Green Little Cat

Going Green

Catster’s Going Green

I’ve got some exciting news.  Yours truly was invited to write for Catster.com.  I wrote five eco-friendly cat tips for Catster’s Cat Tip of the Day.  Check it out at http://blogs.catster.com/cat_tip_of_the_day for the week of November 22nd.

I’m also working on some great green articles to debut in Catster’s Cats 101 resource section.  I’ll keep you posted!

Greener Alternatives to Grocery Bags for Disposing of Cat Litter

Do you ever find yourself taking the plastic bag at the grocery store simply because you need it for garbage? I’ve done this myself a few times.

I’ll bring my reusable tote to the store, but before I can whip it out, the cashier has already stuffed my purchase into a bag and handed it to me, turning his/her attention to the next customer. Or, I might be at the Chinese grocery store and their English is a little patchy as is my Chinese. The item goes into the bag and it just seems like too much hassle to explain that I don’t need a bag and hope that they’ll understand what I’m saying. I’ve even taken the item out of the bag before, only to see the cashier take the plastic bag and then throw it into the trash.

At the local supermarket, there’s one cashier who insists that I take a bag or she’ll stick a gigantic sticker on my item to show that it’s paid for. In this instance, I debate which is better for the environment — a plastic bag that I’ll reuse or a giant sticker that I’ll throw out.

What tips the scale for me in all of the above scenarios is that I use grocery bags for throwing out my trash. And since I’ve been using reusable bags for over a decade, I’ve already run through the ones I’ve gotten from friends/family/freecycle. As more and more people use reusable totes, I’m facing a shortage of garbage bags.

Here in California, I just learned that it’s illegal to flush your cat waste as a potential parasite in cat poo can is causing serious harm to the sea otter population. So, what’s a girl and a cat to do?

Well, I’ve come up with a number of greener alternatives to collecting grocery bags to dispose of your cat’s litter.  Here they are:

  1. Toilet paper roll packaging: Buy the jumbo pack of 12 rolls, and instead of just tearing off the plastic wrap, cut one end open.  You now have a giant-sized bag for throwing out cat litter.
  2. Ditto for the plastic wrapper on paper towels.
  3. Use a smaller cat litter scoop.  Now you can easily use smaller bags for tossing out kitty’s waste as the smaller scoop will fit inside the smaller bag.
  4. Ask friends with babies (up to 2 to 3 years) to save the bags that the disposable diapers come in.  You’ll have an endless supply.  Yes, in an ideal green world, your friends would use cloth diapers, but as a parent, you learn that idealism and babies do not go hand in hand.  It really depends on the baby!
  5. Ask friends with newspaper subscriptions to save those annoying bags that newspapers are delivered in.  The bags are super narrow, which is where your small cat litter scoop will come in handy.
  6. Produce bags for fruits and veggies are also handy for disposal.  Again, in an ideal world, you’d pick everything loose and reuse mesh bags.  I use a CSA and they insist on sending my organic produce in plastic baggies.  At least the bags are biodegradable.  I asked if I could send back the bags to be reused.  The answer was an obvious no.
  7. Pay attention to packaging.  Bought a new computer?  Guess what?  It probably came in a plastic bag inside the box.  Underwear?  Plastic bag.  Ikea furniture?  Plastic bag.  Spinach?  Plastic bag.  Etc.
  8. Ask friends/family for their produce bags, grocery bags, plastic bags, etc.  In your ideal world, you’d convince them all to use reusable bags, but let’s face it, not everyone is going to do this, so you might as well use their bags.
  9. Post on your local Freecycle.org a request for bags.

Cat Litter Sale at the Only Natural Pet Store

OnlyNaturalFurball and I are lucky to live in an area where we literally have at least a dozen choices of eco-friendly litter available to us at the local pet stores.  If you don’t have this assortment available to you, it might be worthwhile to consider online options.  As with most decisions, nothing is black and white, or in this case green and white.  The carbon cost of having a heavy bag of litter shipped to you needs to be weighed against the environmental destruction caused by stripmining clay litter.

If you do decide in favour of ordering litter online, the Only Natural Pet Store is having a cat litter sale on for the month of September.  They’re located in Boulder, CO, so if you don’t live halfway across the country, you may want to check in to see what they’re offering.

To save 10{456796300b989ac2391159a2df073ed1ad38074dfcdb28494d5d1df8ab5972d8}, enter the code: LITTER when checking out.

Visit the Only Natural Pet Store

Eco-Friendly Cat Litter, Natural Cat Food, DIY Green Cat Toys and More!

HSSVTomorrow, I’ll be giving a presentation at the Humane Society of Silicon Valley on how to have an eco-friendly cat!  I’ll be giving eco-friendly tips about cat litter, cat food, cat toys and more. Plus, I’ll be leading participants through a hands-on cat toy making workshop.

I’m putting the final touches on my presentation this evening.  Tomorrow’s presentation is for HSSV blood pressure volunteers and foster parents.  The plan is to offer the presentation to the general public as well in the upcoming months.

