Earth Day was first celebrated in 1970 and since then, it has been celebrated every year on April 22nd. It is a day to observe and appreciate nature; understand the impact of our behaviour on the planet’s health. As we approach Earth Day, let's remember that green living is not just good for us, but it's good for our cats too. Let's look at some ways to green-up our cat care routine, go sustainable and eco-friendly for the health of our cats and the planet.
1. Sustainable food sources
Choose cat food that uses sustainable meat sources – animals that are raised in a sustainable, humane way without added drugs or hormones. Antibiotics are widely used in livestock and poultry to promote growth and prevent diseases. However, the overuse of antibiotics in animal feed has caused serious environmental damage. It has given rise to antimicrobial resistance, which seriously affects both animal and human health, food safety, and the earth’s natural ecosystems.
Many cleaning solutions are harmful to cats. They contain bleach, ammonia, formaldehyde, isopropyl alcohol, or other harmful chemicals to both humans and pets. Chemical-based disinfectants that effectively kill viruses, including the Covid-19 virus, can be toxic to our pets. Some of the ingredients that make disinfectants effective make them toxic to companion animals too.
It is best to look for products that are pet-safe and made from biodegradable ingredients. If you are looking for convenience, a single product that is eco-friendly and multifunctional, choose the Bio-X 3-in-1 Aerosol Spray. It is the only 3-in-1 multi-function product in the market that is water-based, non-poisonous and works against insects, fungus, germs and bad odour.
3. Biodegradable litter
If your cat accepts alternatives and you are currently not on eco-friendly, biodegradable litter, consider the Nurture Pro Tofu Cat Litter Charcoal Cat Litter or any other biodegradable cat litter. Don’t make the switch at the expense of your feline friend’s litter box habits. Some cats simply refuse the new litter.
4. Eco-friendly shampoos
The overall consensus seems to be that liquid soap is worse for the environment than bar soap, mostly because of plastic packaging concerns, SLS, synthetic fragrances, and chemical dyes which might cause low to moderate aquatic toxicity in the environment. Bar soap is generally considered the most sustainable option, with 10 times less of an environmental impact than liquid soap.
If using shampoo, always look for natural, SLS-free shampoo. If possible, get one with eco-friendly packaging too. For cat owners who would like to make the switch from shampoo to soap, we have the WashBar Natural Original Soap for Dogs & Cats (Flea & Tick Prevention). It’s an all-natural soap bar with anti-allergenic, anti-inflammatory and insecticidal properties. WashBar uses only organic, vegan, and cruelty-free ingredients and WashBar is very careful with its packaging. WashBar keeps their soap bar naked because they are opposed to unnecessary packaging.
5. Toys from recycled materials or DIY cat toys
Cats have sharp claws and teeth. As a cat owner, you must have witnessed kitty tearing apart a flimsy cat toy within minutes! Low-quality toys need to be thrown out and replaced frequently, which makes them a waste of money and bad for the environment. Always invest in good, durable cat toys that don’t get shredded in a blink of an eye. Global waste is a huge problem, and our wastage growth will outpace population growth by 2050. Let’s do whatever we can to help lessen the global waste burden.
Whenever possible, choose a green cat toy; toys made from recycled or eco-friendly materials. We have one selected for you, the Kong Straw Ball Cat Toy. This is an all-natural toy made from eco-friendly straw materials with a ball shape for batting fun.
For creative parents, you can even DIY your cat toys. There are many self-help, DIY videos to be found on the internet. Indulge your craft skills and make some cat toys from recycled materials for your feline kids and friends.
6. Recycle cat food cans
It is possible to recycle cat food cans. The cans are mostly made of steel and tin, and in some cases, you may get aluminum cans. All these metals are recyclable. If you’re concerned about the smell of lingering cat food, rinse with water before tossing it in your recycling bin.
7. Spay/neuter your cat
Cats have an instinct to hunt and kill. Researchers have found that outdoor cats can cause significant damage and destruction to local ecosystems. In seven years, one un-neutered pair of cats and their offspring can produce 420,000 kittens. Ecologists have noted that large outdoor cat populations are directly linked to significant declines in biodiversity. To keep this from happening, keep your cats indoors.
If you noticed feral cats in your area, consider calling a trusted rescue. Some of these organizations will be able to help arrange for proper vaccinations, medical care, spaying, neutering, and adoption.
Many of these rescue organizations participate in a TNR (trap neuter return) program. These programs are designed to allow feral cats to stay in their original environment but will ensure that they will not continue to breed and wreak havoc on the local ecosystem.
Our individual efforts may seem small and futile, but in reality, it is not. It is going to take all of us to invest and protect our health, our cat and the planet’s health. Our small efforts collectively can make a big impact.
For a full history of this special environment day, go to earthday.org.
Katherine is a Pet Nutrition Specialist and GDP’s Pet Wellness Advisor. She is committed to helping pet owners make informed dietary and lifestyle choices in nurturing healthy pets. Katherine is also a practicing Nutritional Therapist (human nutrition) and has been helping hundreds of clients to heal naturally with nutrients.