Monthly Archives: August 2009

Drs. Foster and Smith Green Follow-Up

Since I just did a follow-up on PetSmart, it seemed fitting to see if Drs. Foster and Smith kept their word and embraced the green.  Let’s evaluate the progress since my blog entries in January.

Here are the comments from “Brent”:

“At Drs. Foster and Smith we care about your satisfaction – but we also care about the environment. In fact, we all know that a cleaner world equals a better life for you, your family, and your pets. That’s why we’ve committed to taking an active approach to environmental issues.” http://www.drsfostersmith.com/General.cfm?gid=606

Beginning with our April cat catalog, all eco-friendly products will be identified with a logo to help conscientious cat owners like you make better-informed product selections. We’re also developing an “eco-friendly” shop category online! We’re sorry that this portion of our Green Initiative was not in place at the time of our current catalog print. Thanks for your post!

I just looked through their latest catalog and they have identified eco-friendly products with a logo.  There are some scratchers, eco-friendly litter and some pet beds.  They’ve also added an “Eco-Friendly” link under the “Top Favorites” navigation menu on their website.  There are 10 eco-friendly cat products.

Well, it’s a start and what really needs to happen is for more and more people to start speaking with their dollars.  Buy green!

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There’s Joy in Green Cleaning Your Floors :)

Having just written about the best natural and eco-friendly hardwood flooring for cat households, it seems only fitting to follow up with a post on how to green clean your green floors.  Although I’ve been green cleaning since the late 80s, I sheepishly have to admit that I’m lazy when it comes to floors, so I never really got into finding the best eco-friendly cleaning option for floors.  I would just use whatever green brand happened to be available and didn’t care too much about the results.  With the new baby arriving soon, I’m going to have to get on this as not only is my cat lying around on the floor, my baby will be crawling on it too.

For green clean floors, I thought it best to consult with Leslie Reichert, the “green” cleaning coach.  Leslie’s  mission is to teach and encourage others in the “art” of homekeeping and green cleaning.  She is the author of The Joy of Green Cleaning, which is the first cookbook for green cleaning. It contains a collection of simple, yet proven green recipes to help you green your cleaning. Leslie was kind enough to send us a copy of her book and I’m eager to try out a few new recipes. I talked to Leslie about green cleaning and here’s what she had to say.

ME: What inspired you to begin green cleaning?

LESLIE: I had a huge cleaning service years ago and we all saw the effects of using really harsh cleaners in our health. I’m now very susceptible to different viruses and when I get sick – I get very sick. I personally think the chemicals affected my immune system. So after years of using “traditional” cleaners, I started looking for alternatives. I found that the green cleaners actually worked better than the commercial cleaners and they were cheaper!!

ME: Why is it so important that people with pets use green cleaning solutions for their floors?

LESLIE: We need to remember that since our pets are smaller than us, so are their processing functions for removing different chemicals from their blood stream. Their kidneys have to work overtime to remove the chemicals that enter their blood.

We also need to remember that their paws pick up chemicals off the floor and then enter their blood stream. This is why we need to make sure the cleaners on our floors are very green.

ME: That’s definitely a concern, especially with cats since they are constantly licking and grooming themselves.  What do you recommend for cleaning hardwood floors such as bamboo?

LESLIE: I have found that the best way to know what is in your cleaning products is to make them yourself. The hardwood floor cleaner in my book, The Joy of Green Cleaning, uses white distilled vinegar and just a touch of dish soap to clean the floors. Also if you don’t want the smell of vinegar in your home, you can put a few drops of essential oils into the vinegar before adding it to the other ingredients. This will make cleaning more like aromatherapy and you may actually enjoy cleaning! Two other tools that work really well for bamboo floors are a microfiber mop with washable covers and an Eco sponge that will remove the black scuff marks without using any chemicals. Both of these are available at www.shopgreencleaning.com.

ME: Please tell me more about The Joy of Green Cleaning. Why did you write it? What are the benefits of green cleaning?

LESLIE: I wrote the book to answer the questions people constantly are asking. After speaking, I am always swamped with people wanting the recipes to different cleaning products they can make themselves. The book is a collection of over 70 pages of green cleaners, set up by rooms and items you may want to clean.

