Tabby cat lounging in a wicker basket amidst green grass, exemplifying eco-friendly cat care practices.

Eco-Friendly Cat Care: 7 Essential Steps for a Greener Life with Your Cat

You recycle, try to reduce your carbon emissions, take your reusable bags to the supermarket each week, and generally try to do your best by the planet. After all, it’s the only one we’ve got, right? But then there’s your cat, and you’re pretty sure a lot of the stuff required for cat care isn’t exactly clean and green… Never fear! This list brings together a bunch of steps, both big and small, you can take to be the most environmentally-friendly cat owner you can be. There’s no longer any need to grimace at pet-related plastic packaging, to twist your brain calculating the carbon cost of that food, or to cringe as chemicals go sloshing down the drains. These tips are practical, achievable ways to help those paws tread even more softly on our planet.

1. Source eco-friendly shampoos/flea treatments

When you’re keeping your cat clean of dirt, grime, and crawling nasties, there’s a whole range of options  where you can ditch the parabens and chemicals. Not only can these irritate the skin and eyes of your cat, the water run-off isn’t great for drains or tanks. Just like you can now get your shampoo in bar form, so can your kitty. Wondercide does a great range of all-natural shampoo bars (also avoiding the plastic bottles of most pet shampoos) and flea/tick/ear-mite treatments. You can do the washing in the shower or bath (if your pet deigns to submit to such an indignity!) with no chemical run-off to worry about. The formulations are also designed to soothe skin and leave a nice, naturally pleasant scent. Win-win!

For those seeking a holistic approach to flea and tick prevention, Dr. Judy Morgan offers a range of natural products that are gentle on your cat and the environment. If you don’t know her, Dr. Judy is a renown holistic veterinarian with over 39 years of experience as an integrative veterinarian, acupuncturist, chiropractor, food therapist, author, and speaker. Her goal is to change the lives of over ten million pets by educating and empowering pet owners worldwide in the use of natural healing therapies, minimizing the use of chemicals, vaccinations, and poor quality processed food. Gotta love that!

Explore her collection of tick and flea treatments here, which are designed to keep your cats or dogs pest-free without the use of harsh chemicals. You can learn more about natural flea and tick prevention methods in her insightful blog post here, Flea and Tick Prevention Revisited.

2. Make your own cat toys + beds

Kids engaging in eco-friendly cat care by creating homemade cat toys for sustainable playtime.

Are you feeling crafty? I hope so, because this is the most fun of my tips for today. Almost anything can be a source of fun for your cat, so there’s no need for plastic toys that come in more plastic packaging, and are shipped by plane or truck across the country, or the world. Come on, we’ve all been buy this amazingly (expensive) cat toy you’re SURE your cat will love, only to have your cat play with or sit in the box the toy came in. Toy never touched. (FAIL!) I digress...

A simple option for a pull-toy would be to attach a string or ribbon to  a simple stick from outside, or a knitting needle. Its decoration is limited only by your imagination. Rope or string wrapped around a leg of furniture, or an offcut of wood, makes a perfect scratching post. An old t-shirt can make an outstanding catnip mouse (whiskers optional). And one of the greatest cat beds I ever saw was one made from a repurposed suitcase. Or was it the suspended bureau drawer, doubling as a tower? You know what, as far as environmentally friendly cat care goes, they’re both great!

Examples of DIY cat toys & tutorials

You didn’t think we’d give you this great idea and then leave you hanging, did you?! Nah, we wouldn’t do that…here are some super cute and simple cat toys and bed tutorials that you and your family can enjoy creating together. Guaranteed to be loved by your kitty (and the planet)!

  • 8 Easy DIY Cat Toys + Cat Toy Safety Guide: Dive into a variety of easy-to-make DIY cat toys with this comprehensive guide. Not only will you learn how to craft engaging toys from simple household items, but you'll also gain valuable insights into toy safety to keep your cat both entertained and safe.
  • 5 Easy Cat Toys Kids Can Make at Home!: This video tutorial is perfect for getting kids involved in crafting toys for their furry friends. It showcases five simple cat toys that can be made with common materials found at home, encouraging creativity and a bond between your child and their pet.
  • 3 Super Simple DIY Cat Toys: If you're looking for quick and straightforward DIY cat toy ideas, this video is a must-watch. It presents three super simple designs that are sure to keep your cat entertained for hours, using minimal materials for maximum fun.
  • 20 Fun and Easy DIY Cat Toys That Kitties Can’t Resist: Explore a wide array of fun and easy DIY cat toy projects with this article. From interactive toys to simple playthings, you'll find plenty of options to spark your cat's interest, along with detailed instructions to guide you through each project.
  • 10 DIY No Sew Cat Beds To Create at Home: Vet-Approved (With Pictures):  Looking for a cozy spot for your cat to curl up without needing to sew? This guide offers ten vet-approved DIY no-sew cat bed ideas that you can easily create at home. Each project comes with pictures and instructions, making it easy to craft a comfortable and stylish resting place for your cat.

