There’s an emerging trend inside cat boxes. Environmentally friendly cat litter sales are increasing, as cat owners seek natural litter options that offer less mess, easy disposal, good fluid absorption and odor control.

The cat litter category, in general, is growing along with the growing feline pet population. While traditional clay litter continues to lead sales, the pet industry is responding to consumers who want eco-friendly and health-focused products, including brands that are biodegradable.

“Inside the Box” Benefits of Innovative Litter Brands

Environmentally Friendly: Cat owners of all ages are looking for an option to throwing heavy plastic bags of clay cat litter into the garbage and ultimately a landfill. The answer may be sustainable, biodegradable ingredients such as walnut shells, coconut, bamboo, cassava, hemp, wheat and corn. Natural ingredients can be composted and made into mulch. If they end up in a landfill (if not in a plastic bag), they will decompose. Another eco-friendly option is litter made from recycled newspaper, which reduces landfill space and saves trees.

Pet Safe: Low dust litters and those without toxins, chemicals and additives may reduce allergy and respiratory problems for cats (and people, too!). Low dust litters help keep the product off cats’ paws, reducing their ingestion when paws are licked clean. Lower dust also means less litter traveling throughout a home. Some litters are free of scents and dyes to reduce allergic reactions.

Lighter Weight and Easier Disposal: Cleaning the cat box is an unwelcome chore for most people, but for many, the weight of a new litter purchase and the removal of the old litter are physically challenging. Some lighter weight natural litter ingredients are grass, paper and wood products. They are easier to handle and dispose of and are biodegradable.

Fluid and Odor Absorption: Clay clumping litters are popular because they make poop and pee removal easier. There are all-natural clumping litters, which are made from wheat, cassava and corn. As for odor, natural litter Ingredients like walnut shells, orange tree stems, lavender, charcoal and pine pellets can help mask odors. To make sure cats use the box, some natural litters use plant-based ingredients to attract cats.

At first glance, some natural litters may seem pricier than traditional clay litter. But these innovative litters may last longer and may require less product in the litter box over a given period.

Educating your staff on the benefits of natural litters can help customers make the right choice for their cats.

Here are ideas for merchandising litter in your store to impact sales:

• Create a “natural” section of your store for litter and other eco-friendly products to draw attention. Consider posting signage on the benefits of each product.

• Set up a litter display where customers can see, smell and compare brands. Consider giving demos of the litter when talking to consumers by adding water to a litter sample to show absorption, clumping and odor control.

• Give out samples of new litters so that cat parents can try them out before committing to an entire bag or box.

• Offer home delivery for your customers who find cat litter too heavy and clumsy to transport.

Helping cat parents solve litter box challenges while keeping their homes smelling fresh can result in happy customers and recurring sales.