Rufus & Coco, a pet care brand, recently surveyed 1,647 cat owners across Australia and the US finding that nearly half (49%) of cat owners are worried about their pet’s environmental impact. Despite this, nearly half (49%) of cat owners were unaware that the most commonly used kitty litters – clay and crystal – are mined from the earth.
Clay-based cat litter must be strip-mined which involves removing the top layer of soil and destroying the existing habitat to take the clay out. The clay is then transported to another facility, where further fossil fuels are used to heat and dry the clay into a finished product. Once used and disposed of, the vast majority ends up in our landfill, and this is just their litter. Food packaging, toys and increasingly clothes for our pets all contribute to our fur-babies leaving a significant environmental paw print. Fortunately, there are some simple things you can do to reduce it.
Tips to reduce your pets environmental paw print:
1. Swap products for eco-friendly alternatives!
Did you know that one cat uses at least 100kg of cat litter a year? Every day we make small choices that add up to either help or hurt our environment. As a cat parent myself, I know that most pet parents don’t have time to sit around researching products. Start with one area of pet care at a time and make a positive choice: look at the products you are using for your pets and consider the alternatives. One simple swap can make a fur load of difference. For example, clay and crystal cat litters are mined from the earth, while Rufus & Coco’s award-winning Wee Kitty Clumping Corn Litter is made from sustainable corn crops, making it biodegradable and even flushable in small amounts.
If you have a pooch, look at your daily waste disposal. Plastic dog poo bags can be swapped for biodegradable plastic, or simply use a shovel or paper towel when at home.
2. Buy food in bulk or make your own to reduce packaging.
Food is a big contributing factor to a pet’s environmental paw print. One book “Time to Eat the Dog? The Real Guide to Sustainable Living” suggests that a medium-size dog could have a similar footprint to a large SUV Owners. That’s a lot of food!
We all know that dogs and cats require a meat-based diet, which has a larger ecological footprint than a plant-based diet – but did you know that the best way to reduce the impact is to use every part of the animal, including organs. Speak to your vet about the best meat to offer your pet, then stock up on fresh supplies from your local butcher for a healthy meal that’s great for the earth, and your wallet!
3. Buy quality not quantity.
Rather than buying your pet dozens of low-quality toys, invest in a few durable toys that will last for many years and keep them on a rotation so your pet doesn’t get bored. The same applies to accessories – travel crates, leashes, collars, and homewares.
Buying toys that donate a percentage of sales to charities is another great way to contribute to the bigger picture. Rufus & Coco’s ‘I Give a Wag’ toy range donates to the Australian Pet Welfare Foundation – an organisation whose goal is to bring unnecessary pet euthanasia to zero.
4. Use natural products.
When choosing grooming products for your pets, look for natural products that are not only gentle on your pets but gentle on the environment. By buying Australian-made, you are reducing the environmental impacts of transportation and manufacturing processes. Also look for products with recyclable packaging.
The Carousel would like to thank Anneke van den Broek for the article.
More About Anneke
Anneke van den Broek is the multi-award-winning founder and CEO of beloved pet care brand Rufus & Coco, stocked in 9 countries and selling 2.5 products per minute. She is a passionate advocate for pet welfare and has partnered with the Australian Pet Welfare Foundation to help in their mission to bring unnecessary pet euthanasia to zero.