Eco-Me Cat Starter Kit

Photo by Gayla Trail  All Rights Reserved

Eco-Me specializes in D.I.Y natural cleaning, bath and home products and kits. The idea is a bit unusual: rather than simply selling natural products, they provide the recipes, reusable containers and tools, and essential oils so that you can make your own.

Many of us, most especially those that are new to green living are either so stuck on the idea that we need really harsh ingredients to clean our homes or are too intimidated by the idea of making our own to take that step towards giving it a go. It sounds like extra work but most of the products we need in our daily lives can be made very simply using basic, everyday ingredients such as baking soda and vinegar. And they are incredibly easy to make, taking only a minute or two to mix up a big batch of cleanser or window spray. What I like about Eco-Me is that their products act as a stepping stone towards independence rather than just providing a new fix.

When Eco-Me asked me if I’d like to try out one of their products I chose the Cat Starter Kit. I’ve been making home and body products like these for years but had never tried making my own cat treats, flea spray, or some of the other projects supplied in this kit.

Photo by Gayla Trail  All Rights Reserved

The Cat Starter Kit included: Jars and bottles to make Litter Freshener, Flea Spray, and Cat Treats plus a scooper, stirrer, burlap bag, catnip, essential oil mix, and a Burlap Cat Pillow.

The first thing I did when the kit arrived was show the pillow to my test subject, Voltron: Defender of the Universe, aka “Kitty” our finicky 14 year old cat. We had a good feeling about the pillow since she goes crazy for jute and other similar materials. As predicted she LOVED it and writhed around on the ground with it for about an hour, spilling kitty drool all over the kitchen floor. It was a little bit disturbing to watch, kind of like walking in on a private moment I wish I hadn’t seen. And that was without adding any catnip. She loved the bag everything came in too. I found her rubbing against it a few days later. I took everything out, sprinkled a little catnip inside and made it into a fun toy that she rolled around with and kicked with her back legs. Good times!

Having made all the recipes provided I am most pleased with the Litter Freshener. We live in a small space where the cat litter is hidden from sight but can be smelled from any room after a particularly nasty “movement.” We use a wood-based cat litter called Mountain Cat that is pretty good if scooped daily and changed regularly. I’ve been adding a small sprinkle of the lemongrass-scented freshener just after scooping to freshen up the joint and it is working out. We like it although I’m guessing Kitty could care less. The fact that she doesn’t notice it is what’s important. The natural Flea Spray is fantastic but in all of Kitty’s years we’ve never had a flea problem so I don’t see a use for that anytime soon. The Cat Treats were easy to make but Kitty didn’t care for them much. She ate a few and shunned the rest. Kitty is very particular and can only dedicate herself to one treat flavor at a time, which she will beg for and eat until she suddenly decides she is done with it. She is currently in love with a oven roasted chicken — I don’t think she was ready to make the switch to the tuna-flavoured biscuits I made. And as for the catnip…. well Kitty loves catnip so we had a winner there.

Photo by Gayla Trail  All Rights Reserved

It’s been a month since the kit arrived. We are still using and loving a small sprinkle of the Litter Freshener after a particularly unfortunate “deposit” and while Kitty is thankfully no longer dry-humping the Burlap Pillow or leaving puddles of drool on the floor she does enjoy a good snuggle with it most evenings.

Gayla Trail
Gayla is a writer, photographer, and former graphic designer with a background in the Fine Arts, cultural criticism, and ecology. She is the author, photographer, and designer of best-selling books on gardening, cooking, and preserving.

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13 thoughts on “Eco-Me Cat Starter Kit

  1. We buy those burlap bags of basmati rice, and when the rice is gone, we give the burlap bags to the cats (handles removed); they love ‘em.

  2. Great idea.

    Where can you buy these kits in Toronto? I don’t recognize any of the companies listed on the site. And shipping to Canada costs almost as much as the kits. :(

  3. KT: Sorry I have no idea. They sent me the kit to try… this wasn’t a product I bought myself. Us Canadians always get burned on shipping…

    JavaChick: Smart about the burlap rice bags.

