DECEMBER 2017 • 102 • petbusiness.com
PHOTO BY JCSMILLY
responding cat, a different brand might do the trick,” adds Boelke. “Independent
stores would do well to find a smaller, regional, well-packaged and -presented brand
of catnip, as well as a couple of the national brand items.”
The Catnip Cat Dancer, for instance, not only employs a plastic mouse infused with
100 percent catnip oil to capture a kitty’s interest, it also features enticing motion
with the signature Cat Dancer lure.
“Retailers should carefully plan their assortment to offer the most variety without
duplication. This will appeal to a wide range of consumer preferences,” agrees Calles.
“Ethical offers a wide selection of catnip toys, catnip scented toys and pure catnip
toys to appeal to the finicky nature of cats. Our product line is developed to appeal to
the playful desires and needs of cats.”
Ethical manufactures everything from catnip teaser wands and tennis balls to toy
rodents of every shape and size, including a pair of 100 percent catnip candy mice.
With so much variety, it’s up to retailers to help shoppers find the best catnip toy
for their cat, says Calles. She recommends telling owners to take the time to try
Between Instagram-famous felines and proud celebrity cat parents (i.e. Taylor Swift), there’s little doubt that cats are cooler than ever. And the numbers seem to agree; according to the 2017-
2018 APPA National Pet Owners Survey, the number
of pet cats in the U.S. grew from 85. 8 million to 94.2
million between 2014 and 2016.
This increasing popularity presents an opportunity
for retailers to revitalize and reimagine staple cat
categories like catnip toys.
“The catnip cat toy category continues to grow,” says
Susan Calles, national marketing manager for Ethical
Pet. “Cats have a natural instinct to hunt, so based
on their predatory ways, it is only fitting to provide
cats with a wide variety of toys with catnip included
to satisfy that desire. Whether the toy is catnip filled,
catnip scented or pure catnip, the addition of catnip
is very appealing to cats, with the scent creating a
euphoria resulting in healthy play and exercise.”
However, there is one glaring issue when it comes
to catnip—not all cats respond equally to the fragrant
plant. That’s why retailers need to take a more hands-
on approach to provide consumers with the right
selection and resources to drive sales.
“Only about half of all cats respond to catnip, and it
isn’t clear if that is dependent on the cat or the catnip,”
explains Jim Boelke, president of Cat Dancer Products.
One smart solution is for retailers to provide a wide
variety of catnip options for customers to try out on
their feline friend.
“When confronted with a customer that has a non-
Catnip to Please
Great selection and smart marketing can help retailers take advantage of cats’ recent popularity
boost to drive sales in catnip products.
By Carley lintz