Avatar for LWWilkerson
Jan 15, 2017 4:41 PM CST

I have an old cast iron bathtub that I use as a "sortof" compost pile. It has soil in it and I add my kitchen scraps to it. It sometimes has volunteer plants come up and sometimes I have planted a few things purposely. I also use some of the soil to pot plants. I've been doing this for several years. My concern is that I have recently realized that the neighbors' cat has been regularly using it as a litter box. I'm wondering if it is safe to consume anything grown from that soil with the cat feces in there? Thanks!!!
Jan 15, 2017 4:43 PM CST
Name: greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
I have no use for internet bullies!
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No, it is not.
You could start over and place a screen or piece of wire fence material to keep the cat out and enjoy usable compost next time. Good luck. Crossing Fingers! Thumbs up

Edited to add:
Most compost piles do not get hot enough to kill the bad stuff in cat feces. Here is a link that explains it better than I can.
Sunset Zone 28, AHS Heat Zone 9, USDA zone 8b~"Leaf of Faith"
Last edited by greene Jan 15, 2017 4:46 PM Icon for preview
Jan 15, 2017 10:32 PM CST
Name: Dirt
(Zone 5b)
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It's not recommended to compost cat excrement or to grow edibles in a 'litterbox' garden--
However, the question "is it safe to consume anything grown from that soil?" and the answer "no, it is not" might cause freak out.
Don't freak out!
It could have been 'safe' enough...even if not desirable or without risk...
Basic hygiene principles are advised i.e. wash your edible plants and wash your hands before you put them in your mouth; don't eat feces and don't eat fecal soil, or the soil where varmints have died and recently decomposed Thumbs up

And regarding Toxo specifically,
Plants don't absorb Toxo oocysts and transmit the parasite to people. (Bacteria, on the other hand can sometimes be taken up by plants. Remember the deadly E. coli O157 spinach? Anyway, that's not a cat thing but is a legit concern with improperly composted cattle manure.)
Back to Toxo, not every cat has it nor do they shed it continuously. They get the infection when they eat infected meat (most likely rodents/birds/what have you if they are killing and eating infected critters in the neighborhood, or they can even get it if they are fed raw or under-cooked infected meat from the store).
They only shed the oocysts in their feces for a couple weeks after that initial infection--not their whole lives. They do shed a lot of them in a short time period and the oocysts can remain viable and pathogenic in the soil for up to a year or so. These then infect the rodents/birds/what have you--anything that eats them intentionally or accidentally.
Most likely cats to be sharing the parasite are the feral or indoor-outdoor young cat/kitten types rather than older cats.
It's entirely possible that your neighbors' cat didn't even put any Toxo in there Crossing Fingers!
Still, though, good idea to employ some cat proofing strategies for your compost, because you just never know who might think it looks like a good place to go

Jan 16, 2017 11:14 AM CST
Name: Philip Becker
Fresno California (Zone 8a)
And !!! Even if the cat or dog dosent have toxo. Cat and dog poop contains heavy metals , from cat and dog food. The heavy metals are taken up by the plant and end up in your fruit or vegetables !👺! Drooling
Barf me out.
Anything i say, could be misrepresented, or wrong.
Avatar for LWWilkerson
Jan 16, 2017 1:04 PM CST

Thank you all so much!!
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