Harmful cat manure?

Maxim1122January 8, 2014

Recently my cat did her needs in one of my raised beds and I removed most of the manure, but I think there is some urine and manure left in the soil. I thought it was totally safe to do, because by the time I will plant my summer crops it would've decompose. But one of the one commenters on my previous post commented that cat manure contains Toxoplasmosis bacteria that can be transported through my food that I grow... Is it something I should worry about?

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Yes, it is. There is no danger in this whole world more grave than cat poop. Every time my neighbor's cat come poop in my small kitchen garden I will pick up any weapon I can reach, run out the kitchen door and chase it away, screaming protective chanting along the way. That is when the damage was not done. If I was too late and it done pooping, I will dig up all the soil within 1 meter radius of its poop down to 5 inches and throw all those soil away.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2014 at 8:46AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I searched "cat poop" on this forum and found some helpful info.

I've linked one of the discussions below, but there are more. Hope this helps.

(seriously ceth???)

Here is a link that might be useful: cat poop in the garden

    Bookmark   January 8, 2014 at 10:27AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
ZachS. z5 Littleton, CO

From what I remember, toxoplasmosis can also be airborne but I don't think that people with litter boxes are all grievously ill or falling over dead. While I wouldn't suggest using cat feces as an additive to compost, I wouldn't worry about what's left in your raised bed.

Not to mention the parasite is found in our soil anyways with or without cat poop.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2014 at 10:48AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Good one ceth! Be sure to share your "protective chants" with the rest of us. Do they work on all the other animals that poop in the garden too? If so we can record them and set up a continuous loop recording to play in the garden.

Is it something I should worry about?

Maxim obviously you are going to worry about it no matter what anyone here says so why don't you look up toxoplasmosis itself on one of the many reputable medical sites and learn all about it. Then you can make your own decision.


    Bookmark   January 8, 2014 at 11:26AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
floral_uk z.8/9 SW UK

I found a new way of scaring cats away a couple of weeks ago. I was scooping leaves out of my tiny pond when the neighour's two young cats appeared. I don't want them in my tiny garden because I prefer to see the birds there. With an adult cat just raising your arm will send it on its way. But these two were too immature to know that people throw stuff, so they just sat on the wall staring at me. I then flicked a forkful of wet leaves at one cat and it shot off. Only a moment later did I realise that the 'leaves' were a very dopey frog.

A cat looks very silly with a frog stuck to its nose. And a frog looks really annoyed when it falls upside down off a cat's face.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2014 at 12:16PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Toxoplasmosis is a disease caused by the parasite called Toxoplasma gondii. The parasite is all over the place, but especially in cats. Usually it doesn't cause illness in people with healthy immune systems.

If you are pregnant or HIV positive or are taking drugs to supress your immune system (for example if you had an organ transplant), it could be dangerous.

Since it usually does not cause problems in people, there is a good chance you may already be infected with Toxoplasma gondii and don't know it. They say around 33% of the world population is infected with no symptoms.

If I were you, I would not worry about toxoplasmosis (unless you are immune compromised).

However, personally, I would not want a cat regularly pooping in my garden either. It just bothers me. I would use some type of fence to keep the cat out.

In my case, my dog chases cats off of my property, so I don't have to worry about it.


    Bookmark   January 8, 2014 at 4:58PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
daninthedirt(Cent TX; HZ10, Sunset z30, USDA z8a)

Mckenziak has it right. Actually, there is a good chance you've already had it. The symptoms are flu-like. BUT, it is bad for people with some conditions, as described above. Also, it has been linked to development of metal illnesses, interestingly enough. The cats deposit it because they ate infected wild beasts. Of course, the wild beasts are probably pooping in your garden as well. You're just not seeing them do it.

That being said, I wouldn't encourage cats to poop in your garden, or use cat poop for compost (the Toxoplasma parasite will survive composting), but I wouldn't get freaked out about it if some poop gets deposited in your bed.

As to dangers in the world more grave than cat poop, I can think of a truckload. By the way, just wash your hands when you're done in the garden, or at least avoid licking them.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2014 at 11:08PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

OK thanks everybody,
Jsut one more question⦠Can I grow root vegetables (like carrots)? Because they may come in direct contact with the manureâ¦

    Bookmark   January 9, 2014 at 4:49AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

No, you must not. It is too dangerous. The bacteria and virus will stick to the skin of those lovely carrots and cause serious illness if eaten accidentally. They last a very long time on the skin too. I won't do that if I were you. Very bad thing, the cat poop.

