Cats cats cats

Dear N'3lvra,
Advise me on the cat litter issue you expounded on in a previous advice column. I am in a quandary. I had no clue that the creation and disposal of cat litter was such an anti-green activity. Let's see, what is the opposite of green on the color wheel? Red. So it's a red activity. Ugh. We have a cat, but she is indoors only, so at least she isn't killing songbirds. But we are litter-ing. What do we do? Sequester it somehow? Mix it with concrete? Take it to household hazardous waste day?

Emerald Shamrock

Dear Emmie,

Remember in the 70's when being green meant having your own little place in the country with a garden and a few chickens? And now, that's the worst thing you can do. Sprawl sprawl sprawl.

The same thing is going on with cats. It used to be the best thing ever to save a cat from a shelter, but not any more. The whole litter topic has been handled most excellently by the incredible Umbra Fisk, but I'll recap here.

The problems with cat litter are: most of it is clay-based, and strip mined, creating ugly scars on the land. Then it comes to you, and when you sift it around, you mobilize silicon particles into the air you breathe, which may cause some health hazards for you and Felix both. Can you say, "mesothelioma"? Me neither. Actually, I'm guessing that the health hazards might be a little tiny bit exaggerated, or we would all know cat owners with hideous lung diseases, right? Grrr, nothing bugs me more than mis-use of data or inaccurate representation of risk, and I'm sure you feel the same way.

But back to the life cycle of kitty litter -- it rapidly becomes waste that's disposed of in a landfill, and as you know, landfills are forever. There are some green alternatives to clay-based litter, which Umbra has tested because she actually has a cat, and the cat is named Bella, which I guess is okay, but I still think Emily is a better name.

My extensive research also lead me to this suggestion: train the cat to use the toilet, and no, I'm not getting paid for product placement. If you do that, please write and let us know how it goes.



P.S. If you google "cat", you get 605 million hits, which undoubtedly explains why there are no songbirds on the internet where I live.


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