Consider Your Options
BY HILARY DANINHIRSCH
From clumping to nonclumping and natural to clay, retailers need to
consider shoppers’ varying needs when determining which products
to include in their cat litter set.
Cat litter is a $2.8 billion dollar industry in the U.S., according to market research firm Packaged Facts. It follows that cat litter is an essential component of cat ownership and an important item for pet spe- cialty retailers to keep in stock.
Today’s consumer has a wide range of options in cat litter, as the market continues to expand. Most
important to cat owners is the elimination of odor, to appease both themselves and their pets.
In addition to odor control, important product attributes include low dust, low tracking and hard clumping, said Gina Zaro, marketing director for Dr. Elsey’s Cat Products in Englewood, Colo.
“Cats do not like scent in their litter,” Zaro said, adding that scent and texture can also impact cats’
Cat litter manufacturers are listening to consumers and conforming to pet owner demand, said Rebecca
Muñoz, head of public relations at Phydeaux, which has stores in North Carolina.
“While the desire for a litter that reduces odor and tracking has been constant, we have seen increasing
interest in litters that are also natural, eco-friendly, low dust and lightweight, and that clump well,” she said.
Leah Craft, CRM specialist/marketing coordinator with Chicago-based Oil-Dri Corp. of America, manufacturer of Cat’s Pride, agreed that lightweight litters have been a popular innovation.
“In addition, lightweight litters provide an environmental benefit
as they lower the carbon paw print by allowing more units to be
loaded on a truck than heavier litters, thus reducing the number of
trucks on the road,” she said.
At The Natural Pet Enrichment Center in North Royalton, Ohio,
owner Christine McCoy confirmed that customers are looking for a
simple, effective litter that is good for the environment.
“We see the trends focusing on the consumers’ ability to clean the
box quickly and effectively, with no odor and at a reasonable cost,”
She also said that there is a strong push to make litter packages
lighter weight with less perfumes and low to no dust.
Toni Shelaske, owner of Healthy Pet Products, which has stores
in the Pittsburgh area, has noticed that consumers are demanding
trackless, odorless and attract litter, adding that the market is trending toward more natural, lighter litter and fewer clay litters.
However, Ed Owens, vice president of engineering and new
product development at American Wood Fibers in Columbia, Md.,
said that clay cat litter is still the market leader.
Rick Rockhill, executive vice president of Lucy Pet Products in
Westlake Village, Calif., agreed that clay litters are performance
“Despite trends in alternative litter segments, sodium bentonite
clumping clay performs the best to manage cat waste and also has
the best acceptance rate with cats,” Rockhill said.
MATERIALS & INGREDIENTS
EVOLVING CAT LITTER FORMULAS
Cat litter has evolved over the decades, with many formulations introduced in
“From the initial use of sand as cat litter more than 50 years ago, you can
now find all types of cat litter made from clay, crystal, grains, corn and paper
that is either scented or unscented, and scoopable or unscoopable,” said Leah
Craft, CRM specialist/marketing coordinator with Chicago-based Oil-Dri Corp.
of America, maker of Cat’s Pride. “The future of cat litter innovation is endless,
with consumer needs driving our continued evolution of what can be offered
in the litterbox.”
Lucy Pet Products in Westlake Village, Calif., partnered with The Dow Co.
to utilize its patent-pending ingredient that prevents ammonia from forming in
the litterbox; the result was the company’s Cats Incredible Litter.
“This ammonia-prevention technology is a game changer because it can
help keep cats healthier by keeping them from being exposed to ammonia in
the litterbox,” said Rick Rockhill, executive vice president of Lucy Pet Products.
Clumping cat litters have also been key, said Rebecca Muñoz, head of
public relations at Phydeaux, which has stores in North Carolina.
“In many cases, this helps cut down on odors and messes as well,” Muñoz
said. “Applying these technologies to a variety of litter types, it seems, is the
more significant innovation rather than any particular material or ingredient.”
the litter cats loveTM
litter that can be loved
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the diet for a healthy
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