Category Archives: 30-Day Green Cat Challenge

Day 20: How to Tell if Ma/Pop Sold OutThe 30-Day Green Cat Challenge

Admittedly, I’m still rather unnerved about what I learned on Day 10 of the 30-Day Green Cat Challenge.  Here I was happily buying Greenies and feeding them to my cat thinking that I was supporting a smaller company, and with that, came a sense of implied trust.  I was SHOCKED to learn that this product I’d been using for years had been bought out by S&M Nu-Tec, owned by the Mars, Inc. conglomerate.  Yes, the same people who make M&Ms, Uncle Ben’s, Whiskas and Sheba, are behind what I thought were healthy, sustainable, locally-produced snacks to clean my cat’s teeth.

A university colleague of mine once worked for Kraft Foods and from what I heard, it was all about delivering the same product as perceived by the consumer at the lowest price possible.  The key was that they would use the lowest cost ingredients possible as long as the consumer didn’t really notice a difference.  She swore off packaged foods pretty much immediately after working there.

In retrospect, I realize that there were clues that my beloved Greenies had changed ownership.  I’ve been eating organic foods for over a decade, back when organic meant dirty, small and bug-infested.  Before there was Whole Foods, I shopped at the little neighbourhood co-ops run by hippies, dimly lit with about 6 items on the shelves.  I even ate at one co-op that was so “green” that I spied cockroaches running out of the salad bar.  I stopped eating there after that, but I digress.  The point I want to make is that I’ve been watching the changes in the industry as green and organic have gained traction with the mainstream.  I’ve seen some of my favorite products bought out by large multinationals looking to add an eco-friendly product line to their portfolio.

In most cases, there were signs of change and usually they were always the same.  So, I’m going to share with you the five signs of when ma/pop has sold out to a conglomerate.

  1. Brand Extension – These are holy words in product marketing.  When a brand manager wants to grow sales, inevitably, they look at brand extension.  How can they slap their brand’s name on more items?  Think Crest Whitestrips, or whatever they’re called.  In the case of natural pet products, watch out if  your pet’s favourite brand suddenly comes out with several different flavours or new products.  This happened with Greenies.  First, there was just some green biscuit that I had to shave down.  About a year or two ago, I noticed that it came in tuna, chicken, beef, etc.  Now, they’re offering “Pill Pockets”.  The same thing happened with Tom of Maine’s toothpaste.  I think they used to have mint, cinnamon and some other weird flavour.  Then one day, there was Tom’s with fluoride, peppermint, peppermint without fluoride, extra whitening, etc.  There must have been a dozen different kinds and that was when I learned that they were bought out by Colgate.
  2. Repackaging – You may notice that the ugly dowdy packaging has been replaced with sleek and colourful graphics.  The hand-drawn logo suddenly looks a little more stylized.  With millions on the line, a good marketer knows that their product has to stand out on the shelf.  Say good bye to the logo drawn by the founder’s “artistic” niece and hello to five star product design.
  3. Distribution – Remember when it was hard to find that little gem you discovered?  You had to go find one of those still-existing hippie co-ops and reach down to the bottom shelf to pull out the second last bag of Kitty treats.  Well, when the big conglomerate steps in, they leverage their distribution channels to get that product into mainstream stores.  Let’s just say if it starts appearing at Wal-mart, you can be pretty sure it’s not likely to be ma/pop.
  4. Website Overhaul – Most companies have websites, but it is hard for a small business to find a talented web designer who can code, design and deal with their business needs.  Actually, this is virtually impossible.  Professional corporate websites are created by teams with each member having a very specialized niche that they excel in.  Watch out when there’s a website redesign.  For unknown reasons, all of the pet product sites tend to look the same.  Colourful, cheerful graphics, a little Flash animation thrown in, and the top third of the page is a big photographic rectangle with a picture of an animal in it.  Sometimes a product image or logo may take up a significant portion of the web page’s real estate.
  5. Tiny Text – Conglomerates can’t seem to resist announcing to the world that this green product they snagged is part of their company.  I don’t know if it’s a legal requirement or if they think associating with a natural pet product will make people have warm fuzzy feelings for them.  However, just look for some little text on the package or the bottom of the website that identifies a different company such as “division of” or “part of the XYZ group of companies”.

