From an amusing Emily Yoffee article in Slate:
Cat litter has made possible the indoor-only cat, leading cats to surpass dogs as America’s most popular pet. The modern cat-litter industry was started in 1947, when the late Edward Lowe, helping a cat-owning neighbor, suggested she use in a cat box the absorbent clay he sold for cleaning oil drips at machine shops. She was so happy with the result that he put some in bags, called it Kitty Litter, and, after convincing a skeptical pet store owner to first let him give it away, began selling it to grateful cat lovers. He became a multimillionaire, and cat litter became a $1.3 billion-a-year business. [emphasis added
What an interesting concept: litter made possible the cultural construction of the indoor cat. Another example of how technology and nature are co-productions.
That reminds me, I’ve got to do litter tonight.
[To the tune of Al Stewart, “Year Of The Cat,” from the album The Best Of Al Stewart.]