Green Little Cat

Taking Action

Day 28: Shelters Outside U.S. Inspire Green Ingenuity — The 30-Day Green Cat Challenge

Continuing the theme of Day 25 and Day 26 of the Green Cat Challenge, today I’m looking even further afield for green inspiration. And I found it with The Animal House Jamaica and Paraíso Felino located in Mexico.

sas4The Animal House Jamaica

The Animal House Jamaica is the only animal shelter located on the north coast of Jamaica and one of only two shelters in the entire country. The Animal House provides assistance to the island’s many abused, abandoned and injured animals. They provide food, shelter, medical care and adoptive services to approximately 500 animals each year. And, they even help owners in need who might otherwise have to abandon their pets.

In spite of the overwhelming need for their services and a limited budget, the Animal House has found creative ways to be eco-friendly since being founded in the 1990s. Some of their green activities include:

  • Reusing old towels donated by local hotels instead of paper towels.
  • To supplement the dogs’ diets, they planted a two-acre organic vegetable garden.
  • They store of all of their records electronically (backed-up of course) and thus avoid the need for paper copies.
  • While it might not be as convenient for clean-up, the Animal House chooses not to use any plastic garbage bags.
  • They are also investigating wind-power and solar systems to replace electricity. While it’s beyond their budget right now, they’re determined to make it happen in the future.

The Animal House Jamaica runs a very efficient operation with 98{456796300b989ac2391159a2df073ed1ad38074dfcdb28494d5d1df8ab5972d8} of all donations going directly to the animals. Donations are used to for food, medical care and supplies, carriers, kennels, and facility maintenance. Unfortunately they don’t get a break from local veterinarians and have to pay from $100 to $150 USD to neuter or spay each animal. The Animal House Jamaica has been formally registered as a charity for five years in Jamaica and they recently obtained 501(c)(3) status from the IRS.

Paraíso Felino

A little closer to home is Paraíso Felino, a cat sanctuary located in the small town of San Juan De Abajo, about 25 miles northeast of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. They house an average of 100 cats at any given time, most of whom have been victims of terrible circumstances including abuse and starvation. Their goal is to provide a temporary place to stay for homeless felines. Paraíso Felino actively works to find adoptive homes for their cats and is able to place between 20 to 30 cats each year with responsible families.

Because they strongly believe that spaying and neutering is the answer to unwanted homeless animals, they also sponsor Spay Day campaigns in the area and work with other non-profits to provide this service free of charge to the locals. Their educational efforts have helped to shift local attitudes as more and more people are opting to sterilize and vaccinate womans health their pets.

eco-friendly animal shelterParaíso Felino has come up with a creative way to be green. They raise money by handcrafting items for sale using recycled materials. They transform old magazines, cereal boxes, cardboard and fabric scraps into greeting cards, potpourri boxes and little handy pouches. Check out these beautiful handmade pot pourri satchels and pouches. You’d never guess that they were made from discarded items.

For this cat sanctuary, every dollar makes a difference. It costs $20 USD to spay or neuter a cat, $25 USD a year for vaccinations and $8 USD a week to feed each cat. This might not seem like that much in American dollars, however it’s a much greater expense when you consider that their local economy is based on the peso and that most of their supplies are imported form the U.S. Not only are donations used to feed and care for the cats, Paraíso Felino is also paying for construction costs to build a new shelter.

While they are a registered non-profit in Mexico, they do not have 501(c)(3) status. However, if you’d like to make a donation, they have an agreement with P.E.A.C.E., Inc. in the U.S. to process donations on their behalf, which makes them tax-deductible.


  1. Please consider making a small donation to one of these very deserving organizations. The economy is in bad shape, but there’s a worldwide recession going on. To quote President Obama from his eloquent inaugural speech, “And to those nations like ours that enjoy relative plenty, we say we can no longer afford indifference to suffering outside our borders”.
  2. If you are part of an animal welfare organization, open a discussion within your group about how you can implement greener practices. Also, check out Day 26 where I featured an organization that saves the money by saving the environment. As well, if you’re interested in a fun and easy way to raise money that also supports the environment, please check out the Charity Partner Program that I’m creating as part of my eco-friendly cat toy book.
  3. Last, but not least, share this post with any other animal welfare groups you know of who are looking for ways to be more eco-friendly. Click the “Share This” link to email this article to a friend or post it to your favourite social networking site.