    Bookmark   January 9, 2014 at 5:07AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Maxim, hopefully you've picked up on the fact that ceth needs to be ignored.

The general consensus regarding cat manure is that it's not desirable, but that we don't need to be unduly alarmed. There is a great deal of information on line about how to repel cats from using a garden as a litter box.

Always thoroughly wash your garden produce before eating it....that's a must, cats or no cats.

    Bookmark   January 9, 2014 at 5:30AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

OK Thanks!!!

    Bookmark   January 9, 2014 at 7:37AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Just a note to the discussion, all poop aside lol, I have had experiences where repeated use of a flowering bed or seedlings were entirely killed off by repetitive use as a litter box, not to mention the HIGHLY offensive smell cause by the feces and urine. Plus little compares to the disgust of harvesting fresh vegetables or pulling a weed and inadvertently sticking your hand in a pile of fresh crap. Worth the time and effort to discourage kitty IMHO.

    Bookmark   January 9, 2014 at 8:22AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I am a retired academic veterinarian whose specialty, and PhD degree, was parasitic diseases. The comments by mckenziek, daninthedirt, and rhizo_1 are accurate. Although cats may be a source of human infection with Toxoplasma, consumption of raw/undercooked meats (particularly pork, venison, lamb and goat) pose as great, if not a greater risk. This is why one should never use a cutting board for raw meat followed by cooked meat or fruits and vegetables -- designate a separate cutting board for use with raw meat only. Further, most otherwise healthy cats shed the organism in their manure for only about 3 weeks during their life and are not a risk of transmitting Toxoplasma at most other times. That said, you do not want cats using the garden as a litter box and never fertilize or make compost using the manure of a meat-eating animal, such as a dog or cat, due the risk of a number of diseases in addition to Toxoplasma from cats.

If observed, cat manure should be removed from the garden as soon as possible -- ideally before the manure begins to fall apart. That way the toxoplasma organisms will not have had a chance to spread into there soil. Scooping up an inch or so of soil around the manure will help if you are especially concerned, but anything more than that is over kill.

You can grow whatever you want in the affected area, including root crops. Just be sure to wash your produce thoroughly before use, which is something you should be doing anyway. For further protection, you can peel root crops, such as carrots, before eating raw because Toxoplasma does not penetrate into the plant -- it only contaminates the surface along with any attached soil. Finally, cooking definitely will kill Toxoplasma.

For more detailed information, see this article by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: http://www.cdc.gov/parasites/toxoplasmosis/epi.html

Also see the Public Health recommendations by the Companion Animal Parasite Council at the bottom of this web page: http://www.capcvet.org/capc-recommendations/toxoplasma

    Bookmark   January 9, 2014 at 10:17AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanks courtneych, your information was very useful.
I have seen my cat poop some more in my raised bed, it means that I will have some more cleaning to do tomorrow..
I think I will head to a garden supply store asap to get some spikes to put on my bed.. This cat seems to not get my massage to not make her needs in that bed.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2014 at 10:03AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
theforgottenone1013(MI zone 5b/6a)

If you've got rose prunings or other thorny shrub/tree prunings, lay them on the ground in your beds and the cat(s) will stay away.


    Bookmark   January 10, 2014 at 2:24PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I did stick some bamboo skewers on my soil.. My bed is almost all covered with skewers, but this cat finds the spots with no skewers... All I can smell from this bed now is urine and manure...

    Bookmark   January 11, 2014 at 4:58AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Maybe try sprinkling lots of hot pepper?

I know the urine smells, but it's good fertilizer, anyway.

So sorry this is happening to your garden!

    Bookmark   January 11, 2014 at 10:08AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
floral_uk z.8/9 SW UK

maxim11222 - A while back I suggested twiggy prunings (twice) and someone else suggested chicken wire. Rodney has just suggested the prunings again. Both these will work better than skewers as there are no gaps of open soil. Both are simple and both are effective and I'm not quite sure why you don't give one of them a go. I lay prunings along every row of seeds I sow. They don't even need to be thorny, though that probably enhances the effect. I've even used old flowering cabbage stems. As long as they cover the ground and are a few centimetres high they will work. They are laid on the earth, not stuck in vertically. The plants grow up through the prunings and then I either remove them and re use on another area or leave them in place.