These DIY tutorials are not just fun projects; they're a way to deepen the bond with your cat while promoting a sustainable lifestyle. Happy crafting!

3. Know your nourishment

Black cat eating a raw diet, an eco-friendly cat care practice for optimal feline health.

In the quest for environmentally friendly cat ownership, one significant aspect to consider is your cat's diet. Moving away from kibble and single-use pouches not only reduces waste but also aligns with a more natural and healthful approach to your cat’s nutrition. A homemade, nutritionally balanced raw diet can offer numerous benefits for your cat, from improved digestion to a shinier coat, and even better dental health.

The case for raw diets

According to Feeding Your Cat: Know the Basics of Feline Nutrition, cats thrive on a diet that mimics what they would eat in the wild. This means high protein, moderate fat, and minimal carbohydrates. Raw diets are designed to meet these nutritional needs without the fillers and preservatives found in many commercial cat foods.

Perfectly Rawsome’s Adult Cat Raw Feeding Guidelines provide a comprehensive starting point for cat owners interested in transitioning to raw feeding. They emphasize the importance of a balanced diet, which includes muscle meat, organ meat, and bones, or appropriate substitutes to ensure cats receive all the necessary nutrients.

For those concerned about portion control and ensuring their cat receives the right amount of calories, the Pet Nutrition Alliance Cat Calorie Calculator is an invaluable tool. It helps tailor your cat's diet to their specific energy needs, taking into account factors such as age, weight, and activity level.

DIY raw diet resources

Creating a homemade diet might seem daunting, but resources like Dr. Judy Morgan’s Cat Food Recipe offer simple, vet-approved recipes that take the guesswork out of raw feeding. These recipes ensure that your cat's meals are both nutritious and appealing, even to the pickiest eaters.

For support and advice, online communities such as Dr. Judy Morgan's Naturally Healthy Pets, The Two Crazy Cat Ladies, and Feline Nutrition - Feed Cats Like Cats offer a wealth of knowledge and experience from fellow raw-feeding enthusiasts. These platforms provide a space to share tips, ask questions, and connect with others committed to providing the best diet for their cats.

Educate yourself

To further educate yourself on the benefits of raw feeding and natural cat nutrition, consider exploring resources like the documentary Pet Fooled, which offers a shocking, eye-opening look into the pet food industry.

Books such as What Cats Should Eat: A Holistic Veterinarian's Guide to Your Cat's Optimal Diet offer comprehensive advice on crafting a diet that supports your cat's well-being, emphasizing the benefits of a natural, balanced diet.

For those seeking a more guided approach to holistic pet care, The Natural Pet Doctor's Healthy Holistic Pet Online Program is an invaluable resource. This lifetime signature program provides all the tools, care, support, and advice you need from a holistic vet to help your pet achieve optimal health. It includes pet nutrition guidance, herbal medicine, and supplements in a group setting, offering education to truly understand how you’re healing your pets. With community support and weekly live support from Dr. Katie Woodley, you can find the root cause of your pet's issues and work towards achieving optimal health again.

By choosing to feed your cat a homemade, raw diet, you're not only reducing your environmental impact but also investing in your cat's long-term health. It's a step towards more sustainable and responsible pet ownership, ensuring that our kitties can enjoy a diet that's both delicious and nutritious without being a heavy burden on the environment.

4. Upgrade them to roommate

Do you know what outdoor cats get up to at night? They hunt... and they’re really good at it! Our cute, cuddly carnivores have  lightning reflexes and razor-sharp claws which make them lethal to other animals out and about, including small ground-dwelling mammals like voles and mice, but particularly birds. Studies have shown that domestic cats are responsible for the killing of 1.4 - 3.7 billion birds each year in the Continental US. Birds are beautiful in and of themselves, yes, but they are also pollinators and seed spreaders, so their survival means the survival of many more plants, and the tiny ecosystem each one harbors. Indoor cats may get a run at the odd rodent or insect, but you can rest easy that as long as  your precious puss is hanging inside with you, your garden will have that many more songbirds and burrowing critters in it for years to come!

If you’ve always had outdoor cats, you might worry that restricting their freedom to roam is cruel. Rest assured that up to ¾ of owned US cats are happily indoor-only, and there are millions who have transitioned with minimal fuss. There are special ‘cat-runs’ that can be fitted to your yard or windows, so your eco-friendly cat can have that taste of fresh air! And if none of this is an option for you, fit your kitty’s collar with a bell, and give those birds some warning!

5. Choose an earth-friendly kitty litter

Eco-friendly cat care with a gray corner litter box filled with all-natural, plant-based litter by SoyKitty.

