I am a proud cat mom to two lovely strays-turned-spoiled cats. But they are not without their waste. Almost everything that they require comes in some sort of packaging that can really add up over time. And while having a completely zero waste cat may not be possible, it is certainly possible to reduce a good amount of waste when it comes to our fur babies.
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How to have a Zero Waste Cat:
There are a few elements to consider when wanting to reduce your kitties waste.
Food might not seem very wasteful since most cats tend to eat all their food. It’s the packaging that is the big culprit here. Most cat food comes in plastic bags which are often unrecyclable. A few places offer bulk cat food but it isn’t widely available. My local bulk shop offers bulk dog food but not cat food so bulk hasn’t been an option for me.
Do your research based on where you live to see if buying bulk cat food is in fact, an option.
Another really easy option to look at the package in which your cat food comes in. Can it be recycled? While our recycling systems are terribly flawed, it is a slightly better option than just throwing it in the trash bin.
But I would argue that there is something more important than packaging when it comes to sustainability. A companies ethics and sourcing have a lot to do with how sustainable they are. How are their practices? Are they responsible when manufacturing the food? Or do they waste water, resources and carbon emissions? I feel like the vast majority of what you get at the supermarket don’t care a whole lot about sustainability.
I’ve found a few brands of cat food, however, that do go the extra mile to ensure their food is made responsibly.
- Castor & Pollux – this brand offers USDA organic cat (and dog) food made entirely of responsibly sourced ingredients. They don’t use any hormones in their animals and the fruits and veggies they use are grown without synthetic fertilizers or pesticides. Which is not only better for your kitty but better for the planet as well.
- Lily’s Kitchen – Ok, this brand excites me a lot because it’s a certified B corp! In fact, they were the first per food company in the world to become a certified B corp. In order to get this certification, companies really need to be the best of the best and demonstrate their responsible and sustainable practices. Their packaging is even recyclable through TerraCycle or through your curbside recycling!
- Open farms – Open farms pride themselves in raising their farm animals ethically, responsibly and fairly treating them with kindness and giving them wide open spaces to roam. Their committed to protecting our oceans and are partners with Terracycle so you can recycle their packaging as well.
Litter is arguably the other big contributor to waste when it comes to cats. Typical clay and crystal-based litters that are most common actually come with quite the baggage. It’s mined and excavated right from our earth’s surface and leaves shallow pits everywhere.
In order to collect the clay, topsoil and vegetation have to be removed first. This actually causes deforestation, loss of wildlife habitat, erosion, and depletion of natural minerals. The remnants are also washed into our waterways cause pollution there.
This is obviously a huge problem. And while these litter may come from the earth they will not return there. After your kitty has used the litter and it has been discarded of it won’t biodegrade. Crystal litter is often seen as a better option because it’s less dusty but it’s actually sourced the same way as clay litter. So what’s the alternative?
Luckily there are a lot of brands who are eager to combat this problem and provide eco-friendly alternatives.
My personal favourite (and my kitties) is Naturally fresh cat litter. It’s made from100% crushed walnut shells making it all-natural and biodegradable. It also has virtually no dust so I don’t have to have a coughing fit every time I clean the litter box! We’ve tried different sustainable kitty litters before but I think the reason my cats enjoy this one the most is that the texture is most like the clay litter we were using before. All in all, I can’t recommend this litter enough. It’s most absorbent than a regular litter and clumps really well which means it lasts longer in between fills.
Purina’s Yesterday’s News is another eco-friendly litter that I’ve tried! Like I mentioned above the only reason we didn’t stick with it is I found my cats didn’t enjoy the texture. (At least I assume so, I can’t actually understand them.) They just didn’t adjust very well. Cats who are used to pellet-like litter or aren’t total snobs should like this litter. The litter is extremely light-weight as it’s made from recycled paper. Their bags are also recyclable!
I am the obnoxious cat mom who buys her cats gifts for Christmas and wraps them and puts them under the tree. Lame? Maybe. But I don’t care. Truth is I’ve wasted a lot of money and resources on toys (often plastic) that they just don’t play with. I think the same can be said for a lot of cats. Most of them are content with an old shoestring, twist tie or bottle cap. If this is the case for you kitties, skip the plastic toys altogether and use what you already have. Let them play with a milk carton cap for a few days before you toss it, etc.
Some cats need a little more stimulation though. For these cats, I would recommend more interactive toys or fabric-based toys. I’ve found some really amazing eco-friendly cat toys on EarthHero that my cats just adore! Here are some of our favourites:
I don’t believe you can ever have a 100% zero waste cat. But we can definitely lower the waste our kitties produce with a few conscious decisions. And they’re all the better for our cats’ health and the health of the planet.
These are just a few ideas to help you reduce your waste when it comes to your cat, I hope this post encourages you to make some sustainable changes for your furry friends!