Cat Litter Vermicomposting-08-25-10

Cat Litter Sunflower
This “Kong” sunflower seems to have benefited from the cat litter compost heap.

It’s been quite some time since I provided an update on my cat litter composting bed. When I checked on it in the spring (see “Cat Litter Composting-04-30-10“), I found lots of worms – mostly concentrated around the outside of the heap. Much of the material was still very recognizable as the compostable cat litter I’ve been using (along with the deposits from the cats of course! haha) – basically orange-brown in color and granular in texture. I think much of the odor was gone by then though (can’t recall for sure).

Well, not too surprisingly, there has been plenty of change over the course of the last ~ 4 months, and the material is now much more uniform in appearance – basically just looking like a nice compost (recall that I had added quite a lot more than just compostable cat litter – there were also lots of fall leaves, corrugated cardboard, and layers of straw).

Cat Litter Vermicompost

The compost has a nice earthy smell now as well. As for the worms – while there are certainly still lots of Red Worms in the bed (especially concentrated in particular spots), I get the feeling that the food/habitat value of the material has declined substantially since, apart from there being fewer worms than earlier in the summer, the worms also seem to be somewhat smaller on average.

As you can see above, I ended up planting a single “Kong” sunflower in the corner of the bed, and it has certainly done just fine (not my biggest one by any means, but it was also planted quite a bit later than most of them).

Once fall arrives, I will likely use the compost a protective mulch for some of my ornamental beds. It should provide them with a nice boost in the spring. I think I might then empty out my designated cat litter composting bin, once again heaping everything in this corner bed, and letting it sit over the winter.

By the way, if you would like to read about actual the set up of this bed (back in the fall), be sure to check out this post: “Winter Cat Litter Composting Bed

**NOTE** – Cat litter composting warrants some caution, and should generally only be attempted by those with previous composting experience. Any dog or cat waste composting systems should dedicated to those waste materials alone (i.e. don’t toss them in your ‘regular’ compost bins), and should not be set up near any water sources. Cat litter shouldn’t be handled at all by pregnant women or young children.

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    • Kim from Milwaukee
    • August 25, 2010

    That’s one INCREDIBLE sunflower you got there, Bentley! That says alot for your kittypoop’s power!

    • Evi
    • August 26, 2010

    Great Sunflower:)) It’s good to find someone else experimenting with cat manure; thought I was the only 1! I am putting only the “solid waste” in a worm bin with paper & cardboard and small bit of a standard cat litter. Thought of changing to sand for more neutral environmental effect; what do you think? Also, is it normal to have fungi growing out of the poo? I’ve found these & small wormy/grubby type creatures and wondered how safe this is. Have to say I am Very careful about hygiene. All advice/info much appreciated 🙂

    • Jillian
    • August 28, 2010

    I’d love to see more people experiment with composting pet waste. Kitty litter boxes are gross…and they are pretty wasteful if you’re using clay and dumping in the trash.

    • Bentley
    • September 3, 2010

    Sorry for the delay responding, everyone!
    KIM – I’m not sure how much of the size can be attributed to the kitty-poop compost to be totally honest. This is a “Kong” sunflower, and it’s definitely smaller than some of the ones I’ve got in my “living fence” (row of Kong sunflowers planted just outside my sad little wooden fence) – then again, I DID put some scoops of worm compost down in each planting hole when I planted the other ones as well, so ya never know.
    EVI – Sand would certainly be a LOT better than the clay stuff. I actually tried to compost it once when I was young and dumb! BAD idea! I ended up with a big clay cake, with kitty poopy filling. lol
    Fungi are very normal in any sort of composting system – if the resources are available, and the worms down graze them too quickly, they will grow. The wormy grubs might be black soldier fly larvae if your bin is outside (or even in a garage). I would actually be happy to have them in a cat litter composting system since they are much more tolerant of ammonia than worms and they process material very quickly.
    JILLIAN – I agree. I actually feel the same way about most types of waste. I think we (society in general) have misguided ideas about all this stuff.

    • Evi
    • September 3, 2010

    Thanks very much Bentley. You’re doing a GREAT job :))

    • Rane
    • January 20, 2013

    Okay, crazy question, if you are still monitoring this. Do you think it would be possible to add the worms directly to the litter box with the composting litter? Assuming the cat wouldn’t freak out about using it.

    • Bentley
    • January 21, 2013

    Hi Rane,
    Absolutely NOT – unless it’s a really deep litter box with a lot of quality composting worm habitat down below. These worms are VERY sensitive to ammonia, so cat urine would create issue in a hurry.
    Something like black soldier fly larvae might work though.

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