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Kitty quandaries

I UNDERSTAND that putting cat litter on to the garden means the litter and its content will be absorbed into the soil.

Do you know if there are harmful chemicals in cat litter that could damage the plants or, on the other hand, if it is beneficial?

I also wonder if this practice would entice other cats to use my garden as one big litter-box?


I CHECKED with Masterpet who assure me cat litter will not damage plants. It's best though to bury soiled cat litter in a little-used part of the garden to avoid the risk of coming in contact with it when gardening and to deter other cats from using the area as a toilet. And to err on the safe side, don't bury it in the vegetable garden.

Some cat litter products are made from attapulgite, a type of clay mined in Australia which absorbs bad smells as well as large amounts of moisture.

You can use it for a wide variety of other purposes including improving drainage in the bottom of containers when repotting your plants, in the tray under your barbecue to catch fat and grease, on the floor of the budgie cage, or to soak up oil drips on the garage floor.

There's no reason why you couldn't mix it in with a heavy clay soil to improve the structure, but there are much cheaper alternatives such as pumice, sand and compost.

Weekend Gardener, Issue 141, 2004, Page 22

Reproduced with permission from the former Weekend Gardener magazine. The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the RNZIH.

Andrew Maloy Weekend Gardener

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