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Hearing different stories about ” I’ve been afraid of taking it.

Day 27: Easy Eco-friendly Tips for Animal Shelters — The 30-Day Green Cat Challenge

Following in the spirit of Day 26 of the 30-Day Green Cat Challenge, I’m going to finish the week by looking outwards for inspiration to green my cat. I’ve spent the past few weeks examining Furball’s life to give him an eco-cat makeover. However, I really believe it’s important to reach out. Perhaps this will help to encourage an eco-friendly cat movement and help green the pet industry.

Today, I’m delighted to write about Angel’s Wish, a non-profit animal welfare organization that runs a Pet Adoption and Resource Center in Verona, WI. This is one very dedicated group that is committed to reducing animal overpopulation, finding new homes for pets, and raising awareness of animal welfare issues. Did I mention that they’re an all-volunteer organization with over 100 volunteers?

Angel’s Wish is a no-kill shelter and has been operating since 2000. Last year, they cared for nearly 600 animals and cats make up over 90{456796300b989ac2391159a2df073ed1ad38074dfcdb28494d5d1df8ab5972d8} of the animals they help each year. In addition to the amazing work they do to help the most forgotten and downtrodden of our furry friends, Angel’s Wish is also committed to being as eco-friendly as possible.

This organization may not have the resources that larger nonprofits do, but they prove that anybody can be green, even while running a very tight ship. They do this by making small changes in their day-to-day activities that add up to big savings that save the environment and save money too.

Here’s what Angel’s Wish is doing to be an eco-friendly animal shelter:

  • Animal welfare groups can easily use large quantities of paper towels for the regular cleaning necessary for pet health and cleanliness. Angel’s Wish uses rags and cloth towels whenever possible. Not only are they reducing their consumption of paper towels, they’re also reusing rags and towels that have been donated to them.
  • When they built a new Pet Adoption and Resource Center, they chose to build in a business condo development rather than a standalone building. This resulted in lower costs and also a smaller carbon footprint. The Resource Center has three separate heating/cooling zones, each with their own programmable thermostats for maximum efficiency. Of course, they also selected fluorescent lighting fixtures, and their three main rooms can be set for either half lighting or full-lighting.
  • Because there’s a lot of laundry to be done when looking after animals, Angel’s Wish made sure to choose an energy efficient washer and dryer to save electricity and also reduce costs.
  • With 90{456796300b989ac2391159a2df073ed1ad38074dfcdb28494d5d1df8ab5972d8} of the animals being cats, Angel’s Wish also uses the minimum amount of litter possible to reduce waste.
  • And the green savings don’t just stop with the care of animals. In the office, they make a conscious effort to reduce the amount of paper used. They scan donations in electronically for storage as opposed to creating mounds of photocopied papers. When they do have to make copies, they always make them double-sided. And, they send email newsletters to minimize print publications.
  • For additional fundraising, they collect old cell phones and inkjet cartridges to be recycled.
  • Finally, they reuse things until they fall apart and also take in in-kind donations of gently used items.

That’s a pretty impressive list of easy eco-friendly ideas that any animal welfare organization can implement. It doesn’t take much to be green and on top of that, being green helps reduce costs so that donations are used responsibly.

A Purrfect Cat Book in Support of Angel’s Wish

“Make Your Own Cat Toys” features over 50 eco-friendly cat toys that are fast, fun and easy to make. As the author of this book, I am delighted to offer supporters of Angel’s Wish a special savings off the regular price — AND $2 from each book sold will be donated to Angel’s Wish. Please check it out at: Make Your Own Cat Toys.


