Saying no to plastic bags and yes to cloth grocery bags can help the environment. But did you know that some of the food you give your cat or dog can also have an impact on the climate?
According to VCA Hospitals, animal agriculture is responsible for 18 percent of greenhouse gas emissions, more than all of the world’s transportation combined.
That’s right – if everyone reduced their meat consumption by one-fourth, it would be like taking 7 million cars off the road every year!
1) Update their diet
Actions like reducing your cat’s carbon paw print begin with making some changes to their diet. One way to do this is by opting for wet food instead of dry. Canned foods typically have a lower carbon footprint than kibble because they require less energy and water to produce.
Another way to reduce your cat’s carbon paw print through their diet is by choosing locally-sourced food. Buying from local vendors supports the economy and often requires less transportation, which can further reduce your pet’s environmental impact.
If you’re still buying commercial canned or dried food, you should consider switching to an organic option since it has a much smaller carbon footprint. It might seem more expensive up front but in the long run, it will actually save you money since you’ll need to buy less food overall.
2) Switch to eco-friendly litter
Eco-friendly litter is made from sustainable materials like corn, wheat, or pine and is free of harmful chemicals. It’s also biodegradable, so it won’t end up in a landfill. Switching to eco-friendly litter is a great way to reduce your cat’s carbon paw print.
The switch will also save you money on a litter over time.
I recommend checking out Dr. Elsey’s Precious Cat Ultra Premium Clumping Litter. It clumps well, contains no fragrances or additives, and is 99% dust-free. There are many other eco-friendly options available too, but this one has been my favorite!
If you’re not ready to make the switch just yet, try scooping more often and using less litter each time. Or even better – if you have more than one cat, start with the oldest!
And don’t forget about the food they eat – swapping conventional pet food for something healthier is another way to help reduce your cat’s carbon paw print.
3) Separate the Litter Box from Food Dishes
It may seem counterintuitive, but putting the litter box near your cat’s food dishes can actually encourage them to eat more. That’s because cats are instinctively clean animals and don’t want to eat where they relieve themselves.
So, if you want to help your cat cut down on their carbon paw print, keep the litter box and food dishes in separate areas of your home.
You might also consider using a scented litter like World’s Best Cat Litter® Multi-Cat Scented Clumping Formula or an enzymatic odor eliminator like Purina® Tidy Cats® Clean Blends® Scoopable Cat LitterTM with Febreze®, which can reduce the number of odors left behind by your feline friend.
Another great way to improve indoor air quality is to use filtered or purified water for your cat’s drinking needs instead of tap water. All it takes is one liter per day for each animal, so this simple change could have big benefits for the environment.
Plus, there are other ways to support our furry friends while reducing their environmental impact: If you want to teach your kitty some new tricks or play fetch with him during his morning routine, turn off the lights and create a natural playing area with lots of hiding spots.
Or maybe he’d prefer chasing bugs outside? Either way, it’ll help make both kitty and planet happy!
4) Provide Scratching Posts
One way to reduce your cat’s carbon paw print is by providing them with scratching posts. This will save your furniture from their claws and give them a place to relieve some stress. Be sure to get posts that are tall enough for your cat to stretch out and sturdy enough that they won’t tip over.
You can also find posts that are made from recycled materials, which will help further reduce your cat’s carbon paw print. While many cats prefer sisal rope, others may like cardboard or other similar products.
It’s important to experiment with different types of post material until you find the one that works best for your cat! Try to make it as fun as possible, giving treats while they scratch on the post.
Cats who were not given a scratching post during kittenhood may be reluctant at first; don’t give up on them! Make sure it has an appealing surface (the type mentioned above) and add toys on top of it.
If this doesn’t work after 3-4 weeks, consult your veterinarian because this could be indicative of something more serious.
5) Clean Up After Them
Cats are often praised for being low-maintenance pets, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have an impact on the environment. In fact, according to a 2009 study by the Environmental Protection Agency, the average cat has a carbon paw print of about 30 pounds of CO2 per year.
That’s near twice as much as what most people emit in a year! By picking up your kitty litter and disposing of it properly (no throwing it in the toilet), you can reduce their carbon paw print by about 20%.
For those who worry about harming the environment with disposable litter, there is biodegradable litter made from wheat, corn, or paper pulp. For a more natural solution, use straw or hay from your yard as cat litter – although this will still contribute to emissions.
If you own multiple cats and live in an apartment or condo with no access to outdoor space, consider building them an enclosure on your balcony so they can enjoy some fresh air while eliminating outside.
6) Keep your cat indoors
Keeping your cat indoors is one of the best ways to reduce their carbon paw print. Not only does it keep them safe from traffic and predators, but it also cuts down on the number of resources they use.
Indoor cats typically live longer, healthier lives, and have a smaller ecological impact than their outdoor counterparts. It’s also easier for an indoor cat to get plenty of exercise by playing with interactive toys or hunting bugs in the garden.
You can create a small space outdoors that you leave open for your cat to enjoy in order to give them some sunlight without compromising their safety too much.
Invest in high-quality food: Some grocery store brands of food are more environmentally friendly than others. Read labels carefully before buying and look for foods made from ingredients sourced locally.
Be aware of where pet waste goes: The United States Environmental Protection Agency estimates that 60% of pet waste goes untreated into waterways. Always dispose of pet waste responsibly by either scooping it up or using biodegradable bags if there is no garbage bin nearby.
7) Do not buy them as a gift for someone else
If you are considering getting a cat, please adopt from a shelter instead of buying from a breeder. There are already too many cats in the world and not enough homes for them all. Buying from a breeder only perpetuates this cycle.
If you have bought your cat or adopted it as an adult, be sure to spay or neuter it so that it cannot contribute to this problem.
Please keep your cat indoors! Keeping your pet indoors greatly reduces its carbon paw print. Cats spend 90% of their time inside anyway so they will be happy as long as they have plenty of love and attention while they stay inside with you!
It is also important to provide safe outdoor access for your kitty by providing a screened-in porch, balcony, or even the top of a garage. Even if your cat never actually goes outside during his lifetime, he should still be provided with these options!
Make sure there is no risk of escape by adding screens on any windows where there may be danger such as on a busy street.
8) Adopt, don’t shop
When you adopt a cat from a shelter, you’re not only giving a home to an animal in need, but you’re also helping to reduce the demand for new cats. And that’s good news for the environment.
Pet production is adding 4.3 billion pounds of CO2-equivalent emissions to the atmosphere every year, according to Scientific American. So adopting can be better for your health and your wallet as well as Mother Earth!
Plus, it means that if you have other pets in the house (like dogs), they will have some company. Or if you want more than one pet (which is totally okay!), consider looking into getting two kittens or two adult cats who are friends with each other instead of two individual animals who might not get along so well.
9) Have a plan in place if you can no longer care for your cat
No one wants to think about what would happen if they could no longer care for their cat, but it’s important to have a plan in place just in case.
Here are a few options to consider.
1) Find an animal shelter that has cat rooms where cats can live out their lives while being cared for by staff members and volunteers.
2) Find a friend or family member who is willing to take on the responsibility of caring for your cat. 3) Sign up with Petfinder so that your cat can be adopted by someone else when you can no longer care for him or her.
4) Put your pet up for adoption through Craigslist, Facebook groups, etc.
5) Ask your veterinarian to find someone to adopt your cat if you can’t find anyone yourself.
6) Post ads on local community websites like Nextdoor.
7) Give your cat away using social media sites like Facebook Marketplace or OfferUp.
8) Consider giving your cat to another person instead of surrendering him or her to a shelter.