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#126828 - 03/09/08 03:43 AM Kitty litter for sanitation
CDVXF7 Offline
Newbie

Registered: 02/25/07
Posts: 45
I've been reading Cody Lundin's When All Hell Breaks loose. While reading chapter 15 on sanitation it occurred to me I could use a 5 gal bucket half full of kitty litter. I don't know why I didn't think of it before. Many of us have no problem letting the cat use one indoors and many people obviously tolerate not cleaning them for days.(I hate cats and had to live with them several times in my life). I seems to me it would be easier to handle and store a trash bag full of clumped litter than liquid filled trash bags. As far as storing the litter for future use, it comes in buckets that should resist moisture better than the paper bags.

I live in a town home HOA type complex where there is limited soil for digging latrines. I'm considering planning for sanitation for 1 week. Longer than that I might have to consider bugging out or really organizing the neighbors to keep our complex from getting going back to the dark ages.

The wife approved an experiment. Maybe I'll try using kitty litter only for a few days? What say you?

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#126829 - 03/09/08 03:50 AM Re: Kitty litter for sanitation [Re: CDVXF7]
AyersTG Offline
Veteran

Registered: 12/10/01
Posts: 1272
Loc: Upper Mississippi River Valley...
It works fine. Leave No Trace type bombs away kits use kitty litter to absorb moisture.

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#126834 - 03/09/08 12:21 PM Re: Kitty litter for sanitation [Re: AyersTG]
Nishnabotna Offline
Icon of Sin
Addict

Registered: 12/31/07
Posts: 512
Loc: Nebraska
Don't forget the old sawdust toilet as a latrine alternative.

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#126837 - 03/09/08 01:05 PM Re: Kitty litter for sanitation [Re: CDVXF7]
OldBaldGuy Offline
Geezer

Registered: 09/30/01
Posts: 5695
Loc: Former AFB in CA, recouping fr...
Yup, works fine. I would suggest that you line a five gallon bucket with a heavy trash bag, then put the litter in. Keeps the bucket cleaner when you start running low on litter.

If you have access to a router and want your wife to really appreciate you, buy a cheap toilet seat, center it on the top of the bucket, use a pencil to mark the shape of the bucket, then use a router bit to make a groove the size of the top of the bucket in the underside of the toilet seat. That way it will sit on the bucket without sliding...
_________________________
OBG

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#126839 - 03/09/08 01:57 PM Re: Kitty litter for sanitation [Re: OldBaldGuy]
Mike_in_NKY Offline
Member

Registered: 05/22/07
Posts: 121
Loc: KY
OBG,

Thats a great idea! Too bad I already spent $20 for a toilet seat that snaps on to a 5 gal pail. I like your idea better.

I know what would happen to me if DW slid off the bucket!!

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#126843 - 03/09/08 02:39 PM Re: Kitty litter for sanitation [Re: Mike_in_NKY]
AyersTG Offline
Veteran

Registered: 12/10/01
Posts: 1272
Loc: Upper Mississippi River Valley...
Heh - OK; here are some additional bits:

1. I line the pail with several plastic kitchen bags. Easy to remove 1 (or 2) with contents. Additional bags go in the green box.

2. "Green box" - Buckets can be tippy to some folks. I made a plywood box with hinged lid. The inside bottom is routed (easier to use 3 - 4 cleats) for the bucket to position it exactly. Inside height is such that the hinged lid is almost a crush fit on the bucket lip. The lid has a cut out (smooth edges) the same shape as the attached toilet seat (with lid), but a little larger, and smoothly radiused edges. Mentally draw a square with a circle inside it - notice the voids in the corners? Supplies go there - bagged up spare TP, additional garbage bags, sanitizer (bleach), nitrile gloves, etc. Box was primed with oil-based primer and painted with exterior gloss acrylic enamel for durability, ease of sanitizing, and aesthetics (I like green; brown may be more appropriate thematically <grin>). This box has served very well in many different settings...

3. One improvement I would make today is to use an approved privy-type seat and lid. These close up so as to prevent airborne insects from becoming vectors and arguably may reduce odors.

4. For base camps (which could apply to LTS-in-place), we have occasionally used a "bottomless bucket" - sort of a low impact modern version of a slit trench. Completely remove the bottom of a 5 - 6 gallon plastic bucket - sand or rasp to leave no lip on the bottom. Toilet seat optional (or not - YMMV). To set up, dig a shallow hole a little smaller in diameter than the bucket or about the same. Reserve the spoil. Place bucket over the hole. When the hole is "used" enough, remove the bucket and backfill hole with the reserved spoil, then relocate the bucket to another hole and so on. With thought and a minimal amount of effort this can be pretty low impact environmentally. It's inevitable that stuff spatters on the inside of the pail, so there will be an occasional clean-up required in long-term use.

