Eco friendly pet products

August 9, 2021

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Last year we welcomed a rescue kitten (Zeus) into our home, and he has been a true little bundle of fun and mischief! In preparation for his arrival we were looking at what we would need for him and we noticed how many of the pet products were made from plastic and/or polyester. So from there our search began to find more eco and pet friendly options with also a focus on supporting small businesses.

In this piece I will go through products we found and like and also some DIY projects. Although the focus of this post is on cat products, some of the brands mentioned cater for dogs too.

Disclaimer: this is just our personal opinion and in no case sponsored by any of the brands mentioned. Our only gain from this journal entry is that hopefully other pet owners on the search for eco friendly pet products might find it helpful.

Litter trays & litter

The litter tray is probably one of the first things to buy when getting a cat and non plastic choices are hard to find. But after some online research I encountered Beco, a brand who creates pet products, mainly for dogs with a smaller range for cats, with the aim to minimise their environmental impact. Their cat litter trays are made from a mix of bamboo, cornstarch, PLA resin (a plant-based material) and rice husks which makes the trays completely biodegradable. The trays have a detachable top piece that prevents the litter from going everywhere although sometimes Zeus gets very excited in his tray and the litter will just fly around. The trays are available in one size only and at first I was a little worried the tray would be too high for a 10 week old kitten, but Zeus had no problem at all getting into his tray when we removed the top piece. We also purchased their litter scoops made from the same material as the trays. You can find lots of other accessories on their website like bowls, toys, food,… definitely worth a look if you hadn’t heard of them yet.

And with a litter tray comes also the actual litter. There are lots of eco friendly options out there and we’ve tried a few but in the end stuck with Greenwoods clumping litter which is made from plant fibres and completely biodegradable/compostable. The Greenwoods litter clumps really well and feels a bit softer on the paws than some other similar litters. Their litter is available in large 30L bags but we always buy the 8L ones, we have found the litter in the large bags to be more dusty for some reason.

Bedding & cat posts / furniture

Looking for pet bedding that consists of natural materials like cotton, linen, hemp,… is not easy. Almost all pet cushions, beds and blankets are made from polyester. I’m very much against polyester (or any other synthetic fibre for that matter) and probably haven’t bought any clothing made from it for the past 5 to 6 years after reading how bad they are for the planet. Unfortunately I ended up purchasing a couple of blankets made from synthetic fibres, but to minimise our impact I don’t wash them very often but instead hoover them regularly to pick up hairs and try to keep them clean in that way as long as possible. If they do go in the wash they are put in washing bags to filter out the microfibres and prevent them from ending up into our waterways. I’ve also made some cushion covers myself from cotton fabrics I already had or bought and Zeus also loves to lie on blankets we already had which are made from natural fibres, so going further I would probably just look at blankets not necessarily made for pets.

As with the bedding, finding cat scratch posts and furniture not consisting of synthetic fibres was difficult too. This is where Pinterest and Youtube are the places to be for some DIY inspiration and projects! We made a piece of cat furniture based on this cat den found on Pinterest, and Zeus loves it. Especially when we just got him and he was still unsure about his new surroundings, he would go hide inside the cube. We added a top platform and large scratching area on top of the cube on which Zeus loves to sit on. And as a bonus, the piece fits nicely within our interior too. We made it entirely out of OSB boards, sanded it all down and treated the wood with oil. The cube is fully lined with pieces of a cotton rug that we didn’t use anymore and I added a self made cushion to make it cosy inside. We used similar hairpin legs as in the ‘cat den’ tutorial. The drawing shows a rough idea of how we constructed the piece.

Regarding scratching posts, we had bought one from Willows, an all natural brand sold at Pets at Home (I’m not sure but I think it’s their own brand as I can’t find anything about Willows anywhere else). The scratch post is pretty small but perfect for a kitten, although, Zeus is an adult cat now and he still likes to dig his claws into it on a daily basis. The post is covered with natural jute rope and also has a part made from sisal fabric, the rest of it is covered with a linen fabric and the inner construction is made from wood.

