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  • info@lowe.org
  • 58220 Decatur Road, Cassopolis, MI 49031

Persuasive showman

The public should know who was behind Kitty Litter, so they know who to blame and who to trust or not trust.

— Ed Lowe

Ed possessed an exuberant personality and sense of timing that made him a natural born salesman. This was particularly helpful as he “put rubber on the road” to build the Kitty Litter brand.

To convince skeptical pet-store owners to stock his products, Ed would produce a small box of litter and then pour a glass of water into it, stirring with a stick until the moisture disappeared. He repeated the demonstration at cat shows across the country, giving free product to show organizers in exchange for booth space. Within two years Kitty Litter was available not only in pet shops, but also large department stores such as Saks Fifth Avenue, Hudson’s and Marshall Fields.

Complex personality

Brian Zechman, an employee at Ed and Darlene’s Florida ranch, recalls first meeting Ed Lowe in the 1970s while working as a stock boy at a Winn Dixie grocery. Ed wanted to know if the store had more bags of Tidy Cat (his mass-market version of Kitty Litter) than could be found on the shelf. “I told him we had a ton of it in the stockroom,” Zechman says. “Ed then said something about not being able to sell it from the back room, and ultimately convinced my manager and me to set up a large stacked display in the aisle.”

In the 1980s Ed appeared in his own ads, including television commercials, which was a marketing first. This ran contrary to the advice of his ad agency, which viewed it as “vanity marketing.” Yet Ed believed that linking his name with his products was about integrity, not vanity. “The public should know who was behind Kitty Litter,” he wrote, “so they know who to blame and who to trust or not trust.” The result: sales soared, and Ed received thousands of fan letters.