Check out our advice on reducing your carbon pawprint within the diet of your cat.
Above all else, we can't compromise the dietary needs of our cats. Obligate carnivores, they must have a meat-based diet. Unfortunately, meat is resource-intensive to produce, is a increasing source of pollution, and carries a significant environmental footprint. So while the diet of our cat must be meat and/or fish based, we can choose sustainably-sourced food brands, ingredients and sellers.
Try to consider the type of meat that the food contains:
lamb, beef and pork (in that order) have the have highest carbon impact on the environment, whereas chicken and turkey have the lowest
if buying cat food that contains fish, ensure it is Marine Stewardship Council certified, which guarantees the fish have been sustainably sourced
insect protein-based commercial pet foods are now more readily available, which is much more sustainable than animal protein
Try to use metal or bamboo food and water bowls over anything plastic, and ensure you weigh out food accurately to reduce waste. Don’t forget about the packaging either – a number of recycling schemes for cat food pouches are in motion. If you're currently unaware of any collection points, why not consider becoming one? Better yet, switch to tinned cat food from which the packaging is much more widely recyclable. If you can buy dry food loose, then transporting and storing it in your own reusable containers is the best way to avoid unnecessary or non-recyclable packaging. Otherwise, buying dry food in bulk is often cheaper and will ultimately use less packaging in the long run.
In this day and age, eco-friendly brands are ten to the dozen, both online and in major supermarket retailers - and pet food is no different - so have a look around! While in theory it might seem like a good idea, human-grade meats used in high-end pet foods put additional pressure on our food production systems: so try looking for pet food made from by-products of the meat industry like bonemeal and organ meat, or with a higher percentage of plant-based content. After all, our pets aren't going to mind what's in their food - only how it tastes!
With no end of ideas, inspiration and recipes online, why not have a go at making your own pet treats? Making your own and storing them in a reusable, resealable container can be a great way of skipping the wasteful packaging that comes with most commercially-available pet treats, and it also guarantees the exclusion of environmentally-damaging ingredients like palm oil.
We all know that cats can be very difficult when it comes to staying hydrated. Sometimes we don't see them drink for days on end, and when they do - they choose muddy puddles and stale rainwater over the clean, cold, fresh water we empty out of their bowl twice daily.
But you don't necessarily have to waste the water that your cat won't drink - you can water your plants with it! There are several options, including watering your plants with the leftover water as and when, or setting up a sealed liquids container into which you empty the leftover water.
Additionally, you can play around with different options of keeping your cat hydrated and minimising water waste - some cats are happy having their food and water bowls next to each other, others prefer having their food and water separate. Some cats prefer to have water bowls outside, and others prefer a water fountain so that there's always a fresh and steady stream of water. This can also differ if you have more than one cat - some cats don't mind sharing, and others prefer everything to be kept separate.
Pop back at the same time next week for part two of this blog post! Learn how to be a much more environmentally fur-iendly cat owner within all other aspects of cat ownership, including bedding, toys and accessories...