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Norwich Bulletin - 5/13/2000

The Truth About Litter

In 1947 Edward Lowe became the cat lover's hero.

Trying to find a way to keep the family's business afloat he one day recommended a customer use his clay in her cat box as the sand she normally used had frozen solid. The absorbent clay worked wonders and Lowe started bagging the clay. He sold it for 65 cents a pound and called in Kitty Litter.

Kitty Litter became an $800 million dollar industry and Low lived the life of a millionaire. In the 1960's, after a fifteen year monopoly, other litters began to appear on the market. Edward Lowe decided to make "the best product better" and he created Tidy Cat, the first litter to address the problem of cat odor.

The next step came from Thomas Nelson, a biochemist and professor of medicine at Houston's Baylor College. Thomas Nelson was a passionate breeder of Persians, but was unhappy with the litter that was available. And so, he took his knowledge of science and added his love for cats and in 1984 he created the first clumping litter. By the early 1990's his litter accounted for almost half the litter sold in the country.

And then the market really boomed --- besides countless brands of clay and scoopable litter, many other types of litter arrived. The fresh smell in the western red cedar granules in Cedar Fresh Scoop offers a natural odor-controlling cedar fresh scent that both cats and their humans seem to like. And the wood based and newspaper based litters are biodegradable as well as fairly track less. In fact, Mark Hughes, marketing director for the makers of Swheat Scoop states that he eats his product at trade shows.

Another alternative litter is Zeotech's Kitty Crystals, an ammonia control litter without additives, made from zeolite. Or perhaps you prefer Litter Pearls, an FDA approved silica sand that evaporates cat waste. It is solely manufactured to be a cat litter and has zero dust as well as being environmentally friendly.

And of course, there is Helping Paws choice of litter. Earthsafe's Luv my Kitty is an environmentally safe, all natural wood litter which neutralizes odors, protects the cat from harmful clay dust and ingestation and is economical. And most important to me, there is no cat urine smell! The added bonus? Luv my Kitty is delivered to my door!

You simply lay one inch of the pellets in the litter pan, scoop feces daily and when the pellets disintegrate to sawdust, simply throw it on your compost pile. All my personal and foster cats use Luv my Kitty litter and people never believe that I have litter in my house.
Everyone has their favorite litter - there is no right or wrong litter. I have a friend who still uses the original clay litter because many vets feel it is the safest (and cheapest) litter on the market.

Kitty litter certainly has come a long way since 1947. Mr. Lowe would certainly be amazed at the choices a cat owner now must make.

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