Green cats eye up new kitty litter

June 6, 2011 By Colin Smith
Green cats eye up new kitty litter developed by Imperial researchers
The cat litter has small a amount of absorbent polymer, which is also used in nappies to soak up waste.

(PhysOrg.com) -- Scratching around in the kitty tray could soon be a greener experience for cats in the UK and world-wide, thanks to a new type of low-cost cat litter developed by researchers at Imperial College London, in partnership with a leading supplier of pet products.

Currently, the biggest selling types of cat litter products are low-cost brands that are primarily made from such as bentonite and sepiolite, which are mined and imported from quarries in Mediterranean countries. However, these products have a significant and high product miles because they have to be transported over .

Now, the Imperial team, working with the pet products company Bob Martin, has developed a new type of low-cost cat litter that is made from waste material already available in UK quarries, making the cat litter more sustainable. The new cat litter does not have to be transported far to be either processed or sold, reducing its impact on the environment. It is expected to be available in leading supermarkets from 2012.

One of the challenges for the team was to develop cat litter with the absorbent qualities of the minerals used in imported cat litter products.

The researchers had to augment the quarry waste material, which primarily consists of limestone fines, so that it could become more absorbent. The team mixed the with an organic binder and a small amount of absorbent used in nappies to soak up waste. The ingredients were then mixed and dried to produce a granular cat litter product.

Dr. Chris Cheeseman, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Imperial College London, who worked on the project, says:

“Most people would not realise all the stringent tests that all products have to go through before they reach the consumer. Even humble cat litter! We had to develop a product that was absorbent and robust enough so that it didn’t end up as pulverised dust when tipped out of a packet. We even had to make sure that cat litter did not stick to pussy paws and leave cat tracks throughout the house. On a more serious note, it was great working with Bob Martin on this project. We have developed a potentially world leading product that could be manufactured and marketed anywhere in the world where people keep cats.”

The team behind the new cat litter also believes that the engineered granule technology they have created could be adapted for use in a range of other applications including new engineered de-icing grits for roads, soil supplements to increase the efficiency of water irrigation and speciality horticultural products.

Explore further: A mounain lion mystery -- what killed P8?

Related Stories

Dry dog, cat food products recalled

May 14, 2007

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced the voluntary nationwide recall of various Sensible Choice and Kasco dry dog and cat food products.

Recommended for you

Scientific advances can make it easier to recycle plastics

November 17, 2017

Most of the 150 million tons of plastics produced around the world every year end up in landfills, the oceans and elsewhere. Less than 9 percent of plastics are recycled in the United States, rising to about 30 percent in ...

The spliceosome—now available in high definition

November 17, 2017

UCLA researchers have solved the high-resolution structure of a massive cellular machine, the spliceosome, filling the last major gap in our understanding of the RNA splicing process that was previously unclear.

Ionic 'solar cell' could provide on-demand water desalination

November 15, 2017

Modern solar cells, which use energy from light to generate electrons and holes that are then transported out of semiconducting materials and into external circuits for human use, have existed in one form or another for over ...

Pulling iron out of waste printer toner

November 15, 2017

Someday, left-over toner in discarded printer cartridges could have a second life as bridge or building components instead of as trash, wasting away in landfills and potentially harming the environment. One group reports ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.