On being a more sustainable cat person

As someone who loves my cats as much as I respect the Earth, I often find it difficult to reconcile the fact that my cats produce so much waste. Between the bags of poop and litter, to empty food cans and chewed up toys, it seems like I’m always throwing something of theirs away. But with a bit of effort, I have made some changes that have helped reduce their waste and thereby reducing their eco footprint. Here are a few of those things. 

Reduce. When my cats were kittens, I went crazy buying all the beds, toys and random cat things I could find. But several cat years and many broken products later, I realized that cheap things are not designed to last long. So, I started to become a more educated consumer, paying attention to materials and seeking out quality products designed to last, essentially eco-friendly pet products. By doing so, I reduced the amount of cheap, broken and worn out items that would have ended up in the landfill. As a bonus, the cats and I end up having really nice things.

Recycled cardboard scratching mat in a handmade wooden frame

Recycled cardboard scratching mat in a handmade wooden frame

Reuse. No matter how hard I try to minimize packaging by buying in bulk and ordering online less often, there are two things that I always end up with an abundance of: plastic bags and cardboard. So instead of immediately tossing them (or recycling the cardboard), I reuse them both. You know those bags you get from the produce section? They happen to be the perfect size for collecting cat poop and clumping litter, so I stuff all those bags into a handmade dispenser near the litter boxes. And used cardboard boxes make the perfect DIY scratching mat. Once it is worn out, I stick it in the recycling bin and build the cats a new one.

Recycle. After both of my cats developed their own special digestive disorders that require their own special diets, I started going through lots of canned food. And even as a San Franciscan who recycles or composts everything by default, it honestly took me a while to realize that all those cat food cans I had been throwing away were actually recyclable. Turns out, I’m not the only one. Since most cat food cans are aluminum or steel, they are both entirely recyclable. Now I just give the empty cans a quick rinse and throw them in the recycling bin. While I wish I didn’t have the cans to get rid of in the first place, I feel much better that it is not ending up in the landfill.

DIY plastic poop bag dispenser

DIY plastic poop bag dispenser

Still searching for sustainably sourced Bonito flakes (Bollini's favorite)

Still searching for sustainably sourced Bonito flakes (Bollini's favorite)

Choose sustainable food. Cats are carnivores so they need to eat meat. A LOT of meat. Because of this, it only makes sense to find sustainable sourced meat and food. I do a good deal of research on the food that I consume myself (not quite like this Portlandia episode, but close), so why not look for equally sustainable food for my cats? Fortunately, there are plenty of other eco conscious pet owners who are looking for the same quality food and there is a growing number of sustainably sourced pet food brands to meet their demands. After all, the only decisions my cats make is where and when to sleep—it is ultimately up to me to make choices that benefit both my cats and our environment.

What are some things you are already doing to be a sustainable cat person?

The Intertidal Collection: Pet beds inspired by the sea

Siamese Social Club-69 copy.jpg

Originally inspired by all things nautical, our coiled rope bed has finally been joined by equally seaworthy covers. Our newest Intertidal Collection is made of yarn-dyed linen blend fabric, with a soft feel and rustic texture. Available in four shades that evoke the seaside: shell, sand, oyster and slate. Now available in our shop.

Photography by Kayleigh Kosmas

Photography by Kayleigh Kosmas

DIY Bandana for Your Cat

Cats and bandanas. If this brilliant combination has never occurred to you before now, I dare you to tie a bandana around your cat’s neck and tell me they are not the cutest thing you’ve ever seen. I recently made this discovery after putting my 3 month old daughter’s banana bib on my cat (because that’s what a cat person does when they have a baby, right?). It fit perfectly and looked so cute, I decided to create my own pattern so that I could make as many as possible for my cats (and baby). Continue reading to see how to make one of your own! 

A few things you will need:

- one 16” x 18” rectangle of fabric

- matching thread

- bandana template 

- scissors

- pins

- sewing machine

- coordinating embroidery floss (optional)

- fasteners such as sew-on velcro or snap buttons (optional)

Start by folding your fabric in half along the 18” side. Pin the template to the fabric lining the edge up with the fold. Cut, unfold and press lightly with an iron. Repeat for the second piece.

Take one of your cut pieces and place right side up in an embroidery hoop. (If you choose to leave your bandana blank, simply skip to the next step.) Draw your cat’s name or initials with a fabric marker and embroider over the line using a back stitch or split back stitch (if you’re new to embroidering, here’s a great guide to the different stitches). I chose to embroider “B” for Bollini (or for butthead, depending on his attitude). 

Once you have your front piece embroidered, decorated or simply left blank, pin together with the back piece wrong sides facing out. 

Sew along the edge with a 1/4” seam allowance leaving a 2" gap somewhere along the edge (this is where you will turn your piece inside out). 

Turn you piece inside out and press flat. At this point, you can either attach fasteners of your choice or simply tie it directly around your cat's neck. Fasteners are optional because lets face it, we all know your cat is not going to keep this thing on for long. But if you do choose to go with fasteners, make sure they are easily detachable such as sew-on velcro or easy snap buttons. 

Tie around your cat's neck and admire your handiwork and your cute cat!