A big part of sustainable living is making conscious choices to try and keep your carbon footprint down. But have you ever considered the carbon footprint of your pet?
A carbon pawprint, if you will. And just like humans, your pets' carbon footprint largely comes from their food! Take your feline friends, for example. Their carbon impact can be reduced by consuming eco-friendly cat food.
We are increasingly seeing eco-friendly versions of pet products and supplies come onto the market. From eco-friendly cat toys to non-toxic cat litter… It's out there! I have even seen eco-friendly dog toys, but this is for another time!
Household choices make up 45% of one’s carbon footprint. When you consider the 163 million plus cats and dogs that live in the US alone, you can understand how individual actions have a powerful role to play in fighting climate change, and this can lead to systemic changes over time.
Some research suggests cats and dogs account for 64 million tons of carbon dioxide annually!
So, let's change this! Today we will go over the best sustainable cat food options and talk about what you should be looking for next time you shop for cat food and other eco friendly products that won’t harm your pet.
Top Eco-Friendly Cat Food Brands
Choosing sustainable cat food can be challenging. Make sure to read our guides at the bottom of this post. We explain how and what to look for when shopping for your purr-fect pet. Plus we've got some expert tips on how to make the transition easier for you and your cat, cause if you have a cat you know how picky they are! LOL! 🙂
1. Open Farm
When Bella, a rescued dog, came into their lives, her new family searched everywhere for the perfect pet food. They wanted something that not only tasted good but was also ethically made. But every aisle seemed full of compromises. Then, an idea sparked. Teaming up with Isaac and Derek, they imagined a brand that didn't just promise quality but lived it.
That's how Open Farm was born. Beyond ingredients, it's about ethically sourced goodness, transparency, and love for every creature involved.
Open Farm is built on a simple truth: Pet food can be great for pets and kind to the planet. And for the feline members of the family?
Check out Rustic Blends wet cat food—packed with human-grade goodness, from Harvest Chicken to Grass-Fed Beef, all stirred with bone broth, pumpkins, and carrots.
2. Halo Pets
Halo's a pet food brand that's all about celebrating our furry friends and the bond we share. Their main goal? To champion the joys of pet parenthood, emphasizing how awesome our pets truly are.
Why go with Halo instead of the myriad of other brands? Well, they're all about quality.
They don't skimp on ingredients and have a no-shortcut policy. With a track record spanning over 30 years, they blend nature and science to craft some of the best recipes out there. Plus, they team up with vets and nutrition experts to ensure your pet gets the best.
And they've got options galore. From food tailored for young ones to adults, whether they're big or small, there's a Halo recipe out there. They've got everything from chicken to lamb and both grain and grain-free choices. Dry food? Check. Wet food? Yup. And if your pet's got specific dietary needs, Halo's got you covered.
In the heart of Boulder, Colorado, amidst the refreshing open spaces and sunlit skies, Only Natural Pet was born in 2002 with an unwavering commitment to pet well-being and sustainability.
The brand's foundation is built upon collaboration with holistic veterinarian Dr. Jean. With her expertise, they've crafted products that emphasize full-body wellness, utilizing only the finest all-natural, human-grade ingredients, which are both sustainably sourced and certified.
Every product they create reflects their dedication to ensuring pets' happiness and well-being, which explains their rigorous quality standards and emphasis on ingredient purity.
Furthermore, their commitment to the environment is evident in their responsible sourcing, proudly boasting certifications from the Marine Stewardship Council and the Global Animal Partnership.
Their dedication extends to becoming the first B-Corp-certified pet food and treats company in North America, setting an unparalleled standard for sustainability.
As for their offerings? Their menu ranges from wet and dry natural food options to freeze-dried raw, grain-free meals, tempting treats, and even nourishing toppers.
Additionally, they provide a comprehensive array of health and wellness products, including vitamins, supplements, holistic care items, and specialized solutions for skin care, digestion, anxiety, joint health, and more.
