How to Make a Cat Treat Dispensing Toy from a Toilet Paper Roll

Here’s how to make a cat treat dispenser in three easy steps. Rather than spend $20 on a plastic contraption that your cat will outsmart in a few minutes, make your own eco-friendly cat toy using toilet paper rolls by following these simple instructions. It’s lots of fun, easy to do, each puzzle is unique, the cost is free and you can customize the difficulty level depending on your cat.

What’ You’ll Need:

  • 2 empty toilet paper rolls
  • Scissors
  • Small cat treat

Step 1

Cut one of the toilet paper rolls into rings about 1/4″ to 1/3″ in width.

instructions: how to make cat toy from toilet paper roll

Step 2

Place the cat treat inside the other toilet paper roll.

homemade cat treat dispenser instructions

Step 3

Stuff a few of the toilet paper rings into one end of the toilet paper roll so that the treat can’t easily fall out. Turn the roll around and stuff the remaining rings into the other end.

toilet paper roll cat toy and treat dispenser

Now you’re ready to give this treat-dispensing cat toy to your cat. The more rings you put in, the trickier it is for your cat to get the treat to come out. The fewer rings, the easier it is.

Here’s a video of Furball interacting with his toilet paper roll cat toy. He loves treats, so he’s quite persistent in getting the treat out of this homemade dispenser for cat treats. The laughter in the background is my preschooler.

Natural Cat Urns and Cat Caskets: A Greener Way to Say Good Bye

When it’s time to say goodbye to your cat, what do you do when you want to honour her life, but keep it simple and eco-friendly? These natural cat urns, caskets and keepsake boxes from Farewell Products may be the answer.

Eco-friendly cat urn

Eco-friendly cat urn

Farewell products recently introduced the first-ever complete Pet Funeral Kits. The kits are eco-friendlier than many of the over-the-top gaudy memorials available. And, they’re designed so that the whole family can participate in saying farewell to your cherished pet.

The kits include a bio-degradable keepsake box, urn or casket, as well as a non-denominational funeral service and guidebook designed to help families through the grieving process, a workbook for children, and a paint and brush set to personalize your cat urn, cat casket or keepsake box.

All of the kits including the cat urns, cat caskets and keepsake boxes are made from birch and are delivered in flat packages made from recycled cardboard. The keepsake boxes, caskets and urns for cats are also biodegradable.

Kits are available to fit pets of all sizes, from hamsters to cats and the biggest dogs. They’re easy to assemble as you don’t need any special tools or materials—everything you need is included in the kit.

Natural cat casket

Natural cat casket

1) Farewell Cat Urn Kit

The Farewell Urn kit is about 8” x 5½” x 4” and can hold ashes for pets up to 100 pounds so it’s definitely big enough for even the largest feline. It comes with a guidebook, workbook, paint and brush set, and plaque for your cat’s name.

2) Farewell Keepsake Box or Pet Casket

The pet keepsake boxes are available in six sizes from mini to XX-Large. It comes with all of the same materials as the cat urn kit. The birch box can also be used as a cat casket. It’s a way to send kitty off with some dignity within a budget and without being over-the-top. Prices vary depending on the size of the box.

You can order a Farewell Pet funeral kit at www.farewellpetkit.com. Their full line of products including the cat urns, cat caskets and keepsake boxes are also available online from Amazon.com.

Here are Amazon affiliate links for more information:

Latest Good News for the Planet – Whales and Carbon Emissions

When I worked at World Wildlife Fund, I was amazed at how much good stuff was going on for the environment. Prior to working at WWF, it seemed like there was only BAD news. It made me realize that a lot of the positive work to improve the planet doesn’t get reported by mainstream media. That’s why I’ve decided to start posting articles to share some of the great work that’s going on right now.

Here’s what I learned from the Summer 2014 edition of Nature’s Voice, the member’s newsletter published by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).

A Whale of a Victory for Whales!