5. I probably don't need to mention this, but - no pointers; setters only. All boys and some men need to have that reinforced. Tell the guys to either water a bush or sit for ALL business. With boys, it's easier to get them to pee outside. It can really irritate folks to discover yellow water sprinkled on and around the green box...

Bombs Away.

Tom


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#126851 - 03/09/08 03:56 PM Re: Kitty litter for sanitation [Re: AyersTG]
kd7fqd Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 08/07/05
Posts: 359
Loc: Saratoga Springs,Utah,USA
Or if needed buy a portable camp toilet (my DW loves this thing)
just my .02

Mike
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#126863 - 03/09/08 08:44 PM Re: Kitty litter for sanitation [Re: kd7fqd]
LED Offline
Veteran

Registered: 09/01/05
Posts: 1474
Foam pipe insulation around the rim might work as an improvised bucket seat. Or maybe those similarly shaped pool floaters?

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#126865 - 03/09/08 09:09 PM Re: Kitty litter for sanitation [Re: LED]
Art_in_FL Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 09/01/07
Posts: 2432
In my opinion the main source of smell from human wastes comes from urine. Segregating the urine greatly reduces the volume of waste and makes everything easier to handle.

The urine can be held in a sealed container and applied to the garden or fields. Don't get it on the plant directly and either dilute it or apply after a rain to prevent burning. Urine is also a source of nitrates and ammonia for those who want to go the whole self-sufficiency route.

Excluding the vast majority of urine makes the need for an absorption medium much less important. Sawdust, kitty litter, shredded newspaper will all work but one of the keys to success is to make sure that the materials don't mat. You need air to flow over and through the pile. If it does the existing bacteria will process the waste in a manner that, in the end, it does not smell bad. You end up with compost that smells like fresh earth. Ventilation may be as simple as extending a pipe up. The bacteria produce a fair amount of heat and this causes the air that has gone through the pile to rise. With intake air volume controlled and exhaust air exiting well above where people are the smell is usually quite acceptable.

Of course the natural tendency is to seal these wastes into closed containers. The feeling is these sorts of materials are best kept contained and as far away and as inaccessible as possible. Problem is that when sealed away and deprived of oxygen the bacteria produce the sorts of chemical byproducts that are associated with the worse florid funk that sewage can produce. The sorts of mind-bending pong that cause grown men to flee.

The lesson is that if you let your crap breath your crap will let you breath. Fair enough trade in my book.

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#126880 - 03/10/08 01:04 AM Re: Kitty litter for sanitation [Re: AyersTG]
OldBaldGuy Offline
Geezer

Registered: 09/30/01
Posts: 5695
Loc: Former AFB in CA, recouping fr...
I like your green box idea. Leave it to you to improve on just about anything. I am sooo glad you are back!!!
_________________________
OBG

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#126881 - 03/10/08 01:07 AM Re: Kitty litter for sanitation [Re: LED]
OldBaldGuy Offline
Geezer

Registered: 09/30/01
Posts: 5695
Loc: Former AFB in CA, recouping fr...
Some friends in a elk camp once had a normal lawn chair (the webbed type). They cut a hole in the webbing, placed a bucket under the chair, and set a toilet seat on the chair. Worked...
_________________________
OBG

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#126896 - 03/10/08 08:21 AM Re: Kitty litter for sanitation [Re: OldBaldGuy]
Susan Offline
Geezer

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 5163
Loc: W. WA
The first time you have a 5-gallon bucket half-full or more with wet cat litter, you will rue the day you thought this was a good idea! And if you slip while carrying the said VERY HEAVY bucket of wet cat litter and happen to slip, and slop it on yourself, it will be the last time you do it!

Do yourself a favor and use sawdust instead.

Luggable Loos cost about $10 where sporting goods are found.

And only use newish, not-stored-in-sunlight buckets.

Sue

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#126918 - 03/10/08 03:17 PM Re: Kitty litter for sanitation [Re: OldBaldGuy]
SHawk Offline
Stranger

Registered: 02/05/08
Posts: 19
Loc: Central Washington
Don't forget the peat moss works well, can be mixed into compost bin. Look for an old hippy book "Humanure" for other ideas.