In 2017, Castor & Pollux raised the bar in organic pet food by introducing a unique, purposeful range. They transformed their ORGANIX® line to be entirely USDA Organic and launched PRISTINE® — a one-of-a-kind lineup focused on responsibly sourced ingredients.
The brand commits to top-tier ingredients: the primary being organic free-range chicken or turkey. This base is enhanced with USDA-certified organic superfoods like brown rice, blueberries, coconut flour, and flaxseed.
Castor & Pollux ensure no harmful additives touch their products, all made in a certified organic US kitchen. Their commitment is to more than quality and the broader pet community, partnering with pet rescues nationwide.
Price: The trial box of Smalls fresh cat food typically costs $35, considering the complimentary shipping and the 25% discount on the initial purchase (excluding any extras). The trial box will provide around 28 meals.
Smalls offers a tailored food subscription with a twist—it's exclusively for cats! Much like human-focused subscriptions, a quick quiz zeroes in on your cat's nutritional requirements, ensuring a custom meal plan is delivered straight to your door.
Prioritizing quality, Smalls provides fresh, protein-rich cat meals that are concocted from human-grade ingredients and devoid of fillers. These nutrient-dense recipes are gently cooked to preserve essential vitamins and minerals, ensuring a complete and balanced diet for every feline life stage.
But it's not just about the food. Conscious of the environment, Smalls ensures all packaging is 100% recyclable. Their innovative corn-based styrofoam insulators are biodegradable—just run them under water, and they dissolve! Even the green bags housing these insulators and the accompanying cardboard can be easily recycled.
While many prioritize profits and trends, Smalls remains cat-centric in the vast landscape of the pet food industry. They sidestep industry norms, placing cat health above everything else.
Using only USDA-certified, humanely harvested, and sustainably sourced ingredients, Smalls guarantees meals that are both protein-rich and palatable to even the choosiest of cats.
Their diverse menu boasts four proteins in varied textures, catering to every feline preference: fish, chicken, cow, and another bird variant.
Price: Varies wildly
Have you ever wondered what's behind ORIJEN's pet food? Their philosophy is all about premium ingredients. They're super particular about every step, from choosing ingredients to the final product, ensuring pets don't just eat but genuinely thrive.
Now, there's often a debate: fresh vs. raw. What's the difference, right? In ORIJEN's world, 'fresh' is all about ingredients preserved solely with the chill of refrigeration.
On the other hand, 'raw' ingredients get the deep freeze treatment, locking in their peak freshness. And speaking of cold, did you hear about ORIJEN's massive cold storage in their Kentucky Kitchen? It's a sprawling 25,000 square feet!
Diving into the ingredient list, it's quite the mix! A whopping 85%-95% is just premium animal ingredients. They've got ranch-raised meats like beef, bison, and lamb.
All are sourced from ranches where animals aren't just raised but genuinely cared for. Then there are the free-run chickens and turkeys – they roam indoors, without cages, living their best lives. And their eggs? Straight from hens with the freedom of a barn, not a cage.
As for fish, ORIJEN goes the extra mile. They've built global connections, ensuring a perfect balance of wild-caught and responsibly farm-raised fish in their recipes.
But ORIJEN doesn't stop at meat. They infuse their recipes with healthy fruits, veggies, and botanicals, making up about 15% of their content.
Every ingredient is sourced from partners they trust. And for that extra touch of health, they sprinkle in essential vitamins, minerals, and even probiotics.
If you're a cat parent, ORIJEN's got you covered too. Whether you've got an energetic kitten, a dignified senior, or a cozy indoor cat, there's something for everyone. And if you ever need tips? Dive into their Cat & Kitten Care Library; it's a treasure trove!"
Let's wind back the clock a bit over a decade ago. There was Henrietta, deeply concerned about her beloved pet, Lily. Lily had this nagging skin issue; it was sore and itchy. The pet foods available back then? Let's say they weren't up to scratch.
