As the world is experiencing a climate crisis, it’s more important than ever to mindful of how our actions affect the planet. This affects everything we do – including the way we take care of our cats! Cat litter can create a large volume of waste, but if we’re conscious of the way we use and dispose of it, we can reduce our environmental impact.
Which type of cat litter should I use?
There are many different types of cat litter on the market, but they’re not all created equal in terms of sustainability. Cats can be picky about the type of litter they use, so it may take some trial and error to find the right option for your needs.
Clay litter is one of the most common forms of cat litter. It’s readily available in many supermarkets and other retailers. However, it isn’t necessarily the best litter option for your cat. This is because clay litter isn’t biodegradable. It’s very heavy and can only be disposed of in the trash.
There are other environmental downsides to using clay litter as well. The first is that it can send dust into the air when your cat is doing their business. This can be harmful if you inhale it. Another downside of using clay litter is that the clay is usually sourced from strip mines, which create a huge amount of waste and cause long-term damage to the area around the mine.
Silica litter is another popular form of cat litter, but it has many of the same problems that clay litter presents. It is not biodegradable and typically ends up in a landfill after use. It is also made using strip mining. While silica litter may be convenient, it isn’t the most environmentally friendly option.
Grass Seed Litter
Grass seed litter is a popular and accessible option if you’re looking for eco-friendly cat litter. Grass seeds are completely biodegradable, and they are also easily renewable, so their production does not hurt the environment.
Unlike clay litter, it does not create any dust, and it clumps well, so it is easy to scoop. It also is very effective for controlling odors. The downside of grass seed litter is that some people have allergies to grass.
Pine litter is another biodegradable option that works well for many cats. Like grass seed litter, they are made entirely from renewable resources. They also work very well for composting. Cats generally take well to this type of litter, and it is also easy to clean.
Recycled Newspaper Pellets
This type of litter is similar in structure to the pine litter pellets, but instead are made from recycled newspapers. They are also biodegradable and are a good way to reuse recycled resources. However, some brands of newspaper litter don’t clump or control odors as well as other types.
Other Biodegradable Options
There are several other biodegradable litter options available on the market. If other forms of litter don’t work for your cat, you may want to consider one of these choices. These environmentally friendly litter options may not be as common in supermarkets, but you will likely be able to find them online.
- Wheat: This is another popular choice that is similar in construction to pine pellets. It has some clumping properties and can help to neutralize odors.
- Corn: Corn pellets are very similar to wheat pellets and are another popular biodegradable option.
- Walnut: This type of litter is made from walnut shells, which are very absorbent and do not create dust.
How can I dispose of my cat litter?
It’s important to be cautious of the way you dispose of your cat litter. Some forms of disposal can directly harm the environment and your community. You should never dispose of uncontained cat litter outside, because the bacteria in cat feces can contaminate water and be harmful to other animals.
If you do use clay or silica litter, the only safe way to dispose of it is by scooping it into a trash bag and throwing it away. When doing this, make sure you use a thick trash bag that can handle the weight of the litter and won’t break.
You should also throw the trash bag out right after dumping your litter, as bacteria can multiply if the litter sits for too long.
The trash is the only viable way to dispose of some types of litter. However, there are many environmental downsides to throwing your litter away. The biggest downside is that the plastic trash bags will sit in a landfill and won’t decompose, which causes ongoing damage to the earth.
If you are using a biodegradable form of cat litter, you may want to consider composting it. Compost creates far less waste and can be reused for a number of different purposes. To compost cat litter, you’ll need to check your city’s ordinances regarding animal waste and compost. They may even offer to take it away in your ‘food waste’ bin to add to the municipal compost.
You need to make sure that the compost is heated to at least 145 degrees Fahrenheit to kill harmful bacteria. This is called ‘hot composting’ and requires a certain amount of work.
There are two viable methods for composting – the bucket method and the in-ground method. The bucket method is typically more practical for those who have small spaces. Once your cat litter has composted, you will be able to use it as fertilizer for your garden.
Another option is disposing of your cat’s solid waste (poop) in the toilet, however, there are many safety precautions to consider if you do this. First, you’ll need to check your city’s regulations to see if they can properly handle animal waste – not all cities can.
You’ll also need to avoid flushing the actual litter down the toilet, as this can clog the pipes.
With so many different forms of eco-friendly cat litter available now, you can find an option that your cat likes and is also good for the planet. Small changes like this can have a big long-term impact on the health and survival of our planet.