Now, I’ve thought about this for quite some time.  Is it a good thing when a large conglomerate buys a natural product company?   On one hand, they achieve economies of scale and efficiency.  It’s probably more efficient for them to ship x thousand products using their distribution channels than for a thousand ma/pops sending products around in trucks that are 3/4 full.  I’ve also considered that they’re bringing natural products to a mass market that might otherwise continue buying the non-eco-friendly versions.

Then, I wonder, how much of the integrity of the original product is maintained and for how long?  At some point, can the parent company resist squeezing its subsidiary for more cash and ROI?  Is it better that millions more people buy a slightly watered down version of a product vs. an environmental elite buying the “pure” product?  I guess it really depends on whether it’s just another product in the portfolio or if the company is looking to overhaul their entire product line to be more green.

Well, obviously, you can read that I have a bias for supporting local businesses.  I have a lot more faith in them sticking true to values than a head office looking to increase shareholder value.  So, my action today is to look at the brands I buy, especially the green cleaning products reviewed in Day 17, and see if I can dig up who really owns them and runs them.

HOW YOU CAN TAKE ACTION

  • Be aware and conscious of what you buy and where it comes from.
  • If you’re wondering about a product you currently use, do some digging and let us know what you find by clicking the “Comments” link below.

Day 19: Eco-friendly Cat Beds
The 30-Day Green Cat Challenge

Furball will sleep anywhere, so the idea that he needs a bed is purely a construct of my human mind.  That said, he does have a penchant for sitting on top of things even if it’s a magazine lying in the middle of the room, a purse by the door or a placemat on the table.

Furball made my 30-Day Green Cat Challenge easy today by finding his own eco-friendly cat bed solution.  In fact, when I think about it, he’s actually come up with quite a few ideas.  Given that they’ve received the feline stamp of approval, your cat may also enjoy napping in one of these green cat bed options.

1. The Portable Bed

Featuring a feather-soft texture and an innovative loop texture perfect for kneading paws, the Portable Bed is lightweight and easily transportable.  It’s so easy to set-up  that human companions no longer need to throw out their backs to answer to the fickle whims of their felines.  Simply take an old towel and place it in a pile in a sunbeam.

2. The Exclusive Living Room Centerpiece

Human companions may mistakenly believe that this exclusive furniture piece belongs to them, but your cat knows better.  This architectural marvel measures in at a sleek profile of 5″ wide, 30″ long and 15″ high.  It’s purrfect for the cat who measures 7″ or wider when reclining.  The natural cotton weave often contrasts starkly with cat hair, the darker the better, and is ideal for exercising and stretching out cat claws.  Just turn your head the other way, and sure enough, you’ll find your cat balanced precariously on the arm of your sofa.

3.  Furball’s pièce de résistance

I wish I could take credit for this perfect eco-friendly cat bed, but Furball deserves all of the accolades.  This masterpiece is warm and cozy and comes complete with a built-in night shade.  Take your off-season blanket or comforter, fold it up nicely and place it under the bed.  Your cat will inevitably discover this lovely gift that smells like you, is malleable to knead and feels oh-so-cozy to tuck into, especially with the protective covering of the bed frame.

Eco-friendly Cat Bed

4. Eco-friendly Cat Beds

Inconceivably, if you still need to find an eco-friendly cat bed, may I suggest one of these cat beds made from recycled plastic bottles.  http://astore.amazon.com/greenlittlecat-20?_encoding=UTF8&node=4

HOW YOU CAN TAKE ACTION TODAY

  • If your cat needs a bed, try one of the eco-friendly cat bed ideas listed above.
  • If you’ve got a great suggestion, let us know by clicking the “Comments” link below.
  • If you thought this post was mildly humourous, share it with your friends by clicking the “Share This” link to email it or post it to your favourite social networking site 😉

Day 18: Drs. Foster and Smith Goes Green — The 30-Day Green Cat Challenge

On Day 16 of the 30-Day Green Cat Challenge, I wrote about encouraging the pet cataloguer, Drs. Foster and Smith, to go green.  I had just received one of their catalogues and was not impressed that they had very few  eco-friendly products (about 3) in a catalogue of 76 pages.  So, I drafted an email to send to their customer service department to encourage them to embrace sustainable business practices.

