Here at Cat Habitat HQ we try our best to be green as we can. We have a worm farm, I ration the use of plastic bags at the fruit and veg shop (why do people feel the need to put broccoli in a bag anyway?) and I’m a frequent user of Sydney public transport. But there are elements of caring for pets that can be less than easy-going on the environment. So what can you do to be both a good pet parent while being environmentally friendly?
Environment Considerations of Pet Ownership
- Own a fish: …or something small, as the smaller your pet the less the environmental impact since fewer resources are needed to go into producing food. Your cat is only going to get through about 100gm of food a day vs say a German Shepherd who’ll go through….considerably more than that
- Food choice: With cat’s being obligate carnivores their diet is all protein. There is considerable discussion going on about how we can produce enough protein for all the humans in the world (before we even consider the cats!) with beef production being considered the least environmentally friendly of them all. This is due to a number of reasons including that a lot of beef is grain fed so we have to have resources to grow the grain to then feed it to the animal. They also generate a considerable amount of methane gas. Yep, they fart…a lot. You can actively choose cat food containing other proteins like chicken or fish, however most cat foods don’t use beef as their main protein constituent anyway. In saying all of that though manufacturers of pet food are generally using much of the offcuts that won’t or can’t be used for human consumption. Before you get all uppity about that, consider what happens in the wild. Big cats will eat a lot of the animal they hunt and that will include bones, fur, feathers, organs etc, so is it really so different to having those elements put into pet food? Provided it’s manufactured to create a nutritionally balanced meal, I think it’s important that we use the entire animal that’s been killed rather than just use the best bits and chuck away the rest
- Litter choice: We cat owners have a wide range of litters to choose from. They vary in attributes such as absorption, odour control, cost, and of course it’s environmental cred. In regards to the latter, paper based litter are often made from recycled paper products (big tick) and so are the wood based pellets. Both will readily breakdown in landfill or can be composted then used in the garden. Avoid using this compost on plants you’re growing which you plan to eat. You don’t want to pick up any nasties from it
- Sleeping arrangements: Consider what your pet’s bedding is made from. The most commonly available products are made from synthetic materials. This is mainly because they are cheaper but remember that synthetic fabric is made with chemicals such as sodium hydroxide and carbon disulphide which are sourced from coal, oil and natural gas. Our range of cat bedding uses natural bamboo fabric which is breathable, is easy to launder and feels fabulous to sleep on (so say Pussa and Soph)
- Cleaning products and methods: With cats being such fastidious cleaners, generally speaking they don’t get pongy. But litter trays sure can. If this is an issue for you change the litter more frequently, take out the solids each day and when you wash the tray itself try and dry it in the sun. This will kill off bacteria that can get trapped in the scratch marks that occur over time. Also you can try putting a bowl of baking soda in close proximity to the tray as this has terrific odour absorbing properties. Works well on carpets too
- Toys: In a similar vein to the bedding issue, try to give your pets toys made from natural materials. As your cat plays they are going to be putting the toys you give them in their mouths. Toys made from natural materials will reduce the risk of your cat ingesting harmful chemicals that can exist in plastics and other synthetic material. Our Mice, Fur Balls, Cat Teasers and CATerpillars are all made using wool products. It makes them soft, light-weight, less harmful and so much more fun!
These might seem like small things but we all need to put our best paw forward and do our bit for our planet.