BY KEITH LORIA
Cat owners love their com- panions in a way that seems unmatched in the
industry. One thing that no cat
owner loves, however, is the
smell that emanates from cats’
litterboxes. By sharing the latest
trends in cat litter with customers, retailers can open the door
wide to brisker sales in this staple category.
More pet owners are thinking of their cats as kids, making
them more discerning when it
comes to litter, said Gina Zaro,
marketing director for Dr.
Elsey’s Cat Products in Englewood, Colo.
“Clients are becoming much
more educated and are looking
for products that meet the spe-
cial needs of their cats,” Zaro
added. “If their cat is having
elimination issues, they may be
using [our] Cat Attract, or if their
cat is having respiratory prob-
lems, they may be looking for a
litter that can address this issue
like our Respiratory Relief litter.
Natural certainly continues to be
a trend. Our clients are looking
for a litter that does not have any
scents or deodorants.”
Consumers want litter that
is effective in trapping smells,
so they look for the most effec-
tive odor eliminator, said An-
drew Kim, co-owner of Healthy
Spot, which has stores in South-
“Cat owners associate the
clumping as a physical sign for
this,” he said. “The next most
important [thing] for our cus-
tomers is less tracking. The finer
the litter, the more likely it will
trap underneath the paws and
track through the house. Cus-
tomers want the litter in the lit-
terbox, where it belongs—not in
With health concerns and
cleanliness in mind, consumers
also seek out litters that give off
minimal dust, retailers and man-
Brett Sliger, manager of The
A Breath of Fresh Air
Using chemical additives that stop odor formation is one of
WHAT’S NEW IN CAT LITTER
the biggest trends that litter manufacturers are experimenting
with—and retailers are finding that pet owners are intrigued.
Joey Herrick, founder and president of Lucy Pet Products in Thousand Oaks, Calif.,
said he has seen other manufacturers transition to walnut, corn and wheat litters,
but he decided to stick to clay.
“In March, Lucy Pet Products launched Cats Incredible, which contains a formula
that stops ammonia from forming in the litterbox,” Herrick said. “Most litters out
there mask odor. We are not trying to do that; we’re stopping the ammonia so we
don’t need to do that. When you pour it, you’ll get a slight smell of lavender, but
when you walk in the room, you won’t.”
Ultra Pet of Anderson, S.C., introduced Neon Litter at Global Pet Expo in Orlando,
Fla., in March.
“This litter is targeted to the largest group of consumers—the millennials
and gen X,” said Tom Atyeo, marketing manager for the company. “It’s made
from silica gel litter, which provides long-term odor control efficacy and adds
the convenience of only twice-per-week scooping and the fun and fashion of
bright neon colors—pink, orange and green—with more colors on the way.”
Oil-Dri Corp. of America introduced Cat’s Pride Fresh & Light Ultimate Care light-
weight litter in March. It offers 10-day odor control, strong clumps and low dust and
tracking, said Dan Jaffee, president and CEO of Chicago-based Oil Dri Corp.
“It’s formulated with highly absorbent minerals and offers the ultimate performance at a great value,” he said. “The product is offered in a 10-pound jug, in both
scented and unscented hypoallergenic varieties.”
Ultra Pet is seeking to capture the attention of millennials with its new Neon Litter.
A Breath of Fresh Air,
LITTER EDUCATION CAN
“It is important for the independent pet store retailer to know their consumers—
their demographic—so they can address the needs of their consumers,” said Gina
Zaro, marketing director for Dr. Elsey’s Cat Products in Englewood, Colo.
The Healthy Pet in Eugene, Ore., often holds demonstrations at the store, putting
a bowl with water near its cat litter so people can see how the litter absorbs, said
Brett Sliger, manager.
“We’ll also open up the bag and let customers feel the cat litter because we
have customers whose cats are very sensitive to touching the litter with their
paws,” Sliger said. “We’ll do what we can to help the customer find what’s best for
World’s Best Cat Litter provides point-of-sale materials for retailers and offers a
Think About Your Cat campaign that points to the benefits of the product, said Jean
Broders, senior brand manager for Kent Pet Group, maker of World’s Best Cat Litter, in
“This campaign messaging will help the retailer quickly explain the benefits of
World’s Best Cat Litter,” Broders said.
Dan Jaffee, president and CEO of Chicago-based Oil-Dri Corp. of America, maker
of Cat’s Pride, said the company regularly meets with its retail partners to educate
them on product performance attributes and benefits.
“We often provide demonstrations so they can see the difference of our products
for themselves and provide that education to their customers as well,” he said.