The first and only time I bought a Cat Fancy magazine was over 10 years ago and it wasn’t for me. It was for a 90-year old lady who lived on a potato farm. She loved cats, so I bought the magazine to bring her some joy. I never bought one again because Cat Fancy felt old-fashioned, dowdy, and frankly, aimed at an older demographic.
Well, I’m excited to announce that Cat Fancy finally got a long overdue makeover and it’s now been reborn as Catster magazine. You may be more familiar with Catster.com, one of the most popular cat-centric destinations online. And just like its online cousin, the new Catster magazine is fun, fresh, young and modern.
Catster covers some of the trendiest topics and top names in the cat world. The magazine features the light and fun side of living with cats, including articles on feline products, health, diet, pet owners’ obsessions, confessions, funny photos, and more.
I’m a regular contributor to Catster.com, writing about eco-friendly cat products and topics natural and sustainable living for cats. That’s why I love that Cat Fancy is now Caster. The new magazine is contemporary and relevant for today’s cat lovers. Because I write for Catster.com, I received the purrk of an advance copy of the premier issue of Catster magazine.
I have to say that the new magazine has a fun and friendly vibe. It’s colourful, bright and even the typography feels modern. The first issue of Catster hit news stands on March 24th, so you can grab your copy right now. And if you’re a dog lover, there’s a Dogster magazine too.
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.
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.
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:
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
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.
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
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
This 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
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
What do Easter lilies and antifreeze have in common? These, and many other substances, are all poisonous to felines. “Cats have a very low threshold for toxicity,” explains Dr. Trisha Joyce, DVM, of New York City Veterinary Specialists. This uber-sensitivity in cats results from their body producing little of the enzyme that other mammals rely on to break down chemicals, leaving cats generally more vulnerable to toxins.
Jumping on the green-tech bandwagon, a handful of pet care companies are now hocking organic cat wares to save Fluffy from the evils of plastics and perfumes. Below, Dr. Joyce weighs in on what to try and when to proceed with caution.
Dishware Plastic has received bad press in the last few years as worried parents keep their children away from the chemical BPA and legions of water drinkers refrain from refilling their plastic bottle empties. But is plastic potentially bad news for your cat too? Yes, but for different reasons than for humans.
“A cat’s life span isn’t long enough that carcinogens impact them the same way as humans,” she explains. Still, Dr. Joyce emphasizes that ceramic and metal dishes are not only better for the environment in general but also for your cat’s skin. Plastic dishes retain bacteria and can cause chin acne, an uncomfortable condition for your pet.
Veterinary Verdict: Choosing ceramic or metal over plastic is good for the environment and kitty’s complexion.
Flea Remedies The slew of chemicals in traditional flea and tick products may seem like reason to stay away from them, especially when “natural” flea remedies tout compounds that won’t pollute your pet’s bloodstream and your family’s home. However, buyers beware. “I’m not a fan of any over-the-counter flea preparation,” Dr. Joyce says. “You can get away with it for a dog, but cats are more sensitive and can have bad reactions. Sometimes, chemicals can be good.”
Veterinary Verdict: Ask your veterinarian to prescribe a flea and tick medication. If you must try a natural product, use one that’s approved by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). Check with your pet’s doctor before applying.
Kitty Litter Without a doubt, natural cat litter made from wheat and corn is better for the environment. It breaks down naturally rather than spending a lifetime in a landfill. The impact on your cat’s health? Inexpensive litters in general create more dust, which can trigger asthma attacks. If you’re concerned about your cat’s lungs, monitor how much dust is stirred up in the burying process. Switch litters if necessary.
Veterinary Verdict: Natural cat litter is best for the environment and produces the least dust, which is also best for your cat’s respiratory system.
Shampoo Over-the-counter cat shampoos often contain perfumes, which smell pleasant to cat owners but may irritate sensitive feline skin. If so-called organic cat shampoos are perfume-free, your pet may tolerate them. However, veterinary-prescribed cleansers are less likely to cause dry skin and allergic reactions.
