Cats v. Dogs: Which Pet Is Greener?

Tallying your best friend’s carbon pawprint.

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back-of-the-napkin calculations based on a University of California-Berkeley study suggest that on average, feeding Fido creates 596 lbs of CO2 emissions a year, versus about 517 lbs for Fluffy’s kibble. Size matters: According to a 2006 National Academies study, a Saint Bernard needs 12 times as much food as a cat, meaning greater energy use and more emissions; Chihuahuas are daintier eaters, and thus greener pets. A weekly 10-mile ride to the off-leash park produces about 400 lbs of carbon per year—the equivalent of feeding a whole extra cat. But (sorry, catbloggers) felines have flaws, too. They kill songbirds, and litter pellets, often made with strip-mined clay, add some 3.4 million tons of solid waste a year to US landfills. The biggest problem? Pet owners: We spend $1.8 billion each year on dog toys, often imported and/or made of plastic. Cats have to make do with $1 billion worth of catnip and rubber mice.

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And the truth is, going into the final 4 days of the year we still needed to raise $TK to hit our $350,000 goal and start 2021 on track. It's nerve-wracking, wondering if the big spike we normally see at the end of December is going to be another thing that doesn't go as planned in 2020, or worse, if, now that Donald Trump is set to leave the White House (for longer than a taxpayer-funded golf trip to a property he owns), folks might be pulling back from fighting for the truth and a democracy and think the hard work is done.

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