In March 2014, the U.N. International Court of Justice ruled that Japan’s Antarctic whaling program is illegal. Japan got around whaling bans by claiming that their whale hunting activities were for “scientific research” as opposed to the sale and consumption of whale meat.

photo 1(9)Thankfully, Japan is going to abide by the ruling and halt their whaling activities. Yay for whales! Speaking of which, we had the chance opportunity to see whales last weekend. If you look closely in the water, there is a small white blur above the ocean’s surface. That’s a whale blowing spray up in the air. I also spotted many tails and the occasional fin. I estimate there were about a half dozen different whales. Absolutely magnificent!

Bye Bye Dirty Power

On June 2, 2014, the Environmental Protection Agency proposed a plan to cut carbon pollution from power plants. The new plan includes new national limits on carbon pollution from existing power plants. Allowable emissions are to be reduced to 30% below 2005 levels.

These new regulations will help to eliminate dirty power sources that generate a lot of pollution and shift the emphasis to clean and renewable resources such as wind, sun or hydroelectric.

Of course, there’s a lot of protest from the industry and its supporters. That’s why I like to support the NRDC’s work. They focus on getting legislation passed that helps the environment. If you’d like to support them or learn more about what they do, visit their website at www.nrdc.org.

Published: • More Like This: Eco News

Is This the Most Expensive Natural Cat Treat in the World?

gourmet organic cat treatsShort of feeding your cat kobe beef flown in from Japan, this has got to be one of the most expensive organic cat treats that you could choose to spoil your kitty. Whole Life Pet Single Ingredient Certified Organic Freeze Dried Chicken Breast Treats for Cats cost an eyebrow-raising $21.99 on Amazon.com for a 2.8oz bag.

No, your eyes are not playing tricks on you. That’s TWO POINT EIGHT, not TWENTY-EIGHT ounces. However, when you check out the ingredients, these gourmet natural cat treats might just be worth the indulgent price.

They’re made from 100% human grade, USDA certified, organic, hormone-free, antibiotic-free white meat chicken breast. There are no fillers, chemicals, additives or preservatives.

Hmmm, but a pound of organic boneless chicken breast can be purchased for $6.99 at Whole Foods, you say? Well, you need to factor in that these cat treats are also made in small batches in the USA. They’re fully cooked for safety and then freeze dried for maximum flavor and nutrition.

Whole Life Pet describes their treats as the first “Farm to Friend” treats for pets. The fresh ingredients are sourced from local farmers, ranchers and fishermen with no “mystery meats” or middlemen. Whole Life Pet produces and packages all of their freeze-dried cat treats in their own state of the art facility located in the Western Massachusetts.

The organic chicken treats are low in fat, calories and carbohydrates, but high in protein. This makes them suitable for pets with allergies, weight and/or digestive problems. And, it’s also why they’re so expensive. It’s a bit like having a personal chef creating an organic entree for your cat and then cutting the meal into cat-sized bites.

What do you think? Is your kitty worth it? If you’re curious to learn more, check out these organic chicken cat treats on Amazon.

Please note that the links in this article to the organic chicken cat treats are Amazon referral links. If you’d prefer not to click them, you can go directly to Amazon and search for Whole Life Pet cat treats to learn more.

However, if you do click these links and make a purchase within 24-hours, the small referral fee that Amazon pays will go towards offsetting some of the costs of running this blog. As well, I’m a sucker for donating to environmental charities, animal welfare organizations and personal fund-raising campaigns for vet fees. I appreciate your support and will be sure to pay it forward. Thank you.

Published: • More Like This: Cat Food

Save $3 on World’s Best Cat Litter

World’s Best Cat Litter is an eco-friendly lightweight cat litter that’s made from corn. They’re currently running a promotion where you can get a coupon to save $3 off any 6 to 8lb bag of World’s Best. On the manufacturer’s website, they state that a single bag can last a whole month!

worlds-best-cat-litter

World’s Best is available in both clumping and non-clumping formulas and there’s even a version designed especially for multi-cat households. And, if that’s not enough choice, it also comes in two scents, lavendar and “forest”. I guess no one told them that lavendar is used as a natural cat-repellant :).

