About 2 months ago a friend of mine found a stray kitten in a parking lot and talked me into taking him. It really only took meeting him once to decide he was too cute not to take, so I did. Honestly not the smartest decision of my life but now it’s too late to change my mind so I have a cat and I wanted to share some ethical and sustainable things that I’ve been buying/doing and also hopefully get some suggestions for improvement from any cat owners reading this because it’s been kind of hard to find things that meet my standards.
I’ll admit, none of my cats toys or his little tower, litter box, his water + food bowl, or his carrier are second hand, which would have been a more sustainble way to go about it and I don’t have any excuse other than I just didn’t want to go around to every second hand shop looking for them.
I really struggled to find cat food that was ethical because in my diet as long as somethings vegan and doesn’t contain unsustainable palm oil- I consider it ethical enough for me to eat. But as we hopefully all know and accept, cats are not meant to be vegan. But when trying to find what other vegans feed their cats, all I could find were people ranting about how cats can’t be vegan, but not saying anything about what they actually feed their cat. So I tried researching ethical cat food and what I found was a list I had to pay $30 to see, another list of some brands that seemed very ethical (for example, some only used leftover animal products that would otherwise be thrown away) but then I learned they can’t be shipped to the US. It was really quite odd how every brand I found that seemed ethical was from Europe or Australia and wouldn’t ship to the US.. which wouldn’t be as sustainable to buy as something from the US or Canada, but to me ethics are more important than sustainability. Then I found this article which listed some brands that could be bought in the US and I looked through all or most of them and found one that seemed not only ethical but also used sustainable practices and packaging.
So currently I am feeding my cat ‘Homestead Turkey & Chicken Dry Cat Food’ from Open Farm. I don’t like this idea that a lot of vegans seem to have that buying ‘humanely-raised’ animal products is as bad as buying factory farmed items. For myself, I don’t need either so I’m not going to buy either. But for a cat, I would much rather prefer the former over the latter. Open Farm is a partner of Certified Humane, Global Animal Partnership, and Ocean Wise so they value the welfare of the animals to an extent and support fisheries that use sustainble fishing practices. You can trace every ingredient in the food back to the source and the bags are recyclable through Terracycle (but they do put plastic stuff in the box for shipping to keep the bag from moving so idk what’s up with that?? pretty sure it couldn’t be recycled) So from what I could find, that seemed like a pretty good brand but please if you know of anything better that can be shipped to the US (especially if you know of one that only has leftover animal products that would otherwise be thrown out) let me know. Dry food only because the smell and look and texture of wet food makes me want to throw up. yuck. Also I would like to find some ethical treats, not that he deserves any because so far he’s been anything but good, but on the rare occasion that he is good, I’d like to be able to reward him so he’ll know to continue that behavior but I don’t know of any ethical treats.
This was a bit easier than the food thankfully. I’ve been using this sWheat Scoop stuff that’s made from wheat instead of clay which is apparently much more sustainable. I’m able to get it right at Petsmart and it comes in a cardboard box with no plastic bag inside- the only plastic on it is the handle. Again, if you have recommendations for something better let me know but the wheat stuff seemed like my best option from what I could find. Then, I’m pretty proud of thinking of this even though I’m sure a ton of people do it, since I don’t use plastic grocery bags, I’ve been scooping the waste into food bags that I keep once they’re empty. Some examples are bags from bread, bagels, cereal, chips. Those are what I most commonly use and I’ll just scoop the stuff in there and then I put it in the freezer until it’s more full, usually using bag ties from bread or bagels or vegetables to tie them. I don’t know if it’s common to put it in the freezer but when I leave it out for like a day, it gets white mold or something on it.. so I felt like I shouldn’t leave it out? But the freezer method is working well so far.
So that’s what I’ve been doing so far. I’m very clearly not an expert on this but since it was so hard to find information on ethical and eco-friendly cat care, I figured maybe me making a blog post on this could help a person or two.. or a person or two could help me lol. Please share any tips you may have for me or anyone else down below!
Here’s a collage of cute pictures of Leo when he was being good
P.S. I learned recently that apparently some people think it isn’t vegan to get a pet, even if it’s not from a mill or breeder, because if they have to be fed non-vegan diets then it’s not very vegan of someone to buy non-vegan food for their pet. I understand where that perspective comes from, but the way that I think of it is that unless you reccomend that we euthanize all baby animals, someones gonna have to buy them food. In my case, if I hadn’t taken the kitten, my friend wouldn’t given it to someone else who would have fed the cat animal products as well… but they would probably less ethically-sourced. So the cat can either be killed, starved, or fed by someone, and since I know that I will try to feed it the most ethical food I can find, I don’t see how the better solution would be to let someone else take it :)