With her heart full of love and determination, Henrietta started cooking from scratch for Lily. It was a labor of love that soon became a calling. Why couldn't every pet eat proper, wholesome food?
With that question burning in her mind, and with the help of skilled vets and nutritionists, Lily's Kitchen was brought to life. Fast forward to today, and that spark Henrietta felt still drives everything at Lily's Kitchen.
Their menu has evolved to include an enticing array of options for feline friends. From gourmet wet food that offers a medley of flavors and textures to crunchy kibble that's more than just a treat – a daily health boost—looking for something special for your cat's snack time?
Their bite-sized treats are a hit. And if the choice is what you're after, their selection boxes let your cat indulge in a culinary adventure. Beyond the regular, they also cater to special diets, offering grain-free, organic, and hypoallergenic options, ensuring every cat, regardless of their dietary needs, can find something they love.
Don't just take my word for it. Feefo, a platform where real people leave honest reviews, paints a transparent picture of the brand. The overwhelming positivity from these reviews? It's earned Lily's Kitchen the Feefo Platinum Trusted Service Award.
And if you're considering diving into their offerings, they've got a bit of everything. Whether you've got a playful kitten, a sprightly adult cat, or a dignified senior, they've got you covered. From wet food to treats and even special diets, Lily's Kitchen is a haven for pet lovers who believe in feeding their furry friends the best.
In the bustling city of San Francisco, back in 2005, a unique pet food brand was taking its baby steps. Smallbatch, as it was fittingly named, wasn't just another pet food company. No, it was a small, family-owned initiative that looked around and found inspiration in the beautiful, local, and sustainable sources around them.
They envisioned a different kind of pet food. Every ingredient that went into their products was chosen with an acute sense of responsibility. Imagine organic herbs, vegetables free from the taint of pesticides, and meats that have never been exposed to antibiotics or hormones.
What truly sets Smallbatch apart is not its ambition to dominate the pet food market but its commitment to quality and sustainability. Instead of sprawling factories, think of trusted local farms that have been vetted for their care of the land, ensuring it remains fertile for generations.
Smallbatch values the process just as much as the product. Their meats, for instance, aren't just any meats. They're sourced from animals raised humanely—pasture-raised beef, lamb, free-range poultry, and rabbit. And when it comes to the plants, only certified organic, non-GMO, and pesticide-free varieties make the cut.
Now, if you're thinking about their nutritional philosophy, it's pretty straightforward: raw and natural. Instead of synthetic vitamin packs, Smallbatch relies on the rich tapestry of nutrients provided by whole foods.
Everyday herbs and greens in their food, like basil, thyme, and kelp, offer a host of vitamins and minerals. And their commitment to sourcing? It's as robust as ever. They've fostered partnerships with local ranchers and farmers who are just as committed to transparency and sustainability.
Delving into their offerings, there's the "small batch cat frozen," which boasts of single-source protein and is predominantly made up of meat, organ, and bone, making up about 97-98% of the content.
Their freeze-dried meal bites are a testament to their dedication to quality. Then there are the "small batch blends," unique bricks combining ground meat, organ, and bone.
These blends aren't just a meal but a versatile feeding solution. They can complement DIY raw feeding routines, be part of rotational feeding, or boost a base mix. Essentially, they're a convenient and top-notch way to introduce humanely raised meat into the diets of both cats and dogs. In essence, Smallbatch isn't just a brand.
Why Choose Sustainable Cat Food?
There are many reasons to opt for more sustainable cat food and eco-friendly cat products!
1. The environment
The bulk of your cat's carbon footprint comes from the protein in its food. A meat-based diet requires more land, energy, and water than a plant-based diet. Around 49 million hectares of agricultural land – roughly twice the size of the UK – are used annually to make dry food for our pets.
