Cat litters: where do Russian cats pee

Text: Yulia Dolzhenkova

The Russian market of cat litters grows 10–11% annually despite of stagnating cat population and purchasing power decrease. The growth driver is expanding culture of pet care.


 

Domestic production

The market is for about 90% formed by domestically manufactured products.

Both large and small Russian companies are engaged in the production and packaging of cat litter. This is largely due to the fact that the variety of available raw materials and equipment needed is extremely wide.

It is relatively easy to organize production of litter using locally available organic raw materials (wood waste, sawdust, flitch, chips). It does not require significant investment. Even a beginner entrepreneur can do it.

The manufacture using bentonite clay, zeolite or synthetic polysilic acid crystals (silica gel), requires expensive raw materials and equipment. Only large companies that have their own production base can handle it. These are ‘Bentonite Group’ including Leading LLC, one of the largest in Russia clumping litters manufacturers, as well as ‘New Technologies’ and ‘Siberian Cat’ companies.

‘New Technologies’ production site.

Main players

Bentonite Group owns deposits of bentonite clays in Khakassia, the Urals and Azerbaijan.

The Siberian Cat company offers a wide range of absorbent and clumping litters. Some of their products are packaged at the factory, and the litters from bentonite clay are made of their own raw materials. “We have our own quarry in Khakassia,” says Gennady Palevich, the founder and CEO of the Siberian Cat company. “There are only ten such quarries In Russia, but we are the only ones who mine specifically for the purpose of cat litter production.”

Siberian cat bentonite quarry in Khakassia.
Siberian Cat production.

Alexey Korolkov, the owner of the New Technologies company, highlights limited reserves of raw materials cause issues when it comes to getting property rights over quarries and operating them.

There is also silica gel production in Russia, but in this category Russian manufacturers are being pushed out of the market by Chinese competitors. Currently, the main producer of silica gel in Russia is the Salavat Catalyst Plant. About 40 pet companies buy raw materials for their litters from them, which is to 300 tons per month on average.

Wide range of brands

The range of litter on the Russian market is represented by over 100 recognizable brands of Russian and foreign origin. There are lots of umbrella brands which cover the entire product line of various kinds of litter. Domestic brands: Barsik, #1, Crystals, Compact, Siberian Cat, Kuzya, Pi-Pi Bent, Kotyara, Si-Si Cat and many others. The leading imported brands are: Ever Clean, Fresh Step, Cat Step, Catsan, Sivocat, Simba, etc.

Many Russian specialty retailers sell a variety of their exclusive brands litters. These chains are Four Paws, Le’Murrr, Bethowen. Major grocery chains provide huge volumes of private label litter in their supermarkets: Pyaterochka, Lenta, Carousel, Auchan, VkusVille, Billa, Metro, etc. Depending on the type, these products are made to order by Russian manufacturers or imported from abroad.

Taking into account such a variety of brands and PLs, suppliers are forced to heavily invest into marketing. Unfortunately, due to the economic situation in the country, most of this ‘investment’ goes into price promotion. In the end, this has a negative impact on marginality of products.

Market volume

Major market players highlight that, even though the purchasing power of the population declined in recent years, the demand for cat litter remains approximately at the same level. Thus, in the period between 2015 and 2019, their annual sales growth (in volume) was pretty sustainable and fluctuated in the range of 5–20% depending on the manufacturer, with stagnation or a very slight growth in 2018.

Discovery Research Group estimated the cat litter market in Russia at… more

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