Well, I am pleased to say that I heard back from them right away.  They actually posted a comment on the blog entry about what they’re doing to become more green.  Here’s a link they gave me:  http://www.drsfostersmith.com/General.cfm?gid=606.   In a nutshell, they’re making their own biodegradable packing peanuts and shipping with cardboard boxes that are made from 75% recycled cardboard.  They also listed some of the products that they carry which are eco-friendly (not too many just yet) and told me they’re developing an eco-friendly shop online section to their website.

This is a great start.  It’s encouraging to see that companies are really paying attention to what consumers want and are responding to the demand for greener products.  I’m not sure how they found my blog post so quickly, but it means that I know they’re probably reading this one as well.

So, Drs. Foster and Smith, hats off to you, but as an eco-conscious consumer, I will be looking forward to seeing continued change and real movement towards greener business practices.  I look forward to seeing hundreds of green products listed in your catalogue, although I understand if it starts out as dozens.  Anything less than that would appear like you’re not really committed to this endeavour as I know there are so many eco-friendly pet products out there.  I also look forward to seeing that your catalogues are printed on recycled paper with vegetable-based inks.

HOW YOU CAN TAKE ACTION TODAY

  • Pick a business, any business.  It could be your cat sitter, your vet’s office, Petsmart, the charity you foster kittens for, the pet boutique you frequent, etc.  The point is, just pick one and let them know in person, by email or by phone that you would like to know what they are doing to move towards more sustainable practices.  Based on the Drs. Foster and Smith example, you know that companies are listening, so make your voice heard today!

Day 17: Reviews of Green Household Cleaning Products — The 30-Day Green Cat Challenge

seventh-generation-cleanerThe other day, Furball followed me into the bathroom and after I flushed the toilet, he immediately ran up to the bowl and peered inside. I simply shook my head and left him watching the toilet bowl. A few minutes later, I found him with all four paws carefully balanced on the toilet seat. As Furball gawkily looked into the bowl, I realized the inspiration for Day 17 of the 30-Day Green Cat Challenge had just presented itself to me.

At first, you may wonder why I’m doing a post on green cleaning products for your home, but once you think about it, it makes perfect sense. When you’re not looking, your cat is probably peeking into your toilet bowl, traipsing along your counters, lounging in the bathtub or grabbing a sip from the sink. Not to mention, your cat must spend at least 80% of his or her life in really close contact to your floor. Thus, Kitty is being exposed to whatever household products you use to clean your home. Doesn’t it make sense to use products that don’t contain harmful chemicals or fumes — not just for Kitty, but for you and your family as well?

I’ve been using green and natural cleaners since the late 80s, so I can share with you what works and what doesn’t. I think I became really serious about green cleaning in university when we had a really obnoxious student who had an internship at Procter and Gamble. Every class, we’d hear about how superior P&G was in all of their business practices. Then, I read Soap Opera : The Inside Story of Procter & Gamble and was enlightened enough to vow never to purchase another Procter & Gamble product again. I can proudly state that I have not owned a single P&G product since I made that vow over 15 years ago. Once you start getting something as pervasive of P&G out of your home, it’s not too much of a stretch to move to eco-friendly cleaning alternatives.

Since this post started with the potty, the green cleaning product reviews will start with the potty :).

ECO-FRIENDLY TOILET BOWL CLEANERS

1. Earth Friendly Toilet Kleener
I tried 2 or 3 eco-friendly toilet bowl cleaners before I found this one. Earth Friendly Toilet Kleener is a natural cedar oil based product and was heads and shoulders above the competition. However, that was about 7 years ago, so maybe the ones that didn’t work so well (eg. Ecover) have since reformulated their green cleaning products. The only con about this earth friendly toilet bowl cleaner is that it’s not that common to find it in stores.

2. Seventh Generation Toilet Bowl Cleaner

This green emerald cypress and fir household cleaner is much more commonly available in stores . Hence, when I ran out of Earth Friendly Toilet Kleener and couldn’t find any at my regular store, I tried the Seventh Generation product. I was quite pleased with the results. They add xanthan gum to the cleaner which helps it adhere to the sides of the toilet bowl. It’s quite effective for dealing with light mineral build-up.

