Category Archives: Green Shopping

10% Off Coupon Code for Only Natural Pet Store

only_natural_logoI just got a coupon code from the Only Natural Pet Store to save 10{456796300b989ac2391159a2df073ed1ad38074dfcdb28494d5d1df8ab5972d8} off all eco-friendly products during March.  Thought I’d share this coupon code with you.  I signed up as an affiliate with the Only Natural Pet Store so if you would be so kind as to use the link below, I would truly appreciate it.  Every little bit helps to supplement the cost of hosting this blog.  Thank you.

This blog and my cat toy book are personal projects that I created to encourage arthritis people to be more eco-friendly.  Even with the addition of those annoying double-underlined ad links (yes, I know they’re annoying and I apologize for them, but I noticed there was a lot of traffic that just bounced in and out, so I thought I’d see if I could monetize it), the monthly advertising revenue is usually about five bucks.

To save 10{456796300b989ac2391159a2df073ed1ad38074dfcdb28494d5d1df8ab5972d8} during the month of March, use the coupon code: ECOFRIEND

Visit their website at: Only Natural Pet Store

Day 25: Holistic Vets and Acupuncture for Cats — The 30-Day Green Cat Challenge

Reiki for cats, quantum energy for cats, herbs for cats, cat massage, cat acupuncture… These days, cats have many of the same alternative healing therapies available to them as their human companions. However, many people are suspicious and skeptical of non-traditional healing methods even for humans, let alone for cats. This is unfortunate because people often endure much suffering for chronic conditions that fail to respond to allopathic medicine. It is only when they are pushed to desperation, that they then seek an alternative practitioner. At this point, their condition has worsened and has become much more difficult to treat.

As a student of acupuncture, I’ve seen this pattern repeated many times in the teaching clinic at school. I’ve seen people with chronic shoulder pain for years who respond immediately to their first acupuncture treatment. I’m not saying that there isn’t a purpose for western medicine, just that people should be more open-minded to alternative treatments.

With this in mind, I’ve decided to present a couple of alternative healing modalities for cats. Before anyone writes this off as quackery, please note that the people who practice these healing arts must also be licensed veterinarians.

Acupuncture for Cats

Acu-CatMy first introduction to the concept of acupuncture for cats was an ad I saw in Acupuncture Today for Acu-Cat: A Guide to Feline Acupressure by Nancy Zidonis. Of course, I couldn’t resist buying the book and I found it was a great introduction to the basics of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). It explained concepts better than some of my textbooks. However, in terms of practical usage, Furball was way too hyper to hold still for some cat acupressure. This was clearly demonstrated when I tried to massage “Yin Tang” to “calm spirit” and he promptly tried to nip me.

However, according to the American Academy of Veterinary Acupuncture (AAVA), acupuncture is known to have therapeutic effects in a wide variety of animal diseases and it may also be used for pain modification, gastrointestinal diseases, respiratory problems, urinary disorder, musculoskeletal disorders and dermatological problems. I personally have a hard time envisioning my cat holding still for an acupuncture needle, but I could see older, calmer animals getting relief for joint motility and pain issues. Hey, I’ve seen so many humans recover from knee, shoulder, back, ankle, wrist pain, etc. It’s not a stretch to imagine acupuncture helping cats.

If you’d like to find a cat acupuncturist, check out the AAVA site where you can search by location to find an acupuncturist for your cat nearby. In the United States, AAVA members must also be licensed graduates of a college or school of veterinary medicine.

Holistic Veterinary Medicine

This is actually a broader term that encompasses acupuncture for cats. According to the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association (AHVMA), “Holistic (or Integrative or Complementary) Veterinary Medicine is the examination and diagnosis of an animal, considering all aspects of the animal’s life and employing all of the practitioner’s senses, as well as the combination of conventional and alternative (or complementary) modalities of treatment.”

