Cats from all ‘paw’ corners of the globe have bared all in a ‘naked’ calendar like no other, to do their bit to curb climate change.
Stepping out of their solitary comfort-zone, fired-up felines of all shapes and sizes from the UK, America, Australia and Russia have united by stripping off, to lift the lid on the muddy environmental paw-print of cat litter in landfill.
In the UK alone, 84 per cent of British cat owners admitted they were unaware of how much cat litter goes to Britain’s rubbish dumps every year when questioned recently.
And, of the 16 per cent who believed they knew, 75 per cent then got the amount wrong when asked to clarify, according to the new 1000 UK study.
Landfill is a major contributor to global warming and it’s estimated that 2 million tonnes of feline litter waste is being sent annually to UK landfill.
That’s the equivalent to the weight of 800,000 African elephants² or 161,290 London buses and around the same area of 26,137 football pitches per year, according to analysis by sustainable cat litter firm Natusan.
Airida Jucyte, 33, from London, parent to Pompilius Eric and Blueberry, the Sphynx cats who feature as April and November, in the 2021 ‘Cats Combat Climate Change’ calendar said: “I like to think I’m pretty conscientious when it comes to doing my bit for the planet. Yet, when it comes to Pompilius Eric and Blueberry, it just didn’t occur to me, that I’m not as environmentally enlightened.
“There must be thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of cat lovers unknowingly in the same boat globally – who would no doubt leap at the chance to clean up their act by just being a bit more informed.”
In 2020, an incredible eight out of ten UK cats (81 percent) currently use clay and other mineral based litters. An unfriendly process.
The clay – or sodium bentonite – can be obtained by strip mining, requiring scraping huge amounts of rock and soil to move in order to access the mineral seam underneath.
Clay cat litter is also not biodegradable. If you’re like the typical feline parent, who empties the toilet tray into a plastic bag, ties it up, then puts it in the rubbish bin – where it’s picked up and dumped in landfill – that’s where it will stay. Enshrined in plastic. Forever.
“Cats have an instinctive desire to hide their scent by burying their waste. And similarly, this is a topic that’s been buried and overlooked up until now” said Rachel Andre, CEO of Natusan, who provide the UK’s first zero-waste circular economy service and the company championing the #Paws4Thought campaign.
“There are millions of responsible pet parents across the globe, who are meticulous when it comes to recycling their household waste and do their bit every day to protect the environment.
“Cats are fastidious about their cleanliness, yet there seems to be disconnect when it comes to dealing with our pets’ waste.
“Having amassed 40,000 responses from cat parents taking our Waste Calculator recently, it revealed almost three quarters [73%] don’t always think about how our pets might be affecting the planet.
“It’s been an incredibly tough year for many, so we wanted to do something that would make people sit up and smile – as well as think.
“Luckily though, the step change needed in habits is a simple one and within easy reach.
“First and foremost, we hope this will make people pause for thought before unwittingly just picking up a non-biodegradable litter.”
Respondents (40,000 UK cat owners) answering Natusan’s Waste Calculator uncovered important insights into British litter changing habits – 44 per cent of cat parents currently throw out a full tray twice a week, amounting to around two thirds of a tonne (669 kg) per annum from one tray alone.
A shift purely in our habits alone, reducing this to once a week, could immediately make a big difference – saving around a third of a tonne (334 kg) in litter waste annually per tray. A great win for mother earth.
Not even Covid-19 could curtail the 2021 naked and socially distanced calendar from going ahead.
The eagle-eyed amongst you will recognise the models as Sphynx or Bambino cats. Born hairless, they are also affectionately known as naked cats.
All willingly put their paws up to take part. The felines hope to raise as much awareness as possible to encourage people to make bite-sized steps to improving their pets carbon footprint.
Rebecca Bilgin, 26 from Melbourne, Australia parent to Luna the Sphynx (May) said: “I want to look after Luna without having to sacrifice on sustainability – but had no idea about the extent of the problem when it comes to cat litter in landfill. We could all do with changing our ways and I hope this helps to wake the world up a little.”
Brooke Arnold, 43 from Knoxville, Tennessee, USA, parent to Walter and Baldar, the Sphynx cats who feature as February, July and September added; “With our planet reaching record temperatures, it’s time to have an honest conversation about the impact of our pets on the environment. Especially as there are so many simple changes we can make.”
“Pet ownership is a long-term commitment and I’m pretty sure that Dexter wouldn’t want to be an environmental burden.” concluded Diana Radzanovskaya, 34 from Moscow, Russia, cat parent to Dexter the Sphynx.
Natusan’s Rachel Andre said: “Making a conscious change can go a long way when it comes to looking to improve your pet’s carbon pawprint; from switching to a sustainable, organic cat litter, to trying toys and bedding which are made of natural fibres – there are a variety of simple solutions to help matters.”
“At Natusan, we are always looking to help conscious cat parents and the environment. Our 100% natural and biodegradable clumping litter has been purposefully designed to reduce waste – helping you to make a difference.”
If you’re curious about how much your cat is contributing and would like a 2021 Cats Combat Climate Change calendar, the first 100 people to take Natusan’s Waste Calculator will get their claws on one of the 100 made.