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John King has created a product that he hopes will eliminate the need for traditional clay cat litters.

He got the idea when he paid a $2.50-per-tire disposal fee at a store that put new tires on his car. He began thinking about ways that recycled tires could be used as consumer products.

Now King has a preliminary patent on a product called EnviroKats, a specially designed box filled with 18 pounds of litter made from ground-up tires.

“There is really nothing good about cat litter except that you have to have it,” said King, who doesn’t own a cat but has plenty of friends who do.

In the early stages of his research, King experimented with a used tire and a saw that allowed him to cut it into strips that he hoped he could turn into a product. But the process was dangerous and too labor-intensive, he said.

Then he took a look at the ground material from tires used in rubberized asphalt. It looked a bit like coffee grounds, could be purchased locally, and absorbed odors because it was made of carbon.

His friend Kat Moline, who lives in a multi-cat apartment, was spending $50 a month on traditional cat litter. She agreed to “beta test” the product with her cat, Pappion.

“At first, I was worried that the rubber would have a smell that would turn them off. But that was no problem. They took to it right away,” Moline said.

King and Moline say EnviroKats litter absorbs odors and never has to be replaced.

Moline said she scoops the solid waste, the way she did with her other cat litter, and then rinses the rubber litter with water to remove the urine. The specially designed litter box has a plug that makes it easy to drain the water.

King said he came up with the EnviroKats name because it creates a new use for old tires and could potentially keeps tons of used cat litter and non-biodegradable plastic bags out of landfills.

King recommends one EnviroKats box for every two cats in a household. The kit costs $39.95 plus $19.99 for shipping the 18-pound package. He said he has yet to sell many of the kits, which are available on his website, but his sales goal is 1,000 a month by the end of next year.

That would allow King to raise the capital to start manufacturing the litter boxes at his own plant, he said. He hopes to employ 15 to 20 local workers.

[Source: The Arizona Republic]