Monday, October 29, 2007

The Effect of Housecats on the Environment

It took me a little over ONE HOUR on the MAX to get to Beaverton, not counting the walk to the train. The hardest part was remembering to get off at the station called Beaverton Central and not the one next in line called Beaverton Transit Center. No doubt dozens of people a day waste hours of human resource potential getting off at the wrong one. The smart person on the station-naming committee must have been in the bathroom when those names were put forward.

Though I had to concentrate on that error-waiting-to-happen for the duration of my trip, I did succeed in getting off at the right place. All anxiety about how to meet up with my target companions disappeared instantly when I stepped onto the platform to find my very own Human Mapquest and Geographic Positioning Unit standing right there in front of me. Lindi and a good friend of ours met me there so we could all go to the Jeanne Roy event together -- in the CAR.

Before you break into a fit of writhing, finger pointing apoplexy, consider that the one car was now transporting THREE people. The original plan was that half an hour after I boarded at Gresham, they would board the MAX as it rolled through our neighborhood, and then when we got off, the three of us would walk to our destination -- since we don't have a third bike for our friend visiting from out of town.

We opted for the car alternative when another errand in the area came to mind -- namely the procurement of cat litter at a discounted price from a nearby pet store. In my opinion, cat litter transport is one of those few things that justifies car usage. If you've ever tried to lift even a single box of cat litter, you'd know it's one of the heaviest substances known to mankind. We purchased the equivalent of a large corpse worth and drove it home, the back of our car sagging noticeably.

After attending Jeanne Roy's lecture on reducing garbage, we might have to rethink our total cat-litter energy output. I suppose we could invest in a bike cart and do it all by MAX (which would take a million hours, and anyway can you even take a bike with a cart onto the MAX?). Or maybe buy cat litter closer to our house? Maybe the higher price would be a wash once the cost of gas was subtracted.

And what about cat litter disposal, anyway? How much could we reduce our yearly garbage output if we just subtracted the cat litter? I didn't think of it till now, but cat litter was the ONE throw-away item not covered in the lecture. Maybe when I interview Jeanne for my article I'll ask her if she's ever calculated the environmental footprint of a house cat.


At 8:25 AM, Anonymous Mick said...

In answer to your question, no, you're not supposed to take trailers on the Max.

At 7:45 AM, Blogger Vicki Jean said...

Interesting article, Kate (you should link to it here!)(okay, I will)

There’s more to it than recycling

So, did you ask her about cats? The whole issue of cat litter really bugs me -- first you have to buy it, then you have to throw it away.

I'd really like an alternative that doesn't involve letting the cats outside. We have one cat who leaves editorial statements about the litter when it doesn't meet her high standards. So when I think of feline pine or other products like that, I fear for how many editorials I'll have to endure.

I did learn recently, however, that Charles Mingus -- who wrote a book on cat toilet training -- shredded his own newspaper for cat litter.

Dear g-ds, what did our grandparents use? (Oh yeah, they prolly didn't have cats in the house)


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