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Tuesday, 22 December 2015 19:29

Cat litter: who gets to choose?

Cat litter is not a topic that typically comes up in polite conversation. Unless you own a cat, you probably don't think about cat litter at all. The initial premise behind cat litter, which was 'invented' back in 1947, was to provide cats with an indoor bathroom. Cat ownership has steadily increased, and as more people keep their cats inside all of the time, cat litter has exploded into a $2 billion per year industry. The ASPCA estimates the average cat owner spends around $200 per year, per cat, on cat litter - $60 more than the average family spends on toilet paper in one year. On an annual basis, in the US alone, the need for cat litter results in the mining of 5 billion pounds of clay. Manufacturers process and package the litter that we then pour into our cat's litter box. Our cat 'uses' their box and then we scoop out the soiled litter and eventually dispose of it in a landfill. Cat litter has a significant monetary and environmental impact on the world.

Version 1.0 of cat litter was pretty simple. It was a type of clay made of Fuller's Earth that readily absorbed cat urine and thus helped to control the odors associated with cat waste. Since cats normally would urinate and defecate in the dirt outside, they easily adapted to using a box filled with this new 'dirt-like' product.

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