We routinely use plastic when we have pets. They eat from plastic dishes like this little kitten here. Dogs have plastic bowls, beds, toys. Cat carriers aren’t wicker anymore, they’re plastic. Dogs and cats and other small animals are in contact with plastic on a daily basis. Cats used to have cushions and cardboard boxes. They had china pottery dishes, a saucer with a chip in it was destined to be the cat’s dinner plate. Plastic litter trays were unheard of. Cats used to go outside to their toilet. If a cat couldn’t go out she was provided with a wooden box or tin tray filled with ashes from the fire and this was her temporary w.c. Houses were better then, they had sculleries and coal houses where cats could shelter and utensils could be washed and stored. Blankets were wool and usually handed down to the cat when they were frayed or past being mended. Toys were feathers and cotton reels and silver paper.
Dogs had leather collars, wicker baskets or a wooden box that someone had knocked together. With a piece of old carpet on the base and then some old cushions and cut up blankets, they were cosy and warm. There was no such thing as a plastic dog bed. Rover had an enamel dish for his dinner, it might be worn and dinted but he didn’t mind. Water bowls were stoneware, which is the cleanest and best for dogs to drink from.
We made dog coats, which is quite easy to do. My Dad used to make a pattern and then cut down cast off clothes and sew on fasteners. Mum would make polo jumpers by cutting off sleeves from old cardigans. A couple of holes in for legs and they were perfect. Most things for the dog and cat were household cast offs being used again. We didn’t know that we were recycling and being environmentally friendly – it was just commonsense and thrifty.
Now we buy new for everything. The first thing anyone does when they get a new pet is go and spend a small fortune on plastic gizmos at the pet superstore. Plastic toys make me shudder. They are unnatural and most dogs don’t like them. After costing so much they are thrown away. We stuff old socks (with other old socks) and make a soft ‘toy’ a dog can carry round. Dogs like to pick up sticks (make sure they are chunky) and carry them. Bones are the best plaything ever.
Buying plastic for pets is completely unneccesary and is costing the earth – literally. Plastic isn’t made in a factory down the road, it comes from China. The idea of such a thing as a dog bed or a plastic chicken being brought here from the other side of the world is ludicrous.
It’s not just people owning pets to blame there is waste and pollution in every aspect of life today. But there are around 9 million dogs and 8 million cats in the UK today. If we can change the way we look after them and provide for them it will make a difference. The ice caps are melting, water levels are rising and it’s almost too late to stop this man made disaster. Keep pet care simple, buy local, feed natural and locally sourced food. The pet industry is a massive concern, we fear that one day our pets will be wandering round a wasteland planet Earth where their future has been destroyed because we humans like to go shopping.
Coming next – mounting evidence that plastic can be toxic ….