3. Baking Soda

For general maintenance and deodorizing, baking soda works surprisingly well. It’s also inexpensive and probably uses the least amount of packaging, especially if you can buy it at a bulk store. Just sprinkle it on the sides of the bowl and on the brush, then dip it in and scrub. Pouring it directly in the water dilutes it too much. Baking soda has a gentle abrasive action which works really well as long as your toilet is not too dirty.

4. Baking Soda and Vinegar for Scaly Deposits

I tried this and it DOES NOT WORK, even when I added boiling water and let it sit as directed. I was very liberal with the use of vinegar and baking soda and it bubbled up nicely, but it wasn’t enough to loosen the mineral build-up. I even tried letting it soak for hours. My advice is that you’ll have to suck it up, buy rubber gloves and something to scour with and use good old fashioned elbow grease.

ENVIRO-FRIENDLY FLOOR CLEANER

1. Ecover Floor Soap

Ecover’s eco-friendly floor adhd cleaner contains natural linseed oil, which gives it that certain floor cleaner smell that you remember as a child, but without the harsh chemicals. I find this green floor cleaner works well on your typical linoleum or tiles without the need to rinse. I think I’ve used 1 or 2 other products, but they were not particularly memorable.

GREEN ALL PURPOSE CLEANER FOR COUNTERS, SURFACES, ETC.

1. Seventh Generation Natural All Purpose Cleaner

Hands down, this is one of the best eco-friendly all purpose spray cleaner that I have used. It’s great for the kitchen and the bathroom, cuts through grease and leaves your counters sparkling clean. The only con about Seventh Generation Natural All Purpose Cleaner is that their spray bottles don’t work that well, so when the bottle gets to about 1/4 full, you have a hard time spraying. As well, this product is not good for glass or mirrors as it leaves streaks and “fog”.

2. wowgreen All Purpose Cleaner

Full Disclosure: I’m a wowgreen Independent Distributor.  I thought Seventh Gen was as good as it gets until I tried the wowgreen All Purpose Cleaner.  It was partly because of the effectiveness of this product that caused me to become an independent distributor.  It works as well as Seventh Gen.  The kicker is that their spray bottles are reusable and that they sell concentrated packets of their cleaners.  You simply pour the refill into the bottle and add water.  With Seventh Gen, I was amassing a huge collection of spray bottles, and let’s face it, even the greenest of us can only come up with so many ways to use a spray bottle.  BTW, the wowgreen spray bottles work really well.

NATURAL GLASS CLEANERS

1. Half Vinegar with Half Water

I used to work at a fast food joint in the 80s (yes, I’m atoning for my sins now) and they used a mixture of half vinegar and half water to wash the windows. This works really well and is especially effective for scaly build-up like you would find on a glass shower door. The only con is that it smells bad.

2. Earth Friendly Window Kleener

This is my favourite green window cleaner. I even like it better than Seventh Generation’s Natural Glass and Surface Cleaner. This natural cleaner cleans without leaving streaks and makes cleaning windows as effortless as is possible to make cleaning windows :).

2. wowgreen Glass and Stainless Cleaner

Full Disclosure: I’m a wowgreen Independent Distributor. Since I raved about the wowgreen All Purpose cleaner, I’ll keep this one simple.  It works well on mirrors and glass.  I found it was ok, but not the greatest for stainless steel.  For steel, you really need to use as directed (spray and leave for 60 seconds), whereas it was much more flexible for glass/mirrors.  It also comes in reusable spray bottles with concentrated refills.

ECO-FRIENDLY CARPET STAIN AND SPOT REMOVER

1. Seventh Generation Carpet Spot and Stain Remover

As I mentioned in my review of natural pet odor removers, this is probably a product that your cat doesn’t need, but your “friend’s” cat might. If your “friend’s” cat is a little hasty in doing his number two and leaves a little feces in the carpet, this product is good for some spot cleaning, or so I’ve heard.

