NEW YORK — 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 percent believe they enjoy a more sustainable lifestyle in comparison to the average American. This includes 74 percent of dog owners and 66 percent of cat owners.
Although dog owners feel they’re living greener lives, researchers also asked about the steps they’re taking to lessen their overall impact on the environment. More than half (51%) of all cat owners say they’re recycling frequently or more often. By comparison, only 44 percent of dog owners said the same about their own recycling habits.
In the households where cats and dogs live together, their humans are having an especially hard time sorting the trash. In fact, only 37 percent of those respondents are recycling more according to the poll.
Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of ökocat, the survey also reveals that a whopping 94 percent of respondents are making an effort to live more sustainably than they did a year ago. Nearly one in five (19%) even claim they’ve “radically transformed” themselves and their sustainability habits over the past year. For 42 percent of pet owners, that includes seeking out more environmentally friendly foods and products for their furry friends.
One in three say they’re even 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. Speaking of waste, 46 percent 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,” says Dr. Ruth MacPete, DVM, in a statement. “That’s why it’s important to look for options made from natural materials, like wood fibers, that are compostable and biodegradable.”
Do pet owners with busy households care more about the environment?
Taking care of more than one animal species might make recycling more difficult, but it also seems to lead to more mindful pet parents. Only 33 percent of respondents who have both cats and dogs said they’d never considered their pet’s impact on the environment before. For comparison, 44 percent of dog owners and 51 percent of cat owners made the same confession.
In fact, 51 percent of respondents with mixed-pet households say they’ve also considered the potential environmental impact of having human children. Only 47 percent of dog owners and 37 percent of cat owners say the same.
An indoor life is sometimes better for pets
Seventy-one percent of dog owners say that they spend more of their day outside because of their pet. Another 66 percent say that their outdoor playtime with their pooch has made them more environmentally-aware. Meanwhile, only 11 percent of feline enthusiasts allow their cats to roam indoors and outdoors freely. Nearly one in four (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,” adds Dr. MacPete. “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. In fact, 63 percent of cat owners already allow kitty to have some supervised or safe access to the outdoors. However, even though 66 percent of respondents are actively worried about their pet’s health, they say their concern for the planet tends to win out.