Veterinary Verdict: If you choose an organic, over-the-counter product, make sure it is cat-specific as opposed to a general pet shampoo. Look for the AVMA seal of approval. Be on the alert for signs of allergic reactions (e.g., excessive scratching) after the first use.
Cat Accessories When it comes to beds, collars and toys, carcinogens are not a big kitty health concern — for reasons explained above — though the well-being of the environment may be. Such items are currently made from a variety of recycled and organically grown materials, taking less of a toll on the natural world. “With cat toys, the main health concern is not lead paint but a small piece that may break free and be ingested by the animal,” says Dr. Joyce.
Veterinary Verdict: If being kind to the environment is on your priority list — and it should be — organic cat accessories can help you meet your goal. When buying cat toys, forgo those with small pieces that may break off.
General Tips for Choosing Organic Cat Products
Buy products specifically made for cats as opposed to products for all pets.
Look for a seal of approval from the AVMA.
If your cat is doing well on a traditional product, think twice before making a switch to organic.
Be cautious. Consult your veterinarian before trying new cleaning or medicinal products.
While organic goods appeal to consumers for a variety of important reasons, Dr. Joyce warns that the industry is not yet well-regulated. “Theoretically, organic has less chemicals, and that’s best for cats because they’re so sensitive,” she says. “But I recommend caution in experimenting with new products. Try things slowly and only in moderation.” Those are words for the healthiest cats to live their nine lives by.
Darcy Lockman is a Brooklyn, N.Y.-based freelance writer and frequent contributor to The Daily Cat. Her work has appeared in publications such as the New York Times and Rolling Stone.
Here are five simple tips for playing with cats that will make your kitty’s playtime eco-friendly and lots of fun.
1. Channel Your Inner Cat
Let’s face the truth. When choosing cat toys, you tend to buy the ones that appeal to you. The toys are bright, colorful and awfully darned cute. Don’t think this applies to you? Well, here’s the litmus test. Ask yourself when was the last time you sniffed a catnip toy and pontificated on its herbaceous bouquet?
Instead of choosing toys that appeal to you as a human being, think like a cat. Your cat already gives you lots of clues on what she enjoys playing with. Cats let you know in an instant whether a toy is a hit or a miss.
Take an inventory of the toys that your cat loves to play with and notice what characteristics they have in common. And, do this from a cat’s perspective. Maybe your cat’s favorite toys all make a rattling sound or are stuffed with catnip. The next time you’re looking for new toys to play with your cat, choose ones that have similar characteristics.
You’ll help save the planet by choosing toys that your cat will actually play with instead of ones that she’ll never use. Buying fewer toys is not only greener, it’s also great for your wallet.
2. Buy Locally Made Cat Toys
Transportation emissions are a significant source of greenhouse gases. When a cat toy is made on the other side of the world, it needs to travel a very long distance in order to arrive at your local pet store. Reduce your carbon footprint by buying toys made closer to home.
Ask your favorite retailer to carry locally made pet products. And if you need more inspiration for playing with cats, search online for cat toys made by local businesses and craftspeople. An added bonus will be that you’ll be helping to support the local economy.
3. Examine Cat Toys for Quality and Durability
Before buying a bag of cheap mice for a few dollars, stop and consider how long these cat toys will last. Are they the kind of toy that your cat will chew up within seconds? Will your cat tear through it in a matter of minutes?
While quality cat toys might cost a bit more initially, you’ll end up saving money in the long run because they’ll last longer. Check fabrics for durability and tug at attachments to see if they’ll stay attached when playing with your cat.
4. Upcycle When Playing With Cats
Your recycling bin is a delightful source of inspiration. When playing with your cat, you don’t need to be fancy. Something that you might consider to be garbage is probably the cat’s meow to your kitty. Get creative and turn that trash into an eco-friendly cat toy.
A 2008 study by the Environmental Working Group found that pets had much higher concentrations of chemicals in their bodies than humans do. Given that cats spend a lot of time licking and gnawing on their toys, it makes sense to reduce your cat’s exposure to potentially hazardous toxins.