SINKS AND TUBS

1. Baking Soda

Baking soda is like a miracle cleaner and I find it to be almost as good as those very harsh scouring products (you know the powders that make your nose tingle because they’re so strong and they have the corrosive symbol on the front of the package). Pour about a half cup of baking soda in a pile by the sink. Take a lightly moistened cloth or sponge, dip it in the baking soda and then scrub. It will take that layer of grime right off. You’ll be amazed. You just need to rinse the sink really well afterwards.

You can also use baking powder to polish pots and pans or remove burnt food crusted on them. A small dab can also remove tarnish from silver.

HOW YOU CAN TAKE ACTION

  • This review of green and natural household cleaners has just saved you a lot of time and money trying out different eco-friendly products to find one that works. So, if you’re still using chemical cleaners, pick one or more household cleaning product and replace with an eco-friendly alternative.
  • Have a friend or family member interested in using green cleaning products?  Share this post with them by clicking the “Share This” link below to email this blog entry or post it to your favourite social networking site.

Day 16: Let’s Green this Pet Catalogue Company — The 30-Day Green Cat Challenge

There’s been an update to this post, please see Day 18 of the 30-Day Green Cat Challenge.

Junk mail seems to never stop. As soon as a catalogue arrives, I set it by the phone to call the 1-800 number to request that my name is removed from their mailing list. The other day, I received a catalogue from Doctors Foster and Smith. They are the largest pet cataloguer in the United States. They carry thousands of products for dogs, cats, birds, horses, fish, reptiles, ferrets, etc.

The catalogue I received was exclusively of cat products. Despite the catalogue being 76 pages, I did not find a single product labelled as eco-friendly. From my own experience, I know that perhaps 3 of the several hundred products listed actually are eco-friendly. However, Doctors Foster and Smith draw no attention to this fact. What was most noticeable, was that there was nothing green about the catalogue other than a lame line on the back saying “Recycle please”. They didn’t even have the recycle logo that we all know, but instead used a couple of cheesy swirly arrows.

The whole idea of catalogue ordering is not particularly eco-friendly, but given the size and reach of this company, it would be significant if they adopted greener business practices and promoted eco-friendly pet products to their customers, who might not normally consider them. Heck, I’d consider it a win if they printed their catalogues on recycled paper with vegetable-based ink or at least used FSC-certified paper.

So, my action for Day 16 of the 30-Day Green Cat Challenge is to write them a very friendly email to encourage them that they’re missing out on some significant green ($$$) by failing to adopt a green policy. Greening the pet industry has to start somewhere so why not with one email? The pet industry has managed to coast under the radar for the most part without too many people pointing out their lack of green policies.

There are many ways to inspire companies to take action. The most visible ones such as protests by PETA and Greenpeace have their value, but having worked for World Wildlife Fund, I firmly believe the most effective changes is from collaboratively working together. Having a business degree, I even more strongly believe that the fastest way to lasting change is the bottom line.

So I drafted an email and am sending it to their customer service department.

HOW YOU CAN TAKE ACTION

  1. Companies are inspired to change when they see enough consumer demand. That means a letter from you too, not just me. Please copy and edit the email below and send it to: [email protected].
  2. Cut down the amount of junk mail you receive by requesting to have your name removed from mailing lists through the Direct Marketing Association. Visit their consumer information site at: www.dmachoice.org.

THE SAMPLE EMAIL LETTER

Note: There’s been an update to this post, please see Day 18 of the 30-Day Green Cat Challenge.

I actually heard from the company that they are working towards greener business practices.  Read their comments to this blog entry.

Dear Drs. Foster and Smith,

I recently received a copy of your catalogue, which prompted me to visit your online store. As a prospective new customer, I was very impressed with the breadth of products you carry as well as the excellent prices you offer to consumers. However, I was very surprised to find a complete lack of any eco-friendly pet products despite your very extensive product offerings. Given the growing demand by consumers for environmentally-friendly products and services, I would expect that Doctors Foster and Smith, as the leading pet supply cataloguer in the U.S. with a history of innovation, would be actively developing sustainable business practices.

I would like to know if a green product policy is currently in development and what other initiatives your company is undertaking to support the environment. Given that this is a rapidly growing market segment with only one small niche competitor, this presents a lucrative opportunity for Doctors Foster and Smith to lead the way and also significantly grow your customer base.

