Your fur families carbon paw print
Most people have a fur family at some point in their lives. We love them, cherish them and grumble when we have to clean up after them. It’s like having children that never grow up. But how do we reduce their carbon footprint while still ensuring we give them the best we can?
I went through the exact same thing. I swapped my kitty litter over to paper litter, which is made from recycled paper and comes in pellet form. This litter we use in the garden as mulch for decorative plants and trees.
We move the litter from the kitty box into a bucket that is kept outside and only used for kitty litter. Every day we empty the litter on the garden, smooth it out with a shovel (again only used for litter) and throw a layer of our lawn clippings over the top. The lawn clippings keep the smell down, and when you water your plants, you add water to your compost, which holds water for your plants later on.
Seriously, if you walked into our yard, you would have no idea that all our decorated plants are mulched with used kitty litter.
Compostable kitty litter drastically reduces your cat’s carbon footprint; the mulch keeps your plants happy and, it helps keep the weeds down. Triple win!
Just as a side note. Kitty litter cannot go on or near anything you ever intend to eat unless it has been left to compost in a separate area for 18 months to prevent the transfer of diseases.
So don’t mulch any vegetables or fruit trees with this until you are sure 18 months have passed, and please be mindful of water sources and potential contamination, but this is the same process for any type of manure mulch.
Personally, between two cats we get a lot of waste, so I only put our kitty litter on decorative plants and keep my regular food waste compost for my edibles.
By emptying my litter waste directly on my decorative plants and put a layer of grass clippings over the top, I remove the need to aerate the litter, which is what you will have to do if you are putting it into a compost bin.
Adding the litter to a garden bed like this spread the litter out and increase the surface area from which it can decompose from contact with insects and moisture. The clippings keep it just as hot as a regular compost.
It is also an excellent way to keep the weeds out of your garden, as a regular topping of any type of mulch will keep them down, and why pay when you have readily available kitty litter.
Here is a bonus side load of information for you!
Paper kitty litter is made from recycled newspaper can be found more readily than sawdust alternatives, and most cats accept this type of litter. It isn’t too expensive, in fact, I find it is cheaper than the clay and crystal alternatives.
Clay kitty litter has sodium bentonite clay in “clumping” cat litters which can lead to gastrointestinal distress in your cats when they ingest it, and they do. Cats use the litter, it gets all over their paws, and at some point, they will clean themselves.
That’s aside from the risks of inhaling it which can trigger asthma and allergies. Not to mention this type of kitty litter isn’t biodegradable and can only go to landfill.
As for kitty litter crystals, they often have added fragrances to it. I could go forever on chemicals added to everyday items, especially synthetic fragrances, but the short story is they are bad for you and your cat. Fragrance is derived from anywhere between 1 and 100 chemicals.
These chemicals include benzene derivatives, aldehydes, phthalates, and a bunch of other known toxins that are capable of causing birth defects, cancer, nervous system disorders, and allergies some of which are cited on the EPA’s hazardous waste list. These chemical are dangerous when ingested.
Your cat walks through this, gets it over their cute fluffy paws and then later ingests it when they clean them self. Not to mention they probably crawled all over your pillow, counters, clothes, face, chairs, and bedding by then. Giving you and your family a healthy dose of exposure to these nasties.
So, swap your kitty litter, save the world, reduce your kitty carbon paw print and make your cat smile.
EPA’s, hazardous waste. https://www.epa.gov/hw accessed 23/09/18
Glenbrook North Zero Waste Blog’s “How to Compost Your Cat’s Litter,” http://glenbrookzerowaste.wordpress.com/2010/03/30/how-to-compost-your-cats-litter.
Scientific American, What Are the Most Ecofriendly Cat Litter Products on the Market? https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/green-friendly-cat-litter-options/ accessed 23/09/18.
You can learn more tips and tricks like this in my upcoming book.