Choose organic cat toys made from organic fibres and filled with organic catnip. Organic products are grown without the use of synthetic pesticides. Your cat and the planet will both benefit.
Going green when playing with your cat is easy and fun to do. Your cat and the planet will appreciate your efforts.
What are your favorite green ideas for playing with cats? Share them below.
Here’s a guest post from Becky, a Green Little Cat reader. She shares three greener ideas for playing with your cat.
Cats are undoubtedly very laid back, nonchalant creatures. It takes a lot to impress them or even get their attention. Many people waste a lot of time and resources on non-recyclable, non-biodegradable toys and treats for their cats But there are healthy, organic treats and toys that will have even the most reserved cat bouncing off the walls.
Here are a few ways to mesmerize your cat the “green” way:
Catnip for cats is an irresistable treat for cats. Catnip, or Nepeta cataria, is a mint plant that drives most cats crazy. According to WebMD, one in two cats is sensitive to catnip and the high sensation will last approximately 10 minutes. Nepetalactone, the oil found in catnip, stimulates the cat and pushes her to a temporary state of insanity.
Catnip can be used for training. Sprinkling a little on your cat’s scratching post will encourage her to scratch the post and not those undesirable places such as your furniture or rugs.
You can also entice your cat to play with certain toys by dipping them in a bag of catnip prior to handing it over to her. Many cats will roll around, and aggressively lick or smell the infested area. Some may even get aggressive and be very protective of the area or item that contains the catnip.
Fortunately, there are plenty of options for organic catnip as well. Many catnip seeds are grown right here in America using sustainable techniques.
Every cat loves a good chase which is why they are so fascinated with laser lights. The moving target simulates a chase to them as they race around the house trying to capture the beam of light. Many pet stores carry laser lights specifically designed for cats. Purchasing these cat-approved toys will ensure they are both safe and appropriate for your feline friend. Most cats love laser lights, so this is one toy that you know can entertain your cat for hours on end and won’t get tossed in the reject pile.
Finally, string has survived the test of time as a toy favorite for cats. Attaching something to dangle at the end brings even more pleasure. You can dangle the string and object in front of your cat for endless entertainment. Another option is hanging it from something so that your cat can entertain herself. Either way, the constant rebounding object gets your cat’s paws up and batting it back and forth.
One of the great things about string is that you can usually find it in any old random closet in the house. This is a great example of reusing old supplies in a way that’s fun for your car and good on the environment. Why contribute more plastic waste to the world by buying some contraption your cat may not even like when good, old-fashioned string is all you need?
Stocking these three irresistible toys and treats for cats in your home will result in an entertained, happy cat. Since these non-wasteful delights will have your cat moving and burning calories, you can also feel great about providing her with an organic, reusable treat option. These can be found at your local pet store or online, along with a myriad of other “green” pet supplies.
A Green Little Cat reader sent us some tips on what to do when your cat is sick. Consider this a public service announcement to encourage you to create a plan of action for what to do if you kitty needs medical attention, which hopefully will be never. At the very least, find the number and address for the 24-hour emergency vet nearest you. Here’s the post:
Like humans, cats can pick up a large number of ailments and illnesses from a sprained poor to an eye infection, a lost tooth to a ripped-out claw, an upset stomach to an abscess. A lot of animal ailments are obvious and visible to the eye, but some are less obvious and can take some working out to diagnose and treat.
My kitten scared us when he was getting severe diarrhea and after 48 hours of it we had to assume it was not just something he had eaten whilst out and about but possibly something more serious, so we took him to our vets for an appointment.
The vet asked what food we were feeding him on and said it could be a case of a dietary intolerance and to try him on Royal Canin Sensitivity, which is a “highly digestable, hypoallergenic diet for kittens and cats”. It has been specially made to assist in managing any diet intolerance and hypersensitivity.
