Saturday, May 03, 2008

home alone

My loveliest is off at some sort of bridal brunch kinda thing, so I'm here with the monster kittens (as of this writing, Arthur is in the middle of a freakout session; Alexander is eating us out of house and home) and a stack of papers to grade. I haven't quite started yet.

I'm listening to Winterpills, which I rarely do when Lauren is around, for some reason. My musical tendencies swing toward the mopey alternative, especially in mid-morning, and that's not as often her thing, I think. How that might affect my students' grades, I don't know.

Lately, we've been thinking about having green kittens. This turns out to be difficult to get solid information about, and in some ways difficult to achieve. The main thing we're concerned about, obviously enough, is kitten waste. It's startling how much waste two 3-pound kittens generate in a day (which I realize is hardly breakfast conversation), and for the most part, our options are to flush or to bag this waste. The State of California officially discourages flushing, but bagging means tossing away a plastic bag of kitten poop every day. Lauren looked up composting, and it does seem like it's feasible, given about a half-acre or so of land to give yourself some distance, and appropriate composting techniques. (Even given that, there's dispute about the presence of a toxin in kitten waste, if they've been eating mice or other wildlife.)

An article in the anthology I use for Contemporary Moral Issues cites the statistic that people in the US and the EU spend $3 billion more annually on pet food than it would cost to feed hungry people worldwide. I don't know whether that's true, or if true, a distortion, but in any case, a simple glance around your local big-box pet supplies store should give you a perspective on the amount of resources we do expend on pets. It's all gotta come from somewhere and go somewhere, but just like Target, the Pet Extreme (or whatever) doesn't at all show you what place in the resources-and-wastes chain you and Fluffy or Xerxes occupy.

On the other hand, there've been some incredibly idiotic eco-pets ideas, like turning your cats on to a vegetarian diet. As much as we'd like to have green kittens, there are few ideas we've found so far that aren't impractical for us or totally hare-brained.

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