Nutrition and Hydration
There has been a surge of interest in waterers and
feeders, especially products that are designed
specifically to satisfy a cat’s comfort and health needs.
BY LINDSEY GETZ
As with anything else, the latest trends in cat dishes, feeders and waterers seem to be driven by those products that offer something innovative and unique. Whether it’s a standard bowl that
has been made in an oval shape so as to not interfere
with a cat’s whiskers or something more advanced,
such as a water fountain or a puzzle feeder, many
of today’s cat owners are intrigued by products that
offer something new or make their lives easier.
“Consumers are always looking beyond the
retail door for innovation,” said Kim Goldswor-
thy, general manager of sales and marketing for
Wellington, New Zealand-based Heyrex Ltd. “Pet
parents seek innovation, especially where products
are multifunctional or solve pet parent problems,
such as having clean water with no spills in a trav-
Gretchen George, president of PetRageous De-
signs in Burlington, Mass., said that dog owners
have always demanded that retailers supply a wide
variety of feeding options, and the growing cat feed-
ing category is mirroring that trend. That’s import-
ant, because cats actually can be more finicky about
their feeding habits.
“The shape and depth of cat bowls is a really important feature to consumers,” George said. “
Unlike dogs, cats can be picky about their feeding and
watering ware. Oval-shaped bowls allow cats to eat
and drink without their whiskers touching the rim.”
The growing interest in cat fountains and dishes is overdue, said Matt O’Leary, manager at Felix
; Oscar in Springfield, ;a. ;e said he has noticed
increased interest in these products at his store
and is happy to see these items get the attention
“There is a real need for this kind of product,”
O’Leary said. “There is more of an issue with cats
and obesity today, and products that require a little
bit of thought—such as a puzzle feeder—will help
them burn off some of that energy as they work for
O’Leary noted that water fountains are getting
more attention from customers as they begin to un-
derstand their value.
“Cats are attracted to moving water simply because of their natural instincts,” O’Leary said. “In
the wild, stagnant water means bacteria. That’s
why cats tend to love running faucets. Once cat
parents understand what this product is, there’s a
A DISPLAY TO REMEMBER
Cross-merchandising and making sure to highlight innovative, new products are key
merchandising strategies for boosting sales in the waterer and feeder category.
Gretchen George, president of PetRageous Designs in Burlington, Mass., reccom-mended that retailers cross-merchandise complementary products. For example,
placemats can be easily merchandised with products in this category.
“Showcase bowls and feeders with coordinating placemats so that consumers
can see a complete feeding section and picture how these items may work in their
own home,” said Sarah Ercolani, owner of Fun Time Dog Shop in Dexter, Mich.
She said that using displays of new and exciting products often is what entices
her higher-end customers to check out innovative products such as puzzle feeders
or water fountains.
“While the high-end customer that wants the latest and greatest product only
comprises about 30 percent of my customer base, it’s still worth rotating in those
new products to satisfy their interest,” Ercolani said. “I will do a feature display in a
prominent area to show off something new and innovative.”
And though customers might not always buy the product on the spot, Ercola-
ni is showing her customers that she is keeping up with the latest in the indus-
try. Kim Goldsworthy, general manager of sales and marketing for Wellington,
New Zealand-based Heyrex Ltd., said that’s important in capturing an audience
that views the retailer as an expert.
“Through offering lesser-known products on the market, retailers have an opportunity to talk to their customers and really sell them on the benefits of these new innovations,” Goldsworthy said. “Retailers need to be seen offering new products. They
need to be vocal about what’s new, why they’re selling it and what makes it special.”
Last year, International Pet Group in Las Vegas introduced the Garfield Cat Fountain, designed to address both feline lower urinary tract disease and oral health
concerns, said David Ezra, CEO. A Replacement Oral Care Kit is available for the
“Veterinarians tell us hydration is the key to help reduce FLUTD, and cats are
naturally attracted to the sound of running water,” Ezra said. “Our oral care system,
which is tasteless and odorless, is revolutionary in its delivery system and helps
reduce plaque and tartar in a cat’s mouth while also promoting fresher breath.”
PetRageous Designs in Burlington, Mass., is offering several new cat bowls, as
well as a new stoneware feeder and stainless steel feeder. The Cancun Cat Diner
includes two brushed stainless steel, one-cup-capacity bowls in a powder-coated
metal frame. It is accented by fish-shaped supports.
F.E.E.D. Co., based in Philadelphia, introduced the NoBowl Feeding System, the
first indoor hunting system that satisfies a cat’s natural instinct to hunt, according to
the company. It comes with a NoBowl Trainer (for the rookie hunter), five NoBowls
and a portion filler. The NoBowls, which the cat owner fills with kibble, are shaped
like mice and are designed to roll and move in the way a mouse or bird would. The
complete feeding system replaces a cat’s bowl, allowing the cat to stalk, trap and play
with its food, which satisfies its natural instincts.
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