We were very fortunate that the new food helped Ackee’s stomach; we don’t know what triggered his reaction but having found a food that keeps his stomach well we decided to stick with it and not investigate the trigger any further. There is plenty of other cat food on the market to help with other dietary issues your cat might have, so it is always worth a look to see if a food could help with a particular problem.
We have found that some problems do not require medical attention so long as you keep an eye on them. For example, Ackee ripped out one of his claws and it did bleed a lot but he kept it clean and we checked it daily to ensure it was not infected, and it healed up well with a new claw coming through.
It is sometimes easy to panic and rush your cat into its cat carrier and down to the vets, but sometimes problems do resolve themselves. My rule is to think of your cat like a child and would you rush your child to the doctor if they got a cut or a bruise, or would you use common sense and keep an eye on things to see how they got on so long as any wounds were clean? And if the problem is indeed urgent, then always take to the vets ASAP.
Times have changed! When I started this blog 3 years ago, I couldn’t find eco-friendly cat bowls. Today’s post is from Paul, a guest writer. Paul lives with his 6 year old cat Jasper in Washington state and is webmaster for Veterinary Assistant Schools, a guide to Vet Assistant careers and education. He’s done some great research on how your kitty can drink and dine in green style. Without further adieu, here’s his article.
Recently, pet product manufacturers have joined other manufacturers in providing eco-friendly products. Eco- friendly products are items that are safe for the environment as well as the customer. Every cat owner must purchase bowls from which his or her cat will drink and eat. Environmentally conscious pet owners can now invest in eco-friendly cat dishes. These dishes not only have a biodegradable texture, but also they will protect the animals from coming into contact with toxic chemicals and contaminants. The following is a list of five very popular cat dishes that owners can consider purchasing:
Van Ness Pureness Eco Cat Bowl
The Pureness Eco Cat Bowl is a beautiful retro designed cat bowl with an average price of $2.79. The Van Ness Company, a long time manufacturer of eco-friendly items, manufactures it. This bowl is plant product crafted and has a soy-based ink coloring. It is degradable when exposed to compost conditions and is excellent for small sized cats. Cats will be able to eat and drink from it without falling ill, as its contents are toxin-free.
Green Pet Shop Bamboo Bowl
Cat lovers who like elegant dishes will enjoy the bamboo cat bowl by the Green Pet Shop. The bowl retails for $4.99 and is made of bamboo and cooked rice husks. Additionally, its coloring comes from all plant dyes. This bowl is a favorite because it is durable, dishwasher safe and does not collect bacteria.
4 Little Paws BecoBowl
4 Little Paws manufactures an adorable pink bowl that is safe for the environment and the cat. The Beco bowlsare made from plant fibers and they are biodegradable. Beco bowls are approximately $4.75
FLOAA Eco Friendly Pet Bowls
The FLOAA company manufactures 16-inch disposable biodegradable cat bowls made from sugar cane fibers. The customer can use each of these dishes up to four or five times before disposing of it. The bowls are also stackable, which saves the consumer space in his or her pantry. This company sells these stackable pet bowls in packages of ten. One package can last a cat owner several months.
Meltdown Eco Bowl
Finally, the Meltdown Eco Bowl comes in a wide assortment of colors and has a very unique look. This bowl is made of recycled and reprocessed bottle tops and is 100% recyclable. Consumers can find these contemporary bowls for approximately $3.25.
There are many wonderful eco-friendly products for cats available. These products will help keep pets and the world a lot safer.
It doesn’t take much for a calm cat to turn into a kitty suffering with anxiety. Even the most innocuous thing such as moving the cat bed can freak out cats. Furball’s a high-strung cat who gets sick when something stressful happens.
Moving houses led to pancreatitis. An earthquake combined with an accidentally dropped cutlery tray a week later led to urinary problems. Most recently, we discovered that his new feeding routine was stressing him out.
This resulted in vomiting and three days of refusing food. The holistic vet diagnosed Furball with stress-induced gastroenteritis causing vomiting. She said it was a catch 22 since the vomiting was stressing him out more. So what to do to calm a stressed out cat?
