As the effects of climate change worsen, the need to adapt a more sustainable lifestyle has never been more imminent. From ditching single-use plastics to switching to reusables, many of us have already started going green in the hopes of reducing our carbon footprint. Making more eco-friendly choices may seem pretty straightforward, but for cat owners, balancing the needs of your pet and the environment may pose an even bigger challenge.
Our reliance on natural resources for our day-to-day needs is becoming a major environmental and economic issue. With our current rate of consumption, our non-renewable resources are at risk of depletion, posing a serious threat to our ecosystem. Even our renewable resources now require long periods of time to restore, which greatly affects the current supply and demand of many basic goods.
Everything we do has an impact on the planet. From the food that we eat to the items we shop for, all of these things leave a carbon footprint which contributes to our growing problem of climate change.
Cats are one of the most coveted household pets in the world. In the USA alone, one in three households own a cat, with an average of two cats in every cat-dwelling household. There are approximately 95.6 million cats in the USA as of 2017 and is expected to breach the 100-million mark this 2019. Now that’s a lot of felines!
Just like us humans, cats also have an impact on the environment. As a matter of fact, their eating habits, along with their canine counterparts, are responsible for emitting as much as 64 million tons of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere every year—from all the meat our furry friends consume on a daily basis.
Raising livestock for meat consumes a considerable amount of the world’s basic resources, which dumps heat-trapping greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. With the sheer number of cats across the globe, you can just imagine the carbon pawprint that they produce for their food alone. Apart from their food, their poop also emits methane, which, as we know, is also a potent greenhouse gas.
Fortunately, we can control the impact that we and our feline friends create by making more sustainable choices in our day-to-day living. There are plenty of ways to adapt a greener lifestyle with your cat, while still catering to their every whim—because we all know for a fact that cats actually own humans, and not the other way around. Here are some of them.
Most commercial cat foods are made from premium cuts of meat. Unfortunately, producing meat itself is already resource-intensive as it is, and these kinds of cat food doubles or even triples the amount of production required. This is why feeding your cat with sustainable food is an easy way to greatly reduce their carbon pawprint.
One major aspect of sustainable cat ownership is feeding your pet conscientiously. When we think of sustainable pet food, plant-based food would probably come into mind. However, unlike omnivorous canines, cats are true blue carnivores with special nutrient needs, which are impossible to meet with a plant-based diet alone.
Feeding your cat sustainable pet food may be a bit trickier, but it is possible. You can adapt healthier and sustainable feeding practices by giving your feline friend food that only contain moderate amounts of non-premium cuts of meat. Cats also don’t need that much food to stay healthy, so avoid overfeeding your pets. There are over 56 million cats in the USA suffering from obesity, so if you don’t know if you’re overfeeding your cat, there’s a pretty good chance you are.
Cat litter has been a huge environmental concern since time immemorial. Most cat litters being sold in the market today are made from clay, which are sourced through environmentally destructive practices such as strip-mining. Furthermore, more than two million tons of litter are tossed in the landfill each year, making it a huge contributor to greenhouse gas emissions and just an eyesore as it’ll just sit there piling up, year after year.
Fortunately, there are now a variety of sustainable and biodegradable cat litter alternatives to the commercial clay-clumping litter. Eco-friendly cat litters such as TofuKitty are compostable and made from renewable resources such as wood, paper, corn, and plants. Since these natural cat litter options are made from renewable materials with minimal processing, they produce less carbon footprint, which is good for the environment.
Eco-friendly cat litters are not only beneficial for the environment; they can also be beneficial for you and your feline friend. Since these litters are free from silica dust, which is a common by-product of clay-based litters, it won’t trigger any allergic reactions for both you and your cat. You can simply compost it or even flush it down the toilet.
From toys and accessories to grooming and cleaning products, you’ve probably found yourself constantly shopping and replacing supplies for your feline friend. The resources required as well as the waste generated from manufacturing these products can quickly add up, putting additional pressure on the environment.
Many pet supply companies are starting to utilize sustainably-sourced materials in their products, making them a great alternative to conventional commercial supplies. Although these eco-friendly products are more expensive, they offer more benefits for both your pet and the environment. Switching to eco-friendly cat supplies may be a simple change, but it is a good way to reduce your cat’s carbon pawprint.
If you’re the creative and resourceful type, you can also create your own cat toys using recycled materials such as old clothes, boxes, tissue, cardboard tubes, ropes, and many more. Apart from saving you money, DIY-ing your own cat toys can help you free up your home of clutter. Win-win!
Don’t you think it’s about time that you include your pets in your quest to live a greener life? With all the eco-friendly options on the market today, it is now easier than ever to switch to a greener lifestyle with your cat. Keep in mind, though, that cats are quite resistant to change, so try to incorporate new eco-friendly practices into your routine slowly as your cat adjusts to your new lifestyle.