Cats are beloved by their owners for their companionship and sometimes quirky behavior. As the most popular pet in the United States, 95.6 million domestic cats (versus 89.7 million dogs) are found in more than 47 million households.
Cat parents are underserved generally at independent retailers, which results in many customers purchasing food and other supplies at grocery chains and big box retail. But with the shift toward the humanization of pets and the desire for pet parents to “feed pets like family,” the time is now for independent retailers to capture more of this market and get into the cat craze.
Food for Finicky Felines
A diet made up of dry and wet food can be beneficial to cats by providing moisture, carnivorous consistency and palatability. Cats are finicky, so offering a range of flavors and textures keeps them looking forward to mealtime.
- Wet Food: Cats need plenty of water to be healthy; however they tend to have less of an urge to drink as much water as required. This can result in a myriad of health problems including urinary tract complications. Wet food naturally provides supplemental moisture in a cat’s diet.
- Dry Food: Dry cat food’s price per pound is higher than dog food. That increases your average order value and your margins.
The shift toward fresher, higher quality ingredients and no fillers is fueling the sale of frozen, raw, freeze dried, ancestral, organic, limited ingredient foods and sustainably sourced farm raised proteins. The opportunity to specialize in this market trend will benefit you as consumer demand increases and more millennials own pets and feed them with more quality foods than previous generations.
Treats Add Variety to the Diet
Cat parents may hesitate to change foods once they know their cats are eating well. Having a diverse assortment of cat treats is one way to allow cat owners the opportunity to include something special in their cats’ diet for a low investment.
- More than 50 percent of cat product purchases include cat treats, and cat treats are projected to be about 13 percent of pet food sales growth year over year.
- Cat treat shopping trips are the least planned of any category, so placement is key to capturing cat parents when they are in the store. Keep clip strips of key treat brands near your best-selling cat food and litter brands for impulse purchases.
Litter & Related Accessories
Litter and related accessories are necessary purchases for cat owners and can be an area of growth for independent retailers.
- It is recommended that a home have one and a half litter boxes per cat, but on average cat households have one pan for two cats. Educating consumer on the importance of using multiple litter boxes could add two litter boxes to the average cat household and could lead to the purchase of an additional 18 jugs of litter per year, per household.
- High and deep sides are the big trend in litter boxes in order to minimize litter scatter.
- Display a selection of litter boxes fully assembled on store shelves so that customer can see exactly what is included in the box and what it looks like.
The Fun Stuff
Keeping a cat entertained is a challenge that independent retailers can help pet parents solve.
- Cat Furniture: Offer a variety of beds, condos and scratching posts and rotate the assortment.
- Small Cat Toys: These usually are impulse sales so keep them at your register. Rotate the display regularly.
- Interactive Toys: Cats love to be entertained and automated toys are hot! These usually sell at a higher price point and have a good margin. They also make great gift items for cats and cat lovers during the holiday season.
Retailers who stay in front of market trends and convey innovative brand stories and price justifications will help meet the growing need of cat parents who want healthy and happy fur babies.