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A Little Litter Lesson! The History of Cat Litter!

Updated on January 26, 2010

This HUB Page may seem a bit random...sorry about that! However, I thought you might enjoy a little litter lesson. I figured if you are reading this post...then you either have a cat or you are thinking about getting one. If so, then you might be interested in learning about who invented cat litter. Besides, you never know, you may end up on Jeopardy one day and cat litter might just so happen to be a category. Ok, probably not, but a little poop culture, oops, I mean pop culture, never hurt anyone! I'm also going to tell you about some alternative and interesting cat litters that are not yet used by the majority of cat owners. Though not all of these litters can be used in automatic cat litter boxes (yet!) they just may become the wave of the future!

The Invention of Cat Litter - Hooray!!

Back in the day, owning a cat was, well, for lack of better words, not that much fun. Especially if you owned an indoor cat! As you can imagine (or maybe you would rather not) not having access to a good cat litter was well, downright gross. No cat litter or litter boxes probably meant that cat owners found wonderful, little presents hidden all over their homes. Yuck!

In 1948 (which in the grand scheme of things, is not that long ago!) a man by the name of Ed Lowe came up with a solution. One day, a woman (Mrs. Draper) approached Mr. Lowe asking him if he had any ideas as to what type of material or substance would be appropriate for her cat's toilet (I guess they didn't call them litter boxes back in 1948!). The woman's cat had been eliminating in a pile of sand which was located on the outside of her house. The problem was that in the winter time, ice and snow would cover the sand and the cat would avoid the pile. She also tried fireplace ashes, however, as you can imagine, paws covered with soot...well... not a good thing, not to mention messy.

Mr. Lowe had been experimenting with kiln-dried clay granules that he was hoping to sell to local farmers. His original plan was for the farmers to use the clay granules as nesting material for their chickens. Well, the plan was a bust as none of the farmers were interested and as you can imagine, Mr. Lowe was stuck with a lot of dried clay that nobody wanted! With nothing to lose, he gave a bag to Mrs. Draper and told her fill her cat's toilet with the dried clay. To make a long story short, both Mrs. Draper and her cat loved the granules. Mr. Lowe then decided that other cat owners might be dealing with similar cat potty problems and poof, a new product was born! Mr. Lowe sold his kitty litter in small bags for approximately 65 cents each. Thanks to Mr. Lowe, cats were no longer a messy nuisance and quickly became beloved pets and family members!

Cat Litter Has Come a Long Way, Baby!
Cat Litter Has Come a Long Way, Baby!

Corn and Wheat - Good to Eat - Great to Poop in!

As you know, going "green" is very popular. Most of us, in some way or another, are trying to play our part when it comes to saving the planet. Well, now your cat can participate too! Because a lot of clay litter ends up in landfills it is important that we search for alternative, biodegradable options. Enter corn and wheat!

Crumbled corn, corncob flakes and wheat litters are the latest and greatest thing in the world of cat potty products. Plus, they are safer and healthier for your cat! If a cat accidently swallows any of these biodegradable litters, no problem! It will simply pass through their system and end up back in, you guessed it, the litter box! Corn and wheat litters are very soft on the paws and also have an all natural scent that hide the odor of cat poop well. Thank goodness!

Some corn and wheat based litters can be used in automatic cat boxes but of course, you should read the directions before you add any litter to the model that you happen to own. Biodegradable litters are a bit more expensive than traditional clay clumping litter and will cost you between $9 and $19 (maybe a little more depending on the size of the bag you purchase). World's Best Cat Litter which can be used in automatic cat litter boxes is one of the most popular biodegradable litters on the market. Seven pounds of this particular corn based litter will cost you $10 while seventeen pounds will set you back $24.99. Before I go, I must tell you one of the absolute BEST things about all natural litters (such as World's Best Cat Litter) they can be flushed and they are dust free. Now that is worth cheering about! Hip! Hip! Meow!

For more interesting kitten facts and information, please read the Kitten Care Guide!


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