Snarkiness aside, if you’re using clumping cat litter, maybe now it’s time to make the switch. Save some green by clicking here to get your coupon.

10 Ways to Save Water When You’re Already Hard Core About Reducing Your Water Consumption

Here are 10 tips that can save between 5,000 to 50,000 gallons of water a year even if you’re already conscientious about reducing your water consumption.

You use low flush toilets, turn off the tap when you brush your teeth, water the yard in the early morning and use a low-flow showerhead—just to name a handful of the wonderful things you do to conserve water. Kudos to you! You’re already doing everything you can to reduce your water consumption. There’s nothing left to do!

I thought the same thing myself until our kitchen sink got clogged. When you have to bail your own sink, you quickly realize just how much water you’re using to wash a few dishes and how little you can actually get by with. Living in California (now in its second year of a severe drought), I knew I could do better so I challenged myself to conserve even more water.

We’d already done the obvious things, so I had to get creative to come up with more ways to reduce my water consumption. Admittedly, it takes more effort and it does cramp your lifestyle a little bit. However, you won’t need to abstain from showering so you won’t be walking around covered in dirt and smelling like ripe summer ;).

WARNING: These tips ain’t for Eco-posers! While I don’t find them onerous at all, the average person probably wouldn’t bother. However, if you’re reading this article, you’re probably not average! Heck, you may even have better tips than me for saving water! And if you do, please share them in the comments below.

1. Turn Off the Shower

Water Saved Per Year: 1,825 to 43,880 gallons

save water in the shower

Forget the 5-minute shower. If you’ve got hair, that’s not possible. Instead, you can spend as long as you want in the shower. The catch? You can’t have the water running the whole time. Turn it off when you’re soaping up, shampooing, conditioning and/or shaving. Only turn it on to rinse. That’ll get a 5-minute shower down to three minutes of running water.

A low-flow showerhead cuts your water consumption to 2.5 gallons per minute as opposed to the usual 5 to 10 gallons. If you take a 10-minute shower, that’s 25 gallons. If you take a 5-minute shower, that’s 12.5 gallons. If you take a 3-minute shower, you are rockin’ it at 7.5 gallons per shower. Assuming one shower per day, that’s a savings of 1,825 gallons per year. Water savings are much more if you have a regular showerhead. For example, if you normally take a 15-minute shower at 10 gallons per minute, you’ll save 120 gallons per shower or a whopping 43,800 per year!

2. Capture Your Shower Water

Water Saved Per Year: 365 to 730 gallons

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There’s another way to save water in the shower. Keep a rustproof watering can in your shower. While you’re waiting for the water to warm up, fill up the watering can and use this to water plants or even wash your car with one bucket of water (see #9 below).

Even if your watering can holds just one gallon of water, you’ll save 365 gallons a year. Stick a 2-gallon container in the shower and you’ll save 730 gallons!

3. One Pot of Water for Dishes

Water Saved Per Year: 730 gallons

save water when washing dishes

Try the “One Pot Challenge” for washing dishes. When you think you’re using very little water to wash dishes, this challenge is an eye-opener. Often, you’ll use several times the volume of what your washing to actually wash it.

Place a large pot under the tap and try to wash all your dishes without filling the pot. When you capture the water run off in a pot, you’ll be surprised to see how much water is actually running down the drain. Make it a game to wash a load of dishes without filling your pot full.

You’ll likely reduce your water consumption to at least a third of what you were using before. That’s a potential savings of at least 2 gallons a day and probably much more.