I look forward to hearing about any eco-friendly practices currently underway or in development. I prefer to support green businesses and hope to see some significant changes, in which case, you can count me as a customer.

Sincerely,
[YOUR NAME]
[YOUR ADDRESS OR AT LEAST YOUR CITY AND STATE]
[YOUR PHONE NUMBER AND/OR EMAIL ADDRESS]

Note: Giving your address conveys that you are more “legitimate” and not just filling out some random petition.

Day 15: Weekend Homemade Cat Toy Idea — The 30-Day Green Cat Challenge

homemade cat toyWith the long weekend approaching, I’ve decided it’s time for another homemade cat toy project. On Day 8, I posted my cat toy idea for the Flippity Flappity Flag. That cat toy was a cinch to make and great for cats who love to run, chase and catch. Today, I’m posting what I call the “Wrestle Sausage” from my Make Your Own Cat Toys book. As with all the homemade cat toys in the book, this one is eco-friendly and reuses an old T-shirt. However, because you’ve got an extra day off, I’ve chosen this project because it takes about 30 minutes to make. This toy is great for cats who love to wrestle or play tug-of-war.

Don’t forget that when you make your own cat toys, safety should always come first. Remember to play safe and play smart. Only make a toy if you know your cat won’t ingest the materials and never leave your cat unsupervised when playing. This goes for all cat toys, not just homemade ones.

WRESTLE SAUSAGE

Wrestle Sausage, as its name implies, is for cats who love to wrestle. It’s the size of a small rodent, but it makes a Kitty-satisfying crinkly crackle sound when she attacks it. As an added bonus, Wrestle Sausage does not leave a bloody mess on your doorstep.

Ideally, you should make Wrestle Sausage from one of your old T-shirts so that Kitty can enjoy that lived-in smell, giving Wrestle Sausage the added “scents” of realism. Soft jersey cotton is also an excellent texture for Kitty to sink her claws into. And, you’ll have fun recycling your T-shirt into something other than a garage rag.

What you’ll need:

  • Old cotton T-shirt
  • 1 crunchy plastic bag, grocery store style
  • 1 Tbsp organic catnip (optional)
  • 1 sturdy shoelace or the Utility Belt (page 72)
  • Needle and thread
  • Scissors
  • Chopstick or pencil
  • Threaded sewing machine (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Cut two 9” x 5” rectangles from the old T-shirt.
  2. Place the rectangles one on top of the other. The material is being doubled up for durability. Fold in half lengthwise. See Figure 1.
  3. Using either a needle and thread or a sewing machine, stitch the rectangles together. Start from the folded end on the short side and continue down the long side, leaving a 3/8” seam allowance. When you reach the end of the long side, finish off the stitching if you are using a sewing machine. If you are sewing by hand, go back and sew a reinforcing seam along the inside of the first line of stitching. See Figure 2.
  4. Turn the sausage inside out. Use a chopstick or pencil to help you. See Figure 3.
  5. Cut a 7.5” wide section from the plastic bag lengthwise. See Figure 4.
  6. Lay the section of plastic bag flat and sprinkle catnip evenly across its surface. Begin loosely rolling the bag so that it will be the right width to fit inside the sausage. See Figure 5.
  7. Insert the rolled up plastic bag into the sausage. See Figure 6.
  8. Tuck in the unfinished ends at the open side of the sausage. Use the needle and thread to sew it closed.
  9. Tie a slip knot in the shoelace. Secure the loop over the Wrestle Sausage about 1.5” from the end. Now you’re ready to wrestle with Kitty from a safe distance.

homemade cat toy

HOW YOU CAN TAKE ACTION

  • Set aside a half hour this weekend to make this deluxe cat toy for your Kitty.
  • Please feel free to share this “make your own” cat toy idea with friends by clicking the “Share This” link below.

The Wrestle Sausage is copyrighted so if you’d like to reproduce this homemade cat toy idea, please contact me at permissions AT makeyourowncattoys.com with your request. Thank you.

Dozens of Eco-Friendly Cat Toy Ideas

Furball, my cat, loves to play and he was so hyperactive as a kitten that I invented dozens of toys and games for him and even wrote a book about them.

