Are you a cat person or a dog person? According to a recent survey, your answer might also reveal how likely you are to recycle.
Out of 2,000 cat and dog owners in the United States, 69% believe they enjoy a more sustainable lifestyle in comparison to the average Americans — including 74% of dog owners and 66% of cat owners.
However, when asked about the steps they’ve taken to lessen their overall impact on the environment, half (51%) of all cat owners say they’re recycling frequently or more often.
By comparison, only 44% of dog owners said the same about their own recycling habits.
And the households where cats and dogs live together are having an especially hard time sorting their trash; only 37% of those respondents are recycling more, results suggest.
Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of ökocat, the survey also reveals that a whopping 94% of respondents made an effort to live more sustainably than they did a year ago.
Nearly one in five (19%) even claim that they’ve “radically transformed” themselves and their sustainability habits over the past year.
For 42% of pet owners, that includes seeking out more environmentally friendly foods and products for their furry friends.
Another third (33%) say they’re making better use of their pet’s shedding fur or hair, like leaving it outside for birds to use as nesting material or composting it with their food waste.
And speaking of waste: 46% of pet owners have swapped to better biodegradable poop bags, all-natural cat litter, or other more sustainable waste disposal methods.
“Many people don’t realize that clay litter and crystal litter are strip-mined from the Earth and don’t decompose,” said Dr. Ruth MacPete, DVM. “That’s why it’s important to look for options made from natural materials, like wood fibers, that are compostable and biodegradable.”
Taking care of more than one animal species might make recycling more difficult, it also seems to lead to more mindful pet parents, the data also implies.
Only 33% of respondents who have both cats and dogs said they’d never considered their pet’s impact on the environment before, compared to 44% of dog owners and 51% of cat owners.
In fact, half (51%) of respondents with mixed-pet households say they’ve also considered the potential environmental impact of having human children, while only 47% of dog owners and 37% of cat owners say the same.
Almost three out of four (71%) of dog owners say that they spend more of their day outside because of their pet; another 66% say that their outdoor playtime with their pooch has made them more environmentally-minded,
Meanwhile, only 11% of feline enthusiasts allow their cats to roam indoors and outdoors freely, and 24% don’t let them outside at all.
“It can be tempting to let your cat outside so you don’t have to have a litter box, but it is actually much safer and healthier for cats to stay indoors,” said Dr. Ruth MacPete, DVM. “In addition it allows you to monitor your cat’s eliminations, which can help monitor their overall health and allow you to identify diseases early.”
Of course, some outside playtime isn’t out of the question, as 63% already allow their cat some supervised or safe access to the outdoors.
But even though 66% of respondents are actively worried about their pet’s health, ultimately the health of the planet tends to win out.
When given a hypothetical choice between a sustainable option and a healthier option, 41% of those polled chose the former over the latter, while only 22% said that both were equally important.
FIVE POPULAR WAYS TO LESSEN YOUR PET’S ECO-FOOTPRINT
- Switch to biodegradable waste bags or litter — 46%
- Buy more sustainable food — 42%
- Switch to products with better ingredients — 41%
- Spay or neuter them — 38%
- Adopted them from a shelter instead of a breeder — 36%
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