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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Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

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