Can I Compost Dog and Cat Waste?

There are some websites that will give you instructions on properly composting pet manure. Unless your pet is an herbivore, don’t do it. Carnivores and omnivores can have intestinal parasites that can make you sick. Not only do the parasites make you sick, but they can spread into other manures that you may be using as well. Disposing of pet waste should be done correctly. Waste removal services should be carried out in compliance with the law.

The primary concern with cat waste is a parasitic disease called toxoplasmosis. You get toxoplasmosis by handling cat waste. Always use gloves when handling cat faeces. Toxoplasmosis is normally asymptomatic in healthy adults, but can be devastating to a pregnancy and lead to severe problems or miscarriage. When someone with a weakened immune system contracts toxoplasmosis, they may experience flu-like symptoms.

Cats and dogs can also have roundworms. The primary way to get a roundworm infection is to eat food contaminated by waste. You could take that as meaning that it’s ok to compost dog waste and only use it on flowers except that if you ever grow anything else in that garden it could be contaminated. Why contaminate your garden?

So the direct answer to the question is yes. You can compost the waste. The real answer is no, you should not. It smells terrible and it will contain parasites that can contaminate your garden and your other manure. It’s a very risky idea with very little payoff.

There are times when our pets try to add to our gardens by leaving presents. In that case, there are steps we can take. In a flower garden, a little cat waste can be dug out and discarded. I don’t recommend leaving it because it will only attract another animal that will come around and dig it up less artfully. The same goes for dogs. Leaving it there will only attract the interest of insects and other animals. That’s not the kind of interest I want in my garden.

Being green shouldn’t be done at the expense of sanitation and your own health. There are basic sanitary guidelines that we should follow and at this time it seems that dog and cat waste just don’t fit into composting. There could be a way in the future to be sure that the parasites are killed and it is sanitary, but until then, we should err on the side of caution and stick with herbivore manure in our gardens until we’re sure it’s safe to do otherwise. Ask your waste collection company for advice on what to do with pet waste and how to properly dispose of it as most waste disposal companies will refuse to dispose of pet waste due to safety reasons.