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Seeking a fix for their furbaby’s woes, this M’sian ended up starting a safe litter brand

As the feline furbaby to a first-time cat parent, Mr Miyagi (not the fictional Karate master from Karate Kid, mind you) had been showered with all kinds of pet supplies from the pet shop. This included cat litter, of course. 

However, Mr Miyagi started to sneeze vigorously. His parent took him to the vet, where he was poked and prodded during clinical tests. “As a cat parent, nothing hurts like watching your cat suffer,” they recalled.

After days of hospitalisation, the verdict that they got was that Mr Miyagi’s ingestion of clay and silica-based litter dust over the years had caused respiratory problems. With this understanding, the cat parent set out to create a solution—Pottycats

We’re happy to report Mr Miyagi is perfectly healthy now / Image Credit: Pottycats

Potentially cat-astrophic risks

Before deciding to start Pottycats, though, the founder did attempt to look for alternative litter brands.

The most popular types of litter are clay-based or silica-based litter. According to the Pottycats team, sodium bentonite, which is found in clay clumping litter, is a “strong chemical sealant” used in building development.

However, a quick Google search showed that the chemical itself isn’t necessarily bad. Instead, it’s the fact that it can absorb 15 times its original volume that may cause problems. This means that if the litter ingested, it can cause severe and possibly fatal health issues. 

On the other hand, crystal cat litter uses sodium silicate. This type of litter is absorbent and provides odour control, but it can be dangerous if ingested too. 

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Pottycats’ regular and charcoal litter / Image Credit: Pottycats

Furthermore, Pottycats shared that crystalline silica dust, which can be found in some lower-quality crystal litters, can cause silicosis, a form of lung disease. 

According to a Pet MD article by a doctor of veterinary medicine, a “large quantity of either clay or silica litter would need to be ingested to really be dangerous to your cat”. But given Mr Miyagi’s health scare, it makes sense why some cat parents may be extra concerned about that possibility. 

So, Mr Miyagi’s parents decided to look into a safer, biodegradable option, which ended up lying in soy and tofu.

Litter-ally safe for cats

After a year of research and development, Pottycats made its debut in 2017. According to the team, they had collaborated with independent international researchers and developers to come up with the end result. 

“Our primary goal is to ensure that the ingredients used are plant-based and safe for cats while also addressing odour and cleaning up, which are two major sources of frustration for cat parents,” Pottycats’ team explained. 

According to the website, the litter is made primarily of soy/tofu, food gum, starch, and water.

A pack of litter should last around a month / Image Credit: Pottycats

As the litter consists of food-grade and plant-based ingredients, this means that your cat could ingest the litter in small quantities, though cat parents should not encourage the habit. 

Another feature of the litter is its flushability. The litter is supposed to disintegrate immediately when flushed so as to not clog your plumbing system. Of course, you’re only supposed to flush one to two scoops at a time.

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Today, Pottycats is not the first or only soy or tofu litter brand around. In 2017, though, the founder felt like there was a gap in the market, especially locally. The team also believes that Pottycats has established itself as a favourite in the market over the past five years.

On the Pottycats FAQ page, the team admitted that there are other brands that sell tofu litter at a cheaper price. However, they argued that those will “break during scooping, be dusty, and have an odour after a few days of use”. 

Pottycats has three variants of litter—original, charcoal, and mixed. The charcoal helps with getting rid of odours without using any artificial scents. A 6-litre-pack for each variant is RM35 and ordering in greater quantities is a few ringgit cheaper. 

While the team said most cats adapt easily to their litter, customers can also reach out to ask for assistance with the transition process. 

Su-purr-ting other cat parents 

Beyond just litter, Pottycats wants to address cat care as a whole. 

“Pottycats specialises in potty care by providing high-quality and effective products, personal consultation on potty training for new cat parents, potty care guidance, monthly home delivery service, and litter personalisation,” the team explained. 

Proceeds from Pottycats’ Save Our Cats tote bags went to PAWS Animal Welfare Society

Other than cat products, Pottycats also supports animal adoption, having collaborated with various organisations such as PAWS Animal Welfare Society to run campaigns. One of such campaigns was a Save The Cats campaign, for which they created limited edition tote bags. 

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Pottycats also has a cat care blog housed on its website. It gets updated rather regularly with informative articles. The recent few articles discuss a cat’s ideal weight, the benefits of wet food and dry food, as well as how to tell if your cat poop is healthy.

A paw-sitive future

Over the past five years, Pottycats has been able to garner 19K followers on Instagram. The team believes that it is due in part to cat parents being more educated than ever. 

Pottycats’ Potty Kit includes regular litter, charcoal litter, a PottyScoop and a PottyBox

“Consumers have evolved and become smarter in their decision-making as a result of the power of the internet, social media, social influences, word of mouth, and other resources,” they said. 

The team hinted at possibly introducing some new product lineups this year. Down the road, they also hope to expand into different cat care categories.

All future products will most likely be Mr Miyagi-approved, and that should be able to give other furparents peace of mind when it comes to Pottycats’ products.

  • Learn more about Pottycats here
  • Read other articles we’ve written about Malaysian startups here.

Featured Image Credit: Pottycats


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