May 2, 2016

Just when we thought the cat category couldn’t improve, the industry proves us wrong. There’s more invention than ever in this expanding category.

Cats have also captured the attention of the millennial generation and that means it’s more important than ever to expand your knowledge of the many new products available. New additions to the litter/waste category include diagnostic cat litters, lightweight and portable litter boxes, as well as a vast array of organizational options that keep cat owners purring.

Diagnostic Litters

Diagnostic cat litters are the newest addition to health-monitoring, early-detection litter. Checking your cat’s urinary pH levels can go a long way towards solving problems before they start. In fact, according to Pretty Litter, the average American cat owner spends an average of $600 on veterinary bills every year—mostly due to emergency visits for urinary issues.

“The importance of monitoring pets’ health is critical to good pet parenting,” said Daniel Rotman, CEO of Pretty Litter. “Cats, for example, are stoic and resilient creatures. They can hide illness for weeks before you see any signs or symptoms. Using a tool like Pretty Litter, which is a cat litter that will change color if it detects certain health issues with your cat, was built because early detection is key in preventing serious issues from spiraling out of control.”

Pretty Litter changes color when it detects the most common feline illnesses. Cats are genius at hiding pain and this makes early detection of problems nearly impossible. Their new litter makes it possible to catch the problem before emergency surgery is required and it’s as easy as changing the litter.

Environmentally Friendly Litter

Made from sustainably harvested, extra-lightweight fine wood granules, ökocat Soft Step is perfect for senior cats and kittens, as well as any cat with sensitive paws. Similar to the texture of clay litter, Soft Step makes it easy to transition cats to a natural, eco-friendly litter. This biodegradable line of natural cat litters offers up to 500 percent absorption, seven day odor control and a lighter weight and environmentally friendlier alternative to clay litter.

“The summer months can mean more allergens, dirt and bacteria being brought in and out of your house, so choose ökocat naturally dust-free cat litter to keep the home healthy and clean,” said Jane Wasley, brand manager of Healthy Pet, maker of ökocat litters.

Other natural litters include those from Swheat Scoop Natural Wheat Litter, which utilizes the power of natural enzymes in renewable wheat crops. This low-dust and low-tracking litter is completely biodegradable.

Next Gen Pets uses recycled wood and green tea leaves to make their eco-friendly cat litter.

World’s Best Cat Litter is another favorite that is made from whole kernel corn, while Benevo Cat Litter is made from non-genetically modified maize and other vegetable derivatives.

Yesterday’s News Cat Litter, which is made from recycled paper, creates a dust-free option and their new package design is even 100 percent recyclable.

Latest Litter Boxes

Thinking outside of the box has its rewards. The KatPak from The Green Pet Shop is a water-resistant litter box made of heavy duty paper that stores flat. To use, simply unfold it and pour a week’s worth of litter inside. The KatPak measures a generous 13 inches wide by 18.9 inches long by 15 inches high when opened. Cats are intrigued by the privacy and design, which is just like climbing into a box. Clean up is as easy as replacing the box.

“The KatPak is ideal for apartment dwellers, seniors, travelers and pregnant cat parents,” said Larry Wright, The Green Pet Shop’s president and CEO. “In fact, it’s great for anyone who doesn’t want to deal with kitty litter mess ever again.”

The industry is also seeing innovation in the form of crowdfunding as more people jump on the bandwagon and retailers can see what will potentially do well in their stores. The Luuup Litter Box has raised over $1.1 million (CAD) for the development of a simple yet ingenious system that allows for a lift and sort process.

“After selling almost two million units of the original version, we knew we had a great product,” wrote Luuup founder Nicholas Petty. “The goal of the redesign was to make the best litter box, period. We improved functionality, the quality of materials and construction along with the overall aesthetics.”

While it may seem that some boxes are becoming simpler, others are becoming high-tech. The Litter Robot Open Air III has been completely redesigned with a larger, upward-facing entryway and an improved self-adjusting weight sensor. Litter is automatically cleaned after each use and waste is deposited into a convenient drawer.

Stocking Accessories

When stocking litter boxes, retailers are presented with an opportunity to cross-sell other helpful accessories.

“We all love our pets, but cleaning up after them can be a really messy chore,” said Fernando Becattini Jr., founder and president of Neater Pets. “The Neater Scooper’s attached waste bin and trap door design make cleaning the litter box so much neater and easier. When litter boxes are cleaner, cats are more comfortable and much less likely to have accidents outside the box so everybody is happier.”

The Litter Genie Plus Cat Litter Disposal System reduces odor, hygienically seals soiled litter clumps and reduces trips to the garbage. The Litter Genie can hold up to two weeks of waste before emptying, eliminating the daily need to go to the outside trash and making it a convenient way to keep litter boxes clean.

SmartyKat offers a variety of stylishly designed and functional waste management, scatter control and odor control products that improve the litter experience for pets and pet parents. Litter mats become important products when upselling a customer, but knowing which accessories to recommend require an understanding of feline behavior—products like Clean Exit, a scatter control mat that keeps litter off of the floor to decrease tracking.

Organizing products are just as important.

“We think that cat owners will really appreciate the PurrfectOrder and VaporVault,” said Shannon McWilliams, vice president for product development at Worldwise. “No more searching through cabinets and drawers—now everything you need for litter box maintenance and waste storage is in a neat and stylishly organized modular system.”

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