“It has to compliment human furniture and blend well with the interior design décor of the room,” said Fred Silber, president of Enchanted Home Pet, a company specializing in pet couches and recycled cardboard scratchers.
The scratchers not only meet the innate feline need to scratch, but are shaped so that they make a decorative snooze zone in the room too.
John Farrell of PetPals concurred.
“It’s about a place to work the claws and a place to relax,” he said about the key features for cat furniture.
Because cats are living much longer lives than in the past, their age is something that cat furniture manufacturers now have to take into account, too. In particular, tall cat towers need to consider the age factor, especially for multi-cat households, advises Josh Feinkind, creator of Refined Feline furniture.
“If cats like to climb up high, a cat tower with a high-rise perch is something they will certainly use and enjoy,” he said. “However, older cats that can no longer climb or are low dwellers need a floor level hidey-hole for privacy and a quiet snooze, in addition to a cat bed. Shelves are very popular too and can of course be placed as varying heights to meet all the feline needs in the household.”
Feinkind has new products in the works such as a cat window perch that will compliment the company’s popular Lotus Cat Tower in design.
Jumping On the Trends
It’s a recognized fact that cats love boxes, and often gravitate more to the box that the feline furniture was shipped in than to the furniture itself. So, it’s little wonder manufacturers have capitalized on this feline trait.
Catty Stacks are specially designed boxes made from industrial strength recycled corrugated Ultraboard that is colored with non-toxic vegetable-based inks. The boxes link to each other to form a stable structure and can be easily moved and rearranged, to entice fresh attention from the cat.
“They are ideal for felines that enjoy an indoor lifestyle and need to be compensated with games that offer both mental and physical stimulation,” said Frank Callari, chief stacks officer. “The idea is because they are light weight, they are easy to rearrange to maintain feline interest and of course can also be carried to different parts of the home.”
The boxes are available in five popular decorating colors with zebra and giraffe patterns about to debut. The box system is manufactured in California and the company employs Americans with disabilities to produce the product.
A similar moveable concept comes from Quaker Pet Group in the form of their customizable SuperCat Cat Condo that allows cat owners to create their own kitty condos with a selection of huts and tubes that fit together to create play areas of any shape and size.
The concept of moving cat furniture around to different places within the home focuses on another important issue.
“The three most important things in cat furniture, like in real estate, are location, location, location!” said Joe DelRocco of Pet Tree Houses. “If it is located in a spot the cat does not like, it will not be used. Another reason why it has to be pleasing in appearance to the pet owner is that if it has no visually redeeming qualities, its more than likely going to be placed out of the way where it can’t be seen. This doesn’t work for cats. They may like privacy but they also like to be close to their people. The furniture needs to be very stable, too.”
Cat trees need to cater to as many instinctive needs of the cat as possible, he said.
“This can be any combination of sights, sounds, textures, their curiosity and their need for privacy,” said DelRocco. “The more the merrier because cats, like children, quickly lose interest in just about everything.”
Where to Store It
Cat furniture can be a challenge for many pet specialty retailers who simply do not have the space to display and hold stock. Often the answer is showcasing several items and having catalogs on hand of more products that can be drop-shipped to customers.
Another way around this issue for retailers is to highlight such products on their store’s website and sell them via their online payment check-out, further enticing customers by offering free shipping over amounts of $50 and more.
This is in fact very much a growing trend and is exactly what Cat Connection, a feline-centric store in Dallas, does. The store is a feline utopia.
According to longtime sales associate Christie Montgomery, the store stocks specialty cat furniture on the floor and offers a far bigger selection to customers online. The website offers all the specifics for each piece from the color availability to measurements and highlights all the features. Thus, shopping for cat furniture can be as simple as a mouse-click away.