In a recent post I described how I got rid of waste wet cat food by using aluminium foil and letting it go into landfill. That’s obviously a big compromise. It looks wasteful but it does contain that foul smell completely and aluminium foil is less damaging to the environment than plastic bags both in manufacture and in landfill. So it is not all that bad as a compromise.
But there are alternatives. The natural and obvious alternative is to feed wildlife with wet cat food which your cat has left in the bowl. I think there are issues with this. Firstly, in most households there is not much waste wet cat food (in some there is none surprisingly). You have to collect it for a while before you take the time and trouble to put it out for wildlife. In doing this you are going to store it and in storing it you will get smell, a bad smell.
Also, a lot of neighbours (if you live in a densely populated area) do not like people feeling wildlife. I feed foxes but I do it secretly (I hope my neighbours aren’t reading this). I feed birds with birdseed. And squirrels eat birdseed. But do squirrels eat rotting, maggot-infested wet cat food? Do hedgehogs eat it and are there any hedgehogs where I live? I don’t see hedgehogs. Would scattering wet cat food particles all over the garden be a satisfactory way of feeding wildlife? My neighbour feeds wildlife with decent food and therefore would they reject rotting cat food? My gut feeling (excuse the pun) is that the foxes I feed would reject it. Also, cat food is too rich for mammals in the Canidae family and dogs and foxes are in that family. Since writing this I tested it on my foxes and they rejected it.
The conclusion is that feeding wildlife is a good way of dealing with waste, wet cat food but there are downsides. There are countless recorded disputes on the Internet of neighbours being irritated by cat owners stray feeding cats because it attracts wildlife. A lot of people are not interested in nature and consider wildlife except birds to be a nuisance. In the USA, some local authorities consider creating legislation to forbid it. It’s a contentious issue.
Throw it down the toilet
Another alternative is to throw waste, wet cat food down the toilet. Jane, a valued contributor to this website suggested it. I’ve always thought that toilets are designed, as are sewers, to accept human sh*t, pee, and toilet paper. Nothing else, in my opinion, should be flushed down the toilet except for some liquids barring oils and fats. My research indicates that throwing waste food down the toilet be it for human or pet, is a cultural thing. It seems to not be part of the British culture but in countries such as Denmark it appears to be more commonplace and also perhaps in Germany and other continental European countries.
I had never crossed my mind it for one minute but now that Jane has mentioned it, I am considering it. It does have its merits which I readily accept. If you did it, you’d have to do it when you had a shit in order to save water. I don’t know how it would be regarded by the water companies who run the sewers. Let’s say that everybody in a large neighbourhood of hundreds of thousands of people discarded all their waste, wet cat food down the toilet as a preferred method of getting rid of it. Wouldn’t that present a problem to the sewage system? Might it not block it up and cause problems in the purification process? Might some of it end up in the sea and might that pollute the sea, damaging marine wildlife?
An alternative method would be to compost waste pet food. My research indicates that dry cat food can be composted so I would guess that wet cat food can be as well. But, as mentioned, it does stink to hell and do you want that smell pervading your rose-scented garden throughout the summer months?
My idea of wrapping it in aluminium foil doesn’t look so bad after all. But remember that I only do this once every five days and a small amount of foil is used so the burden on landfill is small and environmentally it is pretty safe. And there’s no smell so it can be stored until collection by the council. The smell of waste cat food is a major issue because it is all pervasive if it is inside the home. And I have a good sense of smell; perhaps too good.
My conclusion, and I must come to a conclusion, is that the best method is to feed wildlife with it and I will certainly reconsider this. However, I am extremely conscious of the need to get on with my neighbours and 50% of Brits love wildlife and want to help the animals, while the other half want to concrete everything over and get rid of irritating wildlife except the birds. It’s probably similar in the US. I don’t want to annoy my neighbours. If you annoy your neighbours, you are on a downward path to selling your home and I don’t want to live in a hostile atmosphere and move afterwards.
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