Owning a pet takes a lot out on the environment. After all, our pets have needs too, and these needs require resources that we much take from the environment. Therefore, if you want to live in balance with the planet and own a cat, you have a little bit of work to do.
Luckily, there are quite a few ways that you can successfully be eco-friendly and own a cat. It just takes a little bit of thinking to get there.
The 8 Simple Ways You Can Be an Eco-Friendly Cat Owner
1. Keep Your Cats Indoors
Cats kill billions of birds each year—if not more. While it is hard to know exactly how many birds and other animals each cat kills, we do know that it has a serious impact on the environment. In some cases, cats are even pushing birds to extinction. Therefore, it is in your best interest to keep your cat indoors as much as possible.
Plus, this is safer for your cat as well. The outdoors can be an extremely dangerous place for a cat. On top of cars and predators, cats can also catch diseases (which can harm them and the environment).
Generally, indoor cats live much longer than outdoor cats—by nearly 300%.
2. Choose a Better Cat Litter
If you’re using a traditional cat litter made of clay, you may be harming the environment. This clay is produced by strip mining, which removes the top layer of soil, trees, and other plants. Therefore, it can be extremely dangerous for the environment. Plus, it isn’t very good for your cat, either. If consumed, it can cause intestinal problems and potentially require surgery.
Luckily, there are many eco-friendly cat litters out there. Usually, this means choosing one that is renewable and readily decomposes. For instance, corn litter would fall in this category. However, there are several other forms of litter that also fall into this category, like paper litter.
3. Choose a Sustainable Cat Food
Cats must eat meat, which is difficult to make sustainable. However, you can choose quality forms of meat to feed your cat. Look for brands that source from quality farmers. Organic is often a good place to start, though it doesn’t necessarily mean eco-friendly.
By-products are often more eco-friendly than whole meat. By using by-products in pet foods, we can recycle parts of the animal that wouldn’t be used otherwise. In this way, we can ensure that we use as much of the animal as possible. However, some by-products are not very high-quality, so you do have to pay attention to the quality of the by-products.
4. Spay or Neuter Your Cat
Cats are not the most eco-friendly creatures. It requires a lot of resources to keep these cats alive. Therefore, we highly recommend avoiding creating more unwanted cats. Cats can multiply very quickly, which means the resources they use can also multiply very quickly. There are tons of unwanted cats in shelters all the time, which means that more don’t need to be born.
If you want to reduce your cat’s ability to have kittens, then you can potentially reduce the energy use for future cat generations. It’s a long-term impact that improves the environment and the health of your cat.
5. Get Second-Hand Toys and Equipment
When possible, get secondhand toys and other items for your cat. Producing these items is typically not very healthy for the environment, but they are needed. Luckily, buying secondhand can greatly reduce the energy usage your cat consumes. In the end, this is better for the environment.
You can also make your toys at home using recycled parts. Bottles and cardboard can easily be utilized to make new toys, while also reducing the environmental impact of your cat.
If you can’t make toys at home, you can purchase toys from sustainable companies made from recycled parts. While these usually aren’t as environmentally friendly as thrifting toys, they are a suitable alternative in most situations.
6. Advocate for Change
If you want to make a big impact, you should advocate your favorite cat brands for change. If we can all make the top cat brands a bit more sustainable, we can do a lot more than we can do on our own. Most emissions come from larger businesses, anyway. Therefore, changes at the business level are always going to be larger than changes on the personal level.
Furthermore, you can vote with your dollar. Shop at stores and companies that have sustainable practices. In this way, you encourage other companies to become sustainable too. However, do keep in mind that sustainable companies are usually more expensive because of their practices. Therefore, it is often more cost-effective to reuse and recycle when possible.
7. Choose a Shelter Cat
Each year, shelters spend tons of resources taking care of homeless cats. You can transfer some of this burden by adopting a cat from a shelter. Therefore, instead of paying a breeder to breed a new cat, you can adopt a cat that already exists from a shelter.
By purposefully helping empty shelters, you work to offset some of the environmental costs of homeless animals.
8. Buy in Bulk
If you can purchase cat food in bulk, you may lower shipping costs substantially. Much of the environmental impact of items comes from their shipping, which can burn a ton of gas. Therefore, it is best to buy in bulk when possible.
Of course, you don’t want to wastefully buy in bulk. If your cat won’t eat through a large bag of food before it goes bad, then we do not recommend buying one. However, if you can keep it fresh, then purchasing a bigger bag is likely the best option.
There are many ways you can become an eco-friendly cat owner. A lot of these steps have to do with the things you purchase. For instance, you should shop from eco-friendly companies and thrift shops when possible.
At the same time, it also matters when you don’t shop. Recycling is best whenever possible.
- See also: Tips for Being a Good Cat Foster Parent
Featured Image Credit By: Dora Zett, Shutterstock