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Innovation Makes Feline Travel Easy

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Here’s an interesting factoid: Cat travel has doubled in the past four years.

This information from the 2013-2014 National Pet Owners Survey, published by the American Pet Products Association, doesn’t spell out whether cats are checking into the Algonquin Hotel in New York City, or simply going to grandma’s house for a staycation, but the message is clear: There is a growing need for cat-related travel accessories.

This news further endorses that when Gayle Martz launched the first Sherpa pet carrier in 1989, she was certainly on the right track. She had envisaged a pet travel related market that has indeed grown beyond her expectations, and now includes cats.

To mark the 25th anniversary of the Sherpa carrier, now under the Quaker Pet Group umbrella, it has introduced the Cat Tote to its line. Designed specifically to withstand sharp claws and teeth, the product line features finely woven wire mesh panels and no interior lining to destroy. Available in a stylish leopard print, the product also has many of Sherpa’s standard features, such as top and side-entry locking features and snap-up privacy flaps, making them impervious to coniving felines.

Expanding Options

In addition to its regular line of cat products and carriers, Petmate offers a special kennel airline travel kit.

It includes portable food and water cups, live animal stickers, pet ID labels and an absorbent, disposable kennel floor liner. Food cups hook onto wire kennel doors while the floor liner can be cut down to fit any size kennel.

When Sleepypod launched its original round-domed design in 2006, it also tapped into the feline need to sleep in the round, making it a popular choice for cats on road trips.

“Today, more than half the domed Sleepypod carriers are bought by cat parents,” Jane Skuta, company spokeswoman, said.  “The design, which has won many awards, including Consumers Digest’s Best Buy in 2013, prompted the company to further tap into the feline travel market with their three-in-one Yummy travel bowls, which meet feline food and water needs on the road. The design is ideal for cats to eat without giving them whisker stress.”

T. Daniel Hawk, president of Gen7Pets, also reported the popularity of the company’s Carry-Me pet carrier amongst cat owners.

“It’s designed for big cats up to 20 pounds with two end-panel storage pouches, and [the] side-zippered pocket allows you to take your feline necessities,” he said. “The backside nylon strap makes this carrier the most convenient for buckling, with a seat belt for extra safety when driving.

The company also makes a selection of pet strollers, which Hawk said has been a rapidly growing market.

Jane Brunt, DVM and executive director of the CATalyst Council, an organization whose mission it is to change society’s image of cats as aloof and not needing human contact or care, agreed.

“Cats are reputed to be the world’s most popular companion animal,” she said. “Sometimes all it takes to get to enjoy a cat is an opportunity to see how smart and funny they can be. Taking a cat out on a stroller gives people who may have never been in the company of a cat, the opportunity to learn about them, too.

New Products

Last year, Pet Gear Inc. launched a line of no-zip strollers called Happy Trails, which close with special clips.

“It’s an added convenience,” Todd Jakubowski, the company’s president, said. “And, of course, [it] eliminates the possibility of felines being able to paw open a zipper.”

With the Catalyst Council promoting the idea of taking cats out and about, has also promoted harness and leash manufacturers to design soft mesh styled harnesses like those made by Coastal Pet Products to specifically meet feline needs and offer assurance to pet parents that they are unable to do a Houdini-styled escape out of them.

But not all cats want to be in a stroller.

Sturdi Products, well-known for its large assortment of cat carriers, recently introduced the Walking Vest. The vest, made for both dogs and cats, is secure, snag-free and snap-adjustable. The vests are available in small or medium, in ripe persimmon or an animal rivers print, and come with a 5-foot leash.

Stress Less

Despite the fact that cats are traveling more, it doesn’t mean that all of them enjoy the idea of leaving the safe confines of home.

This has spurred a market for calming products like RESCUE Remedy Pet, pheromone sprays such as Comfort Zone and Sentry Calming Spray, the latter a product of Sergeants Pet Care,which also makes the Calming Collar infused with natural calmatives and with efficacy lasting a month.

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