Green Little Cat

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% 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!


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

Day 12: Re-carpeting a Scratching PostThe 30-Day Green Cat Challenge


As you can see from this photo, Furball needs a new scratching post. The bottom of the post is practically scratched down to the board. If you look at the round hoop, you can see what the original carpet should look like. The carpet on this cat scratching post really needs to be replaced.

The easy and convenient thing to do would be to throw this out and get a new scratching post. However, this is a large cumbersome object that would take up a lot of space in the landfill, not to mention the added resources required to get a replacement scratching post.

With that in mind, we’ve decided to try to replace the carpet on the cat scratching post. Can it be done? What about the big round thing in the middle? How should we remove it? What’s the most eco-friendly way to re-carpet a scratching post? I don’t want to use glue. Nails? Staples? Are they strong enough? Will it be an easy task to put new carpet on a cat scratching post? Do I take off the old carpet before putting new carpet on the scratching post? Who knows?

In spite of all of these questions, I’m going to move ahead as part of the 30-Day Green Cat Challenge to give my cat a green makeover. The first step is to get carpet. Luckily, I have an idea on how to obtain this in the most eco-friendly asthma manner possible.

I’m placing a post on my local It’s going to say:

Wanted: Carpet remnant 2′ x 3′ – small amount needed to re-carpet a cat scratching post

If you have recently installed new carpet and have some leftover scraps, I would appreciate a small piece, about 2′ x3 ‘, preferably of a low-pile carpet (different enough to discourage the cat from scratching the regular carpet).

I’m sorry I can’t take all of your scraps and will only use new scraps (not your old carpet). However, in the spirit of freecycle, I hope you will appreciate that your carpet scrap will prevent a cat scratching post from going into the garbage and it will also reduce the resources required for purchasing a replacement. It may even have further far-reaching effects as I’m going to blog about this process of putting new carpet on my cat’s old scratching post. Hopefully this will inspire others to do the same.


  • Check out your local to learn how you can give away and get free items. Freecycle is great. I’ve given away a pedometer and matte board, and have received plastic grocery bags. There’s often great stuff being given away and the best part of using Freecyle is that you know your item is going to someone who is going to use it. So, while today’s action is not specific to your cat, you just never know — I’ve seen cat stuff being given away too :).

Day 11: Thumbs Up to this Natural Cat Food — The 30-Day Green Cat Challenge

Breeder's Choice Pinnacle

On Day 1 of the 30-Day Green Cat Challenge, I contacted the manufacturer of Furball’s cat food to ask them where the product was sourced and manufactured and whether it was organic. It took them awhile to get back to me, but I just received the following email today.

Dear Ms. Tse:

The Pinnacle dry cat food is made at our own facility in Irwindale, CA with all ingredients from certified sources in the United States. The ingredients are all natural, but are not organic. There are no plans at this time to produce an all organic food. The canned Pinnacle foods are made at Menu Foods. The ingredients and formulas are to our specifications.

Please note, none of our foods, cat or dog, dry, canned or treats were involved in any recalls. We do not use ingredients from China, we do not use by-products of any type. All ingredients are from the human grade chain.

Breeder’s Choice

I was considering switching to an organic cat food, but given the results of my initial research, it no longer seemed like such a clear choice. Now that I know Pinnacle by Breeder’s Choice is made in the U.S. (bonus that it’s in California, where we live, so it’s even more local) from certified sources in the U.S., I think I’ll stick with this brand. This is good news, especially since Furball had the pancreatitis, he’s been more sensitive to changes in his diet. Now I can feel good about what I’m feeding him.

Note however, that I don’t buy their wet food. If I did, I would still consider switching since Menu Foods makes it. If you check out my overview of organic cat food, you’ll learn that even organic brands are made by Menu Foods. In my comparison of organic cat food, Evanger’s was the only one that I could definitely be sure was not made by Menu Foods.


  • How do you feel about what you’re feeding your cat? Do you know what he or she is eating? If not, find out and let your manufacturer know your concerns. If there’s enough consumer demand, these companies will make changes. Go to Day 1: Contact Your Cat Food Company and copy and paste the letter at the end of the post to send to the manufacturer of your cat’s food. It’s super easy. There are only six phrases you have to fill out yourself (eg., name of pet food).
  • Bookmark this post and when you hear back from the company, post the reply here by clicking the teeny little “Comments: none” link at the bottom. I think I have to look into fixing that :).
  • Talk about these issues with your friends and family who have cats AND dogs too. Pets are precious and shouldn’t have to eat crap. To share this post via email or your social networking site, click the “Share This” link.

