01 Sep It’s all about the footprint
It’s all about the footprint
A different kind of blog this month, more of a sharing piece on what I (Scott & I) personally use to reduce our cats environmental footprint and a few helpful suggestions to boot.
FYI – I’ve not been paid to mention any of the companies or products in this blog. They are all garnered from my personal experiences and are all my own personal choices.
It’s a Wild Life
Domestic cats, when free to roam, can do enormous damage to native bird populations and other wildlife, which is why I fully support cat curfews and keeping them in.
Our cat, Mr G, has always been a ground dwelling cat; he’s never climbed a fence or tree in his life. I think he’d also be too slow to catch anything now but we’re not keen to test that theory.
We only allow him outside, in our enclosed backyard to rummage around the garden when we’re home. He doesn’t go outside past nightfall.
Our cats for the most part are highly domesticated. Whilst they still have their hunter instincts and they are curious by nature, they have no need to hunt for food but given the chance they’ll still hunt for entertainment.
We play for 10-20min each day with G (he’s 16, so not as interested anymore) to give him the stimulation he would otherwise get from roaming outside.
If you’re able to, netting a portion of your outdoor space is a good way to give them outside access and keep them and especially birds, safe. You can net a small balcony area to an entire backyard.
Suggested enclosure specialists our clients have recommended are:
We use Rufus & Coco Wee Kitty – Eco Plant Clumping Corn Litter (say that ten times fast)!
It’s 100% biodegradable, made in Australia, gentle on the paws, great odour control, clumps beautifully, long lasting, and there’s only a little tracking.
I’ve also used and can recommend Cat’s Best Original Clumping for many of the above reasons; the only negative consideration is that it can produce quite a bit of dust.
Mr G is a good tester so we’ll keep an eye on other environmental litters that come onto the market and let you know of them.
You can find both products at My Pet Warehouse.
There is also a Soybean litter product on the market by Kit Cat from Singapore. I haven’t looked into its ingredients but the product has received good reviews thus far.
You may ask why I don’t support the Recycled Paper Litter. It’s largely because of its inability to control odour and the amount you go through to keep the litter tidy. I feel it ends up costing more in the long term.
To Flush or NOT!
After working for Yarra Valley Water and then on many large water infrastructure projects over 4 years, I can say, with my hand on my heart, please DONT flush kitty litter down the toilet.
Kitty Litter manufacturers say ‘flushable in small quantities’ but really, don’t do it.
Our sewerage systems are ONLY designed to take ‘our human waste and grey water – that’s it!
We contain G’s clumped litter and any poop in a biodegradable bag, in a mini bin (see pic) and throw out the bag once a week on bin night…simple!
Kitty Litter & poop bags
We use Compost-a-pak Dog Waste bags because they’re big enough for Mr G’s Litter waste bin and when I’m visiting clients, I use Beco Bags – Eco Friendly Poop bags (small & large) and pop them in the appropriate garbage bin.
You can buy BecoBags from Petstock
We use a Petmate Metal Litter Scoop I sourced from America years ago. Because it’s metal with a rubber handle, it will last for Mr G’s entire life and then some. All of its components are fully recyclable.
You can purchase a metal Scoop from Petbarn www.petbarn.com.au/so-phresh-metal-cat-litter-scoop-large
Plastic Litter Tray Liners
I honestly see these as a waste of money and really bad for the environment unless you use biodegradable ones, like those from CatIT or Rufus & Coco.
They’re not necessary. If we’re cleaning out litter at least twice a day and using 10-15cm of biodegradable, clumping litter, the liners become redundant.
We’ve only had two plastic litter trays for Mr G. The first one is now used as a bucket for holding seedling pots when I’m planting and keeping them watered from the roots up.
The plastic tray he has now will again outlast our little man and when he’s finished with it we’ll use it again in the garden, probably to plant a gorgeous plant in his name x
Plastic litter trays will never break down unless there’s a recycling company willing to take used and washed plastic trays. I haven’t found any that do so but this option may become available in the yeas to come.
So until then I’m going to reuse, reuse, reuse it until I, myself pass on.
You can purchase Disposable Litter Trays made of recycled materials. If you don’t mind changing them out regularly, they work well but for the price you’d pay for a good quality plastic tray that you can disinfect and reuse over and over again, I think the price outweighs the benefits, at least in Australia where we can’t buy bulk.
Cat food pouches, sachets, packets & tins – They’re all recyclable!
I wash and dry them.
The tins I pop in our recycle bin and the pouches, sachets and packets, I take back to the supermarket! Huh?
And you’ll be able to see and print off a list of plastic items you can recycle this way, including cat food pouches, sachets & packets.
I printed it out and put it on our wall next to our bins and added a paper bag there where I throw the clean cat food sachets. I let it fill up and then take it to the supermarket where recycle bins are provided.
These items can now be recycled, to be used for example, to make tar for our roads or outdoor street furniture.
Our cat uses The Cat Butler Cat Blanket of course. It’s made of 100% organic cotton (cotton sustainably & ethically grown) it’s washable which makes it last and last, it keeps his body temperate even and it’s made here in Victoria. Had to give a shameless plug for our own product!
Brushes & combs
We try to use wooden handled brushes where possible but it has been a trial and error effort with Mr G.
We use the Purple Guy (that’s what we call it) from Kong. It’s the Kong Cat Zoom Groom and it’s a silicone brush that is a great cat massage tool and which loosens the fur undergrowth.
Mr G has been getting daily brushes since he was 8 weeks old and these brushes again will last his lifetime.
I’ve also come across, The Eco Max Pet Brush. It comes in small and large. I believe the small would be the perfect size or cats and it’s biodegradable.
You can find this at www.floraandforna.com.au/eco-max-pet-brush-small
We like the Modern Pets Infinity Lounge. Lasts really well, recyclable and helps Mr G get some stress out and sharpen those claws.
I also look for scratching posts made only with Sisal or Wool and that are fully recyclable.
Check out: www.modernpet.com.au
What to do with used carry cages and scratching posts?
I donated Mr G’s first carry cage to a rescue shelter.
Check with rescue shelters to donate these items and also ask if they’ll take your sterilised brushes and combs too.
Old Scratching Posts
These can often be made out of chipboard, wood, metal screws and carpet.
The chipboard, wood and metal components can all be recycled; sadly the carpet is a little trickier.
Most carpet, when it’s reached its end of life and can’t be reused, will go to landfill.
Wool carpets break down in landfill but they also produce methane gas in the process and nylon carpets don’t break down at all.
I’ve put the call out to find companies who might be working on this in Australia but I’ve found no answers before this blog was posted. I’ll keep you updated on this.
If we all think a little bit more about buying products that last, can be recycled (reused) and are biodegradable then we’ll be kind to our world, definitely save money and we’ll rest easier knowing we’re making a difference.
Every little bit we do to reduce our gorgeous cat/s environmental footprint helps to improve the world.