Make Your Own Cat Toys features instructions for over 50 cat toys that are can be made in minutes, if not seconds, from stuff you have around the home. If you’d like to learn more about the book, please visit www.MakeYourOwnCatToys.com.

Day 14: Shop Local Businesses for Eco-friendly Cat Products — The 30-Day Green Cat Challenge

If you read Day 13 of the 30-Day Green Cat Challenge, you’ll know that after spending about an hour looking for online pet stores devoted to selling eco-friendly cat products, I didn’t find too many options. I couldn’t find a single store that was exclusively for cats, featured only green, natural or sustainable products and that had an emphasis on local and smaller businesses. I proposed it would be a good idea for someone to make one and perhaps because it was late at night, I thought to myself, why not?

So I’ve spent a few hours scouring Amazon for eco-friendly, natural and green cat products to bring you the Green Little Cat Store. Amazon provides an amazing way for smaller companies to reach large audiences at a relatively low cost. Thus, I figured that I could probably find some of those ma/pop businesses that are dedicated to environmental causes. I just started adding cat products and hope to find more eco-friendly gems, especially since this is a growing market.

Feel free to window-shop for ideas or inspiration. I’m a proponent of recycle, reuse and reduce, so before you decide to buy, take a moment to think about whether the product is really necessary or if you can come up with a creative solution from stuff you have on hand. If you find you need to do some shopping, I invite you to check out the Green Little Cat Store.

Day 13: Online Stores for Eco-friendly Cat Products — The 30-Day Green Cat Challenge

I’ve never actually looked around the Internet to look for online stores that specialize in natural and eco-friendly cat products and supplies. It seems like a fun thing to do for today and I might see a great product or be inspired to come up with a homemade version. So, my main criteria are that the store should carry a variety of items and the majority must be natural, sustainable, local and of course green and eco-friendly. Here are some interesting finds, but please note that since I haven’t actually shopped at these stores, I’m not endorsing any stores or products.

1. Only Natural Pet Store

  • This is one of the most comprehensive online stores for pet products. They carry an extensive line from vitamins and homeopathic remedies to toys, food, litter boxes and more. Unlike some stores where Kitty plays second fiddle to Fido, this store gives equal treatment to natural and organic cat products.
  • They carry mostly top brands with a mix of items from smaller companies.
  • As an added bonus, the company is 100% eta-i.org/xanax.html powered by wind.
  • Only Natural Pet Store Website

2. Eco-Pet

  • Looks like a fairly new entry into the enviro-friendly pet products market. Their online store is small, but they seem to focus on more local companies as opposed to carrying just the biggest names out there.
  • They carry eco-friendly products for dogs, cats and birds.
  • Eco-Pet Website

3. All Designer Pet Products

  • A handful of eco-friendly products, but you have to check out these eco-friendly cat scratching posts. They’re the cutest most adorable cardboard scratchers I’ve ever seen. Made in the U.S.A. from 30% recycled materials and they’re 100% recyclable.
  • View the Cat Scratchers

After looking for a couple of hours, I’ve discovered that there aren’t very many options for shopping specifically for eco-friendly cat products. It’s a bit better for dogs, but there’s no single site for one-stop green cat products and supplies. Hmm, what a great business idea for the right person!

HOW YOU CAN TAKE ACTION

  • Today is an armchair activity. Do some window shopping for ideas and inspiration on eco-friendly pet products for your cat. Have fun! :)

Day 12: Re-carpeting a Scratching PostThe 30-Day Green Cat Challenge

ScratchingPostBefore

As you can see from this photo, Furball needs a new scratching post. The bottom of the post is practically scratched down to the board. If you look at the round hoop, you can see what the original carpet should look like. The carpet on this cat scratching post really needs to be replaced.

The easy and convenient thing to do would be to throw this out and get a new scratching post. However, this is a large cumbersome object that would take up a lot of space in the landfill, not to mention the added resources required to get a replacement scratching post.

With that in mind, we’ve decided to try to replace the carpet on the cat scratching post. Can it be done? What about the big round thing in the middle? How should we remove it? What’s the most eco-friendly way to re-carpet a scratching post? I don’t want to use glue. Nails? Staples? Are they strong enough? Will it be an easy task to put new carpet on a cat scratching post? Do I take off the old carpet before putting new carpet on the scratching post? Who knows?

