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Have you ever considered where those cat toys you have around your home come from? The most popular toys are fur mice and feather wands, mostly made in China. Cats love them, and we've all bought them at one time or another. If you're vegan, you've probably already started buying fur and feather-free toys. But if you're not, there are a few essential things every pet owner should know about the Chinese fur industry and cat toys.
China is the world's biggest exporter of fur products. Rabbits, foxes, minks, dogs, cats, and other animals are kept in inhumane conditions. Cat and dog fur is commonly used in fur trim, trinkets, and yes . . . even toys. Cat and dog fur products made for the export market are often intentionally mislabeled as other species.
We all want what's best for our cats, including safe, cruelty-free toys they can play with. But how do you know if the toy you're buying is free from animal testing and made with ethical materials?
When shopping for new feline toys, look for these three things:
Manufacturer Transparency: Look to see if the manufacturer openly shares their production process. Do they source ethically-made materials? What are their safety standards? How about their animal testing policy?
Certified Materials: Look for certifications like "Fair Trade Certified," "Responsible Down Standard," and "Global Organic Textile Standard" that show the goods have been approved by respected organizations that monitor production standards.
Product Description: Beyond just looking at the list of materials used in a toy, check out the product description. Does it contain vague wording or unverifiable claims? If so, that could be a sign to steer clear.
There are many great alternatives to fur and feather pet toys. Here are a few resources to check out when shopping for your feline's toys or if you want to gift them to another cat lover friend.
Many talented crafters sell handmade, animal product-free toys on Etsy. The hardest part will be deciding between the dozens of cute hand-sewn, knitted, and crocheted toys. How about a crocheted baby turtle or a felt sushi roll filled with catnip?
Check out PETA's list of cruelty-free toys and gadgets HERE.
The Mouse Factory online store sells a large variety of feline toys. While a few are created with feathers and fur, most are not made with animal products. Replace your feather wand toy with one produced with polar fleece. Many cloth sacks and fleece/fake fur toys are also filled with catnip.
Visit the SPOT brand cat toy section of the Ethical Products website, where most items are fur and feather-free. Many toys are also made from natural materials like corduroy, burlap, jute, corn husk, sisal, and terry cloth.
Yes! Every product on Etsy is handmade with love by creative and passionate independent sellers. Shopping on Etsy lets you support small businesses and help your dollars do some good in the world. Plus, who doesn't love genuine craftsmanship?
Absolutely! Shopping online on Etsy lets you discover unique items made by small business owners from various creative industries. Supporting these businesses directly helps them to grow their operations and create even more awesome ethical cat products!
When buying things for your friendly feline, the quality of their toys and products is paramount. Most traditional pet stores don't offer eco-friendly options—non-toxic materials, recyclable packaging, and no plastic—so looking for ethical and eco-friendly toys is a great way to guarantee your kitty will get only the best!