The History of Cat Litter

A Brief History of Cat Litter

The modern litter box is indispensable to cat owners today, particularly cat owners who choose to keep their cat exclusively indoors!

Without a litter box your sofa would very quickly start to smell pretty nasty!a heaped pile of sand

The litter tray hasn’t always been an essential part of cat ownership though. As recently as 1947 cat litter trays were none existent. People simply kept their cat’s outside and they would take care of their own business out there, on the rare occasion that the weather was so bad that the cat had to stay inside they would simply use sand or ash as a makeshift litter.

A Discovery that Changed Cat Litter Forever

However in January 1947 a man named Edward Lowe changed the domestic cat’s world forever.

Edward Lowe lived in Cassopolis, Michigan, USA where he had a neighbour called Mrs. Draper. One day in January of 1947 Mrs. Draper asked Edward Lowe for some sand to use as cat litter. However being the middle of winter Edwards sand pile was frozen completely solid making it impossible to dig any out.

However Mr. Lowe didn’t give up there, instead he decided to give her some of his clay minerals he had, called Fuller’s Earth, which was capable of absorbing its weight in water! Mrs. Draper was delighted to find that the absorbent clay worked significantly better as cat litter than ash or sand did as it’s absorbent properties meant that cat urine was quickly absorbed.

Kitty Litter Goes Globaledward lowe holding a cat

Edward Lowe realised he had stumbled upon something that could change the world of cat ownership forever, so later that year he set up his own company called Edward Lowe Industries and started selling Fuller’s Earth in 5lb bags branded as ‘Kitty Litter’.

Kitty Litter became quickly became a huge success, when people realised how much better it was than traditional sand and ash, and the value of Edward Lowe Industries grew and grew before being sold for an estimated $200 million in 1990.

The Cat Litter Industry Today

Today the cat litter industry continues to grow and grow with more companies than ever competing to sell their brand of cat litter and with automatic litter trays being the latest innovation to enjoy significant growth in the last few years the litter box industry is still changing with every passing year.