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#126922 - 03/10/08 03:50 PM Re: Kitty litter for sanitation [Re: SHawk]
Chris Kavanaugh Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 02/09/01
Posts: 3824
Last time I failed to clean Piewacket's litter tray he pooped in my boots. It takes talent to poop into 18" hi top Montana boots.But then Pie also stopped me from stepping out to certain death when an oaktree crashed onto my apt complex.So temper remarks about cats on a forum owned by a cat person and moderated by another. Those folks out in thee desert mining the stuff wouldn't be gainfully employed without them. whistle


Edited by Chris Kavanaugh (03/10/08 03:52 PM)

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#126971 - 03/11/08 12:22 AM Re: Kitty litter for sanitation [Re: Susan]
Nishnabotna Offline
Icon of Sin
Addict

Registered: 12/31/07
Posts: 512
Loc: Nebraska
Originally Posted By: Susan


And only use newish, not-stored-in-sunlight buckets.


Double-plus important.

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#127010 - 03/11/08 04:08 PM Re: Kitty litter for sanitation [Re: ]
Dan_McI Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 12/10/07
Posts: 844
Loc: NYC
Thinking about this, and it is not using kitty litter, a long term solution for handling waste might be to compost it, as SHawk suggests. IIRC, the mixing of green and brown vegetation with manure helps, becaue you need to get the temperature of the rot up pretty high.

Mixing bacteria in with your pile helps. You can buy bacteria for composting, but I have no idea how well the bacteria meant for a compost pile with grass clippings would work with animal or human waste. Most composting guides I have read warn against using either, and especially warn against it for meat-eating animals.

Anyway, my thought was that bacteria produceded to handle human waste might be the right thing to use, and I know such things are used in municipal and marine waste treatment facilities. Something like this might be a good thing to use, not that I am about to go try it: http://www.americanbiosystems.com/products/accelobac.php. Not sure how long you can store such things for eiither and still have them work.

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#127023 - 03/11/08 06:18 PM Re: Kitty litter for sanitation [Re: CDVXF7]
massacre Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 12/07/05
Posts: 781
Loc: Central Illinois
I say you have a very understanding and tolerant wife.
_________________________
Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards.

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#127067 - 03/12/08 01:22 AM Re: Kitty litter for sanitation [Re: Dan_McI]
Susan Offline
Geezer

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 5163
Loc: W. WA
Dan, microbes are microbes -- they don't differentiate between the stuff they break down. You don't have to buy any, just add some decent soil or existing compost.

Joseph Jenkins, author of The Humanure Handbook [entire book available online at http://www.weblife.org/humanure/default.html ] calls the people who insist on disposing of human and animal waste by flushing it into the groundwater with drinking water 'fecophobes', an excellent term, IMHO. (Well, IMO...)

From the Center for Disease Control in Atlanta, GA, regarding composting: "Complete pathogen destruction is guaranteed by arriving at a temperature of 62C (143.6F) for one hour, 50C (122F) for one day, 46C (114.8F) for one week or 43C (109.4F) for one month."

Sure, you have to pay attention to what you're doing. Jenkins says to add the humanure to the center of the compost pile, where the most biological activity and highest temperatures are found.

Many of the people who offer info to the public are looking to include the lowest common denominator, AND they are trying to protect all the people, all the time, from all possible problems, under all possible circumstances. It isn't possible, but they continue to do it. But in doing so, they tend to skip over a lot of information that people of average intelligence and education could use.

Sue

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#127071 - 03/12/08 01:32 AM Re: Kitty litter for sanitation [Re: CDVXF7]
philip Offline
Addict

Registered: 09/19/05
Posts: 639
Loc: San Francisco Bay Area
I think anything absorbent works. I've used hobbit trail (is that the brand?) wood shavings for gerbil/hamster cages, too.

As others have said, I've got a 5-gallon bucket with a commode seat and lid on it. I put a couple of trash-compacter plastic bags in it. Put a little litter or wood shavings in it, then add more after every use. My set up pretty much seals the unit when the lid is down, so odors are kept to a minimum. Solid waste only.

If you're out of water, when there is no water in your bathroom, line the commode with plastic bags (I think trash compacter bags are sturdier, and I prefer no breaks or leaks), and use that.

When you've filled up a bag, our local Red Cross volunteer suggests burying the bag in a shallow hole in your yard where you won't step on it, adding bags as weeks go by, till sanitation starts again, then asking your garbage company how they want to handle that particular pick-up.

In your experiment, what did you plan on doing with the bag o' droppings?

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#127106 - 03/12/08 01:22 PM Re: Kitty litter for sanitation [Re: Susan]
Dan_McI Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 12/10/07
Posts: 844
Loc: NYC
Originally Posted By: Susan
Dan, microbes are microbes -- they don't differentiate between the stuff they break down. You don't have to buy any, just add some decent soil or existing compost.


Was just looking to speed the process by adding more microbes. I kind of do both now, but only with vegetation. That is useful info though. Thanks.

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