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5 Ways to Turn Your Trash Into Treasures for Cats

Resurrect a scratching post, make your own toys, and help shelters by donating certain items.

Holly Tse  |  Nov 3rd 2014


Wait! Before you toss something into the garbage, take a good look at it to see if you can transform it into a treasure for your cat. You might save some money, support cats in need or even make the world a better place. Here are five ways to turn your trash into treasures that benefit cats.

1. Donate your old towels to animal shelters

Do you have ratty old towels that are stained or falling apart? Maybe you finally realized that the pristine guest towels in your linen closet were over five years old and it was time to start using them for yourself.

As you cozy up in a nice, thick towel, you may wonder what to do with the threadbare towels that the guest towels are replacing. That’s exactly what ran through my mind when I looked at my 20-year old towels that I used in college. Once a towel starts unraveling in the washing machine, it’s time to retire it. Thankfully, I’m finally at a place in my life where I’m grown up enough to use the "good" towels for myself.

I didn’t think anyone would want my old towels until I did some research online and discovered that most animal shelters welcome a donation of old towels. They’re used for bedding, wrapping squirmy pets (think about how you give a cat a pill), cleaning up messes, and toweling off wet animals.

2. Transform toilet paper rolls into cat toys

You can save money and have a lot of fun by making cat toys out of toilet paper rolls. Here are a few quick and easy ideas:

  • Cut a roll into rings to create a fun ring toss game for your cat.
  • Tie several toilet paper rings onto a piece of twine to make a dangling toy for you and your cat to play with together.
  • Fill an empty tissue box with toilet paper rolls cut to different heights. You can place small toys or treats inside the rolls to create a fun game to challenge your cat.

3. Re-carpet an old scratching post

Don’t throw out a worn scratching post. You can breathe new life into your kitty’s favorite scratcher by re-carpeting it. Simply cut off the worn carpet from the post and use this as a template to cut out a new piece of carpet to replace the one you removed.

You can use nails or wood glue to attach the new carpet in place. If you use nails, you’ll be able to replace the carpet multiple times whenever it gets worn out again. Alternately, you can wrap sisal rope around the bare post to create an interesting surface for your cat to scratch.

4. Give away unwanted cat food on Craigslist

If you’re like me, you sometimes switch up your cat’s food to give him a little variety in his diet. However, if your cat is picky and doesn’t like the new food, then you’re stuck with a big bag of open cat food. What do you do with it?

When this happened to me, I discovered that most animal shelters and rescue organizations prefer to feed their cats a consistent diet, and as a result they don’t want cat food donations. Understandably, they especially don’t want an open bag of cat food for safety reasons

That doesn’t mean that the food has to go to waste. Post it on Craigslist under the "free stuff" section and many cat lovers who are struggling to get enough food on the table for their cats will be grateful for your donation.

You can arrange a pick-up date via email. Then put the cat food in a bag outside your home and the recipient will pick it up at their convenience.

5. Raise money for animals by donating used ink jet cartridges

You can turn trash into cash by donating used ink jet cartridges to animal shelters. A number of these organizations raise money by collecting the cartridges for recycling. You might see a cardboard box at their facility for depositing your used cartridges. You can also do an online search to see who is currently raising funds by accepting donations of used cartridges.

While you’re at it, if you happen to have old cell phones, laptops, digital cameras, iPods or other unwanted electronics that have monetary value when recycled, you’ll likely find a good cause that can use these, too. Just be sure to check with the charity to see if they’re willing to accept them.

Instead of simply throwing away your old stuff, with a little bit of research you can find many people and places that can use them. It’s a win-win for everyone involved and most especially for the animals who receive the benefit of your gift.

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