But as Zeus became bigger, we made him a tall scratching post ourselves. We kind of just made it up by looking at other posts and used some wood we already had for the post itself, covered it with a piece of sisal rug (used wood glue and nails to attach it) and made the base and top from Jesmonite (instead of Jesmonite you can use wood or anything else that will provide a stable base/top). To make it a bit more fun we added a little dangling mouse toy which we attached at the top between the surface of the wooden post and the yellow Jesmonite top.

Another option is to cover table legs with sisal fabric or rope – I did this with one of the legs of my desk table, it’s an easy and quick hack and works just as well.


We brush Zeus regularly, he is a domestic shorthair so his fur doesn’t get easily matted, but he just loves the feeling of it and afterwards his fur feels extremely soft. We have 2 different brushes for him, the first one is a metal slicker brush completely made out of bamboo from a German brand called Trixie, we got ours from Ebay. The brush comes in three different sizes and when he was a kitten we bought the smallest size which was perfect, and we still use it now as well on his head, he loves it. French brand Ergolance has a wooden slicker brush on the market, it looks very good and can be found here at Healthfulpets. We haven’t tried it out and it’s also a bit more expensive than the Trixie brushes.

Our second brush is from the The Oxford Brush Company, they literally have brushes for everyone and for everywhere around the house, all carefully hand crafted from wood. The cat brush has very soft bristles but they actually catch a lot of Zeus’s loose hairs and he just loves the feeling of the brush over his head and neck area in particular, and the brush is a great size too. They also have brushes specifically for dogs.

Zeus spends a lot of time outside and his little toe beans can get a bit rough/dry at times. I found this cat balm on Etsy which works very well. The balm contains 100% natural ingredients: coconut oil, calendula oil, shea butter, natural beeswax and natural vitamin E, it’s lick safe and unscented. It can also be used on their skin and nose. Zeus doesn’t like it when his paws are being touched but usually when he’s tired and dozing off he will tolerate it.


If there is one thing I get excited about, it is cat toys (although Zeus will always favour a cardboard box or a sock). This is an area where I have found several eco friendly options, and the best thing is that most of those toys are actually pretty and cute! First up is Willows again from Pets at Home, Zeus went wild for their Silver Vine Trio Mice, and I love them too because they are the perfect size for kittens, many toys were too big for him when he was tiny. They are made from natural materials like cardboard, linen and catnip. After a year of very intensive play they are also still in a good condition.

Last Christmas we got Zeus this orange lobster tail made from felt and filled with valerian root from Freak Meowt. The valerian proper stinks (seriously it’s horrible) but he goes crazy for it and loves to ‘bunny kick’ the hell out of it!! We’re almost a year later and are getting him a new one as this one is literally going bald (he doesn’t just kick it, he also likes to bite and lick the lobster to the point where the felt is disappearing now). All of Freak Meowt toys are handmade in small batches at their cottage in Wales. Their toys are super cool and definitely worth checking out. After the lobster tail we have bought a few more of their toys including the Catnip Pesky Meeces which are made from fabric offcuts to minimise waste and their Catnip Little Grey Mouse to hang from the scratch post we made. Just a little note though… some of their toys, including the lobster tail, are delivered in a plastic sushi box, although a lovely idea visually, it is plastic and unnecessary, so I asked them to not include the plastic box and to send his little present in plastic free packaging and they very friendly obliged.

Another great find is Snooty Catz. The name might be a little misleading, Snooty Catz does not only sell eco friendly cat products, but also products for dogs and humans! They stock a wide range of cruelty-free, plastic-free, natural, vegan, made in Britain and fair trade products. They also plant a tree for every order placed and their packaging is completely plastic free. We have bought several toys from them and also a few things for us. We especially like the Spinny Spiral Green, Zeus loves it when we pull it along the floor for him to chase. The spiral is from a brand named Mimis Daughters, their products are ethically made by female artisans in Nepal. The spinny spiral itself is made from natural sustainable sheep’s wool and is completely biodegradable. For coming winter I’m thinking of getting their Purr ’n’ Catch toy box, it includes a variety of toys perfect for when Zeus won’t go out as much to keep him active in the house so he doesn’t get bored (the box is available from both Snooty Catz and Mimis Daughters websites). We also got him the King Catnip Dental Sticks, he likes to play and chew on them so that’s a success too, those sticks are made in the UK.