Opting for the healthiest cat litter is a cornerstone of eco-conscious pet care, providing our kitties with the safest and most natural litter choices. These eco-friendly litters are crafted from diverse, plant-based materials like soybeans, paper, grass, and coconut husks (for example). They originate from renewable or recycled sources—such as repurposed newspapers or by-products from soy food (soy milk, tofu, tempe) processing. This approach not only minimizes waste from the outset but also offers the advantage of biodegradability. Their biodegradable nature means they can be composted (though the poop itself shouldn’t be home-composted) and often flushed. Flushing is recommended only for indoor cats though, as cat feces can contain the parasite toxoplasmosis, which no-one wants in the water system. Some clay litters have chemicals added to aid in clumping and to prevent dust, which isn’t true of natural alternatives. And natural litters are often longer lasting too, which means that they need to be bought less frequently, leading to less packaging and transportation. Perfect!

Why natural (plant-based) cat litter is the best choice

When it comes to choosing the best litter for your cat, the health and environmental benefits of natural, plant-based cat litters are undeniable. Unlike traditional clay or silica-based litters, natural litters made from ingredients like soybeans, paper, coconut husks, and grass offer a safer, more sustainable option for both cats and their owners.

Non-Toxic and safe for cats: One of the primary advantages of natural cat litter is its non-toxic composition. Cats are meticulous groomers, and using a litter that's free from chemicals and harmful additives reduces the risk of health issues related to ingestion or inhalation of toxic substances. This makes plant-based litters the healthiest litter for cats, ensuring their grooming habits don't compromise their health and safety.

Biodegradable and eco-friendly: The environmental impact of cat litter is significant, with traditional litters often ending up in landfills, where it sits there for eternity. Natural cat litters, on the other hand, are biodegradable and compostable. Ingredients like soybeans, paper, and grass not only break down much faster but are often sourced from renewable resources, minimizing the ecological footprint of your cat's daily needs.

To learn more about choosing the best natural cat litter and why plant-based options like SoyKitty litter are beneficial for your cat's health and the environment, read these articles on how to choose the best natural cat litter and what are the healthiest cat litters.

By opting for a natural, plant-based cat litter, you're making a choice that benefits not only your kitty but also our planet.

6. Spay and neuter for the planet

This is far and away the biggest step you can take to reduce the environmental impact of your cat! Controlling the population of cats and dogs is a challenge that faces almost all countries the world over. A single un-neutered female cat, and her offspring, can be responsible for 370,000 cats in the space of seven years! This is because cats reach sexual maturity around six months (so spay just before this!) and can have three litters each year. That could mean a whole army up against the small creatures in your garden. Also, from an ethical standpoint, preventing your cat from parenting kittens that may then need to be passed on to a local shelter is a fantastic way to avoid putting more pressure on a system already under a lot of strain. Getting your fur baby fixed is a quick, inexpensive measure that will mean they’re healthier, and you’ll be keeping their genealogical pawprint down to size!

7. Adopt, don’t shop

"Adopt don't shop" eco-friendly cat care message with a serene black and white cat promoting pet adoption.

Reducing the impact of cats can be done by reducing the number of them! There are millions of cats and kittens in shelters all over the country, in need of loving homes. If at all acceptable to you and your family, why not consider adopting or fostering one (or two…)? By choosing your next feline family member from among these sweethearts, instead of a breeder, however responsible and reputable, you’ll be freeing space for more cats in need. This will keep cats off the streets and contribute to keeping all those birds and small mammals safe.

Wrapping it up

By making simple swaps like choosing an all-natural cat litter and crafting your own cat toys instead of buying new every time, we make significant steps toward a sustainable future for our planet and a healthier life for our kitties. Making these adaptations to your style of pet-ownership doesn’t take a lot of effort and sets  an example for others. You’ll also feel better, knowing that you and your cat are helping to keep our planet clean, green and cool!


1. What are the benefits of using eco-friendly cat litter?

Eco-friendly cat litters, made from materials like soy, grass, and recycled paper, offer a sustainable alternative to traditional clay litters. They are biodegradable, compostable, and often made from renewable resources, reducing the environmental impact of your cat's daily needs. For more information on the benefits, visit SoyKitty.

2. Can homemade cat food be healthier for my cat?

Yes, a well-balanced, homemade diet can be healthier for cats, offering fresher ingredients and fewer fillers than commercial foods. It's crucial to consult with a holistic vet or cat nutritionist to ensure the diet meets all your cat's nutritional needs. The Pet Nutrition Alliance provides guidelines for caloric intake.

3. Is spaying or neutering my cat environmentally responsible?

Yes, spaying or neutering your cat is environmentally responsible as it helps control the pet population, reducing the number of stray animals and the pressure on wildlife and ecosystems. According to PETA, a single unspayed cat and her offspring can produce up to 370,000 kittens in seven years.

4. Are there eco-friendly options for cat toys and beds?

Absolutely! You can create eco-friendly cat toys and beds from upcycled materials like old t-shirts, boxes, and household items. Not only does this reduce waste, but it also provides a personalized touch to your cat's playtime and rest. For DIY ideas, look in the section above ‘Examples of DIY cat toys & tutorials’ for a list of easy and fun projects.

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