The Bottom Line of Litter
Staying on top of the latest trends in cat litter and litter accessories—and
effectively sharing this knowledge with shoppers—is key to selling the category.
BY KEITH LORIA
While it might not be the most buzzed about category in a store, cat litter and litter accessories are products that all
cat owners need to buy, and many in the industry believe the future of the category will come
down to formulas that solve specific problems
that pet owners face, such as odor, clumping,
cleanliness and aesthetic features.
Lisa Mak, vice president of marketing for
Oil-Dri Corp. in Chicago, manufacturer of Cat’s
Pride, noted lightweight litters have been a popular innovation and now represent approximately
15 percent of litter retail dollar sales, as they offer
a combination of convenience and odor control.
“Lightweight products are convenient for
everyone, but especially the aging baby boom-
er population and urban dwellers,” she said. “In
addition, they 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
Other premium cat litter trends include
advanced odor control and environmentally
friendly, natural and easy-cleanup litters, as well
as other formulas with unique solutions such as
flushable litters and low-dust varieties that pro-
vide respiratory relief and are hypoallergenic.
Kelley Parsons, manager of Denny’s Pet
World in Kirkland, Wash., said she’s seeing customers look for natural litters more and more.
“The ideal is litter that is odor absorbent,
less tracking and more natural, if possible,” she
said. “For accessories, the one new thing that’s
really popular is an expandable litter pan that
telescopes out. And the bigger the little pan, the
better, and if it has a lid, that’s really popular to
keep the odor in.”
Sally Adams Trufant, general manager of
B&B Pet Stop, located in Mobile, Ala., said cus-
tomer demand is high for litters that are light-
weight and reduce odors, which can be challeng-
ing needs to meet.
“In an ideal world, the litters we sell would be
lightweight; however, the lightweight ones that
are advertised on TV are available at local dis-
count stores cheaper than we can buy them from
our suppliers,” she said. “It’s frustrating, but
that is the reality of retail these days. The smell is
something we can address with Cats Incredible
[from Lucy Pet Products], a new litter with ‘smell
squasher’ technology that doesn’t allow ammo-
nia to form.”
The market for cat accessories is also evolving.
“Cat parents and millennials are in search
of extra features and functions,” said Bruce J.
Flantzer, North American director of sales and
marketing for Moderna Products in Gaffney,
S.C., noting that there is a growing demand for
premium-quality, functional products that are
stylish for the home.
“Items need to fit into the décor of the household, and the products have to have value and
match personal taste in design—needless to say,
color is also key,” he added.
Choosy cat owners are looking
“Cat parents and millennials are in search
for products that best suit their
pets and their lives.
of extra features and functions. Items need
to fit into the décor of the household,
and the products have to have value and
match personal taste in design.”
—Bruce J. Flantzer of Moderna Products
NEED TO KNOW
When Anna Sprague, manager at Northwest Pets in Eagle, Idaho, helps a customer with litter, she is often asked
questions about what the litter is made from and how it clumps.
“People want to know if it is made from corn or pine, and if it goes down to the bottom of the pan or clumps
right away,” she said. “The store makes sure that all our employees know the differences in each product so we can
provide what they want.”
Moderna Products is dedicated to educating retailers and pet owners about its products and does so through a
strong social media presence and print media.
“Our salespeople are also dedicated to educating the pet retailers on the quality, versatility, value and great de-
signs of our products so they can educate the pet parent on all of the advantages and cost savings of our products
and how it makes their pets happy,” said Bruce J. Flantzer, North American director of sales and marketing for the
Gaffney, S.C.-based company. “We clearly label our products for ease of use.”
Muscatine, Iowa-based Kent Pet Group, maker of World’s Best Cat Litter, reported its sales team holds training
sessions, starting at the distributor rep level down to the retail associate level.
“We arm them with literature, brochures, fun training handouts and quizzes to help answer any questions they
may be asked,” said Jean Broders, senior brand manager. We also produced a fun, educational video that highlights
the features and benefits of the new line,
focusing on how it solves consumer problems. And for all of the retailers’ hard work in learning about the product,
we’ve rewarded them with one-of-a-kind Advanced Zero Mess T-shirts.”
for happy pets
L 19 / W 16 / H 17 inch
Cat Litter Scoop
L 11 / W 4 inch
L 6 / W 5 inch
L 13 / W 5 inch
Available for Top Cat, Mega Comfy,
Mega Smart & Mega Tray