Ruthie asks, “Why oh why do my cats feel the need to 'christen' their litter box every time I either clean it or add new litter? I love them, but it makes me crazy!”
So, I got a little sidetracked while researching an answer this week. I stumbled upon the fascinating story of Ed Lowe, who was the founder of cat litter. His family business manufactured a grainy clay, which was marketed to machine shops to clean up grease and oil spillage.
In 1947, his neighbor was complaining about her cat tracking ashes throughout the house, so he gave her a sample of fuller’s earth to try. The substance worked so well for her, Ed began to market his product to local pet stores. Business boomed, and he never looked back.
In 1964, Ed Lowe founded Tidy Cat, the first commercially available kitty litter. Many people were impressed at Ed’s marketing prowess. At the time, most cat boxes were filled with sand or ash, which was cheap but messy. Ed gave samples of his new litter away to cat owners and quickly won them over!
Ruthie will have to forgive the rant, but I couldn’t resist an old-timey story and some country chords. Yeehaw!
“The History of Litter” by Sarah Donner
Way back in the olden days before we neutered and/or spayed
There was no clay, wheat, or pine; to poop in the sand cats were resigned
There lived a man who cleaned up spills, with clay that absorbed oils
He sold his bag of fuller’s earth; little did he know its honest worth
Oh, Ed Lowe, where would we be, without your litter for kitties
A box of sand, soil, or ash, is no place to do your business for the modern cat
A pioneer of marketing, Ed gave sample bags away for free
Owners were hooked, he made money; he made a pretty fortune with cat pee
Wait, I forgot to answer your question:
When you give them a box that’s fresh and clean
You’ve covered up the scent of their territory
It’s the best place to do your business if you ask me
So they gotta jump in to squat and pee!
SOURCES: ASPCA, Tummy Scratch, PetMeds, About.com
Got a question about cats? Ask a real live Cat Lady in the comments below! See all Ask a Cat Lady videos here.
More Catster articles about cat butt business: