Ask a Question forum: Cat feces in garden

Views: 165, Replies: 9 » Jump to the end
Philadelphia, PA
lrowland270
Apr 8, 2018 10:50 AM CST
Hello! I am new here and also new to gardening. I live in center city Philadelphia and just recently acquired a small plot in a community garden. I walked over this morning to start weeding and assessing the plot and while doing so found cat feces in the garden (there are a couple of strays around, which does help with vermin).

I have done a bit of reading and understand that cat feces can carry parasites that can make humans sick. I know what I should do in the future to prevent this, but where do I proceed from here to make sure the soil is not contaminated and safe to grow veggies to eat? I removed all of the pieces I found and placed them out for trash collection tomorrow but now I'm wondering what I should do to the soil and plot before beginning to plant this week/next week.

Thank you for any and all feedback!
Name: Sally
central Maryland
Seriously addicted to kettle chips.
Charter ATP Member Native Plants and Wildflowers Region: Mid-Atlantic Composter Region: Maryland Birds
Cat Lover Dog Lover Region: United States of America
Image
sallyg
Apr 8, 2018 2:40 PM CST
I like to start with this, explains all about toxoplasmosis.
https://www.cdc.gov/parasites/...

only gardening aspect included is this
"Wear gloves when gardening and during any contact with soil or sand because it might be contaminated with cat feces that contain Toxoplasma. Wash hands with soap and warm water after gardening or contact with soil or sand."

..come into the peace of wild things..-Wendell Berry
Life is a buffet (anon)
Name: greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
My dogs love me; some people don't.
Deer Bookworm Keeper of Poultry Vermiculture Garden Ideas: Master Level Region: Georgia
Plant Identifier Rabbit Keeper Composter Garden Sages Native Plants and Wildflowers Herbs
Image
greene
Apr 8, 2018 3:10 PM CST
Especially dangerous for those who are pregnant or may have compromised immune systems. Cat feces may also contain roundworm, hookworm, tapeworm and...what else. Shrug!

Aside from removing the unwanted waste, you could trim some rose bushes and lay the thorny branches on every planting bed you own. Not very practical, I know. How about a neighborhood meeting to stop the cats from roaming into yards that do not belong to their immediate owners. Again, not a very practical suggestion.

You can purchase plastic snakes and hope to frighten the kitties away. You can add fencing/netting material across the surface of the soil.

Really?? Confused

The only practical thing is to find the owners of the cats, explain why you do not want the cats defecating in your veggie garden and hope the owners do the right thing. I currently have two dogs but I was previously the 'crazy cat lady' with 4 cats...all 4 remained indoors except when on a leash for outings or a ride in the car. Just because I love my cat(s) does not give me the right to permit my cat to trespass and defecate in your yard.

Sunset Zone 28, AHS Heat Zone 9, USDA zone 8b~"Leaf of Faith"
Name: Tiffany Wreathfresh™
Puget Sound, WA (Zone 8b)
Sempervivums
Image
LivingWreaths
Apr 8, 2018 4:57 PM CST
WELCOME!
lrowland270 said:Hello! I am new here and also new to gardening. I live in center city Philadelphia and just recently acquired a small plot in a community garden. I walked over this morning to start weeding and assessing the plot and while doing so found cat feces in the garden (there are a couple of strays around, which does help with vermin).

I have done a bit of reading and understand that cat feces can carry parasites that can make humans sick. I know what I should do in the future to prevent this, but where do I proceed from here to make sure the soil is not contaminated and safe to grow veggies to eat? I removed all of the pieces I found and placed them out for trash collection tomorrowbut now I'm wondering what I should do to the soil and plot before beginning to plant this week/next week.

Thank you for any and all feedback!


ANSWER TO YOUR QUESTION:

Wear gloves when gardening, wash your hands afterwards, and wash your vegetables before you eat them.
Anytime you touch dirt you're going to be sharing it with other organisms and animals. You can't kill toxoplasmosis protozoa in the soil just like you can't kill ringworm fungal spores in the soil.

In addressing the cats,
your mathematical risk of catching toxoplasmosis protozoan parasites from cats is extremely, extremely small (slightly higher for those whom are immuno-compromised, and no one wants to be responsible for a mom vertically transmitting any disease to their baby).
To acquire toxoplasmosis from cats, do the following: injest the feces from a cat with an ACTIVE infection (not a carrier of the protozoa, but active infection where the eggs are being produced in muscle tissue and shed through fecal matter), and even then, you may not get an active infection.



FYI, About 40 to 50% of the world population(of people) are carriers of toxoplasmosis gondii protozoa.

You are in a community garden so, yes, the cats could be strays.

Stray cats tend to breed with other cats (understatement). One thing you could do is contact a rescue organization that will spay and neuter Strays. A rescue group will set up Humane traps to catch the kitties, then check for a chip. If no owner, then they'll spay/neuter, give shots and Veterinary Care, then assess cat's ability to be adopted. For feral (wild, untame)strays they will release them back to where they came from, in better health and sterile.

I found a non-profit rescue organization in your area, west Philly, that you can contact to help with the cats
City Kittys
http://www.citykitties.org
These groups do this work out of the goodness of their hearts and 100% donated funds.

Let's help these cats, and aid your neighborhood as a whole.

In the Middle Ages they attributed cats to spreading the bubonic plague, so they killed all the cats and the plague spread even faster. Why? Because rats were carrying the plague and the cats were keeping the rat populations under control. Oops!





