At this year’s SuperZoo, The National Show for Pet Retailers that ran from July 31 – August 4 in Las Vegas, innovative pet care outfit OurPet’s Company (OTCQX: OPCO) launched its new OurPets® Switchgrass Natural Cat Litter™ with Biochar (http://nnw.fm/MJyp8). The timing was opportune. It seems there is growing awareness of biochar’s benefits. In a recent interview (http://nnw.fm/tGR6Q), well-known veterinarian Dr. Karen Becker, DVM discussed the virtues of this unique form of charcoal as litter material for cats.
Biochar has a huge surface area because of its porosity. It is also hugely recalcitrant, and so holds on to nutrients, water and smells, the latter of which is an ideal quality for waste management. Biochar also comes in the right particle size, as Dr. Becker explains:
“Studies on the types of litter cats prefer show they are quite particular about particle size. The cat’s evolutionary substrate, for potty purposes, is sand. When kitties started living indoors, clay litter came along and most cats were okay with it. But clay has its own issues.
These days, there’s a wide selection of organic and natural types of litters on the market, but many of them feature big particle sizes, which don’t appeal to most cats. The danger in forcing an objectionable litter on cats is they often develop litter box aversion, which can lead to other problems.”
Just as beneficial, biochar clumps well. Clumping extends the life of the litter and provides a healthier environment for cats. Biochar is also very absorbent. And, of course, biochar litter is 100 percent biodegradable and compostable.
The term biochar typically refers to charcoal that is used to enrich soil. It is most often made by subjecting biomass to pyrolysis (heating without burning). Its property to increase soil fertility has been known to humans for at least two millennia, as the terra preta plots in the Amazonian basis have proven.
Biochar has been found to possess many virtues. Apart from being used as a soil amendment, biochar improves water quality by acting as a filter and acts as a carbon sink. It can trap large amounts of carbon dioxide in the ground for centuries, a process referred to as sequestering. So effective is its role in this respect that policy makers are actively considering its employment as a ‘carbon negative’ agent to reduce global emissions of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide.
OurPet’s Company aims to make the waste and odor category a more significant part of its business in the future. Currently, its flagship product in this area is the SmartScoop®. The company has, over the years, developed over 1,000 product lines and has another 30 or so products in the pipeline, plus an intellectual property stockpile of over 170 patents.
OurPet’s Company has been growing at twice the industry rate. It has had, since 2010, a CAGR of about six percent. The two-pronged branding strategy it initiated in 2011 with the OurPets® brand targeting the pet aficionado and the Pet Zone® brand targeting the mass market has, undoubtedly, paid off.
For more information, visit the company’s website at www.OurPets.com
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