Last Updated on: April 18, 2015 by Ingrid King
You recycle, buy organic, and use eco-friendly products for yourself, so wouldn’t it make sense to make similar choices for your cat? There are many ways you can help the planet by going green for your cat.
Do you have a lot of old cat toys your cats never play with anymore? What about beds, or litter boxes, or even old towels? Your local shelter or private rescue group will appreciate the donation. Be sure to call first to see what they need.
Feed natural foods
Natural and organic pet foods use meats that are raised in sustainable, humane ways without added drugs or hormones, minimally processed, and preserved with natural substances, such as vitamins C and E. Certified-organic pet foods must meet strict USDA standards that spell out how ingredients are produced and processed, which means no pesticides, hormones, antibiotics, artificial preservatives, artificial ingredients or genetically engineered ingredients.
Use pet-friendly cleaning products
Many household cleaners contain contain hazardous ingredients such as organic solvents and petroleum based chemicals which can release volatile organic compounds into your indoor air. Some ingredients in household cleaners are known to cause cancer in animals and are suspected human carcinogens. Inappropriate use, storage and disposal of these hazardous household substances may impact your personal health and the health of our environment. Lysol, Pine-sol and other products containing phenols are deadly to cats as they can cause serious liver damage. Chlorox bleach, especially when concentrated, can cause chemical burns when it comes in contact with sensitive cat paws. Use cat friendly products instead.
Use chemical free pest and parasite control methods
Many of the flea and tick treatments available today contain toxic chemicals that can be hazardous to pets and to people. Even when these products are used according to the manufacturer’s directions, these chemicals are not safe for pets or humans. There are natural and safe options to control parasites.
Don’t wear shoes inside your house
Have you ever gone for a walk in your neighborhood, and every yard you passed just had chemical fertilizer applied? That same fertilizer will stick to the bottom of your shoes, and can present a danger to your cats. They will absorb these chemicals when they lick their paws. It’s better to take shoes off right inside your front door, rather than spreading those chemicals all through your house.
Use eco-friendly cat litter
If your cat will accept one of the alternatives to clay litter such as corn, wheat or pine-based litters, make the switch. Clay is strip-mined, which is bad for the planet, and clay litter contains silica, which is a known carcinogenic. However, don’t make the switch at the expense of your cat’s litter box habits. Some cats will simply refuse to use the new litters, and no amount of going green is worth risking having your cat avoid the litter box.
Buy or make your own eco-friendly toys
The possibilities are endless, from an empty toilet paper roll to bottle caps to wadded up balls of aluminum foil. If you need ideas, Holly Tse’s book Make Your Own Cat Toys: Saving the Planet One Cat Toy at a Time is a great resource. If you don’t want to make your own, there are many eco-friendly cat toys available at various retailers.
Happy Earth Day!
Ingrid King is an award-winning author, former veterinary hospital manager, and veterinary journalist who is passionate about cats.