Day 10: Natural Pet Dental Care The 30-Day Green Cat Challenge

At Furball’s last visit to the vet, the doctor commented that Furball’s teeth and gums were in excellent condition. I’d love to claim credit for being a good cat mommy and brushing his teeth, but I’m admittedly not that devoted. Plus, if I approached him with a cat toothbrush, he’d attack it and think it’s a toy. The concept of being able to brush your cat’s teeth is simply ludicrous to me because Furball would simply not stand for it and would most definitely let me know by using said teeth and claws.

However, I can give credit to a couple of natural pet teeth cleaners. Based on the vet’s comments and given that Furball is over seven years old, I have to assume these products really work. So, I thought I would share them with you, since pet dental care is something that people often overlook. I’m sure the idea of brushing your cat’s teeth is not commonly considered by most people. Luckily, keeping your cat’s teeth clean can be fairly simple. And, as they say, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. I read somewhere that to get your cat’s teeth cleaned by the vet, they put them under. That’s something I’d rather avoid. So, here’s what I use to keep my cat’s teeth and gums clean and healthy:

Feline Greenies Dental Treats

cat dental careThese are little fish-shaped cat treats that contain chlorophyll. They’re also quite crunchy, based on observation, not ingestion ;), which helps to remove food bits on Furball’s teeth.

  • PROS: On the plus side, they’re made with ingredients you can pronounce and don’t contain any artificial colours or synthetic preservatives. They really work, are easy and fun to feed to the cat, and Furball loves to eat them.
  • CONS: On the negative side, Greenies are not organic, and they’re made by S&M Nu-Tec, owned by the Mars, Inc. conglomerate. This is actually news to me. I was buying Greenies when it was still a small company. It looks like they got bought only a few years ago, which coincides with when I noticed that the packaging changed and a bunch of new flavour options appeared. There was also a class action law suit against them a couple of years ago because some dogs were choking on the treats. Greenies has since changed the formula and shape for dogs. Hmm, now my challenge is to find a greener alternative.
  • Greenies website

Petzlife Oral Care Gel with Salmon Oil

natural pet dental careThis gel contains grapeseed extract as the primary ingredient for natural pet dental care. It also contains a number of herbal oils as well as salmon oil. It’s supposed to be really good for removing tartar build-up on your cat’s teeth. PetzLife has before and after photos of pet’s teeth on their website. After ingesting the gel, Furball gets a bit droolly which is supposed to help clean his teeth.

  • PROS: All natural ingredients and produced by a local company. I give this to Furball only occasionally, and he has minimal tartar build-up on his teeth. The salmon oil seems to do the trick because the cat loves eating the gel.
  • CONS: The initial cost is a bit high, about $30 for a 4 oz. bottle. The cat will also not eat it out of is bowl so I have to hand-feed it to him, one dab at a time on my finger tip. He likes to lick it off. Because it’s pretty tedious to feed it to him, I only do it every few weeks as opposed to the recommended twice a week. I also only manage to give him about 1/2 of the recommended amount because that’s all he’ll eat.
  • PetzLife website


Well, now that I’ve learned that Greenies are on the no-no list since they got bought out by Mars, I will resolve to give Furball the PetzLife Oral Care Gel once a week to keep my cat’s teeth clean. I’m going to aim for twice a week to ensure natural pet dental care for Furball, but I will definitely guarantee at least once per week.

If you are taking the drug with alcohol, the risk of side effects, written at Ambienpro, is increasing. Doctors consider an overdose potentially life-threatening.


If you haven’t given much thought to your pet’s dental care, today is the day to start. If your cat likes fish, then the PetzLife product is worth a try. Your cat deserves to have a beautiful smile :D.