There are 3 real reasons to green your cleaning:

  1. The most important reason is for yourself.  Since you are the one using the chemicals, you want to make sure that they are safe and won’t hurt you. The fumes from different chemicals can lead to asthma and allergies along with all sorts of funky reactions.
  2. The second reason is for your family and pets. We want to make our homes a safe haven for the ones we love, not a chemical cocktail.
  3. The third reason is for the environment. We have to be careful about what we pour down the drain. You never know if you may be drinking it someday. And we want to use renewable resources instead of petroleum based products. These are all great green reasons to try green cleaning.

ME: How can people get a copy of the The Joy of Green Cleaning?

LESLIE: You can buy the book on amazon.com and my book site which is www.thejoyofgreencleaning.com.  It is also available as a downloadable e-book for $10 on the book site – how green is that!

ME: Thanks Leslie!

Here’s Leslie’s recipe for hardwood floors:

HARDWOOD FLOOR CLEANER

  • 1 tsp dish soap
  • 1 cup vinegar
  • 16 oz hot water

Mix all ingredients and place in a spray bottle.  use a dry microfiber mop after vacuuming the hardwood floor.  Spray the floor with cleaner and wipe with the dry microfiber mop.  This mixture will leave the floor clean without a waxy buildup.

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What’s the Best Green Hardwood Flooring for Pets?

What’s the best natural flooring when you have a pet cat?  What type of hardwood is eco-friendly, yet can also withstand the abuse of a pet’s nails?  Is there a finish that will be less likely to show scratches?  These questions were top of mind a few months ago when I was looking for eco-friendly hardwood flooring.  There were several criteria that were important, but I wasn’t sure if it was possible to find everything I wanted in one product.  I wanted a natural floor that was made from sustainable wood or bamboo, it had to be tough enough to withstand Furball digging his nails into the floor for traction, and it had to look good.  Happily, I found a couple of eco-friendly flooring options.

My initial preference from a green perspective was to look for bamboo floors over wood.  However, I’d heard from a friend’s real estate agent that bamboo didn’t age well and would look like worn out in only a few years.  As I did more research, I learned that it’s actually the cheap bamboo that doesn’t wear well and if you purchase from a quality and reputable company, this shouldn’t be an issue.  As well, the durability of the floor also varies depending on what type of bamboo finish you choose.

If you’re looking for a durable eco-friendly floor for your cat, or even your dog, here’s what I learned.

Two very reputable companies for bamboo flooring and other eco-friendly hardwood floors are EcoTimber Flooring and Plyboo made by Smith and Fong Co.  EcoTimber has been around since 1992 and they carry bamboo flooring and FSC certified exotic woods and regular hardwoods.  All of their products are made with a formaldehyde-free adhesive.  Smith and Fong is the first company to produce FSC-certified bamboo plywood and flooring.  The salesperson said that the product quality from both companies was very comparable.  Choosing one over the other would really depend on the colour and finishings we preferred, availability and the price as there occasionally were special promotions.

The key to choosing a bamboo floor that will withstand scratches from a pet’s nails really boils down to the grain.  There are three predominant types of surfaces when it comes to bamboo flooring:

1.  Flat Grain

The best way to describe this is to imagine a bamboo shaft.  Lay it flat, then slice it lengthwise into rectangular pieces.  Then take these rectangles and lay them side by side.  The flat grain floors show off the natural knobs and segments of bamboo.

2. Edge Grain

To picture edge grain bamboo flooring, go back to your image of the lengthwise rectangular pieces.  Now, instead of laying them flat next to each other, turn them on their edges and then place them side by side.  This results in narrow repetitive strips, where you don’t really see the bamboo’s natural texture as much.

3. Woven or Strand Grain

In my opinion, this style of bamboo floor finishing most closely resembles natural hardwood flooring.  Basically, take all of the leftover scraps from the previous two finishes, throw them into a machine that mangles them together, mix with adhesive and then form a floor with it.  That doesn’t sound that attractive, but the end result is a lovely random pattern that is also more durable than the other two grains.

Pick a dark finish and now you’ve got a natural hardwood floor made from a green sustainable resource.  It’s durable, hard-wearing and most importantly, it will hold up well to cat scratches and dog’s nails too.


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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