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Environmentally disposing of cat litter

Published on 15 Sep 2021

Beautiful cat is sitting in the litter box

One of the few ways to reduce your pet cat's carbon footprint is proper disposal of their waste. Environmentally disposing of cat litter helps reserve declining natural resources,  fertilize soil and promotes healthier conservation practices for a green environment. 

Improper disposal can lead to health hazards not only for humans but for the overall ecosystem. Therefore, to protect against potential harms and reduce the carbon footprint of your pet, cat waste should be removed efficiently and sustainably. 

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

Cats are known to produce a mini mountain of waste - making it a part of our already-increasing municipal waste is certainly not a good idea. While you may be getting rid of the waste for the day, you’re letting it affect the environment around you in the long run. That’s exactly why investing in an eco-friendly cat litter is important!

Going zero-waste on the disposal of your cat's waste may be the ideal choice but it’s harder to achieve than it sounds. For instance, the most popular choice of cat litter is clay. As an ingredient, it constitutes silica which creates dust - a well-known pollutant that has negative impacts on agriculture, increases soil erosion, and reduces photosynthetic activity.

There are alternative, mixed varieties of eco-friendly cat litter available in the market that can minimize the potential harms caused otherwise.

We have outlined a few below:

Recycled Paper Cat Litter:

Constructed through recycled paper, this cat litter breaks down fast, does not create dust, and is inexpensive. However, it does not control odor and needs to be changed frequently.

Plant Litter:

Litter made of wheat naturally eliminates odor and clumps up so no frequent changes are needed. Although it can be messy, if you're in the process of transitioning your fur baby wheat cat litter can prove to be one of the best choices.

Cat Litter made of corn kernels is clumping which reduces the number of changes needed. It may attract insects but regular scooping helps against that. 

Bamboo Cat Litter eliminates odor but its pellets do not clump. Regular cleaning may be required.

Cat Litter constructed in grass seed is clay-like and can be a good transitory choice with its natural odor eliminating power and clumping action. However, we recommend checking in with your vet for any possible allergens. 

Nut Litter:

Walnut and Coconut Cat Litter are a high-tier, expensive choice. Coconut Cat Litter is popular among cat parents that choose to trap odor and Walnut Cat Litter is common for those that prefer non-tracking litters. 

Nut Litters have a fine consistency, clumps up well but also comes with possible allergic factors.

Wood Litter:

One of the best choices for eco-friendly cat litter is Wood Litter. Inexpensive, relatively clumping, and odor reducing. They come in three types i.e., wood pellets (non-dusty), wood crumbles (soft to touch), and wood shavings (non-toxic when heat treated) 

Composting Your Cat Litter

Composting your cat’s litter is a good way to dispose off your cat’s waste. Cat litters that can be composted include grain-based litters, paper, and pine.

Don'ts of Composting

  • Firstly, do not use cat-based litter. As stated earlier, use grain-based, paper, or pine litters to get the job done.
  • Avoid using the compost for at least two years after letting it sit. This will provide ample time and heat to kill any nasty pathogens.
  • Gardens should not be a burial site for wastage either. Especially the garden or soil beds where you grow or produce edible plants.

Dos of Composting

  • You should keep the compost contained in a large plastic trash can with a lid - it will help you get rid of the stinky odour. This can be by drilling holes on the sides of the trash can and removing its bottom. 
  • To boost the decomposition process, dig a hole deep enough to fit the entire trash can into it. The worms and other decomposers will start to break down the pet waste right away.
  • If you manage to keep the contents of the can moist, it will encourage decomposition.
  • Mixing up the contents will also speed up the process!

Biodegradable Bags

Using biodegradable bags is one of the easiest and most common ways to dispose off cat’s litter. You scoop out the cat’s litter, seal it in a bag, and toss it in the bin!

These bags are designed to compost more quickly whilst keeping the cat litter contained. To make sure you’re doing it right, always do your due diligence on the bag you’re going for. We suggest using a brown paper bag instead since it takes less time to break down than a regular plastic bag or even the current biodegradable bags in the market. Biodegradable bags being very sturdy, make it impossible to break down even after years at times, killing the whole purpose of the practice. 

Using Sustainable Cat Litter Boxes

Plastic bins may seem like the best, most durable option to choose for your cat. However, its deterioration with time due to smells and stains does not indicate its end of life. As it stores up landfills, you don’t actually get rid of the plastic.

A sustainable alternative is either a stainless-steel litter box or a bamboo litter box. Stainless steel box eliminates odor and is highly durable while a bamboo litter box is affordable and relatively durable.

Don't Flush Cat Litter

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. 

It’s important to be thoughtful for the environment we’re living in. It is up to us to opt for the greenest ways to dispose of our feline friend's waste and cat litter. While our pet's carbon footprints are bigger than we’d like to think, we must still research our way to a more responsible and sustainable lifestyle.

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Scottish fold grey cat in green grass

Big Papa

Big Papa is a real chill kinda cat. He spends his days people watching from the window, batting a few dust particles with his paw and getting some all-important z’s. Big Papa knows what’s up in life and is living his best 9 lives. 

He has two humans: Mike and Tony. He wishes they fed him more. He’s a seven meals a day kinda feline.