Day 9: Three Quick Eco-friendly Cat Food Tips — The 30-Day Green Cat Challenge

Today’s post is short and sweet and EASY :). If it’s not really feasible to change your cat’s food to a more eco-friendly option, here are three quick and simple tips:

  1. If your cat eats canned food, recycle the tins. This small act can help divert millions of empty cans from landfill sites.
  2. Buy the larger sized bag of cat food because it will use slightly less packaging than two smaller bags with the same amount of food. Pour about a week’s worth of food into a reusable container (I use a yoghurt tub for Furball) and scoop your cat’s daily meals from this container. This way, you’ll need to open the bag less often and it will stay fresher longer. Of course, this only makes sense if the food doesn’t expire in the time it takes for your cat to finish the bag. Make sure to check the expiry date.
  3. Make fewer trips to the pet food store. Pick up an extra bag or a few more cans on your next visit. You’ll not only save a trip, you’ll save yourself some time. Just remember to check the expiry dates.


Do an inventory of the cat supplies you have on hand. Do you need canned food, dry food, litter or anything else? Plan ONE trip to buy everything at once (as well as a little extra, to reduce future trips) AND also see if you can combine this trip with another outing (eg., grocery shopping, visiting a friend, on the way home from work, etc.).

Day 8: Make a Homemade Cat Toy TodayThe 30-Day Green Cat Challenge

FlippityIt’s “make your own cat toy” time! Furball’s been getting a little bored lately as evidenced by his unwarranted attack on the couch this morning. So, today, I’m making him one of his favourite homemade cat toys, the Flippity Flappity Flag. This cat toy takes less than a minute to make and it’s great for cats who love to catch stuff in the air or chase after toys. The following homemade cat toy is an excerpt from my book, Make Your Own Cat Toys: Saving the Planet One Cat Toy at a Time.


Kitty may not have expressed any prior interest in patriotism. However, the Flippity Flappity Flag, with its crisp snapping sounds and wildly erratic movements will have her standing at attention in no time. Selecting the right plastic bag is key to creating this toy. The bag should be made from a crisp and heavy plastic. To test the bag for effectiveness, do the “symphony test.” Place an object in the bag, go to the symphony and then take the object out of the bag. If everyone around you gives you nasty looks, then this is ideal Flippity Flappity Flag material. After you’ve reused your bags multiple times and they’re too dodgy for groceries and full of too many holes to be used for garbage (especially cat litter), you can use them for cat toys. In an ideal world, everyone would carry reusable totes and I would have to invent new toys because plastic bags would no longer exist.

What you’ll need:

  • Plastic bag
  • Heavy shoelace
  • Scissors


  1. Cut a 5” x 1.5” rectangle from the plastic bag.
  2. Tie a slip knot at the end of the shoelace. See page 112 for instructions on how to tie a slip knot.
  3. Slip about 1” of the plastic bag through the loop in the shoelace. Pull tightly to secure the shoelace around the plastic bag. Flippity Flappity Flag is now ready to be waved.


  • Make your cat a new toy this weekend. It can be the Flippity Flappity Flag or create your own homemade cat toy idea. Just remember to play safe and play smart. Choose materials that you know your cat won’t ingest and never leave your cat unsupervised when playing with cat toys. This applies for all toys, not just homemade cat toys.
  • Please feel free to share this “make your own” cat toy idea with friends by clicking the “Share This” link below.

The Flippity Flappity Flag is copyrighted so if you’d like to reproduce this homemade cat toy idea, please contact me at permissions AT with your request. Thank you.

Dozens of Eco-Friendly Cat Toy Ideas

Furball, my cat, loves to play and he was so hyperactive as a kitten that I invented dozens of toys and games for him and even wrote a book about them.

Make Your Own Cat Toys features instructions for over 50 cat toys that can be made in minutes, if not seconds, from stuff you have around the home. If you’d like to learn more about the book, please visit

Day 7: Natural Pet Odor RemoversThe 30-Day Green Cat Challenge

There may come a time in your pet’s life when you might need a natural pet stain and odor remover product. Of course, it’s hard to broach this subject with friends, “Hey, has your cat ever peed in your house? I thought I smelled something funny in the basement.” And if you do bring up the topic, what are you really going to say? “Well, uh, my cat peed on the carpet that your baby crawls on. Is there any natural pet cleaner you recommend that works really well? Like, good enough that you’ll let your kid crawl on my floor again?” That’s why there’s this post in the 30-Day Green Cat Challenge.

And, everyone knows you can’t ever get rid of the smell of cat urine. Or, can you?

Of course, MY cat has never needed a natural pet odor remover and I’m sure yours won’t either, but if you have a “friend” who has a problem, read on. Your “friend” might be interested in learning that there are alternatives to chemical cleaners for getting rid of the smell of cat urine. In fact, you can tell your “friend” that some natural pet odor remover products work really well, not that we would know from experience.