According to Open Farm, to produce ¼ lb. of beef (about 1 hamburger patty) at a typical farm, you must use nearly 425 gallons of water and emit 6.75 points of CO2 emissions. Other factors to consider with cat food containing beef include animal welfare and the biodiversity loss that comes with clearing forests to make space for cattle.
Protein sourced from seafood also has its issues. Overfishing has depleted many fish stocks like tuna and salmon over the years. This can have devastating impacts on entire aquatic food webs. Lucky for us, the brands listed above are all examples of cat food with sustainable fish.
Cats (and dogs), are natural carnivores, and removing meat completely from their diet to be more sustainable is not necessarily the solution. Choosing cat food with protein certified by sustainable organizations is a good first step to keeping your cat’s climate impact down. You can also look for food that contains human-grade, “pasture-raised,” “free-range,” and “grass-fed” protein sources.
Another factor in this story is the packaging used to store and ship cat food. Eco-friendly cat food packaging can be recycled after use and won't take up valuable space in landfills where it may sit for years.
Pro tip: Buy your eco-friendly wet cat food in bulk to minimize the carbon emissions that come with travel miles!
2. Your cat’s health
Regular cat food might have used chemical pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, artificial preservatives, added growth hormones, or antibiotics. Eco-friendly cat food tends to have fewer artificial additives and preservatives and is packed with natural (plant-based) and organic ingredients.
Pro tip: Did you know some of your favorite house plants might be toxic for your pet? While making the sustainable switch and tackling your cat's food, inventory your plants around the home that might also harm your pet.
How we choose these brands, we look at our three main criteria:
1. Sustainable ingredients
To ensure the ingredients in your cats food are sustainable, you want to look for credible sustainable certifications like:
2. Ethical sourcing
Some certifications also address specifically the supply chain and ethical sourcing such as:
3. Corporate Responsibility
Some sustainable wet cat food brands go above and beyond and take sustainability beyond just the recipes and sourcing ingredients.
Brands that offer packaging made partially or fully from recycled materials and can be recycled after use are the way to go (whether through a curbside collection program or external partnership).
Packaging should be minimal to avoid waste, but also ensure the contents are kept under the correct moisture level so the food doesn't expire.
What do experts say about cats being vegetarian or vegan?
Cats are obligate carnivores, which means some of their diet needs to be from animal tissue (AKA meat!). That said, vegan cat food can’t 100% exist unless the product is supplemented with artificial taurine and micronutrients typically found in animal protein sources.
Some brands that offer cheaper products will use grains like wheat, barley, rice, corn, and oats as filler for cat food since a product that is 100% meat based is more expensive to make. Unfortunately, there is some evidence that these kinds of diets can lead to heart problems.
Can you make your cat food?
Pro tip: Talk to your vet before you make a meal plan for your cat. Better to be safe than sorry!
Tips for transitioning your cat to eco-friendly food?
Gradual mixing techniques
When introducing a new type of food to your pet, you will want to start slow and work your way up. Start by mixing in the new few into the old, slowly adding more and more until you have transitioned fully to the new food. This will help your cat adjust to the change.
Observe for any allergic reactions or digestive issues.
When doing so, look for any signs of an allergic reaction in your cat. While this is uncommon, it can happen if your cat is introduced to a new ingredient it has never tried before. According to Great Pet Care, you will want to look for the following symptoms:
- Local or generalized itchiness
- Hair loss
- Red, dry, flaky skin
- Digestive upset
- Itchy or watery eyes
- Ear infections
Encouraging finicky eaters
If your cat is still not loving their new sustainable food, try adding some yummy food toppers, switching out your cat's food bowl, or changing your cat's food location (it sounds crazy, but it works).
A final word on eco-friendly cat food
Sustainable living isn't just for us humans. It's for our pets too! By feeding our cats eco-friendly cat food (whether we buy it or make our own), we can reduce our household carbon footprint and positively impact it. If you found this post helpful, please help someone by sharing this article – Sharing is caring 🙂!