I’ll let you know how it goes and will also upload my presentation materials so that those of you who don’t live nearby can get some handy tips on how to green your cat.

Wish me luck!

A Chemical-Free Garden and Organic Insect Repellent

EcoSMARTgarden-insect-killer-largeGardens are a potential landmine when it comes to chemicals.  To me, it seems obvious that if you are going to eat the stuff that grows in your garden, you don’t want to be spraying chemical pesticides on it.  However, I can relate to the “ick factor” of creepy crawlies taking over your garden and also the helplessness of watching your hard work get eaten up by little critters.

And, if you’re sitting out there at night and it’s a bad mosquito season, the temptation to slather yourself with DEET is high.  Let’s face it, citronella is a fabulous bug repellent for 15 seconds, then it’s completely useless.  So, what to do?

I recently discovered the EcoSMART line of products which includes an organic insect repellent.  They contacted me about doing a giveaway of their products on my blog, but before I did so, I wanted to make sure the stuff really works.  So, they sent me their “Safe Plant and Garden Bundle” which includes their Garden Insect Killer, Garden Fungicide, Weed and Grass Killer, and Insect Repellent.

Their products use a blend of essential oils as their active ingredients to keep bugs and fungus in check.  The ingredient list almost reads like dinner.  For example, the fungicide includes rosemary, thyme and clove oils.  Their website states that you can spray and harvest on the same day.

One caveat about essential oils.  On a Natural Resources Defense Council website (http://www.simplesteps.org/greenpaws-products), they state that many essential oils are very toxic for cats.  One thing to note is that they are speaking specifically about flea and tick control products which come into very close contact with pets.

However, just to be on the safe side, I wouldn’t recommend any essential oil products for inside the home if you have cats.  With the great outdoors, I feel that the contact would be minimal and essential oils are a lot better than chemicals for you, the neighbourhood cats and the environment.

So far, I’ve tried the insect killer and fungicide on the miniature orange tree in our backyard.  Our little tree was suffering from spider webs, unknown little bugs and black spots on its leaves, but I’m happy to report that the leaves have gone from a sorry-looking yellow to a vibrant green and we’ve got 6 teeny oranges growing!  Yay!

Next to get field tested will be the organic mosquito repellent.  My husband is going camping deep in the backwoods of British Columbia.  He’s going to take the EcoSMART insect repellent with him and nothing else.

There’s a town in B.C. called “Malakwa” which is Chinook Jargon word for mosquito.  I’ve been there and the mosquitoes in B.C. are somethng fierce, although I’d name Northern Ontario as the no-contest winner of the most ferocious mosquitoes in the world.

I’ll keep you posted of how it goes.

Green Presentation at Humane Society

This is pretty cool.  I met with a couple of people at the Humane Society of Silicon Valley and we’re going to be working together in the future.  The plan is for me to give presentations on how to green your cat as part of their educational program. And, they’re interested in carrying my cat toy book (www.MakeYourOwnCatToys.com) in their store.

While I was there, they also told me about this new cat litter that’s eco-friendly and smells like ICE CREAM!  I did indeed see and smell the litter.  I’ll write more about it in an upcoming post.

Happy Earth Day!

GreenTipsIf there ever was a day to feel inspired to green anti anxiety your cat, today would be it.  Check out the archives for my 30 Day Green Cat Challenge.

It was really the basis that got this blog started.  Take the 30 Day Green Cat Challenge to green your cat in a month.  I went through the process myself and was amazed at how many additional changes I could do to make Furball’s life even greener.

Take the Challenge!

Furball’s Cat Toilet Training – Day 17

Yay!  There were a couple of logs sitting on the tray this morning.  And, a couple fell through the hole into the toilet.  Furball seems to be getting the hang of this cat toilet training thing.

As I’ve been observing the process, I can see a couple of other potential trouble spots during the process.  The first is that he sits in the tray to use it.  When the hole gets too big for him to stand in it, he’ll have to turn around with his paws on the outside and his butt on the inside.  This is the exact opposite of what he currently is doing (butt in the middle).

The second potential issue is splashback.  When that hole gets bigger and he’s dropping off some solids, they might cause water to splash onto his butt.  We all know cats hate water.  Oh well, c’est la vie.  Let’s hope for the best.  He won’t be at either of these two stages for at least another month or so.  The CitiKitty directions advise you to progress to the next step only after your cat has successfully used the tray in the latest step for a week.

After finding a chunk in his litter bag, I’m going to be even more cautious in moving forward.  It is very tempting to speed things along, but I’ve waited this long to toilet train my cat, I can certainly wait a few extra weeks.

Furball’s Cat Toilet Training – Day 16

With some trepidation, I headed to the bathroom this morning. A sigh of relief as I saw Furball had peed in the toilet training tray.

I decided to put the foot stool back beside the toilet until Furball gets the hang of using the tray for his #2.

#2 did not appear, but Furball did pee in the tray a second time.