In the beginning, there was a cat. Eventually, the cat had to go. The cat used loose earth or sand as natural cat litter. And it was good. For millennia, it was the best natural cat litter because it was the only cat litter. However, times have changes, and so has natural cat litter. Where once the whole wide world was a cat’s litter box, now they live inside our homes and need to have natural cat litter that helps kill odors and doesn’t have bugs in it, like sand or dirt can.
What About Clay?
The first commercial cat litter, invented in 1948, was made of clay. Even though clay could be called natural cat litter, there were other materials added to make the clay a hybrid of natural and synthetic. Kitty litter was an accidental discovery made by Edward Lowe as he was trying to come up with a clay-based absorbent for chemical spills or other industrial spills. Diatomite, a powdery rock, is also used.
There are a lot of problems with conventional clay kitty litter. They don’t handle odors well, they go all over the home, there’s tons of dust and trying to scoop out the urine became a regular exercise in futility. However, cats would use it as opposed to your loafers.
In the 1980’s, clumping liter became available. That was full of chemicals and added scents. Although more convenient for the owner and far easier to use, it still had the problem of dust. Also, concerns were raised by veterinarians who found that some cats were sickened by the dust of clumping litter. There was a great need for natural cat litter.
The Future Smells A Little Better
Natural cat litter started hitting the market in the late 1990’s and now can be found even in your local supermarket and drug store next to the conventional clumping and clay litters. These natural cat litters are made out of pine bits, corn cob and even recycled newspaper. Although they cost more than other kinds of litters, they are far less dusty and work great at controlling urine odors.
There is also the consideration to the environment. Many people find that they need to use less of the more expensive natural cat litter than they would the much less expensive clay and dust based cat liters. This takes up less space in your trash and in landfills. Some of these litters are even flushable.