Another option is to buy second hand. We bought a used Catit Senses 2.0 play circuit on Ebay. Although made from plastic, I think by buying it second hand we are at least prolonging its life cycle. We have found this circuit to be great for when Zeus was little and didn’t go out at night and he had his super active moments. We had it in our bedroom and it worked as he didn’t ‘attack’ us while we were asleep but instead went crazy chasing the little ball. I just made sure to change the configuration of the circuit every few weeks to keep it new and fresh for him. He still plays with it now but not as often anymore, but it’s summer at the moment so he finds most of his entertainment outside, I assume once it gets colder and he starts spending more time inside again he will play with the circuit more often.

And then there is also the world of DIY cat toys. I have made so many toys from loo rolls and cardboard it’s insane, Youtube is a great source for this. For example I made this scratch tree stump from this video and have also made several toys from this tutorial (I did not buy any new materials for these, I just looked at what we had lying around the house and used the videos as an inspiration). To be honest cats don’t really need fancy toys, everything can be a toy in their eyes.

Feeding bowls

I have read so many articles with do’s and don’ts about what to use to feed your cat, I found it overwhelming (might be similar for dogs, I don’t know…). So in the end we decided to look for bowls that made sense to us.

Firstly, plastic was a definite no no, not just because it is plastic, but also because plastic scratches easily which can lead to bacteria built up which can cause feline acne. Second point was to find bowls that were wide and shallow to not cause strain to his whiskers, this can be painful for cats and might end up with them not wanting to eat anymore. Those two points directed our search, and in the end we went with these ceramic bowls we found on Amazon (we usually avoid buying from Amazon, but I couldn’t find these bowls anywhere else…). These bowls are great, the edge is shaped in a way that there is basically no possibility for messy eating, somehow the edge prevents food to spill over. We also got him an elevated bowl stand made from bamboo from Ebay. The stand came with 2 small stainless steel bowls that were not suited for his whiskers, but we just use them in the kitchen as small mixing bowls. Luckily his ceramic bowls fit perfectly within the stand!

We also debated for a long time whether to buy a water fountain or a normal bowl for his drinking. Cats do not tend to drink much, and if they are on a dry food diet only this might cause health problems. We feed Zeus mainly wet food and top up with dry so he should be well hydrated. To be honest there is a lot to be said about pet food in general, a lot of the commercial pet brands out there are very unhealthy and not suited but that would be a post all on its own. Back to water bowls… we decided not to buy a drinking fountain in the end and instead got this elevated ceramic bowl from Ebay. The bowl is very good, it can hold a good amount of water and Zeus seems to like drinking from it. The bowl is also heavy enough to not be moved around or topped over easily.

Food packaging

The packaging of Zeus’s wet food is made from aluminium/steel which are fully recyclable (Untamed), and the packaging of his dry food is fully compostable (Lily’s Kitchen) but some packaging of his treats do contain plastic. After contacting one of the pet food brands asking them if they have a recycling programme for their packaging, they suggested I have a look at Terracycle. Terracycle offers recycling programmes free of charge for typically hard-to-recycle waste streams. Unfortunately there isn’t one for pet food packaging anymore, but they do offer recycling boxes which you can purchase. Once the box is full you can send it off to them with a pre-paid shipping label. The plastic is then sorted, shredded and washed and any food residue is composted. The packaging material is then densified into hard-granulated plastic granules which are then extruded so they can be incorporated into the production of different plastic products such as fence posts and benches.

We hope you have found this post helpful, we would really like to know! And please do contact us if you have any tips for us too. You can also check our Pinterest page where we have a board named ‘Eco friendly pet products’ with more tips & ideas!