In 1991 some enterprising geologists including Dr Ray Merchant sought and found a New Zealand commercial source of the volcanic rock Zeolite whose beneficial properties of absorbency and especially unpleasant odour control were popular for use in animal litter.
Land near Rotorua was purchased, a quarry licence issued, and a factory set up to make create NZ’s first home grown pet litter marketed by Yates.
Dr Merchant created a number of successful products utilising Zeolite, and in 2003 discovered that combining his knowledge of minerals and fibres to develop new composite materials would prove ideal for use as pet litter. He established a company called Fibre Mineral Technology Limited to develop products using minerals and fibres sourced specifically from New Zealand.
(photo Zeolite mine near Rotorua NZ)
For years, Dr Merchant challenged himself with the science and technology behind the method, recipe formulation and machinery required to enable manufacture a pet litter that would out perform competitors. It began with utter determination and Kiwi spirit intensively testing by trial and error in a back yard shed. To succeed he needed his recipe for pet litter to be…
safe to animals
light and easy to use
readily and responsibly disposable
actively odour controlling
low or no dust
have a reasonable tray life
above all, appealing to pets!
Importantly, extra effort was put into making an environmentally friendly and sustainable product to play a part in reducing waste by using recycled, recyclable and biodegradable fibre and materials. Finally in 2014 with a successful pellet composition came the birth of PAWS Pet Litter, and sales production saw growth from a backyard shed to a home built garage plant that has now gone on to become a fully operational boutique factory.
Today, PAWS Pet Litter is still a locally made (Napier, NZ) product that is batch crafted with care, and made from recycled and natural ingredients to be the best for cats and the environment.