Most pet stain and odor removers work in one of three ways:

  1. Chemicals are used to break down the odor-causing molecules.
  2. Enzymes are used to “digest” the odor-causing proteins
  3. Fragrances, natural and/or chemical, are used to cover up the smell.

Since we all know that you can’t ever cover up the smell of cat urine and that we’d prefer to avoid chemicals, let’s take a look at products containing enzymes and other natural pet odor removers.

1) Simple Solution Natural Pet Stain and Odor Remover

  • Simple Solution has a pretty extensive line of traditional pet stain and odor removers, but they recently introduced a natural pet odor remover. They describe it as an “eco-sensitive stain and odor remover that combines renewable corn-based ethanol, plant-based cleansers and natural bio-cultures to remove tough stains and odors.” The line about renewable corn-based ethanol is stretching the natural claim slightly and is also somewhat insulting to your intelligence, but people rave about this product. Simple Solution Natural Pet Stain and Odor Remover is reported to work when all other natural pet cleansers failed. The after-smell is also supposed to be fairly pleasant.
  • Simple Solution website

2) Just for Cats by Nature’s Miracle

  • Nature’s Miracle is an enzyme based solution that works by “digesting” the protein found in cat urine. It’s one of the top-selling brands of stain and odor remover and gets heaps of accolades from cat owners. It works well, but usually requires more than one application to get rid of funky smells. However, a friend reported that the after-smell was itself a bit funky. They couldn’t tell if they were smelling cat urine or the cleaning product. The cat didn’t birth control resoil the area, so it must have been the cleaning product. After several weeks, the smell from the odor remover finally dissipated.

3) wowgreen Carpet and Upholstery Cleaner

  • Full Disclosure:  I’m an independent distributor for Wowgreen
  • wowgreen Carpet and Upholstery Cleaner uses enzymes to break down cat pee.  It’s non-toxic, all natural and comes in a reusable container.  What makes wowgreen unique is that they’ve figured out how to combine different enzymes together in one formula, whereas most enzyme cleaners only feature one enzyme.  A friend used the product on cat urine and said the smell was gone in about 15 minutes.  I’ve found it’s also very effective at removing stains  (of course, my cat doesn’t leave poop marks on the carpet, that’s someone else’s cat).  The product worked so well that I joined the company ;).  It also doesn’t have the funky cleaner smell that Nature’s Miracle has.
  • wowgreen website

4) Get Serious! Pet Stain, Odor and Pheromone Extractor

  • This is a non-enzyme based product that claims to be the only product that removes not just pet stains and odor, but also the pheromones that attract your pet back to the same spot. It’s biodegradable and its primary action is to “lift” the odor-causing materials out of your carpet. Reportedly, it leaves no detectable residue, even under a blacklight.
  • Get Serious! website

5) Natumate Pet Stain and Odor Remover

  • Made by Earth Friendly Products, Natumate uses “nature’s way” to remove pet stains and odors. The ingredients are pretty simple: coconut-based surfactant, purified water, enzymes, corn-derived alcohol and lemon oil. This product was also featured in the book, Green Clean by Linda Mason Hunter and Mikki Halpin.
  • Earth Friendly Products website

6) Wee Cleaner Pet Urine Odor Remover

  • This product neutralizes urine, but contains no enzymes. It’s non-toxic, fragrance-free, dye-free, phosphate-free, and also biodegradable. What is unique about this product is that it claims to work even after you have tried other products such as enzymes or chemicals. Many of the enzyme-based products are reported to be less effective if you’ve already used a chemical cleaner, which “sets” the stain/odor. Wee Cleaner also leaves no fragrance. The main drawback is that it is for odor removal only, and you’ll need something else to remove the stain.
  • Wee Cleaner website


  1. Share this post with your friends in case they ever have need of a solution for a private pet matter. Simply click the “Share” or “Share This” link at the end of this post.

Day 6: Eco-friendly Cat CarriersThe 30-Day Green Cat Challenge

Furball has been using the same cat carrier for about 7 years now. I bought a sturdy plastic Petmate carrier and it’s still in great shape, so he really doesn’t need another one. However, when I was doing research for Make Your Own Cat Toys: Saving the Planet One Cat Toy at a Time, I learned about new eco-friendly cat carriers that I didn’t know had existed. I thought I’d share what I found out about green cat carriers in case you’re looking for a carrier or know someone who is.

