In my last post about rags, I talked about the ways that I use rags around the house in order to reduce our footprint. This post is largely a repetition of that, but the focus is on my cats. I use rags for them, too. The bag pictured here is their rag stash. (I got the bag itself--a handmade bag--in trade with another artist!) We keep their supply separate from ours for reasons I probably don't need to go into. I keep them in the utility closet with the other cat supplies, and they are easy to get to when there is any kind of issue.
(All of our rags have come from either worn out clothing and bedding of ours or dish towels that are too worn out to use for human stuff any more.)
An additional step I have taken to separate their rags from the people rags is to use different colors for theirs. Their rags are the black, navy blue, or brightly colored ones. Ours are mostly various shades of white, tan, etc. There is some crossover in terms of color, but not a lot, and since I'm usually the one using cat rags, I keep them separated when they go into the laundry. The cat rags are also mostly smaller than the people rags.
As I've mentioned before, the only thing for which I do not use the rags is urine. Cat urine is sticky and smells very, very strong. It's virtually impossible to get the smell out of most items, so I use paper towels for those messes. For everything else, including washing the cat boxes, the rags work just fine. They can be used with any kind of cleaner, and they can be laundered any way we want them to be. Rags do not have to be pretty, and who cares if the colors run? (They don't generally, anyway.)
In order to keep our stuff from mixing in with the cat stuff in the laundry, I have set up a separate laundry bucket for the cats, and I do a load of "cat laundry" about once a month or so. Just depends on how many messes there have been. I also always throw in a cat bed to make the load a little bigger and save a bit on resources. First, I soak the load in an Earth-safe bleach in hot water. I then wash in cold with watered down Dr. Bronner's (TM) soap, and I hang everything to dry. (Most store bought cat beds, I learned early on, fall apart in the dryer, anyway.)
With the cats, I still go through a good number of paper towels, but nothing near what I used to when I used only paper towels. I can generally clean up a gross cat mess with one to two paper towels, which isn't bad, and I find that a roll of paper towels will easily last at least a month.
The point of this and the other post on rags is: If you are looking to save money and reduce how much waste your household produces, first of all, look around your house. Do you have old T-Shirts, dress shirts, and bedding you're looking to throw away or recycle? Why not cut them up instead and start a rag bag? Worried about "being able to" use rags with pets? Don't. You can absolutely use rags for pets. Just be sure to keep them separated from household rags.
Being frugal and green really is that simple!