A soybean hull-based cat litter performs better than some commercial products, but Peoria Ag Lab is having difficulty finding a producer
Scientists at the Peoria Ag Lab have improved upon their recipe for a better kitty litter. Now they just need to find a company interested in bringing it up to a commercial scale.
Plant physiologist Steve Vaughn says soybean hulls may be the key ingredient for a better cat litter.
Previously, Vaughn's team tried out litters based on dried distillers' grains and Eastern red cedar flakes. But two years ago, they received a grant to find a use for soy waste products.
"And we come up with a formulation that is actually as good in every respect are better in some factors than anything that's on the market," he said.
The soybean hulls are combined with guar gum and mineral oil to create the right mix for an effective kitty litter.
Test results published this year show the soybean hull-based litter works as well or better than four of the leading commercial litters in reducing dust and odors. But Vaughn says it's been hard to sell companies on their idea, so far.
"Large companies tend to be, if they want to do it, they'll have in house researchers do their work for them," he said.
He says smaller companies may have an opportunity with the concept, though, but he hasn't heard from any yet.
Vaughn said future research will focus upon the soybean hull litter's potential for inhibiting the growth of a microscopic parasite, Toxoplasma gondii, which can infect humans and cats alike.