Petmate Plastic Kennels

When I started writing the book, I wondered why pet carriers were not made from recycled plastic. It seemed like a no-brainer. If companies can make adirondack chairs out of recycled plastic, surely a box to hold a 12 pound cat couldn’t be that difficult. My investigations led me to the local PetSmart where I discovered that Petmate is indeed making kennels from recycled materials. They’re committed to using at least 25% recycled material in their products.

For more info, check out:

Soft Construction Cat Carriers

The soft carriers tend to be more like shoulder bags for little barking dogs, but I have seen people using soft carriers for their cats. I wouldn’t recommend it, but then again, my cat is pretty squirmy and hyperactive. Here are a few examples:


The first time I took Ativan was within an hour before bedtime. There was no effect. Then I just fell asleep. I took the second pill on the second day, that time three hours before bedtime. I was exhausted, and an hour later, I went to bed earlier than I was supposed to, I had no strength to resist.

Today, I’m giving you a break in the 30-Day Green Cat Challenge. All you need to do is mention the new eco-friendly pet carrier options to friends if they’re getting a new cat or dog. 🙂

Day 5: How to Switch to Eco-Friendly Cat Litter — The 30-Day Green Cat Challenge

I will be the first to admit that switching to an enviro-friendly cat litter is not the easiest thing to do. However, it is the one thing that would probably have the most significant impact on reducing your cat’s carbon paw print. Think about it. Let’s conservatively estimate that your cat uses one pound of litter per week. That’s 52 pounds a year. Multiplied by at least 60 million cats in American households, and you get . . . ready for this?

3,120,000,000 pounds of litter annually


Now, that could be 3 billion eco-friendlier pounds or 3 billion pounds of a non-renewable resource that is strip-mined. What is strip-mining? That’s when the surface of the land is removed and mined. In the case of kitty litter, the land is mined for sodium bentonite, the “natural clay” that makes up most commercial clumping litters. We’re talking tracts and tracts of land where the surface is stripped off. Even though the land is supposed to be “restored”, it will never be the same again.

Furball uses organic wheat grass litter, and before that, he was using recycled newspaper litter. I’ve never actually used clay with him, but our old family cat used the clumping litter. I will admit that the enviro-friendly litters are not as good at controlling odors, but that can be managed by cleaning the box at least every other day. For regular maintenance cleaning, just scoop out the big chunks and occasionally refresh with a few cups of new litter. Proceed with your deep clean as required, but I find with daily maintenance, I can usually get by with doing a major clean only once every 2 to 3 weeks.

Now, this is certainly not as convenient as letting the box collect for a few days, but consider this: there’s a reason why the box smells and why it should smell. That’s nature’s way of telling you the box is disgusting and should be cleaned. Think about it. Your cat is walking around in a box of bacteria-infested feces. Then, he’s walking around your house, on your table, on your counters, on your furniture, etc. So, regular maintenance cleaning is actually good for your cat and good for your household.


Because this is a task that requires a bit of effort on your part, I’m going to simplify the process as best as I can.

  1. If you’re not convinced, read my post on why you should switch from a clay litter to an enviro-friendly cat litter by clicking this link.
  2. Next, pick a greener litter. Here’s a list of eco-friendly cat litter options to get you started. Ask friends what they use. If you find out they’re using still using clay, point them to this post by clicking the “Share This” link at the end of this blog posting. Go buy the smallest bag of the litter available. Be sure to combine this with your regular purchases and not make a special trip to the store just for the litter.
  3. To make the switch and minimize the potential for confusion (i.e., bodily function accident outside of the box), go slowly. The new litter should be introduced very gradually. When I switched Furball’s litter, I started by adding only a single cup of the new litter and mixing it in with his old litter. Over time, you gradually increase the proportion of new litter to old. I’ve seen various recommendations on the Internet of the process taking about 4 to 7 days. I’d give it two weeks if your cat is really sensitive. I also found this blogpost that recommended using non-clumping clay litter as an interim transition litter if your cat is finding the switch directly to a green litter to be too jarring.
  4. What to do with leftover clumping litter? Should you use it up and then switch? What if you have to try a different brand and have a bag of litter you can’t use? Here’s a simple solution. Join a local freecycle in your neighbourhood at Just post that you are offering cat litter, and like magic, someone will want to take it off your hands.