[Last edited by LivingWreaths - Apr 8, 2018 5:09 PM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #1678997 (4)
Name: Deb
Pacific NW (Zone 8b)
Region: Pacific Northwest Deer Organic Gardener Ferns Herbs Dragonflies
Spiders! Dog Lover Keeper of Poultry Birds Fruit Growers Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
Image
Bonehead
Apr 8, 2018 5:09 PM CST
Oh my. If the cat poo bugs you, scoop it out and be done with it. Sheesh.
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.
Minnesota (Zone 3b)
RpR
Apr 8, 2018 5:23 PM CST
lrowland270 said:Hello! I am new here and also new to gardening. I live in center city Philadelphia and just recently acquired a small plot in a community garden. I walked over this morning to start weeding and assessing the plot and while doing so found cat feces in the garden (there are a couple of strays around, which does help with vermin).

I have done a bit of reading and understand that cat feces can carry parasites that can make humans sick. I know what I should do in the future to prevent this, but where do I proceed from here to make sure the soil is not contaminated and safe to grow veggies to eat? I removed all of the pieces I found and placed them out for trash collection tomorrow but now I'm wondering what I should do to the soil and plot before beginning to plant this week/next week.

Thank you for any and all feedback!

Ouside of till it, or prep it for gardening if you do, nothing, it is a tempest in a teapot.
From Morning Call:

There have been numerous articles on the dangers of cat feces in the garden. Are they true?

To a point: The feces of cats can contain a multitude of parasites including the one that causes toxoplasmosis, a disease that can be dangerous to pregnant women or those with a weak immune system. The parasites are present in many other mammals. The difference is that these particular parasites can only complete their life cycle in the intestines of a cat.

Cat feces also contain parasites for roundworm, hookworm and tapeworm. However, if gardeners wear gloves, wash their hands and rinse and wash any harvested crops, they will greatly decrease any chance of infection.

So, is it incredibly dangerous?

Not really, although there are some risks. In truth, most of the content of cat poop is similar to that of other animals — cows, birds, etc. that we pay others to collect. I am not promoting cat feces as a fertilizer, but it isn't the end of the world either. The balances of nitrogen, potassium and potash aren't quite the same, digging up cat feces is not a pleasant gardening experience and there is the slim risk of infection.


Name: kathy
Michigan
Zone 4b, near St. Clair MI
Cottage Gardener Lilies Organic Gardener
Image
katesflowers
Apr 8, 2018 5:34 PM CST
Irowland270 - welcome !
How about growing annual flowers instead of vegetables the first year of community gardening. This allows you to become acquainted with fellow gardeners, their use of pesticides/herbicides, runoff/over-spray into your area, etc. Cats and wild life will hang out there, too, but it may not be as great a concern if your just growing flowers for now.
Best of luck with your garden no matter what you grow. And we're here if you need help.
"Things won are done, joy's soul lies in the doing." Shakespeare
Name: Steve
Prescott, AZ (Zone 7b)
Region: Southwest Gardening Roses Irises Lilies
Image
Steve812
Apr 8, 2018 6:01 PM CST
So... the thing I did immediately before reading this thread was post a few stills from a video of a squirrel eating new-growth foliage off one of my hybrid tea roses. A few days ago I was reading about why I should make a two hour pilgrammage to acquire tiger poo from a nearby zoo to scare away furry creatures that will eat plants in my garden, like that squirrel. And I started thinking about how that would work.

I have it on good authority that the squirrels in Philadelphia highly aggressive. Squirrels are notorious for being wlling to eat pretty much everything in a vegetable garden including many of the plants. So I expect they will be after whatever food you succeed in cultivating in the community gardens. For this reason, I'd recommend some foxgloves or delphiniums in your initial plantings.

I'm wondering whether you should gather up all that cat poo and offer it for sale to other community gardeners as a pest deterrent? Or maybe bury it near but not necessarily in your plot of soil. This would immobilize the undesireable microbes and might improve the soil a bit. You might discover whether squirrels are as afraid of cat poo as they ought to be of tiger poo. And that could be worth something.

The glove thing, too.

Good Luck, and Have Fun.
When you dance with nature, try not to step on her toes.
Name: Elena
NYC (Zone 7a)
Daylilies Plant and/or Seed Trader Winter Sowing Hybridizer Peonies Vegetable Grower
Seed Starter Organic Gardener Composter Container Gardener Spiders! Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Image
bxncbx
Apr 8, 2018 6:15 PM CST
I have the same issue. I just remove the feces & don't worry about it unless they pooped near something like lettuce. I'm not eating that lettuce! In general, it is usually only a problem before your plants get large. Cats need room to squat & once your plants are covering a lot of area they won't use it as a litter box. Easiest solution is to cover the area with row cover or a sheer material. The cats will move on and you can remove it when the plants are larger. Also cover the area in winter when nothing is growing.
Name: Sally
central Maryland
Seriously addicted to kettle chips.
Charter ATP Member Native Plants and Wildflowers Region: Mid-Atlantic Composter Region: Maryland Birds
Cat Lover Dog Lover Region: United States of America
Image
sallyg
Apr 8, 2018 9:26 PM CST
bottom line:
Wear gloves when gardening.
Use landscape fabric between plants- keeps the cats from using the area, keeps the dirt off the above ground parts of the plants. bonus, you save a ton of time by preventing weeds.
Wash hands and vegetables.
Ask if the cat group will help, a donation might help their decision.
..come into the peace of wild things..-Wendell Berry
Life is a buffet (anon)

« Garden.org Homepage
« Back to the top
« Forums List
« Ask a Question forum
Only the members of the Members group may reply to this thread.

Member Login:

Username:

Password:

[ Join now ]

Today's site banner is by ge1836 and is called "Hosta Kroosa Regal"