You may not have thought much of it before, but the products we use to care for our pets substantially impact our environment. From the use of plastic bags to dispose of pet waste to chemicals found in shampoos to outer packaging in toys and food production, caring for a pet affects the world.
As you change to a more eco-friendly way of living, here are small ways to make caring for your pet sustainable; we know that everything may apply to your lifestyle, and that's okay! Doing some can still go a long way toward making your cat eco-friendly.
Changes to Buying Habits
The most impactful way of reducing your cat's carbon paw print is by changing your purchasing behaviors. This means that rather than getting your cat's commercial (big store) name litter, look for eco-friendly alternatives first.
There would be a big positive change if many of us did it. Plus, it will send a message to greedy commercial businesses, which income at the expense of the atmosphere!
It's also helpful to consider product packaging. You can reduce your waste by getting items in bulk or seeking products with recyclable or multiple-use packaging.
Finding Alternatives to Traditional Kitty Litter
While dog poop is compostable, our cat's feces is not. This is because of toxoplasmosis, a parasite that can live in feline feces and cause harm to humans. For the same reason, you should not flush feline feces into water systems.
Feline litter is the most common way of handling cat waste. Many traditional litters consist of bentonite, a high-absorbency clay that can hold eight times its quantity in water. It globs and binds well, making it ideal for daily waste collection. Nonetheless, bentonite is sourced commercially through harmful strip mining. Using eco-friendly or locally-sourced alternatives can lower the carbon footprint of your cat.
Earth-friendly choices to bentonite clay-based litter have both advantages and disadvantages, which we listed below. Be prepared to try a couple, as you or your cat could prefer something besides the first one you try. Also, some products may be more expensive than traditional litter.
- Paper pellets or shreds: Paper pellets can be made from recycled paper fibers and are a dust-free and soft choice for clay. You can make your paper shreds free of cost, but the paper does not clump and needs to be cleaned more frequently. It also does not have odor control, so you must add things like baking soda.
- Wheat: This litter option is eco-friendly, clumps well, and has little dust. Nevertheless, it can stick to the sides of the box, making cleaning harder.
- Wood shavings or pellets: Wood litter alternatives are biodegradable, lightweight, and smell pleasantly of wood when cleaned regularly. A con is that wood shavings or pellets can be messy. You will also need to research the wood used, as some wood species are toxic to pet cats.
- Walnuts: Made from the ground or crushed walnuts, this litter type generally has a pleasant smell and clumps well. However, these can have dirt included and can stain things when dampened.
- Grass pellets or granules: This option is soft and biodegradable with minimal dirt. However, it can be too light for bigger cats, who may have trouble remaining atop it. It also lasts for a relatively long time.
- Corn: There are two main varieties of corn litter, ground kernels and ground cobs. Both are naturally degradable. However, the latter is more environmentally friendly. You can also use corn layer crumbles for chickens. Nonetheless, corn does not clump, so odor control isn't fantastic, and it has an odor that might not be for everyone. It will help if you replace it routinely to avoid mold and mildew and drawing in critters.
Better Cleaning Supplies
Not only are organic and natural active ingredients much better for your pet and their skin, but they're also much safer for the environment. Traditional hair shampoos and conditioners frequently include a myriad of rough chemicals that can irritate your pet's skin and have significant risks if swallowed. And those same chemicals can pollute rivers, damaging fish and wildlife.
Fortunately, natural grooming products are easily sourced and are frequently reliable for keeping your furry friend fresh and clean. You'll want to avoid products including synthetic dyes and scents, parabens, sulfates, and mineral oils.
Next time you need to clean a pet mess, try one of these alternatives:
- White vinegar: This can be used instead of some ammonia-based cleansers, offering a comparable streak-free shine without the extreme fumes.
- Baking soda: An odorless, non-toxic mild bleach alternative. Mix this with water, not vinegar, and cleanse away light messes or odors.
- Hydrogen peroxide: An anti-bacterial disinfectant and strong oxidizer, you can use it to remove mold and mildew and clear up some discoloration. You can also mix it with warm water to scrub hard floors. Be suggested that it can cause some lightening or moderate staining for materials, so always patch test first.
- Fluid castile soap: A vegetable-based soap that breaks up grime and oil where water alone won't cut it. Do not mix this with vinegar, as it can reduce the efficiency of the soap.
Remember to use a recyclable towel or rag instead of single-use paper towels. Along the same lines, avoid adhesive-based lint rollers from removing pet hair from clothes and furnishings. Choose a waste-free device like a velvet animal hair brush, pet hair vacuum, or other multiple-use devices.
Help Regulate the Pet Population
Adopting from your regional shelter and neutering your pet are two impactful ways to keep the pet population in check. It's a win-win! Doing so reduces the overall impact of animal waste, food waste, and pet products on the environment—it also helps ensure there's a caring home for every pet.
You can take action today to help minimize your cat's carbon paw print. Natural products are better for our cats as well as our homes. Not only will you be eco-friendly, but these products will also benefit your cat.
Let's spend our dollars on products and brands we trust! With each other, we can make a favorable impact on the cat community.