4. Reuse the Rinse Water

Water Saved Per Year: 182.5 gallons

how to save water at home

Keep a flower vase next to the kitchen sink. As you rinse your dishes, capture the “clean” rinse water into the vase. By clean, I mean the water without chunks of food. It can either be clear rinse water or sudsy water. Then, when you have pots or pans to soak, you can use the water from the vase.

Assuming an average of one pot or pan to soak per day (this is a very conservative estimate), you’ll save at least a half gallon per day for a savings of 182.5 gallons a year.

5. Stretch out the Dishwasher

Water Saved Per Year: 243 to 365 gallons

low water dishwasher

Okay, the debate is on whether a dishwasher saves water. If you’re doing the “One Pot Challenge” wash, then it’s probably not efficient to use the dishwasher. However, if you’ve got a family and lots of dishes, you’re very likely tempted to use the dishwasher.

If that’s the case, you can stretch out how often you run the dishwasher by washing the occasional glass or dish. When you look at your dishwasher rack, you’ll see that it actually doesn’t hold that much. By washing dishes by hand occasionally (using very little water), you can probably skip a day of turning on your dishwasher.

If you run your dishwasher every other day, skipping a day will let you run it every three days, a reduction of 50%. A typical dishwasher uses 6 gallons of water per cycle whereas the average Energy Star dishwasher uses about 4 gallons per cycle. If you cut your use to once every three days, you’ll be running it 121.67 times per year vs. 182.5.

That’s a reduction of 60.83 cycles per year or a savings between 243 and 365 gallons per year depending on how much your dishwasher uses per cycle.

6. The No Flush Toilet

Water Saved Per Year: 1,401 to 7,665 gallons

low flow toilet

Flush for #2 and don’t flush for #1. Hey, I did tell you this wasn’t for Eco-posers. Have a box of baking soda handy and sprinkle it in the bowl and keep the lid closed to take care of odours.

If your water has a high mineral content, you may get a mineral build-up ring in your toilet bowl that is a bitch to scrape off. You can either vigorously scrub regularly or ignore it. If it does build up, you can remove it by placing toilet paper soaked in CLR on the ring for the time directed in the instructions. This will help to remove the ring.

Let’s assume you pee three times a day.

Older toilets can use 3.5, 5, or even up to 7 gallons of water with every flush. Federal plumbing standards now specify that new toilets can only use up to 1.6 gallons per flush (GPF), and there are high efficiency toilets that use up to 1.28 GPF.” (Source: conserveh2o.org)

That means you’re saving between 1.28 gallons to 7 gallons per flush for a total savings between 1,401 to 7,665 gallons per year.

7. Wash Your Hands With a Drizzle

Water Saved Per Year: 383 to 602 gallons

water1342139_26741574

When you soap up your hands, turn the tap off. While you rinse, turn on a trickle of water as opposed to your usual amount. How much water you save will depend on the flow rate of your tap. The standard water flow  is 2.2 gallons per minute or 1.5 gallons if you use a WaterSense labelled faucet.

This means if you turn the tap to only half the regular flow, you’ll save between 0.7 gallons to 1.1 gallons per minute. Assuming you wash your hands three times a day at 30 seconds each wash, that’s a savings of 383 to 602 gallons per year.

8. Use a Smaller Glass for Brushing Your Teeth

Water Saved Per Year: 28 gallons

save water in bathroom

Many people use big plastic cups to hold their toothbrushes and then fill the cups up with water when brushing their teeth. And, of course, they don’t use all of the water in the cup to rinse, just a fraction of it and the rest goes down the drain.

If you use a smaller glass, you’ll fill it up less by default. That’s less water going down the drain. Assuming you brush your teeth at least twice a day and you reduce the water going down the drain by 10oz/day, that’s 28 gallons per year, the equivalent of about 5 to 7 dishwasher loads.

