The Q&A Archives: Pet litter in compost pile?

Question: I've been throwing cat and dog litter into my compost pile. I read recently this is not a good practice. Why? Mary Davis Scituate, MA

Answer: I don't advise using dog or cat litter in compost, says Martin Sevoian, professor of veterinary science at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. In a properly constructed pile there's enough heat generated to kill most pathogens in dog and cat feces, but some parasites, particularly in the egg form, may survive. Coccidia, for example, is a heat resistant parasite that can cause intestinal infections, he explains. The parasite may be picked up by gardeners working the soil or children accidentally eating.

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