Thai researchers develop eco-friendly cat litter from cassava

Kaycee Enerva

Kaycee Enerva

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To many cat owners, it may seem obvious that by its very nature cat litter is sustainable. But eco-friendly cat litter products are few and far between. Most are made of sand or bentonite clay – and when mixed with stools, it is not biodegradable and ends up as waste in landfills.

In Thailand, researchers from Chulalongkorn University have come up with a solution – an eco-friendly cat litter made from cassava, ​​a South American root vegetable that is also a staple food in many regions. 

Dubbed Hide & Seek, the cassava-based litter becomes sticky when soaked, solidifies with liquid or stool, and can easily be discarded through compost bins, flushed in the toilet, or used as plant fertiliser.

“I am a cat lover and have been using cat litter products for over a decade,” said Dr Lunjakorn Amornkitbamrung, the lead researcher of the study that led to the creation of the product.  

“The benefit of using plant-based raw material is that the crops can be replaced. This is quite different from the products made from the quarried Bentonite clay, which is a form of destruction of our natural resources.” 

Aside from being eco-friendly and sustainable, producing cassava-based cat litter also supports Thai farmers. 

Dr Amornkitbamrung said that replacement cultivation of crops provides farmers with stable income all year round, and he plans to establish a factory in Chon Buri province where the crop is planted.

“We’ve had talks with the farmers and assured them that we’d offer a price of over 10 baht per kilogram which is higher than the normal price they get at 4-5 baht,” he said.

Dr Lunjakorn and his team are considering expanding the research into developing litter from other crops like sugarcane or paddy husk. 

“These possibilities need to be studied so that other formulas can be developed in the future,” he concluded.

Hide & Seek cassava eco-friendly cat litter is available in retail stores in Thailand and Thonglor Pet Hospital, where it is branded as Dr Choice. It is also available in other countries, including Australia, Vietnam, and Malaysia.

If you are interested in sustainable products for pets, you might want to read about this New Zealand company that makes sustainable pet food from salmon processing offcuts.

Kaycee Enerva

Kaycee Enerva

A digital content manager based in the Philippines, Kaycee Enerva has written for multiple publications over several years. A graduate of Computer Science, she exchanged a career in IT to pursue her passion for writing. She's slowly practicing sustainability through period cups, and eating more plant-based food.

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