I decided to write down a few lesser-known things about cat litter that the average owner may not know which I hope you will find both interesting and educational.
Clumping/Non - Clumping Clay Litter
Many owners favour the commonly available clay litters and may be interested to know the difference between clumping and non-clumping.
Clumping clay litter is generally made from a substance known as bentonite a highly absorbent clay that literally clumps together as your cat urinates into it. Clumping litter was introduced in the 1980's.
Non clumping litter is made from other clays and as the name suggests, it doesn't clump together.
Non clumping is often cheaper than the clumping variety and many owners that use it will find that litter box cleaning is a little harder as it tends to be more difficult to scoop up quickly. Litter trays/boxes tend to smell a little more quickly and require changing a little more often than if using the clumping variety of litter.
Silica Gel Litter
Silica gel is highly absorbent and very commonly used across various industries to keep many products dry. More expensive than it's clay counterparts, many owners prefer silica gel as it has the benefits of lasting a little longer before changes, being pretty much dust-free and tends to control odours really well.
Introduced in the 1990's, it has been documented that some cats don't get along with silica gel litter as they don't like getting the crystals on their paws.
It has consistently been found that cats have an aversion to both citrus and floral based scented litters and a study here actually showed that cats enjoyed increased litter box interaction with an activated carbon additive. As activated carbon is known to be a pretty good odour absorbent, it may be fair to say that cats prefer a clean smelling litter tray!
Who 'Invented' Cat Litter?
The 'invention' of modern day cat litter has been credited to a man called Edward Lowe. The discovery was an accidental one, Lowe's business sold sand, sawdust and granulated clay to factories to absorb grease and oil and one day a lady named Kaye Draper was given a bag of granulated clay to 'try' as an alternative to her cat tracking ashes from it's litter box all over the house.
The granulated clay proved to be a success for Kaye Draper and when she asked Edward Lowe for another bag a couple of weeks later Mr Lowe decided to market the clay as Kitty Litter!
Offering cat owners the opportunity of a cleaner and more odour-free home Edward Lowe's Kitty Litter went from strength to strength and the company was sold 5 years prior to Mr Lowe's death in 1995 for the sum of $200 million plus stock! It is now part of the Ralston Purina company.