9. The One Bucket Car Wash

Water Saved Per Year: 105 to 621 gallons

use less water when washing car

If you don’t have a car all, good for you. You probably don’t have kids or you live in an urban environment with fantastic public transportation. For everyone else, you can save gallons of water a year by washing your car yourself with just one bucket of water.

  1. Give your car a 10-second misting so that the surface is wet.
  2. Then pour some eco-friendly car detergent into a bucket as directed. Add water to the bucket, filling it just under half full (about 2 gallons).
  3. Dip the mitt into the soapy water and use the mitt to hand scrub your car.
  4. For hubcaps, do those last. Dip a small scrubbing brush into the water and use a little elbow grease to scrub your rims. Rinse with a blast of water for 5 seconds per hubcap.
  5. When you have finished scrubbing your entire car, give it a quick 10-second rinse with the hose.

In total, you’ll only use the water in the bucket and the amount that you sprayed on the car. You can get fancy to calculate how much water flows through your hose or guesstimate an average flow rate of 10 gallons per minute. If you follow the above directions, that’s about 40 seconds of water flow for a total of 6 gallons, plus 2 gallons in the bucket, for a total of 8 gallons of water.

Whoa! Quite a lot of water to wash a car even if you’re a Scrooge about it. That’s why you can also reduce how often you wash your car to about once a month. Not that attractive, but it’ll suffice.

However, compared to taking your car to the car wash, you’re saving anywhere from 26 to 112 gallons per wash. See the stats below:

Some friction in-bay automatic systems use approximately 35 gallons per vehicle, and a high-volume in-bay site could average 100 cars a day. Other in-bay automatics, employing the high-pressure touchless method, use 70 gallons per vehicle. A tunnel car wash with a moderate amount of high-pressure applications could use 120 gallons of water per vehicle.” (Source: Auto Laundry News)

Let’s assume you only wash your car 6 times a year. With the numbers from above, you’ll save 105 to 621 gallons per year.

10. Refuse the Water at Restaurants

Water Saved Per Year: 3 gallons

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

In the interest of service, many restaurant servers will bring you a giant glass of water. If you ask them not to fill your glass or to bring you water, you’ll save about 1 glass per restaurant visit. Let’s say you eat out once a week. That’s 52 glasses a year or about 3 gallons per year.

Okay, admittedly this one doesn’t save that much water, but when you’re already a water saving superstar, every extra drop counts. The value in this is actually in sharing water saving with others.

When your friends, family or the server sees you doing this, you can open up the conversation to talk about water conservation and share some of your fave tips for reducing water use. It’s the power of the multiplier effect that will ultimately make the biggest difference in reducing water consumption. You can help start the conversation and encourage people to save water right now by clicking one of the buttons below to share on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or more. Mother Earth thanks you!

Published: • More Like This: Green Home

5 Eco-Friendly Cat Beds That Your Cat Will Love

If you’re looking for an eco-friendly cat bed for your cat, here are five pawsome and attractive cat beds made from everything from recycled wine barrels to organic cotton cat beds.

Finicky felines often turn their noses up at fancy cat beds, but they sure do love sleeping in cardboard boxes. Have you ever considered that your cat may find the off-gassing smells of synthetic fabrics simply off-putting? It’s like the new car smell, only your cat is supposed to sleep in it. No wonder she prefers the box!

Years ago, I wrote a post on eco-friendly cat beds and was hard-pressed to find any specifically designed for cats. Thank goodness times have changed. Now, you can find a wide assortment of eco-friendly cat beds from country cozy to fancy stlyin’ in a mix of materials and sizes. Here are 5 eco-friendly cat beds that your feline friend will love.

1. Recycled Wine Barrel Cat Bed

recycled wine barrel cat bed
Handmade from a retired wine barrel, this cozy casket is a perfect place for your cat to curl up and nap. It’s a one-of-a-kind find as each barrel is unique in size and color. The wine barrel pet bed also comes with a comfy cushion sized to fit the barrel. Find it and other wine barrel creations at WineyGuys.

