Based on the chart at this address, my two cats (one of them 19 lbs) probably add up to an Eco-Footprint similar to an SUV. [The chart can't be hot-linked.]

I do feel guilty about the carbon footprint of my beloved feline family members.

The number of Americans who admit that they suffer from environmentally related "green guilt" has more than doubled in the past three years, according to a new survey. Environmental experts define green guilt as the knowledge that you could and should be doing more to help preserve the environment. Today it affects nearly one-third (29 percent) of Americans.

Americans Confess 'Green Guilt' Is Growing

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Well, so I shouldn't feel guilty about my cats. And I refuse to feel "green guilty", because the real issue is overpopulation. If we weren't so overpopulated, we could eat all the fish we wanted to, and the seas would still be healthy, and the fossil fuels would not be running out, and we could have cities and technology without using up all the resources of the world. While it is true that Americans use more resources than poor countries, the poor countries are producing most of the children, who, if they grow up at all, will just produce more and more children. And don't think for a minute that they wouldn't choose OUR lifestyle if they could! So it's a double-edged sword, and unless we attack it from both sides, we're doomed.

I wonder how the eco-footprint of adopting a cat compares to bringing a human baby into this world.

I knew about the footprints on my heart...

I love cats! I'm not sure how this Eco footprint is formulated. What exactly are they considering?
I think it's possible to minimize a cat's eco-footprint.

Also, some of the things that likely went into the calculation were the acres of grain necessary to raise the meat in your cat's food but not taking into account that the meat is likely a waste product. Since most of the meat in pet food is waste from another industry, using it instead of disposing of it reduces resources expended by the company that makes the cat food and pollution created by the company the waste products come from. While the benefit to the environment surely does not outweigh the deficit of disposing of the cat's waste materials entirely it likely cancels out the carbon footprint of producing its food and then some.

A diet of cat food created from your groceries (table scraps plus additional animal matter) and properly supplemented with professional supplements can reduce your cat's environmental impact while reducing your own at the same time. There are fewer containers, bags, and boxes involved and fuel is saved as well as space in waste disposal. Less waste is also produced by the cat.

Compost-able cat litter can be composted into mulch/fertilizer suitable for garden use.

But mostly, I avoid the green guilt by not being the cats' actual owner. I bask in the joy of my roommate's cats instead.

Composting sounds quite intimidating. It'd require a lot more work. Guess I'm not quite ready to bite that bullet.

Thanks for pointing out a likely problem with the methodology: waste meat doesn't use grain, water, etc. that isn't already being used to raise meat for human consumption.

Unfortunately the New Scientist article about Robert and Brenda Vale's book is behind a paywall.

Natalie is right that the root problem here is human overpopulation (not helped, btw, by those religions whose arsenal of survival and market-share tricks includes a "be fruitful and multiply" teaching!).

Keep in mind that "waste" meat keeps changing. Pink slime is now a routine part of our food chain. Horse and donkey meat work their way into so called beef products. As climate change and overpopulation create more severe protein shortages, I suspect that the definition of waste meat will shift even more drastically.




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