  1. Make a donation to Angel’s Wish or your favourite local animal or environmental charity. Angel’s Wish is a registered 501(c)3 nonprofit so your donation is tax-deductible. While these are definitely unique economic times for everyone, it’s even tougher now more than ever for charities and the animals they help. Remember how President Obama built his campaign though $5 donations? It made a big difference, so even the smallest amount is deeply appreciated. You can make a donation online to Angel’s Wish by visiting their website at:
  2. If you are part of an animal welfare organization, open a discussion within your group about how you can implement greener practices. Also, visit again tomorrow as I’ll be posting some creative eco-friendly ideas from an animal rescue organization in Jamaica and a cat sanctuary in Mexico. As well, if you’re interested in a fun and easy way to raise money that also supports the environment, please check out the Charity Partner Program that I’m creating as part of my eco-friendly cat toy book.
    That is, the safest option is to calmly sit in bed with a book. Read more information about the drug on
  3. Last, but not least, share this post with any other animal welfare groups you know of who are looking for ways to be more eco-friendly. Click the “Share This” link to email this article to a friend or post it to your favourite social networking site.

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Day 24: Recycled Plastic Litter BoxesThe 30-Day Green Cat Challenge

PetmateLitterBoxGiven the low-tech purpose that litter boxes serve, it’s surprising that they aren’t all made from 100{456796300b989ac2391159a2df073ed1ad38074dfcdb28494d5d1df8ab5972d8} recycled plastic. In fact, I could only find one litter box that used recycled materials. This just seems wrong to me. I also found a lot of companies greenwashing their litter boxes to claim that they offer eco-friendly litter boxes.

So, here’s where to look for eco-friendly litter boxes.


  • I really have to give kudos to Petmate for taking a proactive approach to incorporating a minimum of 25{456796300b989ac2391159a2df073ed1ad38074dfcdb28494d5d1df8ab5972d8} recycled materials in many of their products. It’s a great start and as I learn more about the pet industry, I can appreciate how forward-thinking this is in an industry that seems to be lagging in following the green trend. Petmate offers a dozen different litter boxes in various shapes and sizes to suit your cat — and all of them are made with 25{456796300b989ac2391159a2df073ed1ad38074dfcdb28494d5d1df8ab5972d8} recycled content.

Here’s where NOT to look for eco-friendly litter boxes:

The Litter-Robot

  • You have got to be kidding me that they’re trying to promote this self-cleaning litter box as eco-friendly. Well, the grey one is made from recycled plastic and they also tout that it’s made in the U.S.A. However, first, it’s gigantic so it uses a lot more plastic then most boxes. Second, it has electronics and mechanics that use even more resources than a basic box. Third, you have to plug this one in. Just because someone is too lazy to scoop their cat litter, does not justify this as an eco-friendly litter box. Use a scoop. That’s eco-friendly.

Kitty’s WonderBox

  • This is another jump on the green bandwagon product. This litter box is made from recycled paper fibres, but the major problem with it is that it’s disposable. Promoting it as “biodegradable” is simply greenwashing. The company even admits that the inspiration for their disposable boxes was convenience. “You see, having a very full schedule and not always being present when Spice decided to deposit her gifts in the box, it was not humanly possible at all!

Exquisicat Litter Boxes

  • I called the 1-800 number on their box to ask whether they had a recycled plastic version of their litter boxes. I was surprised to find that PetSmart customer service answered the call. It turns out that Exquisicat is PetSmart’s house brand. The service rep was unable to answer whether there were any plans to make a litter box from recycled plastic and also had no information on what PetSmart was doing to help the environment. She said she would talk to some people in the company and get back to me. That was over three weeks ago and I haven’t heard a thing. I guess there is no green policy.

Van Ness Litter Boxes

  • Van Ness appears to be one of the other major brands making cat litter boxes. However, I could not find one made from recycled plastic and can’t seem to find any info on the company online.


  • PetSmart operates over 1000 stores in North America. That’s a lot of stores that don’t have an eco-friendly policy or green initiative. Imagine if they did. Send an email to PetSmart asking about their Exquisicat litter boxes as well as their position on green business practices. Please copy and edit the email below and send it to PetSmart via their contact form: Or, alternately, you can call them 24 hours a day at 1-888-839-9638.


I have been a PetSmart customer for many years. However, like many consumers, I am increasingly concerned about the environment and was wondering what PetSmart is doing to offer more eco-friendly products and introduce more sustainable business practices. Quite frankly, I don’t see any changes at my local store and this concerns me greatly. Given the growing demand by consumers for environmentally-friendly products and services, I would expect that PetSmart, as the leading pet retailer in the U.S., would be actively developing sustainable business practices.

