Monthly Archives: September 2010

Watch Out for These Plants!

AloeVeraI came across a list of plants that are toxic to cats.  While this post is not specific to being green, I wanted to share this information as it may help keep your kitty safe.  I’d recommend scanning through the list as many of the plants are commonly found in the home.

Even if you’re very careful about keeping your cat away from the plants, unforseen circumstances  can put your cat in harm’s way.  We kept our plants in the bedroom and always kept the door closed.  It was the one room that Furball didn’t have access to.

The first time Furball had full access to eat the plants, I was selling my condo.  The real estate agent left all of the doors open (despite instructions) and this gave Furball access to the plants in the bedroom.  Fortunately, none of the plants were super-toxic, but I didn’t even know to check for this.

In the second incident, we were moving and the landlady was showing tenants around.  She left the bedroom door open, which gave Furball access to the plants.  Once again, we were lucky.

In the third incident, the maintenance guys for our apartment locked the cat in one of the bedrooms that had peace lilies in it.  I was out of town and my husband was at work.  When my husband got home, he couldn’t find the cat and finally discovered the cat behind the closed bedroom door.

We knew it wasn’t good for the cat to eat plants, but we didn’t realize that the plants he ate were considered toxic.  My husband called me to tell me about the incident.  My intuition caused me to ask if any of the plants were poisonous.  We had gotten some new plants since the last home and it turned out that they were toxic.  A late night trip to the vet ensued.  Fortunately, the plants he did eat, while slightly toxic, were not the worst ones.  Furball was none the worse for wear.

We got rid of the plants right away after that.  I hope by sharing these stories with you that you’ll take a look at this list and the plants around your home.  If anything is on the risk list, just give the plant away on Freecycle.

Here’s the link to the ASPCA’s toxic and non-toxic plant list for cats.

Greener Alternatives to Grocery Bags for Disposing of Cat Litter

Do you ever find yourself taking the plastic bag at the grocery store simply because you need it for garbage? I’ve done this myself a few times.

I’ll bring my reusable tote to the store, but before I can whip it out, the cashier has already stuffed my purchase into a bag and handed it to me, turning his/her attention to the next customer. Or, I might be at the Chinese grocery store and their English is a little patchy as is my Chinese. The item goes into the bag and it just seems like too much hassle to explain that I don’t need a bag and hope that they’ll understand what I’m saying. I’ve even taken the item out of the bag before, only to see the cashier take the plastic bag and then throw it into the trash.

At the local supermarket, there’s one cashier who insists that I take a bag or she’ll stick a gigantic sticker on my item to show that it’s paid for. In this instance, I debate which is better for the environment — a plastic bag that I’ll reuse or a giant sticker that I’ll throw out.

What tips the scale for me in all of the above scenarios is that I use grocery bags for throwing out my trash. And since I’ve been using reusable bags for over a decade, I’ve already run through the ones I’ve gotten from friends/family/freecycle. As more and more people use reusable totes, I’m facing a shortage of garbage bags.

Here in California, I just learned that it’s illegal to flush your cat waste as a potential parasite in cat poo can is causing serious harm to the sea otter population. So, what’s a girl and a cat to do?

Well, I’ve come up with a number of greener alternatives to collecting grocery bags to dispose of your cat’s litter.  Here they are:

  1. Toilet paper roll packaging: Buy the jumbo pack of 12 rolls, and instead of just tearing off the plastic wrap, cut one end open.  You now have a giant-sized bag for throwing out cat litter.
  2. Ditto for the plastic wrapper on paper towels.
  3. Use a smaller cat litter scoop.  Now you can easily use smaller bags for tossing out kitty’s waste as the smaller scoop will fit inside the smaller bag.
  4. Ask friends with babies (up to 2 to 3 years) to save the bags that the disposable diapers come in.  You’ll have an endless supply.  Yes, in an ideal green world, your friends would use cloth diapers, but as a parent, you learn that idealism and babies do not go hand in hand.  It really depends on the baby!
  5. Ask friends with newspaper subscriptions to save those annoying bags that newspapers are delivered in.  The bags are super narrow, which is where your small cat litter scoop will come in handy.
  6. Produce bags for fruits and veggies are also handy for disposal.  Again, in an ideal world, you’d pick everything loose and reuse mesh bags.  I use a CSA and they insist on sending my organic produce in plastic baggies.  At least the bags are biodegradable.  I asked if I could send back the bags to be reused.  The answer was an obvious no.
  7. Pay attention to packaging.  Bought a new computer?  Guess what?  It probably came in a plastic bag inside the box.  Underwear?  Plastic bag.  Ikea furniture?  Plastic bag.  Spinach?  Plastic bag.  Etc.
  8. Ask friends/family for their produce bags, grocery bags, plastic bags, etc.  In your ideal world, you’d convince them all to use reusable bags, but let’s face it, not everyone is going to do this, so you might as well use their bags.
  9. Post on your local a request for bags.

Cat Litter Sale at the Only Natural Pet Store

OnlyNaturalFurball and I are lucky to live in an area where we literally have at least a dozen choices of eco-friendly litter available to us at the local pet stores.  If you don’t have this assortment available to you, it might be worthwhile to consider online options.  As with most decisions, nothing is black and white, or in this case green and white.  The carbon cost of having a heavy bag of litter shipped to you needs to be weighed against the environmental destruction caused by stripmining clay litter.

If you do decide in favour of ordering litter online, the Only Natural Pet Store is having a cat litter sale on for the month of September.  They’re located in Boulder, CO, so if you don’t live halfway across the country, you may want to check in to see what they’re offering.

To save 10%, enter the code: LITTER when checking out.

Visit the Only Natural Pet Store

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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.