The scoop on dirt is simple: Good dirt needs good poop. Chicken poop, cow poop, duck poop, horse poop. Bat poop, even! With the local horse ranch a scant mile away, my Girls producing mounds of soil nutrient right there in their composting chicken house every week, and my trusty wormies processing household garbage into gold, I am up to my ears in awesome poop. While I secretly lust for bat guano (mainly so I can brag that I use bat guano), I am in good shape, poop-wise.
Except for Pudding.
Pudding (don’t tell the other two) is my favorite of our three cats. The other two, Fats and Marble, are charming as heck, but Pudding has a special way about her. Our friend Mike refers to her as “The Superior Cat.” I think he is correct.
I believe Pudding returns my high regard; she follows me everywhere I go, trailing me through the house and into the garden, and that’s where the Pudding Problem arose.
Now, perhaps she noticed the joy I had in mulching with horse manure or saw the gleam of delight in my eyes as I raked another batch of composted chicken poop out of the henhouse and wanted to contribute to the greater good of the Fortress Garden, or maybe she just had to go and didn’t want to leave my side, but one day, as I was in the garden picking a big ol’ bunch of kale for dinner, she hopped up into a planter box newly sown with turnip seeds and, well, pooped.
Not only did Pudding’s Pooping Process (which involved a lot of digging and turning around and digging again, to find just the right spot) destroy my neatly-sown turnip bed, but it introduced what I’ve learned is Uncool Poop (a technical farming term) into my carefully developed super soil. According to the interwebs (and as always, I checked three or four sources), cat poop (and dog poop for that matter) in the garden is a big no-no. Not only can it introduce icky parasites like Toxoplasma gondii, roundworms, hookworms and tapeworms, it really, really stinks.
I actually love the smell of manure, especially if it’s been composted a bit. But the comparison of lovely, crumbly manure to a tiny log of kitty dung is like comparing a delicious ribeye steak to, well … kitty dung.
So I put on gloves, and, sacrificing the turnip seeds I’d already planted, dug through the box until I had removed all of the offending poops. Apparently, it wasn’t Pudding’s first rodeo; I was determined, however, that it would be her last. I added a hefty layer of new soil, and reseeded. This time, I covered the box with bird netting. Pudding watched the whole operation, looking on with an inscrutable expression.
Was she hurt that I rejected her offering? I will never know for sure. But I think she has forgiven me. The other day she brought me a lovely dead lizard, and I believe I was successful in summoning a credible display of delight. I’m pretty sure lizards make decent compost, so I think we’re good.
Can’t get enough about poop? Read more on HobbyFarms.com:
- Llamas, Move Your Poop Piles Elsewhere
- Poop Inspection: The First Step In Homestead Health
- Using Rabbit Manure
- Everyone Poops—What Matters Is How You Handle It