BY LINDSEY GETZ
When it comes to the cat box, the biggest issues are odor containment and tracking. Consumers also are seeking products that are low dust, easily scoopable, and safe for
their cat and family members. And for most, convenience is a
“Consumers are looking for products that make their lives
easier,” said Lisa Gay, co-owner of H3 Pet Supply in Stratford,
Conn. “They want a product that can really contain the odor, even
if they’re not constantly scooping, and ideally one that doesn’t
create a mess all over their house.”
Along with convenience, consumers appreciate and seek out
lightweight litters, said Andy Black, marketing manager for
Mountain Meadows Pet Products in Lewistown, Mont. Howev-
er, lightweight litters come with a trade-off in terms of tracking,
“Lightweight litters are absorbent and control urine well,”
Black said. “The downside to this trend is that the consumer will
find light litter invariably does track farther from the litterbox.”
While tracking might be an inconvenience for some consumers, industry participants suggested that retailers carry lightweight litter options for cat owners who still want it.
“I believe that carrying a lightweight litter is a must because
older customers or people that live in a third-floor apartment pre-
fer it,” said Sherry Redwine, co-owner of Odyssey Pets in Dallas.
“Ökocat is great because it’s lightweight and packaged in an at-
tractive and convenient box with a handle.”
Many consumers are frustrated by the litter category, said Joey
Herrick, founder and president of Lucy Pet Products in Thousand
“The typical cat consumer has been trying multiple prod-
ucts and is still unsatisfied with the performance of odor control
and has genuine concerns about the health of their cat and toxic
ammonia that forms in the litterbox,” he said. “Let’s face it, the
litterbox is the cat’s Porta-Potty that we’re asking the cat to go
into two to three times a day. The litterbox needs to be a healthy
There’s no doubt that cat owners have some specifics in mind
when purchasing litter. Manufacturers are listening to these de-
mands and creating new products that meet cat owners’ needs,
said Jean Broders, senior brand manager for World’s Best Cat Lit-
ter, a brand of Kent Pet Group in Muscatine, Iowa.
“A larger consumer trend toward more personalized products has the litter industry in an innovation mode,” Broders
said. “While odor control is always a top demand, consumers
are increasingly focused on pet safety and their own quality of
life when it comes to cleaning the box. Litter manufacturers are
working hard to produce and market products that address specific problems for consumers and their cats.”
Convenience Is King
When it comes to cat litter, consumers have a lot
of demands, but convenience tops the list.
INNOVATIONS IN LITTER
There have been several advances in the cat litter world.
Inspired by the design of its Cleanprotein cat food, Dr.
Elsey’s Cat Products recently rebranded its litter with a
new look. Gina Zaro, marketing director for the Englewood, Colo.-based company, said the effort streamlines
the look of the entire product line.
“When we started the redesign process, we had an
epiphany—this is about providing a loving environment
for cats,” Zaro said. “Nonuse of the litterbox is the No.
1 behavioral reason cats are abused, abandoned and
placed in shelters. With this in mind, our first piece of
business was the creation of a new tagline: ‘The litter
The rebranding also involved minimizing the color
palette, refining the text, and making room for meaning-
ful information and more inviting photography, Zaro said.
“Though a lot is changing, keeping our product
colors similar to what they have always been was
important for us to make the transition easy for our loyal
customers,” Zaro added.
Mountain Meadows Pet Products in Lewistown,
Mont., is in the testing phase of a new lighter-weight
wheatgrass pellet, which is being developed by injecting
air into the material. Andy Black, the company’s market-
ing manager, said this process will increase absorbency
and surface area as well as reduce the product’s weight.
The company is developing it in response to the increas-
ing demand for lighter-weight litters.
In response to consumer requests, Lucy Pet Products
in Thousand Oaks, Calif., is adding a larger size in both
of its Cats Incredible litter formulas, said Joey Herrick,
founder and president.
“The 35-pound bag will be for multicat homes,
shelters and rescue groups,” he said.
Both pets and owners can be picky
about what goes in the box, so retailers
recommend stocking a variety of litters.