It can include a variety of treatments such as modern drug therapy, surgery, nutrition, supplements, behaviour modification, homeopathy, herbs, and veterinary chiropractic. The holistic practitioner looks at your cat as a whole being, not just a presentation of symptoms. They’ll consider genetics, nutrition, family relationships, hygiene, and stress factors with a goal of finding the true root of what is ailing your cat.

It was a holistic vet who recommended that I increase the amount of water in Furball’s diet. This has been immensely helpful at preventing a recurrent incident of blocked bladder as I discussed in Day 21 on natural methods for dealing with struvite crystals.

I can say that from https://disabilityarts.online/klonopin-clonazepam/. my personal experience lasting for 18 years.

To find a holistic vet, please visit the AHVMA website.

HOW YOU CAN TAKE ACTION

Learn more about alternative treatments for your cat and for yourself. Here’s a good start:

Acupuncture:

Holistic Veterinary Medicine:

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Day 20: How to Tell if Ma/Pop Sold OutThe 30-Day Green Cat Challenge

Admittedly, I’m still rather unnerved about what I learned on Day 10 of the 30-Day Green Cat Challenge.  Here I was happily buying Greenies and feeding them to my cat thinking that I was supporting a smaller company, and with that, came a sense of implied trust.  I was SHOCKED to learn that this product I’d been using for years had been bought out by S&M Nu-Tec, owned by the Mars, Inc. conglomerate.  Yes, the same people who make M&Ms, Uncle Ben’s, Whiskas and Sheba, are behind what I thought were healthy, sustainable, locally-produced snacks to clean my cat’s teeth.

A university colleague of mine once worked for Kraft Foods and from what I heard, it was all about delivering the same product as perceived by the consumer at the lowest price possible.  The key was that they would use the lowest cost ingredients possible as long as the consumer didn’t really notice a difference.  She swore off packaged foods pretty much immediately after working there.

In retrospect, I realize that there were clues that my beloved Greenies had changed ownership.  I’ve been eating organic foods for over a decade, back when organic meant dirty, small and bug-infested.  Before there was Whole Foods, I shopped at the little neighbourhood co-ops run by hippies, dimly lit with about 6 items on the shelves.  I even ate at one co-op that was so “green” that I spied cockroaches running out of the salad bar.  I stopped eating there after that, but I digress.  The point I want to make is that I’ve been watching the changes in the industry as green and organic have gained traction with the mainstream.  I’ve seen some of my favorite products bought out by large multinationals looking to add an eco-friendly product line to their portfolio.

In most cases, there were signs of change and usually they were always the same.  So, I’m going to share with you the five signs of when ma/pop has sold out to a conglomerate.

  1. Brand Extension – These are holy words in product marketing.  When a brand manager wants to grow sales, inevitably, they look at brand extension.  How can they slap their brand’s name on more items?  Think Crest Whitestrips, or whatever they’re called.  In the case of natural pet products, watch out if  your pet’s favourite brand suddenly comes out with several different flavours or new products.  This happened with Greenies.  First, there was just some green biscuit that I had to shave down.  About a year or two ago, I noticed that it came in tuna, chicken, beef, etc.  Now, they’re offering “Pill Pockets”.  The same thing happened with Tom of Maine’s toothpaste.  I think they used to have mint, cinnamon and some other weird flavour.  Then one day, there was Tom’s with fluoride, peppermint, peppermint without fluoride, extra whitening, etc.  There must have been a dozen different kinds and that was when I learned that they were bought out by Colgate.
  2. Repackaging – You may notice that the ugly dowdy packaging has been replaced with sleek and colourful graphics.  The hand-drawn logo suddenly looks a little more stylized.  With millions on the line, a good marketer knows that their product has to stand out on the shelf.  Say good bye to the logo drawn by the founder’s “artistic” niece and hello to five star product design.
  3. Distribution – Remember when it was hard to find that little gem you discovered?  You had to go find one of those still-existing hippie co-ops and reach down to the bottom shelf to pull out the second last bag of Kitty treats.  Well, when the big conglomerate steps in, they leverage their distribution channels to get that product into mainstream stores.  Let’s just say if it starts appearing at Wal-mart, you can be pretty sure it’s not likely to be ma/pop.
  4. Website Overhaul – Most companies have websites, but it is hard for a small business to find a talented web designer who can code, design and deal with their business needs.  Actually, this is virtually impossible.  Professional corporate websites are created by teams with each member having a very specialized niche that they excel in.  Watch out when there’s a website redesign.  For unknown reasons, all of the pet product sites tend to look the same.  Colourful, cheerful graphics, a little Flash animation thrown in, and the top third of the page is a big photographic rectangle with a picture of an animal in it.  Sometimes a product image or logo may take up a significant portion of the web page’s real estate.
  5. Tiny Text – Conglomerates can’t seem to resist announcing to the world that this green product they snagged is part of their company.  I don’t know if it’s a legal requirement or if they think associating with a natural pet product will make people have warm fuzzy feelings for them.  However, just look for some little text on the package or the bottom of the website that identifies a different company such as “division of” or “part of the XYZ group of companies”.

Now, I’ve thought about this for quite some time.  Is it a good thing when a large conglomerate buys a natural product company?   On one hand, they achieve economies of scale and efficiency.  It’s probably more efficient for them to ship x thousand products using their distribution channels than for a thousand ma/pops sending products around in trucks that are 3/4 full.  I’ve also considered that they’re bringing natural products to a mass market that might otherwise continue buying the non-eco-friendly versions.

Then, I wonder, how much of the integrity of the original product is maintained and for how long?  At some point, can the parent company resist squeezing its subsidiary for more cash and ROI?  Is it better that millions more people buy a slightly watered down version of a product vs. an environmental elite buying the “pure” product?  I guess it really depends on whether it’s just another product in the portfolio or if the company is looking to overhaul their entire product line to be more green.

Well, obviously, you can read that I have a bias for supporting local businesses.  I have a lot more faith in them sticking true to values than a head office looking to increase shareholder value.  So, my action today is to look at the brands I buy, especially the green cleaning products reviewed in Day 17, and see if I can dig up who really owns them and runs them.

HOW YOU CAN TAKE ACTION

  • Be aware and conscious of what you buy and where it comes from.
  • If you’re wondering about a product you currently use, do some digging and let us know what you find by clicking the “Comments” link below.

Day 18: Drs. Foster and Smith Goes Green — The 30-Day Green Cat Challenge

On Day 16 of the 30-Day Green Cat Challenge, I wrote about encouraging the pet cataloguer, Drs. Foster and Smith, to go green.  I had just received one of their catalogues and was not impressed that they had very few  eco-friendly products (about 3) in a catalogue of 76 pages.  So, I drafted an email to send to their customer service department to encourage them to embrace sustainable business practices.

Well, I am pleased to say that I heard back from them right away.  They actually posted a comment on the blog entry about what they’re doing to become more green.  Here’s a link they gave me:  http://www.drsfostersmith.com/General.cfm?gid=606.   In a nutshell, they’re making their own biodegradable packing peanuts and shipping with cardboard boxes that are made from 75{456796300b989ac2391159a2df073ed1ad38074dfcdb28494d5d1df8ab5972d8} recycled cardboard.  They also listed some of the products that they carry which are eco-friendly (not too many just yet) and told me they’re developing an eco-friendly shop online section to their website.

This is a great start.  It’s encouraging to see that companies are really paying attention to what consumers want and are responding to the demand for greener products.  I’m not sure how they found my blog post so quickly, but it means that I know they’re probably reading this one as well.