I would like to know if a green product policy is currently in the works and what other initiatives and products your company is undertaking to support the environment. Specifically, I would also like to know if Exquisicat will be making its litter boxes from recycled plastic. Exquisicat’s competitor, Petmate, is already taking a lead by offering eco-friendly litter boxes made from 25{456796300b989ac2391159a2df073ed1ad38074dfcdb28494d5d1df8ab5972d8} recycled content. Until Exquisicat follows suit, I see no reason to purchase this brand.

So I started taking 0.5 mg daily. And for the first attack, it worked really good, guys!

With many eco-friendly alternatives entering the marketplace, it is becoming increasingly easy for me to change my shopping habits. Because I prefer to support green businesses, I hope to hear about significant and meaningful changes in PetSmart’s business practices. However, if your company lacks a cohesive sustainable business strategy, I will continue to shift my spending to companies that actively support green business practices.



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.


  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:
  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:


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.


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 1: Contact Your Cat Food CompanyThe 30-Day Green Cat Challenge

Food is a very complicated subject, yet one that is worth the effort because your cat eats every day. Assuming a cat eats 4 oz. of cat food per day, multiplied by 365 days and that’s 91.25 pounds of cat food a year. Multiply that by 60 million cats (number of cats in American households) and you get about 5.5 BILLION pounds of cat food EACH year.

I’ve tried to switch Furball to organic food, but most of the available offerings are of the organic chicken variety. Being the typical cat, he’s fussy and doesn’t care for the chicken only flavours. As well, since he had a bout of pancreatitis two years ago as well as some bladder issues, food switches seem to upset his delicately balanced system.

However, what I can do, is find out where his current food comes from and encourage the company to source their ingredients locally, manufacture locally and introduce organic ingredients wherever possible. Furball eats the Pinnacle brand by Breeder’s Choice. Their website is and the toll-free number is 1-800-255-4286.

Just tried dialling, but was asked to leave a message. Must have something to do with most people still being on holidays. Ok, I’ll try again on Monday. I’m also going to send an email.


In the mean time, here’s what you can do. Pull out your pet’s food, look on the bag for a website or 1-800 number. Plan to call on Monday or to send an email right now to tell the manufacturer that locally made and sourced food with organic ingredients is important to you.

Here’s some text you can copy and modify for your email. Do it now, or you’ll get busy and forget. After the pet food recall a couple of years ago, isn’t your Kitty worth this small effort to ensure her health and safety?



As a loyal customer of [PUT pharmacy YOUR CAT FOOD BRAND HERE] for [LIST YEARS YOU’VE BEEN USING THEIR PRODUCT] years, I wanted to let you know that I am very concerned about where my pet’s food is manufactured as well as the quality of the ingredients used. This is from a health and safety perspective as well as a desire to support companies that implement greener business practices.

I would appreciate it if you could please let me know where my pet’s food is manufactured in terms of the ingredients and the processing. Given the ongoing safety issues of overseas ingredients, I would prefer that the food I feed my pet is sourced and manufactured in [YOUR COUNTRY HERE]. This would greatly allay my concerns about safety as well as reduce the environmental impact of transporting pet food such a great distance. If your food is locally made, that’s amazing. If not, what is your company doing to move in this direction?

In addition to where my cat’s food is made, I am also concerned about the types of ingredients used. I have begun eating organic food myself and I want my pet to also have this benefit. Are there any plans to create an organic line of [YOUR PET FOOD BRAND HERE] or to introduce more organic ingredients?

Finally, I have been changing my purchasing habits to support businesses that implement sustainable practices and take a proactive approach to reducing their environmental impact. I was wondering what [YOUR PET FOOD MANUFACTURER HERE] is doing to adopt greener business practices.

I’ve tried lots of medications for herpes, but none of them worked for me. My friend recommended me to see data on the medication Valtrex at Valtrexlab. The pills are big, but very easy to swallow due to a specific coating.

Switching food brands is not something I take lightly. However, because I feel so strongly about these issues, I will change to a different brand if I feel your company is not moving forward in a progressive manner. I eagerly await your response and look forward to hearing how [YOUR PET FOOD MANUFACTURER] is changing to meet the growing market support for socially responsible companies.