You’ve done the right thing by keeping your kitty indoors, where they will be safe from road traffic accidents, snake bite, cat fights and other mishaps, as well as protecting our precious wildlife.
You’ve also litter trained your kitten like a boss, but now what?
It’s just a fact of life - our beloved cats need to go to the toilet. This raises the important question of how best to dispose of the waste in the most environmentally friendly way possible.
Flushing the cat waste down the toilet never a good idea. Besides the temporary clogs, this practice can prove extremely harmful to the environment and contaminate existing water in the lines.
You can dispose of your cat litter in a number of sustainable, environmentally friendly ways - that’s exactly what we’ll be talking about in this article.
Choosing An Eco-Friendly Cat Litter
There are many different kitty litter options available, but which are the most environmentally friendly?
A couple of options to avoid at all costs include those clay litters often marketed as clumping litters. Made from bentonite clay, the mining process used to collect this clay destroys the natural environment and on top of that it cannot be composted. So, although these clumping litters may seem like an appealing option, they are one of the worst options for the environment.
Another popular choice of litter that is not environmentally friendly is silica or crystal cat litter. This is another litter where the components need to be mined, in addition the process to make the litter is very energy intensive. A final downside to crystal litters is that they are not biodegradable, so they won’t break down in landfill and they cannot be composted.
Now that we know what to avoid, let’s talk about more environmentally friendly litter options.
Recycled Paper Cat Litter
Made from recycled paper, this kitty litter is reasonably inexpensive, is compostable, biodegradable and doesn’t produce much dust. It should be changed frequently as it does not control odours. Bear in mind that whatever litter you chose, frequent cleaning is essential to maintain fresh smells and a happy kitty.
There are a variety of natural products being used to create kitty litter including grass seed, wheat, corn, and coconut litter options.
These options are compostable and biodegradable and have varying levels of dust production and odour control. Grass seed litter is also said to have some clumping attributes.
Some cats (and humans) may be allergic to these plants however, so bear that in mind when trying out these litter options.
Renewable pine litter can be a great option in terms of its impact on the environment as it is biodegradable, compostable and when it comes from plantation pine has a renewable source. It also comes in a variety of textures including pellets which are low dust, crumbles, which are soft underfoot, and wood shavings.
Pine also has a natural pleasant smell.
Disposing of Kitty litter
With the perfect eco-friendly litter chosen, the question remains, what to do with the waste once it’s ready to be disposed of?
A word of warning - flushing kitty litter down the toilet is never a good idea, even if the product says it is “flushable”, your plumber will certainly tell you otherwise when they are unclogging your toilet!
If you have the space to compost your kitty litter, this is the most environmentally friendly option available. There are specific pet waste composting systems available that can be buried in the ground and let microbes and other organisms in the soil feast on the waste. You can also use regular compost bins however bear in mind that the compost must be hot (over 63oC) and composted for a significant amount of time to destroy harmful organisms that may be in pet litter.
Even still, it is a good idea to use composted pet waste on ornamental gardens rather than edible gardens to be on the safe side. Your flowers will love it!
Not everyone is lucky enough to have garden space to compost pet litter, so if your pet litter must go into the garbage, make sure you use biodegradable bags with your biodegradable litter, so it can still break down.
No kitty litter alternatives
Wait, what? We’ve said it before, and will say it again, cats are really smart people, and it can be possible to train your kitty to use your toilet. There are systems to help train your cat how to use the toilet. That way the waste goes to the sewage treatment plant along with yours, and there is not any need to buy kitty litter or have litter trays throughout your home.
We love our kitties and we also love our planet. As responsible pet parents, it’s up to do the best that we can to dispose of our pets’ waste in the greenest way possible. While pet parenthood comes with a carbon footprint, there are things we can all do to help reduce our impact on the environment and take care of our feline friends in the best way possible.