Selling Green

The cat aisle is a great place to showcase effective products that are also ecologically sound and all-natural to appeal to green-conscious customers.


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Going green? Or maybe you’re just interested in greening up the product selection in the cat aisle? Either way, the shift toward a greener lifestyle is abundantly evident in our society today. People’s growing desire and need to change lifestyle habits and commit to improving the environment is driving the consumer trend toward greener living. Consumers are looking for earth-friendly, recyclable and all-natural options that can have a direct and positive impact on the environment and our future quality of life.

Cats can go green, too–with a little help from their owners and retailers. Thanks to manufacturers that have produced many eco-friendly products for this sector of the pet industry, it shouldn’t be difficult for retailers to green-up the product selection in the cat aisle.

It is important for retailers to let cat owner know that they have options. This begins with selecting  a green product assortment for cat customers and merchandising them in a way that allows customers to quickly identify them on the store’s shelves.

One great first step to take toward becoming a more environmentally sound retailer is offering feline adoptions. Many stores do this already. There are literally thousands of kittens and cats in need of homes. This is a good way to support your community and also help match companion pets with households of caring families. Of course, these new “green” kitty owners also need green kitty products. Fortunately, there are greeen products in almost every category to meet the needs of environmentally and ecologically conscious cat owners.

New kitties need new collars, and hemp collars offer are a natural fit for the green category. Hemp is all-natural and hypoallergenic. There are also collars made from recycled water bottles and other recycled materials-a positive move toward helping the environment.  

Retailers should consider eco-friendly kitty litter alternatives on the market today. There are many green litters available that are derived from natural products such as wheat, pine and corn, all of which are biodegradable. Of course, biodegradable waste bags are a great add-on–some cities require that residents use them for their weekly trash service.    

Hemp toys and natural cat-scratching furniture are also green products to consider carrying.  Scratching posts, condos, trees, and perches made from 100-percent natural red cedar are great furniture choices for every pet store. They contain no carpet, glue, particleboard or plywood. Recycled materials are often used to manufacture other cat products such as toys, beds, pet carriers and feeders. They are available, but you may have to seek them out knowing your customers will appreciate the eco-friendly options.

Many people love gardening; it’s a great environmentally friendly hobby, particularly when foods are grown free of herbicides and pesticides. Tap into this trend by offering customers organic catnip seeds.  Most cats love catnip, and it has many uses in a cat household.

Food is another segment of the market where retailers can promote greener goods. Natural diets are good for pets and for the environment, making them an ideal green product for retailers. Customers are looking for diets that use purely natural ingredients and do not contain artificial flavors or colors and preservatives.


Epic Flea Battle
Eco-friendly pest control is a major player in the green arena. The flea battle is epic and ongoing for pet owners, who can fight the battle with their own weapons of choice. Many choose a product that is free of toxic chemicals. Effective flea control requires control in several zones: on the animal, inside the home and the outdoor environment. Stock your inventory with products that work and are safe for pets and people and that can control flea infestation on all three fronts. 

Products such as natural flea powders, shampoos and spot-on products will be free of harmful chemicals. Flea traps for indoor and diatomaceous earth for outdoor applications are other products and methods for controlling pests. Some stores offer products that contain nematodes for the yard. These are small microscopic worms that feed on flea larvae–a natural way to control flea populations.

Stain and odor removers can also be natural and are important players in the green aisle for cats. Many contain natural enzymes that eliminate the odor-producing bacteria and also remove the existing stain–a must-have for many pet owners.

There are also some products that could be considered green, but that are not marketed as such–for example, non-plastic pet feeders made of earth-ware, stainless steel and recycled glass. Retailers should highlight these options as healthy environmental choices.

There are many options and alternatives in nearly every category of the cat market for customers who prefer to buy green products. Some are more obvious than others, but endcaps and signage are always good ways to deliver a message and draw attention to products.  Regardless of whether the products are new or have been on the market for awhile, the message will be the same–buy green.

Earth Day is celebrated on April 22 and falls on Friday this year. This is a good time to have an annual Earth Day Celebration Sale or Earth Day Celebration Week. Take advantage of the opportunity. Promote and merchandise green products throughout the store, including the cat department. Every person and every action will make a difference. Green cat products in the cat aisle today will help provide what we need for a healthier environment tomorrow.


John Tyson is a freelance writer and photographer who resides in Houston, Texas. He has 20 years combined experience in the pet industry as a multi-store owner, general manager and industry journalist.

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