Healthcare and Supplements for Cats
Addressing cat health issues with supplemental solutions that address their specific needs allows retailers to better target a growing demographic of owners.
Pet health used to be something owners just reacted to. When their cats got sick, the owner took it to the vet. Today, owners are increasingly interested in being proactive with supplements and other treatments to help their felines live longer, healthier lives.
“In general, we’ve noticed over the last five years a huge shift when it comes to the type of products pet parents are looking for. More and more, pets are rightfully becoming equal members of the family,” says Chelsea Gennings, vice president of business development and special projects for Pet Releaf. “With that, pet parents don’t want to be purchasing products that allow their pet to simply survive, they are looking for products that will also allow them to thrive.”
Between 2012 and 2016, the pet food supplement category reached a compound annual growth rate of 4 percent according to Pet Supplements Market in the U.S., 6th Edition. The Packaged Facts report also found that dog owners purchased three times more supplements than cat owners.
This gap in supplement spending between dog and cat owners simply means it is an “untapped category,” says Susan Goldstein, founder of Earth Animal. “If you pay it proper attention, I think it’s a very good business opportunity for the retailer,” she says.
A Healthy Gut
In addition to stocking supplements and healthcare products geared toward cats, retailers should also look for items that target specific health problems. One of the most common areas of concern among cat owners is digestive health, says Goldstein.
“There are a couple of real pillar categories that concern us as healing practitioners. One is digestion; 70 percent of the immune system, or the body’s defense mechanism against disease, is in the digestive track. It’s extremely important for parents of cats to understand this and to make sure that proper digestion takes place,” she explains.
In addition to the holistic company’s overall health mainstay, Dr. Bob’s Daily Health Nugget, Earth Animal has a wide range of products that target individual areas of the body, including the digestive system. Earth Animal Healthy Digestion, for example is a special blend of ingredients formulated by Dr. Bob Goldstein to help pets support normal digestive function by maintaining proper gut flora and pH.
The company also offers a liquid healthy digestive care product for easy administration via water or dropper. Earth Animal’s No More Runs is composed of organic and wild-crafted herbal extracts of active ingredients, including chamomile, white oak bark, meadowsweet, bayberry root and slippery elm.
Disease and disorder prevention itself is important, says Goldstein, but so is offering pet parents a product that does not cause side effects while preventing and treating conditions that are specific to cats.
A strong immune system is key to preventing a whole host of diseases and ailments. One of the most innovative solutions for boosting cats’ natural defense system is CBD.
“For cats, in particular, we see a lot of pet parents looking for products that can help them keep and maintain their agility and movement as they age,” explains Gennings. “Pet Releaf’s organic line of CBD products offers all-natural, 100 percent safe and truly effective options that can help cats maintain their most instinctual qualities by being a potent anti-inflammatory and turbo boost to the immune system.”
Pet Releaf’s award-winning Liposome Hemp Oil for cats harnesses the power of naturally occurring CBD in hemp to support the immune system, promote self-healing and reduce inflammation. Like all Pet Releaf products, the oil’s hemp is sourced from the largest USDA certified organic hemp farm in the U.S. and tested by a third party for potency. It’s also formulated to be more pleasing for cats’ discerning tastes.
“Because cats are more finicky than dogs when it comes to taking supplements, at Pet Releaf we’ve been incorporating brand new, all-natural and ethically-sourced ingredients primarily focused on palatability for felines,” says Gennings. “This is why our latest patent-pending oil technology, Liposome Hemp Oils, are mixed with sustainably sourced Wild Alaskan Salmon Oil and allow our organic full spectrum hemp extract to be placed directly on meals.”
One area often overlooked in pet care is dermatology. It’s ranked in the top 10 reasons pet owners take their cats to the veterinarian.
“A cat with skin allergies can become an infected mess as the cat can obsessively groom, lick, scratch and rub to find relief. ZYMOX offers relief,” explains Debra Decker, director of marketing for Pet King Brands, Inc., maker of ZYMOX.
The ZYMOX line features a range of topical enzymatic solutions, including a shampoo, conditioning rinse, topical spray, topical cream and ear cleanser. All of the products utilize the same LP3 Enzyme System to knock out irritating bacteria, fungus and yeast.
“The Cream and Spray are must-haves for the allergic cat for managing the itch and inflammation. The Cream features a catheter tip for easy application around the face and paws while the Spray offers a good solution for larger body areas that can be applied quickly and painlessly,” says Decker.
A healthy body requires a healthy mind, which is why the natural remedy manufacturer PetAlive recently launched an entire line dedicated to supporting pet brains through every stage of life.
The Brain Health line “starts with our herbal formula for kitten and adult cats and works into our dual modality approach of both the herbal and homeopathic versions for aging cats. The all-natural, organic ingredients are full of highly nutritional content, including protein and essential amino acids,” explains Travis Drager, leader of business development at PetAlive. “We are excited to be part of the reason that pet parents get the best experience and build long lasting relationships with their pets.”
The Brain Health for Cats and Kittens, for example, is an herbal tonic designed to encourage mental alertness, promote concentration and prevent cognitive decline. The concentrated formula is made with 100 percent natural ingredients, including organic spirulina extract, green tea leaf, oastraw, rooibos herb and amalaki fruit. The liquid supplement can be added to wet cat food for an easy and convenient delivery.
A Healthy Education
Of course, the aforementioned issues and diseases don’t even begin to cover all of the health problems that can afflict cats, which is why having a knowledgeable sales staff is crucial to success in this category. Health is a complicated topic and consumers need expert help finding the right solutions for their felines.
“As a pet retailer, it is important that your staff fully understands the healthcare products you carry,” advises Drager. “Pet parents are going to ask a lot of questions about active ingredients and expect your staff to know the answers before they give it to their loved one. If your staff doesn’t know the product and can’t make an educated suggestion on the benefits, the products will sit on the shelf and just collect dust.”
Since the category is expected to continue to grow—with no immediate end in sight—it’s important to invest now in building familiarity with high quality and dependable brands.
“I believe that a lot of human healthcare and supplement providers will take notice of this growth and begin to enter the industry. The market may become a little saturated, so finding quality brands you can get behind now will be important for the long term,” says Drager. “Pet parents will lean more and more on the suggestions and knowledge of the retailer’s staff while trying to navigate their way through the abundance of options.” PB