Quiet and yet surprisingly disruptive, the takeover of manufacturer Bob Martin by Pets Choice Ltd has led to a dearth of supermarket-brand cat litter, forcing some shoppers to pay twice as much as usual for alternative brands.
Providing pet products since 1892, Bob Martin (UK) Ltd went into administration late last year but was able to continue most of its operations due to a successful acquisition by Pets Choice. However, it would seem an element of contractual disruption has caused the manufacture and supply of cat litter to grind to a halt.
@Tesco is there a national shortage of Tesco own brand £1.84 10L cat litter? Are you having issues with supplier? Any expected back in Gateshead? My cats are very fussy. ?— Helen Peacock (@zankrep) January 13, 2020
The shelves of Tesco, Morrison's and Sainsbury's have been laid bare in recent weeks. Alternative-brand cat litter is available, but according to some owners, costs twice as much as the shops' own brand.
Frustrated cat owners have now deluged Twitter to demand the return of cheap outhouse grain. Some shoppers have complained that they are not able to afford the alternative brands.
“Why have the shelves been empty for weeks I can't afford double price alternatives?” said one tweep. According to The Mirror, another took to the socials to complain that her cat would use nothing except ultra-clumping cat litter.
@Morrisons Not been able to get your own brand cat litter for weeks now. Been to all the stores in Bradford but nothing. Any idea when this issue might be resolved?— Gurshan Kaur (@Gurshan_Yorks) January 4, 2020
In light of the numerous outpourings, supermarkets have down-played the problem. Asda and Tesco told customers they were working to clean up the situation as quickly as possible; Sainsbury's “apologised for the inconvenience caused to customers.”
Morrison's admitted to there being a problem with supplies, but also told one customer that its own brand cat litter had been “discontinued”.
@sainsburys hello what’s happening with your cat litter? I need some desperately for my cats and my store hasn’t had any since before Christmas. They only like your ultra clumping one had to get wood one and they won’t use it ☹️— Nicola Southall (@nicolasouthall) January 10, 2020
Back to normal “in the coming weeks”
None of the big names was able to say when manufacture and supply would be back to normal, although a spokesperson for Pets Choice told The Mirror, “Pets Choice/Bob Martin are pleased to confirm that all listings with major customers have now been instated after the transition period following on from the company changes in November."
“Bob Martin pride themselves in making quality healthcare products and can confirm that Felight Cat Litter is now available to all retailer.
“As such, distribution of this product will be back to normal in the coming weeks.”