Have you ever changed your cats litter and stopped to think about how it came to be? The history behind the invention is quite interesting and funnily enough was a complete accident! In this article I will fill you in on everything you never thought you needed to know about cat litter.
Historically, there was no such thing as ‘cat litter’ until 1947. Which begs the question, what did cat owners use as a substitute? Interestingly enough common litter choices were ash from the fire, sawdust and shredded paper. Absorbent? Kind of. Effective odour control? Not really. One day a young man called Ed Lowe, who diligently worked for his father’s industrial absorbents company was approached by his neighbour who was tired of using ashes in her cats litter box and dealing with the sooty paw prints left all over the house. She asked Ed for some sand, and he suggested using some clay instead. This was an excellent choice and the neighbour would use nothing else again, as not only was the clay super absorbent, it didn’t leave messy tracks around the house like her previous choices.
So Ed set out with 10 brown paper bags filled with clay, messily scrawled on the front were the words ‘kitty litter’, to his local pet shop. The owner was hesitant, as sand was available to anyone at such a cheap price he doubted anyone would be willing enough to pay 65 cents for a bag of clay. Eds famous response to the pet shop owner was “so give it away”, soon customers were asking for more and well the rest is history!
Ed’s business in cat litter continued to boom and in 1964 he created his own brand to be sold in supermarkets called ‘Tidy Cat’, and every day since then each bag of litter has a money back promise of satisfaction. Just look at the cat litter market today, with the variety of formats and textures and even packaging that is presented on the shelves of pet stores as well as in grocery stores around the world. From the more natural kinds with wood and plant material as the source product, to the highly processed and pollutant silicon gel formats of cat litter, as in the crystals, to the earthy clay and sand types and bentonite and volcanic rock types. There are even cat litters today that cater for cats with sensitive paws, and litters that are extra safe, in case the cat or any toddlers in the house or any kittens for that matter decide to taste what the litter tastes like. Always take your time deciding what is best for your cat, and the litter you use when they are young will stick with them as they get older so be warned.