  4. You know, I make all my own house cleaners. I use oil and vinegar for dusting, vinegar and water for all-surface cleaner, and borax and baking soda for dishwasher powder (with vinegar as my rinsing agent, of course). Needless to say, I buy my vinegar in bulk and couldn’t be happier with the results. A gallon lasts about 4 or 5 months.

    Making your own products just feels right to me. When we had our kitty while living in Orlando, I worried constantly about the stink of her litter box. I’ll pass this info on to our friend who now has her. She strives for eco-friendliness too.

  5. Oooh. Kitty looks like my cat Pixel.

    I would be interested in a natural flea repellent. My upstairs neighbor does NOT properly control the fleas on his cats, and as a result, all of us have to suffer. I can’t just ignore the problem, because fleas carry diseases (worms are GROSS!) and really diminish my cats’ quality of life (two of them are allergic). But I haven’t found a good alternative to Frontline. I’ll definitely have to check this out and see if it works.

  6. OK, part of me says this is a cool way to promote eco-friendly cleaning. Another part says, “wait a second… they’re selling a ‘refillable/ reusable/ recyclable’ jar and a tiny vial of lemongrass-scented oil for $6.50?!?!” (you provide your own baking soda)

    Hmm… I ought to start selling my amazing baking soda / apple cider vinegar “no-’poo” hair wash/rinse … or rather, the two dollar-store bottles I mix it up in!!! :-)))

    I know you said it’s aimed at those who are too “intimidated” to DIY their own eco-products, but this is maybe just a bit silly?

  7. Lest I sound like a total B, however, the burlap (or the equivalent in cheapie rice bag) idea is great and your cat looks like a total sweetie! :-)))

  8. Do not ever, EVER, use essential oils on or around your cats. Cats cannot metabolize E.oils. They build up in their system and cause severe illness, liver failure and death. Google “Essential Oils cats” and you will pull up tons if information about this.

  9. You know what? I am now going to be a total *B* – though I stand by my remarks about the cat’s cuteness!

    Having perused this site in greater depth and discovered that EVERY SINGLE “recipe” is either baking soda or vinegar or both (including their baby wipe spray which seems to be mostly vinegar – yuck), I believe this concept is a total scam.

    Either that or a joke – like someone saying, “how can we get away with selling 2 for $1 plastic jars for $6.50 a pop?” Gack.

  10. @ Jennifer
    where did you see the recipes? i can’t seem to find them.

    i have to say i’m inclined to mostly agree with you about this product. this is supposed to be the dawn of the age of less packaging, and their product consists largely of packaging. i have loads of plastic containers around my house and i can mix my own baking soda products in those. i can sew my own sack.

    however, i think this product definitely has value as an educational tool and potential as a change-maker. think of those people who clean their houses in the “conventional” way with a different chemical product for each task because that’s what the marketing tells them. someone like that might not trust plain old baking soda to clean their bathtub, but if it’s presented to them in the Eco-Me way, they might be more inclined to accept it, try it out and then realise that they can just make their own without the Eco-Me starter kits.

    so ideally, the Eco-Me company wouldn’t have many return customers. :)

  11. Natural Flea repellent:

    Brewers Yeast has been said to be the best method. I’ve heard a bit of lemon rind rubbed on the coat will help too, but remember, cats have a keen sense of smell and they may be a bit put off by too much strong scent.

    The same goes for the litter, you don’t want your cat to decide not to use the box because the smell of lemon bothers his nose!

    Baking soda is the best deoderizer. I use it and I have 4 cats. If you are using baking soda to deoderize you can even use plain old newspaper as litter. I have one cat that only likes paper in her box with baking soda, but that is my idea, not hers.

  12. Quant:
    Not recipes as such (ie with exact proportions), but for example, the “baby wipes” solution says you add vinegar and water; they provide “Baby Blend essential oil” which is a mix of oils with a customized “baby friendly” fragrance. So this “recipe” includes (in order) water, vinegar and oil. Hope that makes sense!

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