags and toss the bags into the trash, I wonder if there's not a better way.

Well, wouldn't you know it. Of course there is. has a whole page on How to Green Your Pet, from spaying and neutering to prevent pet overpopulation problems, to keeping cats indoors so they don't continue to decimate the wild bird population (or keep them behind safe fencing, such as The Purrfect Fence), to cleaning up after them properly.

Want to go a step further? I've wondered if there's something better I could do with those bags of kitty waste I've been dumping, especially since I've been using canvas bags for grocery shopping and my supply of paper and plastic bags is running low. True, we're not supposed to compost the stuff and put it on our veggie gardens, for fear of parasites and diseases. But it can be composted, using a pit composter which you can build yourself or even buy ready made (or see this model).

I'll be investigating the possibilities of composting pet waste, as I have some questions still. For example, how concentrated are the nutrients coming out of the composted poo? Could I, for example, plant some shrubs around it or a tree near it? Would that supply a steady stream of fertilizer, or would that be too strong for the woody plants? I may just have to try it and see.

The little guy with his tongue sticking out is our Edison, last summer when he was still little. Now he looks like this:

except his back leg is all shaved now because he had orthpedic surgery to correct some congenital problems in his ankle and knee, poor guy.


EAL said...

What a beautiful cat! I'd say we're pretty green with our cat--except for the composting.

Roses and Lilacs said...

Good for you. To answer your question, you can compost litter like Yesterday's News, Worlds Best, and Feline Pine (there are others whose names escape me).

You can bury it, put a limited amount around shrubs and trees, or put it into a compost pile. (Don't use it around edibles until it has aged over 1 year.) What you have with used kitty litter is exactly the same thing as you would get cleaning out a horse stall--organics high in nitrogen. Treat it the same way.