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Products to keep in mind if you want to stay green when it comes to pet care. (Susan Tripp Pollard/Contra Costa Times)

At a time when it seems like everyone in the world is trying to be biodegradable and planet friendly, it's even possible for your pets to be green.

Here are some easy ways to reduce your pet's carbon paw print:

1. Turn all your cats into indoor cats and keep them inside. The Humane Society of the United States estimates that domestic cats kill millions of wild birds, rodents, reptiles and amphibians every year in this country. Want to do something really nice for your planet? Help put an end to all that killing.

2. Adopt dogs and cats from a local shelter. By obtaining a pet that already exists from a local humane society, SPCA, or other nonprofit animal welfare organization, you will avoid contributing to the serious problem of pet overpopulation.

3. Spay and neuter your dogs and cats. In doing so, you will be helping to reduce the number of unwanted animals that have to be dealt with at great expense every year in this country.

4. Be sure and pick the green items when you go shopping for your pets. It's easy.

On my way home from work the other day, I took a stroll through the Pet Food Express store in Benicia to try it out for myself. Everywhere I looked I saw green products for dogs, cats, birds, rabbits and other pets:

  • IScratch Refillable Cat Scratching System — "Replaceable insert conserves natural resources; honeycomb textured pad made from recyclable materials."

  • Kitty's Wonderbox — "Multi-use disposable litter box made from 100 percent recyclable paper."

  • Smart Litter — "100 percent organic."

  • Bio-Bag Dog Waste Bags — "Dog friendly and Planet friendly; 100 percent biodegradable; 100 percent compostable."

  • Planet Dog Orbee-tuff ball — "Made from recycled plastic."

  • Earth Bath Totally Natural Pet Shampoo — "Biodegradable, nontoxic, environmentally sound."

  • Odokleen Deodorizing Cleaner — "Phosphate free and biodegradable."

    5. Feed your pets organic pet foods that don't use pesticides to grow the ingredients. Trader Joe's carries many brands of organic pet foods, as does Whole Foods. Newman's Own is a popular organic pet food brand.

    6. Recycle your empty pet food containers. If your pet uses a lot of things that can't be recycled, it's time to think about trying new products. Don't contribute to the waste that is starting to cover our planet and fill our seas.

    7. Grow your own organic catnip. You'll help take some of the pressure off our already overtaxed environment by avoiding packaging that has to be thrown away. And don't use pesticides. (You'll also save money!)

    If you want to really be planet-friendly, why don't you toilet train your cat? That way you can stop using cat litter, litter boxes, cleaning materials, newspapers, etc., by simply flushing all that cat waste down the toilet.

    You and your cat can learn how to do this by ordering a CitiKitty toilet training kit, complete with a kitty training seat and instructions from www.citikitty.com.

    All the other cats in the neighborhood will be "green" with envy.

    Reach Gary Bogue at garybug @infionline.net. Read his blog at www.ibabuzz.com/gary. bogue.