Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Cats Incredible Litter: A Unique Insider's View

Throughout my entire professional career, I've always made a point to do what I enjoy, and be associated with companies that I felt reflected my own values. In over 30 years of working I can honestly say I'm proud of the jobs I've held and the companies for whom I've worked. The past 20 years have been within the pet industry in various leadership roles (Pet Care Superstores, Petco, Natural Balance Pet Foods/Big Heart Pet Brands and now Lucy Pet Products). A few years ago I co-founded a consulting practice Zarhill Partners Group which has enabled me to assist a wide range of companies and brands world-wide in the pet industry, as well as in multiple other industries. To this day I continue a leadership capacity for our consulting group which brings me to a very special company called Lucy Pet Products.

I started out serving on the Board of Directors for the Lucy Pet Foundation, a non-profit 501 (c) (3) animal charity whose mission is to help reduce rate of unnecessary euthanasia of dogs and cats in the word. In the USA alone, every week 80,000 dogs and cats are put to sleep due to overpopulation. My exposure to the work of the Lucy Pet Foundation has been educational and rewarding. Our mobile spay and neuter clinic works continuously in local communities, particularly in low-income areas to provide free and low-cost spay and neuter services. The Lucy Pet Foundation wants to expand its reach and help address this issue in communities nationwide and around the world. That's what led to the formation of Lucy Pet Products. We formed this company to develop and market high quality products for dogs and cats where all net proceeds (after operating expenses, interest and taxes) go to help fund the Lucy Pet Foundation. Initially in a consulting role, I was honored to help contribute to the Lucy Pet Products brand, and early products, such as our super premium shampoos and leave-in conditioning sprays and more recently the super premium Cats Incredible clumping clay cat litter. This year I joined Lucy Pet Products as EVP and a partner in this very special company. Our mission is simple- to develop really great quality products, that are made in the USA, and sell them in pet specialty stores with all net of proceeds (after operating expenses, interest and taxes) going to charity.

So what is the "Insider's View" referenced in the title of this blog post? Well, it is because I was personally involved at every step in the development of our Cats Incredible litter. We are a small group of pet lovers...each of us has multiple pets, many rescued from shelters and off the streets too. Dogs, Cats, Birds, even a Pig. At every step of the way in developing Cats Incredible we set out to develop the very best quality, even if it meant at a higher cost, and having to raise the standards in the industry to achieve our goal. We started with extensive testing of virtually every cat litter on the market today in the US pet market. We analyzed many products, from clay based to alternative based materials.

Now is a good time to mention that roughly 17 years ago I was a cat litter buyer at Petco, and had a great deal of experience and knowledge of the litter category. Regardless of my prior knowledge, we started fresh and observed each litter with our own cats. One surprising discovery was that several of the "alternative" litters, in particular the ones made from corn and wheat had some major negatives. Since corn and wheat are food grains, these litter types attract pests easily, but more shockingly tend to "rot" when exposed to moisture and develop mold and high levels of bacteria--even without feces or urine.

We chose to develop Cats Incredible using a super premium form of pure sodium bentonite, from the USA with stringent requirements to protect/preserve the environment. We also learned about the environmental impact of various cat litters. We learned that the alternative corn and wheat litters have a MUCH HIGHER carbon impact to the environment than clay litters. You see, to make corn or wheat litter requires water to grow the grain, then harvesting, followed by cooking, processing and treating. The factory process of those materials also have carbon impacts that collectively far exceed the simple process of extracting sodium bentonite and treating it for use as a cat litter. So, for those of you concerned with the environment, you are much better off using a clay litter than a corn or wheat based litter. I should also mention that after sodium bentonite is extracted (from a very shallow base of soil) the land is restored and reclaimed to be same or better than before the clay layer was extracted. The process literally adds fresh top soil, and plants things like grass, trees, of other vegetation that helps support local wildlife, cattle, birds, etc. So when you look at the true comparison of clay litter versus many of those "alternative" litters, you find that clay is actually better off for the environment. On top of this, sodium bentonite is actually better at managing cat waste, and cats prefer using it.

Perhaps the biggest reason that makes Cats Incredible so vastly superior to any other litter on the market is the inclusion of a patent-pending technology we call Smell Squasher. This technology actually stops ammonia from forming in the litter box, when used as directed. Cat lovers may not realize that ammonia is in their litter box, but they certainly know the bad smell. The unpleasant smell is only half the problem. The real issue is that ammonia can be dangerous and toxic to cats and people too.  Through our studies, I was surprised to learn how high the levels of ammonia reach in the typical cat litter box. It starts building in a few days, and continues to build--even if you scoop regularly. Over the course of 5, 10, 15, 20 and 30 days, ammonia levels have the potential to reach 30ppm-- a level the US EPA considers unsafe for humans. Imagine our poor cats breathing in those dangerous ammonia levels every day!

We decided that this technology was essential to utilize in Cats Incredible. We set out on a mission to help cats live healthier lives by educating cat lovers everywhere that they must not allow ammonia to form in their cat litter box at all! After reviewing nearly every other litter on the market, we found that many use heavy perfumes to cover up the smell. Others claim to absorb, neutralize or encapsulate the smell. From my market review, NONE of these actually ever prevent the ammonia from forming in the first place.

As a cat parent myself, I was not aware that ammonia exposure in cats can cause upper respiratory infections, and many other conditions such as vomiting, loss of appetite, hair loss, diarrhea, trembling of limbs, convulsions, dull coat and more. I used to mistake some of these things that my cat Owen was suffering from and just accepted them as "normal cat issues" but they have been tied to the ammonia exposure. Ever since switching to Cats Incredible, the ammonia is gone and he doesn't seem to suffer from as many health issues.

This is why I believe that Cats Incredible truly is the best and healthiest option for cats on the market. I am so proud to have been a part of the development of this truly unique product. Knowing that we will help cats avoid the health issues from ammonia exposure makes me feel good. Not to mention the fact that all net of proceeds (after operating expenses, interest and taxes) going to charity!

So it is with great pride that I write this post, sharing my insider's view of how Cats Incredible litter was developed, and why. We may be a small company and don't have the resources of those huge corporations that make other litters, but we have worked with the best-in class industry partners to develop a world-class cat litter that will help cats live healthier lives.

If you like to support products that make a difference for animals in need, Cats Incredible litter is part of our "Products With a Cause" program. Every purchase will help our mission. Right now, Independent Pet Specialty stores across the USA and Canada are adding Cats Incredible to their stores. Soon, Petco stores nationwide will also carry Cats Incredible. We've also had requests worldwide, so we just started exporting Cats Incredible to Japan, Hong Kong, China, Taiwan, S. Korea and many other countries. It is so rewarding to develop a new brand with mission to help cats live healthier lives. Just as it has been throughout my entire career, I am doing things I enjoy with people I like.

If you are a cat lover, check out our Cats Incredible litter. For the sake of your cats health and yours too.

Disclaimers...

This blog is about life experiences & observations and stuff I am interested in. It is simply a side hobby and creative outlet; generally with a tongue-in-cheek tone. I don't take it too seriously, nor should you. I do not profess to represent every point of view. Nothing on this site is a paid post.

It is for entertainment purposes only it, so just lighten up and just enjoy it. Life is short, live in the moment.

As the author, thoughts/views have no affiliation to my clients, business colleagues or my company.