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What invention has created a mass movement towards domestic cats?



  Vintage Tidy Cat ad.
Tidy Cat

Answer: Kitty Litter

A product that we take for granted (and has had for decades) did not exist before the middle of the 20th century: cat litter. Although cat lovers had experimented over time to make indoor cat boxes filled with substances like sand, ash, paper and other materials, they all had a critical flaw that kept almost everyone away. You haven't caught the pungent smell of cat urine.

As such, our feline companions were essentially part-time visitors. Most of the cats were cats outdoors, some cats were allowed in for a nap, but very few cats were allowed to stay indoors all the time, as there was nowhere to go to the toilet (and nobody wanted a box of it) sand saturated with cat urine in her back room.

All of this changed in 1

947 when the huge inventory of Fuller Earth (a special type of clay) from Michigan businessman Ed Lowe finally earned his living. Lowe had bought the clay to sell to farmers as litter for chicken, but it was not working well for its intended purpose, and local farmers showed no interest in buying more. A woman came to his delivery service on a bitterly cold January day, looking for sand to make an indoor sandpit for her cat because her pile of sand was frozen solid outdoors. On a whim, Lowe sold her some of the clay he had put around.

Little knew Lowe that he had not only found a purpose for his huge clay pile, but also initiated a revolution in cat care. The woman returned briefly and sang the praises of the sound. Not only did it work as well as the sand she originally wanted, but the clay also absorbed the urine smell. The woman's friends soon came in to buy the clay, and Lowe began selling it in bags in local hardware stores labeled "Kitty Litter." By 1954, Lowe's cat litter business had expanded and his product adopted a well-known name: Tidy Cat.


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