Table of Contents:
- Reduce Use of Cat-Related Plastic
- Properly Dispose of Kitty Waste
- Buy an Eco-Friendly Cat Food
- Keep Your Cat Indoors
- Choose Non-Toxic and Eco-Friendly Cleaning Products
- Think Twice Before Adopting Another Cat
- Help Reduce Your Cat’s Environmental Pawprint
Are you worried about our planet’s health? Good news: you can feel reassured by the fact that even small changes have a significant impact.
This is especially true for cat owners. Imagine if all 42 million cat-owning households in the United States made one or two Earth-friendly changes to their pet care routine. By making the switch to eco-friendly cat ownership, you can start doing your part to help Earth heal and avoid unnecessary pollution.
Reduce Use of Cat-Related Plastic
Plastic pollution has become one of our most pressing environmental concerns. Plastic requires production of petrochemicals that take an estimated 400 years to break down.
Here are ways cat parents can limit plastic use:
- Buying cat food and litter in bulk can be friendly to your wallet and the planet. Also, bring reusable storage containers to refill sites if possible.
- Choose non-plastic toys. Instead, look for toys made from recycled or sustainable materials like bamboo or hemp. Consider paying a little bit more for well-made toys that last longer.
- Repurpose cardboard boxes, tin foil, fabric rags, and other disposable materials into cat toys. Challenge your kids or yourself by making one of these 40 DIY upcycled pet toys.
- Buy ceramic or metal food and water dishes instead of hard plastic.
- Check out online cat forums or second-hand stores when looking for cat toys, beds, or climbing structures. Reuse and recycle to avoid buying new.
Properly Dispose of Kitty Waste
The way you deal with your cat’s waste is one of the most important choices you make as a pet owner. Unfortunately, the clay-based litter available in most supermarkets and pet stores is not biodegradable. Instead, the clay must be strip-mined, a practice which destroys our habitat and leads to soil loss and deforestation.
- Switch to a planet-friendly cat litter made from corn dust, wood sawdust, or post-consumer paper waste. Natural litter can be composted and sometimes even flushed. If you feel ambitious (and don’t have multiple cats), consider trying a DIY option made out of newspaper, sawdust, or woodchips.
- Use compostable non-plastic bags for cleaning out your cat’s litter box and as litter box liners.
- Never flush clay cat litter. Some toxins and chemicals in clay litter can contaminate the water supply.
Buy an Eco-Friendly Cat Food
Cats are carnivores, so you can’t remove meat from their diet entirely. Likewise, vegan diets are unhealthy and even dangerous for cats.
Yet, there are some planet-friendly food swaps you can make to benefit the environment without putting your cat’s health in jeopardy.
- Choose cat foods containing chicken and fish instead of beef or lamb. Beef and lamb farming produces more carbon emissions, requires more energy-intensive foods, and generates more manure than chickens.
- Make your own cat treats. Treats often come packaged in plastic and are made with resource-intensive ingredients. You can also help fight climate change by throwing out less of your human food and serving it up to your cat as a treat instead.
Keep Your Cat Indoors
Scientists estimate that free-ranging domestic cats kill 1.3 – 4 billion birds and 6.3 – 22.3 billion mammals annually. House cats threaten many endangered songbirds and are responsible for reducing biodiversity and habitat for threatened species. Even if you can’t bear to keep your cat indoors, you can limit the threat they pose by keeping them indoors during the early morning and evening hours when wildlife is most active. Also, outfitting your cat with a quick-release collar with a bell will alert prey that they are on the hunt.
Choose Non-Toxic and Eco-Friendly Cleaning Products
Cats are relatively neat and tidy when compared to other domesticated animals. Even though they bathe themselves, their hairballs can create messes for pet owners. Outdoor cats also track in dirt and dust, contributing to household chores.
You can reduce your cat’s environmental pawprint by choosing eco-friendly and non-toxic floor, carpet, and all-purpose cleaners.
- Look for plant-based ingredient lists.
- Avoid purchasing products with toxic chemicals and fragrances such as bleach or chlorine, ammonia, phthalates, and formaldehyde.
- When possible, choose refillable cleaning options available from companies such as Grove, Blueland, or Cleancult.
Think Twice Before Adopting Another Cat
Want to become a more eco-conscious pet owner? Think carefully before adding more furry babies to your family.
While we all love big families, reducing the total amount of cat-related resources you consume will make a huge difference.
If you do decide to add another cat to your home, adopt one from a shelter instead of a breeder. The ASPCA estimates that approximately 530,000 cats are euthanized each year.
Once you do adopt, make sure to spay or neuter your cat to reduce the risk of unplanned pregnancy. The more cats there are in the world, the more strain on the planet.
Help Reduce Your Cat’s Environmental Pawprint
As lovable and fun as cats are, they are not the most eco-friendly pets. Between plastic packaging, litter boxes, and disposable cat toys, their environmental paw print adds up pretty quickly. By switching to some of these more eco-friendly habits or making more thoughtful choices at checkout, you and your cat can make a change for the better.
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