This post was edited by floral_uk on Sat, Jan 11, 14 at 15:44

    Bookmark   January 11, 2014 at 11:11AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

You have been given lots of effective suggestions in your previous long thread on this just a couple weeks back. Apparently none of them appealed to you? Some of your very same questions posed here were also asked and answered in that discussion.

Now, as flora said above, you are just getting duplicates of suggestions that were already in that thread being repeated in this one. So I linked it for you below so you could easily find it.


Here is a link that might be useful: Your previous discussion of this question

    Bookmark   January 11, 2014 at 3:08PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
wayne_5 zone 6a Central Indiana

Cats do like loose soil to do their thing in. One thing I have not seen here is to build...tra la...the cat's very own pooping bed.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2014 at 3:30PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
daninthedirt(Cent TX; HZ10, Sunset z30, USDA z8a)

A few extra notes --

This is probably an act of feline marking. There is a lot of literature about discouraging such marking *inside* the house. It may be applicable to you outside. Interestingly, ammonia actually encourages marking, because it smells like (someone elses) urine. So for indoor problems, using ammonia to clean up is strongly discouraged. I have to wonder if in situ garden composting makes enough ammonia that garden beds smell to cats like they need to be over-marked.

Also, as to hot pepper, my understanding is that cayenne red pepper is not recommended for repelling animals, because wildlife can rub it in their eyes, and it is alleged that can cause blindness.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2014 at 3:41PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
wayne_5 zone 6a Central Indiana

Well then,, Does the pepper spray to deter assaults been known to have blinded anyone?

    Bookmark   January 11, 2014 at 9:20PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
daninthedirt(Cent TX; HZ10, Sunset z30, USDA z8a)

Pepper spray certainly temporarily blinds humans for several hours. That's partly why it's a useful to fend off attackers. But no, I don't think it causes humans any permanent damage, though permanent damage is, as I said, alleged for cats. Now, I don't think even temporary blindness is particularly good for cats. You know, it's the car you don't see that hits you, and the dog you walk into that tears you apart. Of course, if you don't like a cat, pepper in the eyes may see to it that it gets what you think it deserves.

Capsaicin, the active ingredient in hot pepper and pepper spray, is indeed classified by the NPIC as an animal repellant as well as an insecticide. It is recognized as being "toxic" to animals though it's not clear that it is a lot more toxic than it is to humans.

There are a whole bunch of very effective cat poisons, by the way. One could spread chocolate all over the garden, though you'd probably end up just attracting a lot of people.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2014 at 10:03PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hey Floral and David, does pomegranate prunings count? Because I do need to prune my pomegranate tree... And I didn't quite understand, how should I lay the prunings on the soil? How should I space them? Thanks :-)
BTW, daninthedirt, is black pepper toxic for cats to?

    Bookmark   January 12, 2014 at 6:00AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
floral_uk z.8/9 SW UK

ANY prunings or twigs will work. Pomegranate is perfect. Just lay them all over the area you want to protect. There is no 'spacing' just make sure the area is twiggy and uncomfortable for a feline backside. You are overthinking this - just get the stuff out on the soil as thick as you can with the resources you have.

In my climate nothing sprinkled on the soil is effective because of the constant rain so a physical barrier is the only way to go.

The photo is not mine but gives you an idea. These people have used pine but any twigs will do.

Here is a link that might be useful: Keeping cats off soil.

    Bookmark   January 12, 2014 at 7:41AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

A second thread on this subject? Now I understand ceth having a little fun!

Just looked up the pepper issue, as our vet used to recommend cayenne pepper flakes to stop a dog from eating poop. Found lots of sites recommending both black and cayenne peppers, sprinkled, to deter wildlife and cats. I use black pepper to deter rabbits -- very effective. It is the active ingredient in lots of repellants for deer and rabbits. And when you google "Does cayenne pepper cause blindness in wildlife" , on the first page the only link that comes up is THIS discussion! On the second page I found a couple links that say "some sources say . . . " but they don't site the sources (and they still recommend using pepper as one of the options). I didn't keep searching.
Anyone have the actual source, with actual observation of this phenomenon happening, not just conjecture? I'd be interested. (and not what pepper spray directly in the eyes does -- that's a totally different way of introducing the pepper than powdered source rubbed from paws to eyes.)

    Bookmark   January 12, 2014 at 9:56AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
daninthedirt(Cent TX; HZ10, Sunset z30, USDA z8a)

As to whether cayenne pepper causes blindness in wildlife, I don't think there has been a lot of research on it, as in, rabbit gets cayenne pepper rubbed into its eyes, and is asked to fill out a survey form a week later about how blind it is. As to "some sources say", that's called "alleged", which was the term I used. I really have no idea, myself.

Capsaicin (the active ingredient in hot pepper) is a powerful irritant and that, as opposed to the smell of it, is what repels animals. See link attached from the National Pesticide Information Center wherein the "Mode of Action" is "Inhalation results in inflammation of pulmonary tissue and damage to respiratory cells. Capsaicin also irritates skin, sometimes severely." Now, it's possible that animals learn that the smell of hot pepper is a warning for something that produces serious discomfort, but you'd think they'd have to be seriously discomforted to learn that.

Interestingly capsaicin is said here to be toxic to honeybees and other beneficial insects, though at least for bees, you wouldn't think it would make much of a difference if it were just laying on the ground. A common DIY bee repellant is hot pepper sauce mixed with vinegar.

Here is a link that might be useful: capsaicin as a pest deterrent

    Bookmark   January 12, 2014 at 11:22AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Great -- thanks for the link dan.
That it (capsaicin) may be toxic to honey bees is enough for me.
I have only ever used black pepper (not related, and said to be non toxic) but I will check ingredients in my deer and rabbit repellant to make sure it's black pepper and not the chili pepper. (I'm pretty sure it's black)

    Bookmark   January 12, 2014 at 1:12PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
daninthedirt(Cent TX; HZ10, Sunset z30, USDA z8a)

That's a really good point, elisa. Black pepper does NOT (as you say) get it's heat from capsaicin, while fleshy peppers do. Now, it would be premature to say that piperine (which is what flavors black pepper) isn't harmful to bees. Maybe there is some work on that?

Piperine is also used as a varmint repellant (Havahart Critter Ridder uses it, along with capsaicin), so I guess it i supposed to work. I believe derivatives of it are used in mosquito repellants as well.

    Bookmark   January 12, 2014 at 1:48PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

So I just want to make something clear, does it matter if there's some cat manure left in the soil? Although I'm pretty sure that it got washed a little with the rainâ¦

    Bookmark   January 14, 2014 at 12:55AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

It matters a great deal! Garden beds, once contaminated with cat poop, will become completely unusable for agricultural purposes for a very long period. Stay as far away from them beds as possible lest you were offended by either the smell produced by the poop, or being exposed to the danger of the said Toxoplasmosis bacteria. Do not go back to them, not until at least a month later. Hope this helps.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2014 at 5:33AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
daninthedirt(Cent TX; HZ10, Sunset z30, USDA z8a)

I think you also have to notify the federal authorities. They'll declare your bed a toxic waste dump, and evacuate people from the area. Plan on having the bed excavated, sterilized, covered with concrete, and lined with barbed wire fencing. Feel free to design your garden on that basis. Silk flowers, perhaps? You may hear howls of laughter from at least the local cat.

Sorry, I couldn't resist ...

    Bookmark   January 14, 2014 at 8:56AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

" But one of the one commenters on my previous post commented that cat manure contains Toxoplasmosis bacteria that can be transported through my food that I grow... Is it something I should worry about?"

Actually ... NO. in the USA, infected meat is far more likely to be a cause of infection than cat feces.

If you look at the timing of the infection, the cysts are infectious for only a short while ... " Oocysts sporulated within 2-3 days in all types of cat litters and occasionally remained viable for 14 days. " (depends on the conditions - when it's cold and dry survival times are highest)

Also, a cat with Toxoplasmosis only releases the cysts for a short while.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2014 at 8:53AM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Who uses hog/cattle panels for Tomato Trellis? Need some advice
Hello, I'm close to going with some kind of livestock...
Leek starting woes
I'm having trouble getting my leeks going. A couple...
I don't remember what I planted.
This is my first year gardening and I can't seem to...
Where is the sweet potato post?
Someone on here wanted to know if sweet potatoes would...
fertilizer for tomatoes
are tomatoes heavy feeders ? some say fertilize other...
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™