added. “Our goal is to [create products that] serve the unique needs of each small animal
species and also design packaging that is not only clean and easy to merchandise and
display for our retail partners, but also easy to understand for the pet-parent customers
who are shopping for a small animal pet.”
Another significant shift in the market is color. In years past, almost all small animal
products were designed to appeal to kids and fit in their play areas or bedrooms.
“Small animals, like hamsters, guinea pigs, rabbits and ferrets, were often brought
into the home to live in a child’s space. Therefore, designers and manufacturers focused
on offering housing in bright primary colors and fun pastels,” Savitt said. “However,
there has been a shift in trend, and pet owners are now much more interested in housing
options that fit more seamlessly into the family’s living space.”
Shoppers in the small animal category are also on the hunt for products that are
affordable and versatile, industry experts report.
Jason Casto, director of Pets International, Kaytee Hard Goods,
in Chilton, Wis., noted that pet owners of all ages are price conscious
“As an expanded market that includes both younger and older
demographics as well as families enjoying small animals as pets, they are looking for
products that do more than just meet their pet’s unique needs,” Casto said. “They are
seeking new and different, innovative, and better quality at a reasonable price.”
Pet World in Lawrence, Kan., offers both indoor and outdoor habitats and enclosures
for pets. Sherry Emerson, owner of the store, said customers continually seek to improve
the lives of their small animal pets.
“We’re noticing more and more interest in what used to be considered oversized
habitats that offer flexible options for design and setup with ample space for animals,”
she said. “For the times you can’t interact with your pet outside of its enclosure, it’s
important to create a large habitat that mimics what animals would experience in the
wild, minus the predator/prey stressors, of course. It’s more than just providing water,
food and shelter.”
ON THE MARKET
Manufacturers are offering a range of small animal habitat options to
appease pet owners’ evolving tastes and demands.
To satisfy pet owners that are looking to follow the latest trends,
Prevue Pet Products, based in Chicago, now offers designs in a more
neutral color palate.
“[Last year,] Prevue introduced two new small animal homes, both
with extra tight wire spacing to help provide peace of mind and keep
pets safe while unattended,” said president Jason Savitt. “Additionally,
both cages have some of the largest living space for small animals on the
market—keeping active pets healthy and engaged.”
Prevue’s Deluxe Critter Home offers -inch tight wire spacing and no
gaps or pinch points, while its Small Animal Home offers plenty of room
but is more compact for a single pet and owners who have less space.
Kaytee recently released the Critter Trail Super Habitat, specifically
designed for larger breeds of small animal pets such as Syrian hamsters,
as a complement to an array of new products in its small animal portfolio.
“The design of Critter Trail still allows multiple habitats and accessories
to be attached to build a connected habitat system of any size,” said Jason
Casto, director of Pets International, Kaytee Hard Goods, in Chilton, Wis.
“However, the new Critter Trail Super Habitat meets a need for a single
Critter Trail habitat with ample living space.”
John Gerstenberger, vice president of product development and
sourcing for Ware Pet Products in Phoenix, said the company will
be launching new small animal habitats at Global Pet Expo in Orlando, Fla.,
“We have listened to feedback from our retail partners and small
animal owners themselves to develop new products that cater to the
unique needs of small animal pets,” he said.
“For the times you can’t interact with
your pet outside of its enclosure, it’s
important to create a large habitat that
mimics what animals would experience
in the wild, minus the predator/prey
stressors, of course. It’s more than just
providing water, food and shelter.”
—Sherry Emerson of Pet World