When looking round the house for all the single-use plastic that I wanted to try and replace, I realised that one of the most commonly thrown away things – at least six of them a day – were empty pouches of cat food; those little foil pouches that are coated in plastic. They’re not recyclable at the moment, and we get through lots.
We have two cats, and they’re very fussy eaters….okay, they’re spoilt. They just have to remember how to scratch themselves and they get treats, which also come in plastic pouches. Enough is enough!
So, I went shopping and bought cat food in tins, which can be recycled. They wouldn’t eat it. Then I went out and looked for cat food in foil containers – you know, the more expensive ‘gourmet’ stuff. (Gourmet? Our cats eat spiders, ffs!). They wouldn’t eat that either. Then I spent even more on organic, free-range, healthy cat kibbles in a lovely, brown paper bag. They turned their noses up and looked at me as if I was trying to poison them. Then, as a final attempt at ditching the pouches, we bought some cheaper cuts of chicken (free range thighs and legs), boiled them, cut them into pieces and put them in their food bowls. They couldn’t eat it quick enough.
Now, all this food preparation for two cats who regularly catch mice and chomp their heads in front of us, is a bit of a chore. If you have a cat or a dog or other carnivorous pet, you might soon get sick of doing this. Try cooking up enough for two or three days at a time and storing it in the fridge (take care to follow food guidelines and don’t reheat cooked meats). Believe it or not, it can actually work out cheaper than buying pre-packed pet food and is much healthier for your cat or dog. If you can’t face doing it every day, try replacing just half or a quarter of their pre-bought food with fresh. At least you’ll be reducing plastic waste if not eliminating it entirely.
Currently we are trying to convince them that the organic kibbles in the nice, paper bag are actually treats by putting them in their treat tin – yes, they have a dedicated treat tin! It’s working slowly. My meat-eating other half also gives them leftovers like bits of bacon and sausages to supplement their diet. They love it, but do it sparingly so they don’t get fat. Now we only buy kibbles that come in boxes or paper bags. If you buy in bulk, it can actually save you money too.
We’re also mixing their favourite pouch food with the other stuff in an attempt to convert them. Now, if your pets aren’t as fussy as ours, moving from pet food in plastic to a greener alternative could happen very quickly. Ours are taking a while, but we’re getting there.
So, when you’re out shopping in the pet food aisle, choose the stuff in cardboard or paper or tins or foil rather than plastic. Eventually the pet food manufacturers will notice and start to change their packaging. At this rate, they’ll probably change quicker than our spoilt cats!