2. Rescue Wool Felt Cat Bed Area Rug

When it comes to green cred, this cat bed area rug isn’t pulling the wool over anyone’s eyes. This 100% wool cat mat is made from wool that has been sourced from from animal rescue sanctuaries or family farms in the United States.

organic wool cat bed

Because the wool comes from rescue sheep, it’s a unique melange of all types of wool including romney wool, merino wool, churro wool, wool locks, white wool, brown wool, black wool, grey wool, and organic wool. The great thing about wool is it helps keep pets cool in the summer and warm in the winter, plus it naturally has antibacterial properties.

While it doesn’t look like a typical cat mat, if you imagine you’re a cat, this is a dream bed. Find it at FeltBetter’s Etsy shop.

3. Organic Hemp Cat Bed

eco-friendly-cat-bed3
This natural and organic cat bed is made from 100% organic cotton and hemp. Not only is the removable cover eco-friendly, the padding is also natural. The bed is filled with natural fibres from kapok trees.

This organic hemp pet bed can be found on DebBedOrganics Etsy shop, where you can also find organic hemp and cotton pet duvets.

4. Organic Cotton Cat Mat

organic cat matThis organic cat mat is made from 100% organic cotton canvas, which provides a super soft surface for your cat to nap on. The bottom surface is made from eco-twill which is a blend of organic cotton and recycled polyester. You can choose this design or custom order a cat mat at Kentucky Bluebird’s Etsy store.

5. West Paw Design Eco Nap Cat Mat

eco-friendly-cat-bed5

The Eco Nap Cat mat is handcrafted in the USA by West Paw Design. It comes in a rainbow of colours and is made from IntelliLoft® both inside and out. This eco-friendly fiber is derived entirely from recycled plastic bottles. It’s comfy and easy to care for. Simply throw it in the wash. Visit Amazon to order your Eco Nap Cat mat
.

Grassroots Help Needed for Momma Cat and Kittens

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Melissa Sessions VanDyke started up a GoFundMe page to help pay for vet expenses for a mother cat hit by a car. The cat was given to her to look after by a woman who is pcsing (transferring to a new military base) and thus, can no longer look after this kitty family.

To help control the cat population, Melissa will be taking the mommy cat to the vet to get spayed when the kittens are old enough. If you’d like to help Melissa out, here’s a grassroots way for you to take action by visiting her GoFundMe page.

Miso Green: Organic Catnip Sushi Cat Toys

SushiCatToyLooking to add a little variety to your cat’s play diet? Here’s an awesome green cat toy from OffBeat Betty’s Etsy store.

These awesome sushi toys are sure to appeal to your finicky feline’s refined palate. These maki rolls look good enough to eat despite being made from fleece and felt as opposed to seaweed, rice and fish.

Each maki roll cat toy is filled with USDA organic catnip, ensuring that your kitty will want to play with her food.

They’re available in a set of three toys and are custom made to order. Just like at the sushi bar!

Order up your sushi cat toys by visiting Off Beat Betty’s Etsy store.

Alternative Healing Methods That Really Helped Furball

Furball has been living a green lifestyle for his entire life. By all means, he should be healthy as a horse…err..a cat :). However, my cat is extremely sensitive to stress. While there are many natural products for calming stressed cats, unfortunately Furball is still susceptible to the impact of stress on his health. Most often, stress tends to affect his digestion and/or his bladder.

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Furball, happy and healthy :)

When he does get sick, I’ll take him to the vet for acute care and then I’ll look for natural healing methods to help him recover. I shared some of these in detail on a recent article I wrote for Catster on “5 Alternative Healing Methods That Help My Cat“.

I shared some of Furball’s experiences with acupuncture, Bach flower remedies, akashic record reading, probiotics and energy healing. If you’d like to learn whether these might help your cat, please check out the article on Catster.

 

Published: • More Like This: Cat Health

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.
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