Andrew and I are officially parents. Kitten parents that is!
Yep, we bit the bullet and got ourselves the cutest little terror from the SPCA. Now that our place is big enough to handle a cat, we had a few weeks of discussions, some research (ok, Andrew did all the research and I said things like: 'Yeah, but can't we just go and get one NOW?') and last Tuesday made a trip to the shelter.
Having never actually owned a pet since grade 2 (for both of us) we were a little uncertain what to look for. Andrew however, pointed out this little black lump of fur and said: 'Him'.
He is named 'Atreyu' (for all you '80s' children ;) ) and other than missing the litter box (ahem, THREE times, once on our pants) and generally being a crazy hyper kitten, he has been great. I guess being a premature kitten and taken away from mommy cat to be 'incubated' (kinda) messes up your ability to figure out where to go. Which means our litter box is in the middle of the living room currently. Beautiful.
In any case, the past week has been a flurry of spending. And I have never felt so terrible about the ridiculous amount of plastic and waste.
1. A cat carrier (which is WAY too small for a grown cat I might add... Andrew's assurances it would do into adulthood... until he saw a ginormous cat at the vets...). Plastic... but 30% post consumer recycled!! (sigh).
2. A litter box... that is too big for him. ANOTHER litter box in which we removed the lid, as little Atreyu likes to do his business in the open air. Both plastic.
3. Litter- According to Ecoholic 2006, nearly 200,000 tons of pet waste are trashed every year (his poo is flushed and the litter composted). First attempt was clay. A bit more research later and Andrew vetoed that option (ahem, silica dust and such) and pine litter was purchased. Truly, I wanted to buy the recycled paper- Yesterday's News- litter. But after a 50% pee-in-litter success rate, I'm a little nervous about switching. Eventually, recycled paper litter is my goal. Andrew assures me that pine litter is made from scrap cuttings and pressed sawdust- so not really wasteful and in the meantime, completely compostable.
**please check with your local sewage treatment on whether you can flush cat poo... Andrew assures me that we can flush the cat poo (not litter) here in Halifax... I need to check on this one.
UPDATE: HRM does not in fact support composting kitty litter pellets... and I have yet to find specific info on flushing the poo down the toilet. GAH. What complete utter waste. All this biodegradable pine going to the 'land where it will never biodegrade in anaerobic no oxygen plastic wrapped bag existence'. Awesome.
4. Toys- I dug in my heels and bought these 'Eco Terra Toys'- a weird fish and white sponge dealy. I figured Atreyu would hate them. Nope! The fish is his favourite toy! Honestly, the toy department has been the easiest eco- transition as his other favourite toy is a piece of string and some paper we had lying around. No new plastic toys for my Atreyu :)
5. Monstrosity of a Cat Tree. They were 70% off on sale... so we bought the less-ugliest one and I swear that once things have settled it's getting shoved into a corner. At least Atreyu adores it and attacks our feet and new couch... less. I had visions of making our own... or more likely asking my dad to make us one out of scrap wood and old rope he had at home. LOL. I am sure that would have went over well.
6. Water fountain. YEP Atreyu gets his very. own. water fountain. I'm sure he thinks his poo doesn't smell. I guess cats don't ever get enough water, since they despise drinking out of still moving bodies of water (i.e. plates-bowls etc). I gotta say, although I think it's SUPER wasteful (continuously running and all) the motor is small and he drinks a ridiculous amount of water. Concession #45628.
7. Food. If you see the word 'by-product' in the ingredient list, think stuff humans wouldn't touch like- 4-D animals: diseased, disabled, dead or dying (Ecoholic, 2006). And grain.. there is SO much grain in pet food. Which we all know how harmful corn and soy are to the environment.
This one I am happy about. We bought Orijens cat food which is Canadian made from healthy, non-grain (or minimal grain) ingredients that are regional (to their plant in Alberta) and sustainably sourced, with no sketchy preservatives or additives. This includes things like free-run chickens, lake fish and heritage pork. Pricey, but we are currently weaning Atreyu off the Iams and onto the Orijens (via scale... did I ever tell you that Andrew was a big weirdo when it comes to food and weighing stuff? Atreyu gets 28 grams per meal...lol).
What we still need? A brush... and to return the litter box and clay litter.
Finally- the best way to clean cat pee and get rid of the underlying odor they can detect? Water and vinegar. I have that down!
I will eco-fy Atreyu Mr. Kittens with all my Eco-Heart! Or accept the fact that I will see a whole lot of Wal-Mart (shudder) in the next few weeks.
Ideas on eco-fying a cat? :)
article and photographs copyright of EcoYogini at ecoyogini.blogspot.com