It’s Earth Day, a day to think about how the health of the earth and its environment is in our paws.
At first glance, sharing your life with cats doesn’t seem like it has many opportunities to help out our environment, but there are actually lots of things you can do! Here are five ideas to get you started:
Use Non Toxic Cleaners
It’s easy to forget that everything you use to clean your house is likely to end up in your cat’s system in one way or another. They walk across your floors, lay on your furniture, and groom themselves, ingesting the chemicals you have chosen to use. Some of the cleaners available in your supermarket cleaning supplies aisle should never come into contact with humans, and humans are a lot larger — and can absorb more chemicals before showing signs of illness — than cats! Using alternative, natural cleaning agents such as vinegar, baking soda, and even steam can help. Our friends at The Cat in the Fridge have some great suggestions about ways to replace your cleaning chemicals with more natural alternatives.
Many parts of the country and even parts of the world require recycling, but even if your community makes recycling optional, it’s good for the environment to recycle whatever you can. Did you know that over 65% of aluminum recycling cans are recycled, but pet food cans are recycled at a much lower rate? You can make a difference by making sure your cat food cans make it into the recycling bin instead of the trash can. Since it takes 95% less energy to make a can from recycled aluminum than it does from raw materials, recycling your cans from pet food is a big win for the environment.
Use Earth-Friendly Cat Litter
Clay and silica for cat litter is gathered through strip-mining, which is very destructive. Mining with a strip-mine is much more cost-effective than making holes in the ground and it takes less labor, but it requires huge amounts of reclamation on the part of the mining company to try to make the land usable again All of your used litter has to go somewhere, and, it takes decades for materials in clay litters to break down in landfills. Consider cat litters made of more eco-friendly materials such as corn, wheat, pine, and recycled newsprint.
Play with Toys Made of Recycled Materials
There are more and more cat toys entering the market with the environment behind. Many use post-consumer waste, including fabrics made of former soda bottles. These toys are generally competitively priced with their counterparts that use less eco-friendly materials, but you can know that you’re doing your part for the environment while you still get your playtime in.
Donate Old Toys
You know that stuffed mouse your Aunt Effie brought you and you never played with? Your humans may think that it’s a lost cause for you to play with — and if you have ignored it this long, they’re probably right. Instead of throwing it in the trash where it will add to the bulk of waste in the landfills, donate it to a shelter or rescue who accepts gently-used toys. That way, it can bring joy to lots of other cats, and you’re off the hook for not playing with it. Win-win!