So, Drs. Foster and Smith, hats off to you, but as an eco-conscious consumer, I will be looking forward to seeing continued change and real movement towards greener business practices.  I look forward to seeing hundreds of green products listed in your catalogue, although I understand if it starts out as dozens.  Anything less than that would appear like you’re not really committed to this endeavour as I know there are so many eco-friendly pet products out there.  I also look forward to seeing that your catalogues are printed on recycled paper with vegetable-based inks.

HOW YOU CAN TAKE ACTION TODAY

  • Pick a business, any business.  It could be your cat sitter, your vet’s office, Petsmart, the charity you foster kittens for, the pet boutique you frequent, etc.  The point is, just pick one and let them know in person, by email or by phone that you would like to know what they are doing to move towards more sustainable practices.  Based on the Drs. Foster and Smith example, you know that companies are listening, so make your voice heard today!

Day 16: Let’s Green this Pet Catalogue Company — The 30-Day Green Cat Challenge

There’s been an update to this post, please see Day 18 of the 30-Day Green Cat Challenge.

Junk mail seems to never stop. As soon as a catalogue arrives, I set it by the phone to call the 1-800 number to request that my name is removed from their mailing list. The other day, I received a catalogue from Doctors Foster and Smith. They are the largest pet cataloguer in the United States. They carry thousands of products for dogs, cats, birds, horses, fish, reptiles, ferrets, etc.

The catalogue I received was exclusively of cat products. Despite the catalogue being 76 pages, I did not find a single product labelled as eco-friendly. From my own experience, I know that perhaps 3 of the several hundred products listed actually are eco-friendly. However, Doctors Foster and Smith draw no attention to this fact. What was most noticeable, was that there was nothing green about the catalogue other than a lame line on the back saying “Recycle please”. They didn’t even have the recycle logo that we all know, but instead used a couple of cheesy swirly arrows.

The whole idea of catalogue ordering is not particularly eco-friendly, but given the size and reach of this company, it would be significant if they adopted greener business practices and promoted eco-friendly pet products to their customers, who might not normally consider them. Heck, I’d consider it a win if they printed their catalogues on recycled paper with vegetable-based ink or at least used FSC-certified paper.

So, my action for Day 16 of the 30-Day Green Cat Challenge is to write them a very friendly email to encourage them that they’re missing out on some significant green ($$$) by failing to adopt a green policy. Greening the pet industry has to start somewhere so why not with one email? The pet industry has managed to coast under the radar for the most part without too many people pointing out their lack of green policies.

There are many ways to inspire companies to take action. The most visible ones such as protests by PETA and Greenpeace have their value, but having worked for World Wildlife Fund, I firmly believe the most effective changes is from collaboratively working together. Having a business degree, I even more strongly believe that the fastest way to lasting change is the bottom line.

So I drafted an email and am sending it to their customer service department.

HOW YOU CAN TAKE ACTION

  1. Companies are inspired to change when they see enough consumer demand. That means a letter from you too, not just me. Please copy and edit the email below and send it to: [email protected].
  2. Cut down the amount of junk mail you receive by requesting to have your name removed from mailing lists through the Direct Marketing Association. Visit their consumer information site at: www.dmachoice.org.

THE SAMPLE EMAIL LETTER

Note: There’s been an update to this post, please see Day 18 of the 30-Day Green Cat Challenge.

I actually heard from the company that they are working towards greener business practices.  Read their comments to this blog entry.

Dear Drs. Foster and Smith,

I recently received a copy of your catalogue, which prompted me to visit your online store. As a prospective new customer, I was very impressed with the breadth of products you carry as well as the excellent prices you offer to consumers. However, I was very surprised to find a complete lack of any eco-friendly pet products despite your very extensive product offerings. Given the growing demand by consumers for environmentally-friendly products and services, I would expect that Doctors Foster and Smith, as the leading pet supply cataloguer in the U.S. with a history of innovation, would be actively developing sustainable business practices.

I would like to know if a green product policy is currently in development and what other initiatives your company is undertaking to support the environment. Given that this is a rapidly growing market segment with only one small niche competitor, this presents a lucrative opportunity for Doctors Foster and Smith to lead the way and also significantly grow your customer base.

