Seeing an opportunity

In 1946 Ed Lowe joined his father’s business in Marcellus, Michigan. Among other products, Lowe & Lowe distributed industrial absorbents for the Dri-Rite Co. A few month later, Ed’s neighbor, Kay Draper, stopped by the Lowes’ warehouse to ask Ed for some sand, explaining that the ashes she used in her cat’s litter box resulted in sooty paw prints all over the house. Instead of sand, Ed suggested she try some fuller’s earth clay he had in the garage. (This particular batch of aborbent clay had been sent as a sample by a Dri-Rite competitor, who hoped Lowe & Lowe would market his product.) Draper took the clay and soon came back for more, finding it far more more absorbent than sand.

After rave reviews from Draper and other neighbors, Ed established a new division at Lowe & Lowe, marketing the material as “Kitty Litter” at pet shops and cat shows throughout the Midwest. Two years later he purchased his father’s distribution business and devoted himself to building a national market for Kitty Litter.

1940s Timeline