Calming Stressed Cats: Natural Method #1
Well, first we took Furball to a holistic vet who gave him acupuncture. There’s one point called Yin Tang that is really effective at calming not just cats, but also people. Furball has had a few calming cat acupuncture sessions before and they really worked. If you’re interested in learning more about holistic vets, check out these posts:
In addition to giving Furball a cat calming acupuncture treatment, the vet prescribed calming herbal supplements. The supplements are made by a company called Resources and it’s got a really long name: Resources Feline Anxiety & Stress, Calming Support Formula. If you’re interested in learning more, the supplements are available at the Only Natural Pet Store.
Ingredients include magnesium asparatate, passionflower, oyster shell, kava kava, unicaria, ginkgo biloba, zizziphus, licorice, schizandra, Dan Shen, biota, melatonin and more. I recognize a number of these herbs from Traditional Chinese Medicine and they are known to have calming effects.
The tablets need to be given daily so I have to balance how stressed Furball is vs. how stressd he’ll be from having a large pill shoved down his throat. If you decide to try the Calming Support Formula for your cat, you should consult with your veterinarian first.
Calming Stressed Cats: Natural Method #3
One of my favourite natural remedies for calming a stressed out cat is Rescue Remedy. This is a homeopathic tincture for humans that also comes in a version for pets. It really works! For people and pets. I gave Rescue Remedy to Furball when we flew him across the country. After the flight, I expected to see a freaked out cat, but instead found a very mellow cat.
Furball also likes to lick this stuff off my finger and considers it a treat, so giving him this natural remedy is really easy. You can find it on Amazon here:
Furball’s holistic vet also recommended Rescue Remedy Cream. This is the human hand cream version. The vet suggested that I dab a small amount inside my cat’s ear to help calm him down. I’ve done this a number of times and find it helpful too. Between the liquid tincture and the cream, we’ve got things under control for calming our cat. Please consult with your vet before giving this to your cat.
So, there you have it, my reviews of three natural ways to calm a stressed cat. Hope you find what you need for calming your cat! Hmm, maybe an exclamation point after that sentence isn’t very calming?
Here’s a fun way to give to your local animal shelter and you’ll know the cats will directly benefit from your gift. How? Give the gift of eco-friendly cat scratchers made by Imperial Cat.
You may know Imperial Cat for their fanciful cat scratchers such as this Orca Cat Scratch n Shape, but they recently came out with a new line specifically for shelter cats. Scratch ‘n Bits feature the same durable scratching surface as the higher end Scratch ‘n Shapes, but at a significantly lower price. And for the month of June, you can donate a case of 20 Scratch ‘n Bits directly to your favourite animal shelter for only $20.
Imperial Cat generously sent me a Scratch ‘n Bit for Furball to test drive. When the parcel arrived, Furball was interested even before I opened the box. Once I took out the Scratch ‘n Bit, he began rubbing his cheek against the corner and purring loudly.
The honeycomb surface felt really durable. I expected it to be more like corrugated cardboard in feel, but instead, it’s got a real toughness to it. Furball enjoys using the corners for a nice scratch on his chin, but I haven’t seen him try scratching it with his claws. I think it’s a little small for him, but if you think about it, most shelter cats are kept in small enclosures so they wouldn’t have the option of a bigger scratching post.
This little scratcher makes a lot of sense for shelter cats as it gives them somewhere to stretch their claws and hopefully feel a little more at home. And, when they get adopted, the Scratch ‘n Bit can go home with them, giving them somewhere to scratch other than their new owner’s couch.
Scratch ‘n Bits come in several shapes and are available in both vertical and horizontal styles – to fit a variety of shelter spaces. They’re made in the USA, from 68% post consumer recycled materials, and are also 100% recyclable.
If you’d like to donate a case of Scratch ‘n Bits to your local shelter, please call 1-800-783-0977 and ask for Kristie or Kim. OR, email kim [AT] imperialcat.com.
To learn more about the donation program or Imperial Cat’s eco-friendly products, visit www.ImperialCat.com.