In spite of all of these questions, I’m going to move ahead as part of the 30-Day Green Cat Challenge to give my cat a green makeover. The first step is to get carpet. Luckily, I have an idea on how to obtain this in the most eco-friendly asthma manner possible.

I’m placing a post on my local freecycle.org. It’s going to say:

Wanted: Carpet remnant 2′ x 3′ – small amount needed to re-carpet a cat scratching post

If you have recently installed new carpet and have some leftover scraps, I would appreciate a small piece, about 2′ x3 ‘, preferably of a low-pile carpet (different enough to discourage the cat from scratching the regular carpet).

I’m sorry I can’t take all of your scraps and will only use new scraps (not your old carpet). However, in the spirit of freecycle, I hope you will appreciate that your carpet scrap will prevent a cat scratching post from going into the garbage and it will also reduce the resources required for purchasing a replacement. It may even have further far-reaching effects as I’m going to blog about this process of putting new carpet on my cat’s old scratching post. Hopefully this will inspire others to do the same.

HOW YOU CAN TAKE ACTION TODAY

  • Check out your local freecycle.org to learn how you can give away and get free items. Freecycle is great. I’ve given away a pedometer and matte board, and have received plastic grocery bags. There’s often great stuff being given away and the best part of using Freecyle is that you know your item is going to someone who is going to use it. So, while today’s action is not specific to your cat, you just never know — I’ve seen cat stuff being given away too :).

Day 11: Thumbs Up to this Natural Cat Food — The 30-Day Green Cat Challenge

Breeder's Choice Pinnacle

On Day 1 of the 30-Day Green Cat Challenge, I contacted the manufacturer of Furball’s cat food to ask them where the product was sourced and manufactured and whether it was organic. It took them awhile to get back to me, but I just received the following email today.

Dear Ms. Tse:

The Pinnacle dry cat food is made at our own facility in Irwindale, CA with all ingredients from certified sources in the United States. The ingredients are all natural, but are not organic. There are no plans at this time to produce an all organic food. The canned Pinnacle foods are made at Menu Foods. The ingredients and formulas are to our specifications.

Please note, none of our foods, cat or dog, dry, canned or treats were involved in any recalls. We do not use ingredients from China, we do not use by-products of any type. All ingredients are from the human grade chain.

Breeder’s Choice

I was considering switching to an organic cat food, but given the results of my initial research, it no longer seemed like such a clear choice. Now that I know Pinnacle by Breeder’s Choice is made in the U.S. (bonus that it’s in California, where we live, so it’s even more local) from certified sources in the U.S., I think I’ll stick with this brand. This is good news, especially since Furball had the pancreatitis, he’s been more sensitive to changes in his diet. Now I can feel good about pharmacy-no-rx.net what I’m feeding him.

Note however, that I don’t buy their wet food. If I did, I would still consider switching since Menu Foods makes it. If you check out my overview of organic cat food, you’ll learn that even organic brands are made by Menu Foods. In my comparison of organic cat food, Evanger’s was the only one that I could definitely be sure was not made by Menu Foods.

HOW YOU CAN TAKE ACTION TODAY

  • How do you feel about what you’re feeding your cat? Do you know what he or she is eating? If not, find out and let your manufacturer know your concerns. If there’s enough consumer demand, these companies will make changes. Go to Day 1: Contact Your Cat Food Company and copy and paste the letter at the end of the post to send to the manufacturer of your cat’s food. It’s super easy. There are only six phrases you have to fill out yourself (eg., name of pet food).
  • Bookmark this post and when you hear back from the company, post the reply here by clicking the teeny little “Comments: none” link at the bottom. I think I have to look into fixing that :).
  • Talk about these issues with your friends and family who have cats AND dogs too. Pets are precious and shouldn’t have to eat crap. To share this post via email or your social networking site, click the “Share This” link.

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.
Check out Furball's cat toy book
Spoil Your Kitty the Green Way
Get Furball's cute ebook full of oodles of eco-friendly cat toys that are fun and easy to make.
Learn more >>

  Pets Business Directory - BTS Local