Thank you so much for your readership and support. It’s been very encouraging to see more and more people visiting the site. I hope I’ve been able to provide useful information to help your cat be just a little bit greener.
I’ve been travelling a lot this month, so I haven’t had much time to write. However, I promise there will be a slew of new posts on all sorts of interesting things I’ve come across, once things settle down. Stay tuned for the best natural hardwood flooring for cats, reports on natural food to control struvite crystals, some new developments in eco-friendly cat litter, and more!.
In the meantime, here are some green tips from the Humane Society of Silicon Valley on how to go green with your pet. (Reprinted with permission from the HSSV).
Adopt from Humane Society Silicon Valley, a shelter or rescue group.
Spay or neuter your animal to reduce overpopulation.
Buy pet products made with organic or recycled materials.
Use cat litter brands made from plant-based materials like wheat, recycled newspaper or
Purchase products made closer to home to help lower the CO2 output of shipping
Buy sustainable and durable products that can be reused and lower your replacement
Feed your pet food and treats that are organic or have all-natural ingredients.
Use non-toxic and biodegradable cleaning supplies.
Use biodegradable waste bags for your dog.
Compost used rabbit litter.
Recycle boxes by allowing rabbits to chew and play in their quarters.
When it is bath time, use organic or natural products that don’t have a chemical base.
Buy hemp collars and leashes. Nylon is made of petroleum, which is a diminishing
At playtime, make sure your pet’s toys are made with organic cotton or natural dyes.
Many toys actually have pesticides in the and can cause pet allergies.
Donate old blankets and towels to the Humane Society.
Furball has used two of his nine lives. He had a blocked bladder once and acute pancreatitis another time. Under those emergency situations, I took him to his regular vet and they did a great job of diagnosing and treating his condition. However, after getting through the emergency phase, I found there wasn’t really much that conventional veterinary medicine could do for him. I was told that they didn’t really know why he got pancreatitis. They did give me a special diet for his struvite crystals, but I noticed that his coat became dull when I fed it to him.
So, when Furball uncharacteristically hacked up hairballs and some spit-up over the course of a few days, I decided to take him to see Dr. Sara Skiwski. Dr. Skiwski is a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine and she also specializes in acupuncture and herbs for pets. She gave some great advice for dietary changes and also recommended some acupressure points to help strengthen his digestive and urinary systems (For more info, see “Related Posts” at the end of this blog entry).
For people new to the concept of Holistic Veterinary Medicine, I asked Dr. Skiwski to explain what it is and when it might be appropriate for your cat. Here’s what she had to say:
Green Little Cat: What’s the difference between conventional and natural medicine?
Dr. Skiwski: A whole world of philosophy and outlook.
Emphasizes disease prevention
Views the body as a living microcosm, with disease resulting when it is unbalanced
Views the body as capable of self repair and administers treatments to support self healing
Emphasizes diagnosis and treatment
Views the body as essentially a machine with disease a result when parts break
Views the body as the passive recipient of treatments that fix it
Green Little Cat: When and why might it be better to take your cat to see a Holistic Vet?
Dr. Skiwski: Holistic medicine can be useful in helping the body heal from any disease. However, it is best to seek traditional or conventional veterinarian in an emergency that would require triage or surgery or hospitalization. After the pet is stabilized and home, then it is a good time to add holistic medicine to help the pet fully heal. Holistic medicine is a great help to any chronic ongoing condition- skin, allergies, asthma, kidney disease, etc.
Green Little Cat: What conditions are acupuncture good for treating?
Dr. Skiwski: Acupuncture bridges a gap between medicine and surgery. In the Western world acupuncture is used primarily when medications are not working or are contraindicated. In China, it is often used as the primary treatment before conventional medicines.
In small animals acupuncture is most commonly used for:
1. Musculoskeletal Problems
Intervertebral disc disease
Long Term Injuries
2. Nervous Disorders
Traumatic nerve injuries
Certain types of paralysis
3. Respiratory Problems
Many other conditions have also responded
4. Skin Problems
There are many other conditions acupuncture can be used for, these are just a highlight of the most common uses.
Dr. Sara Skiwski practices in the San Jose/South Bay area of California. If you’d like to book an appointment for your cat or dog, please visit her website at: www.thewesterndragon.com.
Ever notice when you bring home a cat toy that you purchased from a store that your cat usually prefers the bag? I’ve also noticed an inverse relationship between how much I spend on a cat toy, and how much my cat enjoys the cat toy. In fact, usually the homemade cat toys that cost nothing are the ones the cat loves. He seems to derive great fun from homemade cat toys made from stuff that I would deem to be “garbage”.
Here’s Furball enjoying the heck out of this homemade cat toy. The hum sound in the background is actually him purring as he plays with the cat toy.
While I’m not against buying cat toys, I feel that the green thing to do is to be much more conscious of the toys we buy. Is the cat toy made overseas and shipped here? Can I find a cat toy made locally from natural and organic materials instead? However, I believe the most eco-friendly thing to do is to make your own homemade cat toys. Homemade cat toys can inspire the creative use of packaging, recyclables, old clothing, and other everyday items that would normally end up in the landfill. When you make your own cat toys, you also reduce the carbon footprint required to ship a store-bought toy from China. Yes, I’ve looked. With the exception of small local companies, most cat toys have the ubiquitous “Made in China” sticker.
The benefits of homemade cat toys don’t just stop at being green. Making your own homemade cat toys also saves you some green, especially when store bought cat toys can run upwards of $5 to $15. Hence today, I’d like to encourage everyone to try making their own cat toys. You’ve probably already come up with some great homemade cat toys already. If your cat loves to play with toys, I’m sure you’re well versed in the cardboard box, the paper bag and the crunched up paper ball.
Furball loves to play and was a hyperactive kitten. He’s approaching 8 years of age now, but he still runs around the house at top speed cholesterol lowering with a wild-eyed expression. Hence, I’ve invented dozens of homemade cat toys. Friends have tried making many of my homemade cat toy ideas and their cats love them too. Because Furball got bored easily and went through so many toys, I found that most of my cat toy ideas simply repurposed “junk” from around the house. I also didn’t have time to spend hours making cat toys, so the homemade cat toys had to be made in minutes if not seconds.
As a result of this experience making my own cat toys, I have compiled 52 homemade cat toy ideas into a delightful and fun book. I recently published “Make Your Own Cat Toys: Saving the Planet One Cat Toy at a Time“. The book contains instructions for making your own cat toys from everyday items such as toilet paper rolls, CDs, shopping bags, business cards, old T-shirts, cereal boxes and more. It’s like a cookbook of homemade cat toy ideas. The book also makes a great gift for cat lovers of all ages. The witty writing is geared to adults, but the instructions for making most of the cat toys are so simple, that most kids can easily follow along (supervised by an adult, of course). It’s like how Toy Story, the movie is enjoyed by adults and kids.
If you’re interested in being more eco-friendly and thinking about making your own homemade cat toys or looking for a great gift for a cat lover, I invite you to please check out the book, Make Your Own Cat Toys to learn more. In the spirit of eco-friendliness and giving back, I also donate a portion of book sale proceeds to animal shelters and environmental charities. The book is only $11.95, which is less than the cost of a couple of fancy cat toys. It’s also printed in the U.S. to be more eco-friendly, using a print-on-demand service so that books are made only when someone orders one.