I look forward to hearing about any eco-friendly practices currently underway or in development. I prefer to support green businesses and hope to see some significant changes, in which case, you can count me as a customer.

Sincerely,
[YOUR NAME]
[YOUR ADDRESS OR AT LEAST YOUR CITY AND STATE]
[YOUR PHONE NUMBER AND/OR EMAIL ADDRESS]

Note: Giving your address conveys that you are more “legitimate” and not just filling out some random petition.

Day 14: Shop Local Businesses for Eco-friendly Cat Products — The 30-Day Green Cat Challenge

If you read Day 13 of the 30-Day Green Cat Challenge, you’ll know that after spending about an hour looking for online pet stores devoted to selling eco-friendly cat products, I didn’t find too many options. I couldn’t find a single store that was exclusively for cats, featured only green, natural or sustainable products and that had an emphasis on local and smaller businesses. I proposed it would be a good idea for someone to make one and perhaps because it was late at night, I thought to myself, why not?

So I’ve spent a few hours scouring Amazon for eco-friendly, natural and green cat products to bring you the Green Little Cat Store. Amazon provides an amazing way for smaller companies to reach large audiences at a relatively low cost. Thus, I figured that I could probably find some of those ma/pop businesses that are dedicated to environmental causes. I just started adding cat products and hope to find more eco-friendly gems, especially since this is a growing market.

Feel free to window-shop for ideas or inspiration. I’m a proponent of recycle, reuse and reduce, so before you decide to buy, take a moment to think about whether the product is really necessary or if you can come up with a creative solution from stuff you have on hand. If you find you need to do some shopping, I invite you to check out the Green Little Cat Store.

Day 13: Online Stores for Eco-friendly Cat Products — The 30-Day Green Cat Challenge

I’ve never actually looked around the Internet to look for online stores that specialize in natural and eco-friendly cat products and supplies. It seems like a fun thing to do for today and I might see a great product or be inspired to come up with a homemade version. So, my main criteria are that the store should carry a variety of items and the majority must be natural, sustainable, local and of course green and eco-friendly. Here are some interesting finds, but please note that since I haven’t actually shopped at these stores, I’m not endorsing any stores or products.

1. Only Natural Pet Store

  • This is one of the most comprehensive online stores for pet products. They carry an extensive line from vitamins and homeopathic remedies to toys, food, litter boxes and more. Unlike some stores where Kitty plays second fiddle to Fido, this store gives equal treatment to natural and organic cat products.
  • They carry mostly top brands with a mix of items from smaller companies.
  • As an added bonus, the company is 100% eta-i.org/xanax.html powered by wind.
  • Only Natural Pet Store Website

2. Eco-Pet

  • Looks like a fairly new entry into the enviro-friendly pet products market. Their online store is small, but they seem to focus on more local companies as opposed to carrying just the biggest names out there.
  • They carry eco-friendly products for dogs, cats and birds.
  • Eco-Pet Website

3. All Designer Pet Products

  • A handful of eco-friendly products, but you have to check out these eco-friendly cat scratching posts. They’re the cutest most adorable cardboard scratchers I’ve ever seen. Made in the U.S.A. from 30% recycled materials and they’re 100% recyclable.
  • View the Cat Scratchers

After looking for a couple of hours, I’ve discovered that there aren’t very many options for shopping specifically for eco-friendly cat products. It’s a bit better for dogs, but there’s no single site for one-stop green cat products and supplies. Hmm, what a great business idea for the right person!

HOW YOU CAN TAKE ACTION

  • Today is an armchair activity. Do some window shopping for ideas and inspiration on eco-friendly pet products for your cat. Have fun! 🙂

Green Little Cat is the only blog that's all about eco-friendly ideas for cats and cat lovers. This blog is a labor of love, created by Holly Tse, author of Make Your Own Cat Toys.