Natural Cat Litters Earn Customers' Trust
Today’s formulations form tighter clumps and control more odors, earning repeat business.
When it comes to cleaning the litterbox, cat owners want to complete the task quickly, easily and with as little odor and mess as possible. The next generation of natural cat litters employs new ingredients and formulations to help meet these expectations.
“Consumers want a clean, easy-to-maintain litterbox. This starts with a litter that clumps strong and doesn’t fall apart,” said Jean Broders, brand manager of World’s Best Cat Litter, which is manufactured by Kent Pet Group of Muscatine, Iowa. “Using a litter that is easy to scoop is key to a clean litterbox.”
Customers at Protein for Pets in Anaheim, Calif., appreciate the clumping properties of the World’s Best multiple-cat formula, said Amy Morales, store associate.
“They come in specifically for it,” Morales said. “Customers say [the litter] is easier to clean up because the clumps don’t fall apart.”
|small animals enjoy natural bedding|
Small animals spend most of their days interacting with the bedding that lines their enclosures. It’s no wonder, then, that more and more small animal owners look for bedding options made from safe, natural materials.
“We know of many customers who feel strongly against the inclusion of additives in their pets’ bedding,” said Lucas Stock, communications manager of Oxbow Animal Health in Murdock, Neb.
To help meet the demand for natural small animal bedding, Oxbow offers the Pure Comfort line made from 100 percent pure, never-printed paper.
Village Pets and Supplies in San Francisco offers natural paper small animal bedding options from Oxbow and Kaytee, said Brianna Tamora, sales associate. Owners of small animals such as guinea pigs, hamsters, rats and mice also can find natural paper bedding at Horizon Pet Supply in Wildomar, Calif. Store associate Amanda Lee said customers want their small animals to be comfortable and cozy in their enclosures, and the paper-based products provide that coziness.
Indeed, comfort is key, Stock said, adding that he encourages retailers to open a bag of Pure Comfort bedding to allow customers to feel the softness and texture of it in-store before making a purchase.
“Feeling is believing,” he said. “Another tried and true way to gain a customer’s trust is by recommending a product you use with your own pets or store animals. By using a bedding in store … it becomes very easy to make a trusted recommendation to your valued customers.”—SNH
Protein for Pets, which has several locations in Southern California, carries multiple World’s Best litter varieties as well as Blue Buffalo’s Blue Naturally Fresh walnut shell-based cat litter. Regular customers report that the natural litters meet their needs well.
“They also say it smells better and controls odors better,” Morales said.
Many customers at Village Pets and Supplies in San Francisco are loyal to the natural cat litters that fill the store’s shelves, said Brianna Tamora, sales associate. Brands include World’s Best Cat Litter, Good Mews, sWheat Scoop and Next Gen Pet Products.
“It goes out as fast as it comes in,” said Tamora, noting that customers remain satisfied with the natural litter products. “They trust the litter.”
Products That Deliver
The shift in customers’ attitudes toward natural cat litter has not gone unnoticed by manufacturers.
“I think the most exciting trend recently is that consumers are figuring out that natural litter itself is a viable alternative, not just an environmentally friendly option,” said Janice Yamamoto, director of marketing for Next Gen Pet Products in Laguna Niguel, Calif. “Not only are natural litters just as effective, if not more effective, than traditional litters as far as fighting odor, they are more sustainable.”
And the market has room for all types of natural litters, including but not limited to the wheat-based sWheat Scoop offered by Pet Care Systems of Detroit
Lakes, Minn.; the recycled paper formula found in the Good Mews products manufactured by Stutzman Environmental Products of Canby, Ore.; the corn-based formulas offered by World’s Best Cat Litter, and the newest wood-based formulations offered by Next Gen made from a type of cypress tree called hinoki.
“More and more litters of different natural substrates are entering the market,” Broders said, adding that the natural category continues to see growth.
Retailers can capitalize on the growth of the natural cat litter market by educating their employees and their customers about the ingredients and capabilities of the products. Protein for Pets has ongoing educational programs for store employees, including online training materials and quizzes, Morales said. Manufacturers offer training tools as well, for both employees and cat-owning customers.
“World’s Best Cat Litter offers in-store video monitors, which highlight the features and benefits of our litter,” Broders said. “It’s easy and sits right at the retail shelf, just like having a sales person in the store sharing information.”
Litter for a Lifetime
When sharing information with customers, Yamamoto suggested that retailers mention the volume of cat litter an owner can expect to use during a pet’s lifetime. “Most cats live 15 to 20 years at this point,” she said. “If you think about a box of litter being thrown away every week for 15 to 20 years, that’s a lot of garbage in our landfills. Why wouldn’t you purchase something that will compost either in your yard or in the landfill?”
This article originally appeared in the Fall 2015 issue of Natural Pet News.