Can I compost kitty litter?

close up photography of sleeping tabby cat

I am oftentimes asked by waste-conscious folks if kitty litter can be composted.

Having never been allowed to have cats growing up (my siblings were severely allergic), I never understood the unique relationship between cats and their humans and the even more complicated relationship between cats and the waste products produced to keep them happy (i.e., the food and litter containers, the used litter, the old litter boxes, and the toys!) However, the questions I have received and the stories that have been shared with me since I have been in the outreach role with the LRSWMD have opened my eyes and piqued my interested in the feline-human partnership. I’d like to take this opportunity to share some of what I have learned over the years.

Wet food cans are recyclable.  Rinse them and put them in the blue bin – as long as they are bigger than 2” on two sides, of course. And most wet food cans are; the label can stay on, too.  If your kitty litter comes in a plastic bucket, take off the handle and that bucket can be recycled.  If you are buying litter in a box or a bag, it needs to go in the trash. If you are looking to get as much use out of that item as possible, put the old litter in the empty box or bag and dispose of them in the trash.

I have come to understand that large amounts of kitty litter are used for just one cat so I am oftentimes asked by waste-conscious folks if kitty litter can be composted. Certain brands of kitty litter lend it to more easily be composted but it requires special attention and consideration if you are going to try to compost kitty litter. “The best choices for compostable cat litters are those made from natural, living sources…. Another good option for an earth-friendly and compostable cat-litter is a commercially produced litter made from pine or cedar.” 

Ultimately, it’s up to your level of comfort on how much of your kitty waste you compost, what process you use to compost it, and how you use the finished compost.  Here are some websites with different perspectives which support keeping the used litter out of the landfill. Please review them before you decide whether or not starting your own kitty litter composting system will work for you. Note: Kitty litter and pet waste is NOT accepted in the Lamoille Soil Organics program at LRSWMD Drop-off locations.

And of course, my most favorite strategy, simply  because it generates no waste at all:

But, remember my comment to start this post – I have never lived with a cat in my life so the reality of this actually being possible is may be overly optimistic. And who wants to find your cat on the toilet during your middle of the night visit?!

Please feel welcome to share your kitty experiences in the comments.