Keeping Cats Calm

Maybe it’s the fact that dogs get the label “man’s best friend,” but according to new survey, cat owners feel like their felines are often overlooked by the pet industry.

The report (Durable Dog and Cat Petcare Products, 3rd Edition), published by market research firm Packaged Facts, investigates the differences in how cats and dogs are treated in the pet retail space.

“Traditionally and still too often, pet product manufacturers, retailers, and marketers tend to give cats short shrift, including in the minds of cat owners,” says David Sprinkle, research director for Packaged Facts.

According to the survey’s findings, the majority of cat owners said that they feel “sometimes treated as second-class” compared to dogs by the different actors in the pet industry.

More specifically, 51% of cat owners agreed that general merchandise stores that sell pet products either strongly or somewhat offer preference to dogs. A little less than half of respondents said that companies that make pet food/treats (45%), companies that produce non-food items (45%), pet specialty stores (44%) and veterinarians (41%) reported the same feelings.

However, there are positive signs of change on the horizon based on an informal survey of new product launches and email promotions in recent months.

“Last year, many of the new products introduced at Global Pet Expo 2020 were cat-focused, including New Product Showcase winners Moody Pet’s Fling-Ama-String and Four Paws’ Kitty Kat Circus, and during 2020 Petco unleashed a slew of promotional emails with feline-focused headlines,” Packaged Facts officials said. “More and better durable products for cats (and more marketing attention) stand to encourage cat owners to invest more heavily in the health and happiness of their fur children and – most important of all – attract more Americans into the feline fold.”