This is Magpie. She is not trash-free, but I love her anyway. I took her home from a shelter almost seven years ago. Because she has a very delicate constitution, it has been difficult to make any changes to her diet. I feed her Wellness canned cat food as I was always told that wet food is far healthier for cats than dried kibble. But the waste from the one can a day diet is pretty difficult to accept, especially in the light of this project. The two times I’ve tried to switch her over to a homemade diet she has gotten pretty sick, so I’ve delayed another attempt–hence the cans in the waste crate.

I recently consulted my friend (who is currently studying at Tufts vet school) for advice on home prepared cat diets. She adamantly stressed the importance of consulting my own vet (or even a pet nutritionist) to develop a diet that meets Magpie’s specific needs based on her age, weight, and medical history. She explained that in the natural world, a cat’s ideal diet is whole prey (meat, bones, and organs); so coming up with a well-balanced homemade diet is really tricky for felines because they require taurine and other vitamins/minerals. Most of the home prepared cat food recipes I’ve found online are offered with serious warnings against improvising a recipe, as cats can become very ill without certain supplements. I plan to talk to my vet for recommendations and instructions.

Because I live in the city, she is a strictly indoor cat (though she does go outside when I take her to visit my parents in the woods), which means she uses a litter box. I use Swheat Scoop Natural Wheat Litter. The only two ingredients are wheat and soybean oil. Swheat Scoop claims to be the only certified flushable litter on the market. I flush it and have not had any clogged drains. I buy it in a 40 lbs paper bag at my local pet supply store. I don’t use any box liners. I just wash the box out with soap and water when I change the litter, and compost the used litter. My friend Madeline has a new kitty and she told me she’s been thinking about trying to toilet train her cat with a product called Litter Kwitter.

Since the day I was born, I have had pets in my life. Every one has given me so much joy. When we take a pet home we are faced with the great responsibility of providing the best quality of life possible while they live in this world and the responsibility of determining how they will leave it. We can choose to provide pet care that is environmentally responsible, which often promotes good pet health.

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2 Responses to Magpie

  1. Samara April 25, 2016 at 9:19 am #

    She is ADORABLE. I too have been looking for a way to make my cat trash free haha and my dog too!

  2. Shannon December 17, 2016 at 1:52 pm #

    Love to hear this! I totally feel your pains about the canned pet food. I really want to switch my girls to a homemade food but they are picky and the formulas are indeed complex. Have you had any luck getting a formula from your vet?

    I used to flush my litter, but a friend of mine who works in environmental science told me I absolutely should not be doing that on city water, because the waste treatment facilities are not designed to handle pet waste bacteria. If you have a septic, you’re good to go.

    My compromise is to bag it in the 3 gallon compostable bags and include it with my regular landfill waste. If you have land you can look into just composting the waste directly. Obviously my method isn’t ideal, and I’m totally open to other ideas, you do the best you can but living in an apartment.

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