BY LINDSEY GETZ
As cat owners have become more educated on the needs of their pets, manufacturers and retailers have responded by producing and
carrying more products just for cats.
The retailers that will be most successful in this
category are those that are paying attention to the
hot topic health concerns. While these issues continue to grow and expand, some of the big ones
include urinary tract and kidney health, hairball
prevention and digestive health. Cat owners are
also a lot more interested in natural products such
as herb and supplement treatments.
“We believe that cat owners are most con-
cerned about how to keep their feline friends
healthy without any adverse side effects,” said
Courtney Mack, marketing communications
specialist for Innovacyn Inc., maker of Veteri-
cyn products, based in Rialto, Calif. “They want
safe and effective products that will heal their
cats without worry about other ingredients
Brad Solomon, co-founder of Prana Pets in
Delray Beach, Fla., said the latest trend is can-
nabidiol (CBD) for cats. The demand for CBD
is especially great for owners of cats with issues
such as seizures, cancer, stomach trouble and joint
problems, he said. Probiotics for cats are also in-
creasingly in demand, Solomon noted.
One of the biggest game changers has been the
ability of cat owners to hop on the internet and
find out information about their cat’s health that
perhaps even their veterinarian hasn’t told them,
said Chris Achord, owner of The Cat Shoppe &
Dog Store in Nashville, Tenn.
“The average cat owner is much more edu-
cated these days,; Achord said. ; They’re coming
in here with some concerns that they’ve already
researched, and it’s our ;ob to provide them with
even more information.”
Achord said one of the main concerns she hears
from cat owners is related to urinary health and
cats’ diets. Most owners have already researched
the fact that cats should not have a dry-food-only
diet, but they are looking for more information
about how to get more li;uid into their cat’s diet,
she said. Any additional information she can pro-
vide is highly valuable and helps build trust with
“One thing that often surprises customers is
that they shouldn’t be using tap water,; Achord
said. “Cats can smell the chlorine. They will drink
a whole lot more if they receive filtered water in
Of course, cat owners also are interested in
preventing problems, said Sheyla Simmers, as-
sistant manager at Dogs & Cats Rule, which has
locations in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
;I think today’s cat owners are being
a lot more proactive,; Simmers said. ; They’re
not just waiting until their cat has a problem.
They’re trying to prevent it with the right diet
Cat Health and Safety in the Spotlight
Retailers report that owners are taking a deeper interest in their pets’ well-being, and they’re looking
for health aids made specifically for cats.
These days, consumers are more
tuned in to their cats’ well-being
and are looking for healthful
solutions to target issues or act
DISPLAYING HEALTH PRODUCTS
Kelley Parsons, manager of Denny’s Pet World in Kirkland, Wash., said that there was a time
when cat health products would get lost amongst all of the dog health products at her store.
“We used to keep supplements all together, but it was just too difficult for cat owners to
pick out the ones specifically meant for cats,” Parsons said. “Now everything is in the cat aisle,
and it’s easy for customers to find.”
Courtney Mack, marketing communications specialist for Innovacyn Inc., maker of
Vetericyn products, based in Rialto, Calif., agreed that having a cat health products section is
“I recommend grouping products made specifically for cat health together,” Mack said.
“Many cat owners like knowing that a product is ‘specially made for cats’ rather than an all-an-imal product. They like to know that the product they may purchase is safe for felines because
some cats can be very sensitive to certain ingredients.
“Adding interesting things to the shelf is always a good eye catcher as well,” she added.
“Shelf danglers and before-and-after images are very striking to display.”
There’s no doubt that cat owners tend to be particular about purchasing products that
are specifically made for cats. Any effort retailers can make to separate the category can
help boost sales, said Michele Rohrig, brand manager, companion animal, for Manna Pro
Products LLC, maker of Nutri-Vet products, based in Chesterfield, Mo.
“It’s important to remember that cats are not little dogs,” Rohrig said. “Many cat owners
are very particular about only purchasing products made for cats. Giving cat owners a little
extra attention can go a long way. Cat sections in the store or displays of cat-only products
paired with educational material on cat health and safety are a good way to put the focus on
cats and their owners.”
Brad Solomon, co-founder of Prana Pets in Delray Beach, Fla., added that blogging and
e-newsletters are also important. Prana Pets likes to partner with retailers to strategize about
online marketing tools, Solomon said.
“We are also strong believers in rewarding our existing customers with monthly promotional offers,” Solomon added. “We pass these promotions on to our retailer partners.”