July 10, 2019

PURR: On this day in 1920, Ed Lowe, the inventor of kitty litter was born. I’m not kidding. “Kitty litter” wasn’t invented till 1947. Before that people used sand or dirt or they just let the cat outside.

Lowe and his father ran a business in Michigan that sold sand, sawdust, and clay in bulk to heavy industry. One cold January day, a neighbor, Mrs. Draper, asked him for some sand for her cat, since her own sand pile was frozen. Instead of sand, he gave her Fuller’s earth—a type of absorbent clay. She loved it. It worked much better than sand.

Ed got a bright idea—ultimately an idea worth hundreds of millions of dollars: Why not sell the stuff? The local pet store owner was dubious. He couldn’t see how anyone would be dumb enough to pay their hard-earned money for kitty litter when dirt and sand were essentially free. But Lowe persuaded him to give it away free so cat owners could see how great it was compared to what they were using. It worked! Like Mrs. Draper, customers loved it.

See how easy it can be to make hundreds of millions of dollars? I love America. And so does my little feline Leopold.

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