Monday, August 10, 2009

Failed Eco-Experiment, and Next Steps

This green adventure I've been on has been, for the most part, one blessing after another. I feel like my life has gotten better, the world has gotten a little better, and I've made new friends (like Sara, from 2000dollarwedding) and kept in better touch with old ones. I've been excited and pleased by almost every green experiment I've tried.

Well, life can't all be rainbows and unicorns, now, can it?

The aftermath of my sprained hand has had more of an impact than I thought it would. I still have to be cautious about lifting heavy items. Recently I went to the grocery store to pick up some more kitty litter. If you have a cat, you know is one of the heaviest things you can put in your grocery cart.

The reason conventional cat litter is so heavy is that it is made from clay - or diatomaceous earth, for all of you who watch crime shows (Diatomaceous earth is often a clue that sloppy criminals track around, apparently, and is a super-common substance on our little blue ball). And clay is strip-mined. If you want to read more, click here to see what Green Little Cat has to say about it (Q: How psyched am I to find a green cat blog? A: Very psyched!).

As I stood there looking at the boxes of litter, knowing that I needed the 20 pound box and feeling grumpy about it, I began looking at the other litters. As I did so, I noticed that the more-environmentally friendly litters - recycled newspaper, wheat, and pine -were all about 10 pounds lighter, per box, than the clay. I thought, well, if I'm greening my life, maybe I should green my cat's too?

Unfortunately, I went about it all wrong. Green Little Cat has info on how to switch the right way, but since I made a petulant snap decision, I had no info. I chose the pine litter because I read that it worked the best, and headed home.

Wily has had few changes in his life -- same food, same litter almost every day for all 2 1/2 years of his life. So when I switched litters on him, he didn't know what to do. I kept putting him back in the litter box, the way you train a kitten to use the box, but he jumped out immediately. The pine litter smelled great to the human nose, and it had a soft, sawdusty texture. As promised, it was light as a feather.

I wasn't too worried when I left the house that evening for a going-away party for my friend Shelley, but when I came back ...

... well, if you're a cat, and you have some strange, soft fluffy stuff in your potty, what would be the next logical place to "use the facilities?" Since we don't have any plants in our house, mama's bed was the choice!

At 2 a.m., I found myself stripping the bed and soaking everything with Nature's Miracle. And feeling grouchy. I felt even grouchier the next day when, after sleeping on the couch and waking with a red-wine-induced headache, I had to venture out into the heat to buy more litter. I reverted back to our typical brand, which is clay-based, but at least does not have perfumes in it (there's nothing worse than a cat that smells like an air freshener when you cuddle him).
I'm not naughty, Mama. I'm just hiding in here because it's fun.

Now I know, you have to go slowly to make this change. I was pretty much resigned to continue to use conventional litters, but I'm going to try again, armed with the advice from Little Green Cat. May the rainbows and unicorns return!


Dea Felis said...

Hi, I found your blog through the Best Green Blogs Directory about two days before you noticed it was there. :) I thought I'd offer a suggestion on the cat litter: My preferred clay litter is the Arm & Hammer that you have in your picture, and I buy the unscented kind whenever I can find it. I recently tried switching to wheat cat litter. I *really* like Swheat Scoop for the scent, and the cats didn't seem to mind it. I did *NOT* like the overwhelmingly powerful scent of the Arm & Hammer wheat litter, which was really disappointing. Unfortunately, my cats only used the wheat litter for about 2 weeks before I lost both of them to unrelated health conditions, so I can't say whether one bag of it would last as long or longer than the clay litter. However, my first impression was really good, so I thought I'd pass it along. :)

Catfish said...

Thanks! I love the unscented Arm & Hammer Super Scoop as well. I'm pretty scent-sensitive, so the scented brands just seem gross to me. I'll definitely check out the Sweat Scoop.

Sorry to hear about your furry companions. Pets become such wonderful parts of our lives!