Joan: Recently, a reader wrote to suggest chicken manure
will keep cats from using her garden for a litter box.
Is there a deadly danger to cats in chicken manure?
raised chickens out in the country. She bemoaned that
locals dumped unwanted cats as they turned the corner
around her orchard. Why? Because, she said, chicken
manure carries a pathogen that is deadly to cats. She
said the pathogen remains viable in the soil for years
fed every stray cat that came her way, but those poor
little kitties only lived a few months before getting
sick and dying. Even after she stopped raising chickens
and her coop hadnít seen a chicken in 10 years, the
cats still got sick and died. Gramma blamed the chicken
prove it, but I believe Gramma.
I would never contradict anyoneís gramma, but Iím
not sure the manure someone sprinkles on their garden
beds is automatically harmful.
droppings, including those of chickens, can carry a
variety of fungus and bacteria that can sicken and even
kill felines under certain circumstances. That would
require two things however. One, that the cat ingest or
inhale the harmful bacteria or fungus, and two, that the
chickens were harboring them, and not all chickens do.
Cats probably are at greater risk from pigeon droppings.
not to say there isnít a threat, but I checked with
people I know who have chickens and cats, and theyíve
never had a problem. However, it is reasonable to have
concerns about chicken manure. A kittenís exposure to
bacteria and fungi could prove fatal, as their immune
systems arenít as strong as those of an adult cat. And
if people were dumping them at your grammaís property,
then the kittens probably hadnít received the best
care up to then.
was certainly killing the stray cats around your
grandmotherís coop, but Iím not sure what it was.