PetAge_Cover_NOV14
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Not So Plain and Simple

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Cat treats are big business and these days, there are delicacies to please even the most finicky of felines, ranging from lobster and shrimp to chicken and beef liver.

“It’s all about freeze-dried,” Beth Hamilton, manager of Noe Valley Pet Company in San Francisco, Calif., said. “Customers are looking for single-ingredient treats, and we are focused on providing the highest-quality products that also have a good shelf life and price point.”

One example of this is Whole Life’s cat treats, which features freeze-dried pieces of chicken, turkey, beef, beef liver, cod, salmon and organic chicken.

“Simple is better,” agreed Wild Side Pet Products founder, Rich Phillips. “Our 100 percent Wild Alaskan Salmon pieces make perfect training treats for cats and is one of our bestsellers for cats because it is low in fat, low in ash, high in protein and cats love it. The salmon treats are great as a flavor enhancer or appetite stimulant and can be easily crumbled over food.”

Available in easy-to-stock pouches, this is a favorite selection for fussy eaters.

If your customer’s highfalutin cat requires something more luxurious to snack on, lobster tail may be the answer.

Grandma Lucy’s gently steams and freeze dries lobster tail to preserve the delicious flavor and tender texture.

“Our lobster is made with the highest quality USDA inspected and approved lobster,” Sharla Marocchi of Grandma Lucy’s said. “It can be easily broken into smaller bite-size pieces for the most petite of pets.”

Their elegant packaging makes it a perfect gift for your local ailurophile and could easily become the most dramatic display in your showroom with which to open a conversation with shoppers.

Some Surf

If lobster tail is out of your price range, there are plenty of other options on the market, including white fish, chicken, liver, or pork, all of which are offered as single-ingredient treats for your feline. Many of today’s single-ingredient treats are intended for both dogs and cats, which makes treat-buying, and treat-selling, much simpler.

Created from wild, line-caught Icelandic haddock, Wishes are a lean protein and an excellent source of Omega 3 Essential Fatty Acids from The Honest Kitchen. They can be easily snapped into bite-sized pieces for cats.

“Purity and quality are paramount,” Lucy Postins, owner of The Honest Kitchen, said.  “A treat with no preservatives, colorings or artificial flavors is much healthier than one with lots of additives.”

Shaved Bonito fish is also a feline fan favorite. The paper-thin flakes create a strong fish aroma while offering nutrients such as taurine, which are essential to a cat’s nutritional health.

“Our Bonito Flakes are extra-large and sealed in an air proof container flushed with nitrogen, which is the same way potato chips are packaged,” Sandra Dahlquist, vice president of Cat-Man-Doo & Life Essentials, said. “When our bonito and salmon come into the U.S. they are inspected by the FDA. All of our products are human-grade, so they are of very high quality.”

And Some Turf

If you prefer to stay away from fish-based treats, there are plenty of other options. Loving Pets recently launched their new line of Purrfectly Natural cat treats at Global Pet Expo 2013.

These tantalizing, freeze-dried treats share the industry ideology of simplicity. Each of the four varieties features single ingredients without any additives, preservatives or by-products. Flavors include chicken, beef lung, buffalo and shrimp.

“Our goal is always to stay true to our foundation that healthy, all-natural, delicious, and high-quality treats do not have to be expensive to the retailer or to the pet-loving consumer,” Eric Abbey, president of Loving Pets, said.

Liv-A-Little protein treats from Halo  is another option.

Available in beef, chicken, and salmon, these single-ingredient freeze-dried treats make excellent training tools. If a cat prefers a baked treat, the Healthsome Baked Treats are also an option. Made from easily digestible proteins and fruits and vegetables, these treats offer nutritional calories that help supplement diets for finicky eaters and assist in keeping teeth clean and breath fresh.

There are plenty of traditional treats available as well, and many of these help resolve health problems in cats.

Zukes recently launched their G-Zee’s cat treats, a grain-free glucosamine treat designed to support a cat’s healthy lifestyle and long-term mobility.

“The inclusion of both glucosamine and cranberry in our all natural G-Zees ensures that these treats help support both urinary tract health and joint health, two of the most common health issues in cats,” Chris Meiering, director of business development for Zukes, said.  “Cat owners should look for treats that are made from all-natural ingredients, align with any dietary or nutritional needs their cat has and have a flavor their cat loves.”

Three Dog Bakery, who was once committed only to dog treats, has recently made their foray into the cat treat industry with the introduction of their We Pity the Kitties all-natural, premium chicken cat treats.  The “itty-bitty-kitty-bites” contain no fillers, sugars or artificial ingredients.

“Even though we market the treats as a cat treat, we have found that our We Pity the Kitties treats are also very popular among canines,“ Brian Wietharn, president of Three Dog Bakery, said.

The single-ingredient trend is here to stay and that means even the smallest retailers can save space by stocking treats that can be marketed to both dog and cat owners. According to a recent Gallup News Service poll, over 17 percent of U.S. households own both dogs and cats, so it makes good economic sense to market towards both.

One set of treats means less shelving space, more conversation and an opportunity to educate consumers on the benefits of single-ingredient treats.

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