Tuesday, 8 September 2015
Treacle's Carbon Pawprint
Cats (and other, specially meat-eating, pets) have a significant carbon pawprint. We already made an environmentally friendly choice by adopting Treacle from a shelter (the Edinburgh Cat Protection League) and he was already neutered, another environmentally friendly step (which avoids overpopulation of cats) We're also reducing Treacle's carbon pawprint by:
Using cat litter made from recycled paper, there are several brands of this type of cat litter, or you can make you own, though that seems very time consuming.
Making cat toys from upcycled materials, so far we've made balls from recycled foil from chocolate bars (there's an endless supply of that material!); toys from cardboard or fabric attached to sticks or string to be dragged along or dangled in front of Treacle and toys from stuffing old socks with scrunched up pieces of newspaper or recycled plastic packaging (no matter how hard we try to reduce the amount of plastic packaging, there's always some of it around). Most recently we gave Treacle a large paper bag, which he then basically spent two days ripping apart, hiding himself in and hiding the foil balls in.
Food is more problematic.
I don't believe cats can become totally vegetarians. They're carnivores by nature, more so than even dogs. So we feed Treacle meat and fish based cat foods. We need really to find a sustainable brand, though even more important is a brand that Treacle will actually eat (and he seems to be a fussy eater). He likes rice cakes and toasted oat cereal so we feed those to him as snacks. So far Treacle hasn't killed any mice, I think his very presence in the flat scared off the mice who came in to feed on our bird food stocks (that had been more accessible than we realised!). Of course, if he were an outdoor cat, then Treacle would be chasing and probably killing the local birds. Although not a carbon pawprint issue as such, this is my biggest environmental problem with cats. The longer we know Treacle though, the longer we think that, although we were told by the cat protection shelter that he would be happy as an indoor cat, he is in fact an outdoor cat, who won't really be happy without being able to get out into a garden. This would be a real problem as we don't want to let him be an outdoor cat as we live three floors up and near a busy road. But he does meow and scratch at the flat door in the middle of the night, wanting to be let out....
(We've taken lots of advice on how to calm him down overnight - we use Feliway, a pheremone which is supplsed to calm cats down and reduce behaviour such as scratching and excessive vocalisations, we make sure he has an energetic playtime just before a late supper then bedtime and we ignore him when he meows in the night. None of this seems to work, though some nights he can be fairly quiet, usually he isn't.)
Heating is also problematic. We are the type of people who will put on an extra jumper or two before we put on the heating, Cats however like to have a warm environment. We think we may have at least a partial answer to this particular issue, Treacle has met Janosch, our tiger hot water bottle and they seem to get on very well.