Cats make the world a better place. As cat owners, we want the best for them and our planet too. That’s why we’ve looked into the different facets of cat ownership and how we can reduce our carbon paw print. Keep reading to discover ways to treat lighter on the planet, without sacrificing convenience or your cat’s health.
1. Choose Sustainably-Sourced Cat Food
Cats are obligate carnivores, which means their diet needs to be a majority meat-based. And unfortunately, the meat industry uses valuable resources and can be quite destructive to our planet.
Meat production requires a significant amount of water and is a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. Furthermore, the land needed for livestock contributes to deforestation and subsequent biodiversity loss. Once processing, shipping, and packaging are factored in, the meat in cat food can take a hefty toll on our environment.
Why Your Cat Needs Meat
When you feed your cat, you are also feeding the billions of microorganisms that live in their gut. Bacteria in your cat’s gut play many important roles in your cat’s health by breaking down food into nutrients that your cat’s cells need.
Protein and fiber are two of the most important nutrients to keep a cat’s gut flora diverse and balanced. Prebiotics and probiotic supplements are also great ways to support the growth of beneficial gut bacteria. Click here to view our range of products to improve and maintain your cat’s optimal gut health.
Some Meats are Less Environmentally-Harmful Than Others
Cats need to eat meat, but you have a say in which meats they eat. Let’s take fish, for example, a crowd favorite from our pet cats. Seafood is packed with omega-3 fatty acids, an essential nutrient for your cat’s gut flora. But fish like Atlantic, Pacific Bluefin, and Yellowfin tuna are one of the most unsustainable cat food ingredients to choose from. Tuna fishing is destructive to the entire ocean food web and comes with one of the highest bycatch rates. Instead, opt for more sustainable options like farmed salmon or sardines with a Marine Steward Council certification. Use resources, like Seafood Watch, to make informed and sustainable sources for your cat’s food (and yours too!).
Homemade Cat Food
We get it, cats can be picky eaters so homemade cat food may be off the table for some pet parents. But for those that want to give it a try, homemade pet food comes with many benefits for your cat’s health, the planet, and your wallet.
Buying ingredients from organic and local sources can drastically reduce the environmental impact of your cat’s food. Furthermore, homemade pet food means less processing and fewer packaging materials that take a toll on our earth.Here are some recipes you can try out. As you peruse homemade cat food recipes, keep in mind that poultry is less environmentally-harmful than red meats and many types of fish.
2. Dispose of Waste Sustainably
Choose Eco-friendly Cat Litter
Traditional kitty litter can contain harmful chemicals that are not only bad for the environment, but also for your cat’s respiratory and immune systems. Instead, fill the litter box with pellets made from natural materials like sawdust, walnut shells, wheat, corn, or recycled paper. While these litters soak up the strong odor of cat urine, they may need to be changed more often because they aren’t as clumping as clay litter.
The Scoop on Poop
Poop! It’s our favorite thing to talk about at AnimalBiome and we know a lot about it. How you manage pet waste can impact the environment in different ways beyond using biodegradable litter.
“My Cat Poops Outside”
Outdoor kitty business may seem like the greenest option, but not so fast. Cat poop can be detrimental to local habitats by exposing wildlife to harmful pathogens and contaminating the environment with veterinary medications. In the US, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) listed pet waste as a nonpoint pollutant along with herbicides, insecticides, and toxic chemicals. Improper disposal of cat poop is even linked to a decline in dolphin populations.
Composting Pet Waste
This method keeps organic matter out of landfill and recycles nutrients. But cat feces contains many bacteria that can survive in soil and make us sick. For biosafety reasons, most cities prohibit pet waste in municipal composting. And if you’re home-composting your pet waste, it is not safe to use it on or around any edible plants.
3. Choose Eco-Friendly Supplies
Many cat toys are made from non-recyclable materials that will eventually end up in landfills. Pet owners can opt for more eco-friendly cat toys made from natural materials like wool, organic cotton, bamboo, or hemp. Don’t forget to check out your local secondhand marketplaces to see if you can score some pre-loved toys.
It is very easy to DIY pet toys by reusing what you have already too. Cats don’t need much to be entertained; cardboard boxes or some fabric scraps can offer plenty of excitement. You can also grow your own organic catnip to add to your DIY cat toys.
Clean With The Environment In Mind
It is truly amazing all of the places cat hair ends up, right? No, we’re not suggesting that you repurpose cat hair for crafting, although it has been done. Simply look for sustainable options in all of the ways you clean up your feline friend.
For example, get an energy-efficient vacuum and choose renewable power sources for your home. You can use earth-friendly soaps and detergents, which are much better for your cat’s skin too. Or, add a filter to your washing machine’s drainage to catch small fibers and drastically reduce microplastic pollution.
Eco-friendly Cat Products
Minimize your environmental impact by making sustainable choices for items your cat needs. Here are a few ways you can do that:
- Opt for pet products sold in plastic-free or recyclable packaging
- Buy and give secondhand – and save money too!
- Choose plastic-free materials like bamboo, wool, hemp, and organic cotton
- Purchase eco-friendly pet products from local companies
- Follow zero-waste strategies, like DIY and upcycling what you have
- Find machine-washable cat products, like plush toys and pet beds
Keep in mind that animal shelters are happy to accept donations. So if your cat doesn’t like the new kibble you bought or they’ve rejected your litter choice, contact your local rescue to organize a drop-off.
4. Stay Healthy
Preventing chronic health conditions with enough exercise and a balanced diet is also a great way to be green. Learn how KittyBiome’s products (which are all in recycled packaging!) can help you assess, restore, and maintain your cat’s optimal gut health.
More and more, pet owners are reducing their commuting footprint by bringing the power of the veterinarian practice into their own homes. For example, Gut Health Test assessments allow you to keep regular stats on the health of your cat’s gut microbiome. By taking the guesswork out of how to support gut-related issues, like loose stools, itchy skin, and allergies, gut health tests will save you a lot of hassle. And by not burning fossil fuel to travel to the vet, it saves the planet too.
5. Keep Your Cat Indoors
It’s a controversial subject about whether or not cats should be indoors only. But statistics show that indoor cats live longer. Here are reasons why:
- They don’t get hit by cars
- They don’t get abscesses or infections from cat fights
- They don’t sick from pathogens and parasites from other animals
- They don’t get attacked by wildlife
- They don’t get lost
Many pet parents who want their cat to reap the benefits of being outdoors without the risks build catios. Catios are outdoor enclosures that not only protect your cat from many outdoor threats, but also protect birds and other native wildlife from your cat. If you have a roaming outdoor cat, consider using a multi-color collar with a bell to protect local wildlife.
Something is Better Than Nothing
We know how busy life as a pet parent can get. And as much as we want to be kind to our earth, convenience is often not the greenest option. Do the best you can – something is better than nothing.
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