Paws for our planet: The surprising way your cat can help you be more eco-friendly

Consumers are prioritising sustainability, but would you think of involving your cat in your eco journey? UK-based packaging supplier, Sadlers, encourages pet-parents to take their cats lead by making this simple swap!

Despite costs of living, spending on pets is on the rise, surpassing an astounding £4.7 billion in 2022, more than double that of 10 years ago. But, cat owners know the feeling of treating their feline friends to a brand new toy, only for them to be more interested in the empty cardboard box it came in.

Sadlers put cats to the test with a variety of containers, revealing that cats don’t care whether their cardboard box is brand new or reused – so why should you? Both a sustainable and fun choice, next time a delivery is looming, channel your cats imagination and reduce and reuse your leftovers with a cardboard box fort.

Clare Kempster RVN, Practice Development Manager at Vets4Pets told us that, “Most cats love boxes, mainly because they like confined small spaces. As we know cats are predators, so love to hide and wait for their prey. Boxes also help them to feel secure and safe.”

But what makes this sustainable? Known as the 3 Rs of recycling, reduce, reuse and recycle is a simplified version of the waste hierarchy, indicating an order of preference for dealing with waste. Often overlooked, the second ‘R’, reuse, is a vital part of sustainable waste management and should always be considered before recycling. While recycling is crucial in diverting materials from landfills and conserving resources, it is not a perfect solution as the process itself consumes energy and not all materials can be effectively recycled.

This is why projects such as cardboard forts are the perfect opportunity to give reuse a go at home, and have some fun whilst you’re doing it. Adding longevity to the lifespan of your cardboard box, reusing them gives them an additional use and purpose before they are ultimately recycled and the process begins again.

Lauren Sadler, Head of Sustainability and Communications at Sadlers, comments, “Cardboard is a fantastic material because it can be reused numerous times before being recycled or composted. It can be reused for its original purpose, such as using a second-hand cardboard box as packaging, or it can be repurposed. If you have cardboard at home and want to keep your cats entertained, you can transform this versatile material into a fort or den for your cat. The more creative it is, the more it will keep you entertained too!”

Convinced cardboard can be exciting yet? It’s not just cats that are keen, here are a few facts and figures around the love of box forts we share with our feline friends:

  • Every month, over 2,000 people search online for information on building and making cardboard box forts, and over 4,000 search for information on building and making cardboard castles
    • Among the searches, it’s more common for people to seek box fort instructions for cats, and box castle instructions for kids
  • The world’s biggest cardboard box fort was built with 12,301 boxes, covered 33,984 square feet and was 27.5feet high at its tallest point
  • TikTok’s boxfort hashtag has over 24.1million views as of July 2023, while ‘box castle for kids’ has racked up 14.8million views so far

So next time you eye up an expensive new toy for your pet, why not consider saving up your cardboard instead and put your imagination to the test.

For some inspiration to get you started, check out Sadlers’ innovative cardboard creations at: