One of my readers, a true cat lady, asked about the proper disposal of cat waste. With pet populations on the rise, this is an important issue. According to pittsburghpermaculture.org/, “Composting Cat Litter and Waste”, “approximately 34% of the United States population owns a cat, 90% of which uses at least one litter box.”
Some publications say it is okay to flush cat waste, minus the litter, down the toilet, but research is showing otherwise. The eggs of the parasite Toxoplasma Gondi found in cat poop may not be killed during the sewage treatment process and could therefore contaminate waterways. Though this parasite rarely affects healthy people, it can affect those with compromised immune systems and can cause birth defects and brain damage in babies whose mothers were exposed during pregnancy. It has also been shown to harm sea otters and other wildlife. Burying or composting cat waste is not an option either since the Toxo eggs can last up to a year in soil.
The solution unfortunately is to dispose of cat waste in the trash sealed in a plastic bag. While this may not seem like a “green” solution, it is the safest. There are other green things you can do to lower your cat’s “carbon paw print”.
- Use one of the greener litters made of recycled wood shavings, wheat, recycled paper or corn. Clumping and scoopable cat litters are clay-based and not the by-product of the manufacture of something else, but instead produced by strip mining. Cats can ingest the clay, known as bentonite, by licking their paws; it is especially dangerous for kittens or dogs that eat cat poop.
- Clean your cat box daily—it takes about 24 hours for the Toxo eggs in cat poop to be able to infect people. Wear gloves when you clean your cat box and make sure to wash your hands with warm, soapy water afterwards.
- Keep your cat indoors to stop it from hunting birds and other small animals.
- Remove cat poop from your yard since the Toxo eggs last for months in soil as previously said, and can move into rivers and oceans.
Information compiled from http://www.nrdc.org/thisgreenlife/,