For Meowijuana, it was sitting in a circle, joking with friends and “meowing” just like in the movie “Super Troopers.” For Politikats, it was growing up with a diplomat for a dad, studying political science in school and being constantly bombarded with political news. For Apollo Peak, it was wanting to share a drink with pets. Inspiration for a company has to come from somewhere, and Meowijuana, Politikats and Apollo Peak found theirs and ran with it.
Meowijuana founder Chris Glissman first coined the term “Meowijuana” in the early 2000s and made a website based on the word. Then, in 2006, someone bought the domain from Glissman, turning the site into a catnip company. In 2012, Glissman bought back the site and has been enjoying the high of Meowijuana ever since.
Meowijuana is 100 percent organic catnip that is grown in southern California and the state of Washington and then hand-trimmed. The catnip is presented in marijuana-inspired packaging and given marijuana-inspired names, such as “Catnip Buds,” “Catnip Blunt” and “Catnibas Meowy J’s.” According to the company’s managing partner, Marc Adams, Purrple Passion, which is packaged in a tube resembling a prescription pill bottle and is “designed to stimulate healthy activity in cats,” is the best-selling item.
In recent years, the legalization of marijuana has been especially prevalent in the news, and Glissman says this has helped the company.
“The timing of that couldn’t have been more laid ou
t for us. When I bought this in 2012, there was some legalization efforts, specifically in California—that was about it. Then Colorado came on board, then Washington,” Glissman said. “With the legalization, it’s not as taboo as it onc
e was to talk about marijuana or Meowijuana. It’s a unique name, but people in the past would’ve been turned off if you said that. Now people just think it’s hilarious.”
Figure Heads and Felines
Politikats founder Christoffer Cormier-Jensen, who grew up being interested in politics, noticed a company making a couple of cat scratching posts similar to the ones he now produces.
However, according to Cormier-Jensen, the company was selling them for about $7,000.
“Why would you want to buy something at that price that your cat’s just going to destroy?” Cormier-Jensen wondered.
He took the idea and his passion for politics to create an entire line of affordable cat scratching posts that featured prominent political figures.
Each head that sits atop the sturdy post, which is in the shape of a human body, is hand cast and then individually painted.
“It winds up coming out as a really beautiful product that ends up being a really good talking piece,” Cormier-Jensen said.
President Donald Trump, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, President Barack Obama and Senator Bernie Sanders are all featured cat scratching posts, and Politikats is always looking to expand its line.
According to Cormier-Jensen, the less popular a politician is, the more in-demand that scratching post is—Trump, Putin and Netanyahu are three of the top-sellers right now.
“I would send one to the White House, but I don’t think he has a cat,” Cormier-Jensen joked.
The company saw a surge in demand for its products with this past U.S. election cycle, but as Cormier-Jensen points out, people will always be immersed in politics.
“That’s kind of the beauty of it,” he said. “We will always be relevant because politics will always be relevant.”
While the post’s different surfaces might please cats’ senses, watching pets scratch at politicians might also please owners as their stress is eased away, Cormier-Jensen said.
“It’s a nice way of p
rotesting but within your home,” he said. “It’s not violent—it’s safe, it’s funny. It helps you relax, considering that, if you do watch the news, you can get pretty angered sometimes.”
Wine and Whiskers
Though maybe not as controversial as marijuana and politicians, wine has been a relevant topic of discussion for years on end. It seems like there is a new study each day on the effect wine has on health. Apollo Peak, a company run by self-proclaimed “animal lovers,” recognized the enjoyment people gained from wine and so invented a product that could combine the two loves of wine and pets.
With the Black Label Series’ Catbernet cat wine, Apollo Peak offers cats a wine-inspired treat beverage that is “brewed with all natural catnip and a hint of peppermint” and “made with 100 percent organic beets grown in the U.S.” that can attract even the pickiest of cats, according to a company press release.
“Our ‘pet wine’ creation started like any other radical idea… a product designed to help bridge the social divide between humans and their pets,” Apollo Peak’s website reports. “Our initial thoughts were, ‘Why not share a drink with our canine and feline friends? We spend so much time with them
that they are slowly becoming humans too, right?’ In doing this, we wanted to make sure we make a product derived from all organic and natural ingredients.”
The company has added to its wine collection, also offering Meowgarita, Meowtini, Meowmosa, White Kittendel and Moscato. Through these treat products, Apollo Peak hopes to “help create a fun and social atmosphere for humans and their furry companions.”
A Unique Identity
These three companies all had something in common: to be something different in the cat product world.
“Our goal is to revolutionize the pet industry, and specifically for cats, but through the brand of Meowijuana, so there can be other pet products—an umbrella under that brand to which we can create a culture between cat owners and cat lovers and their pets globally,” Adams said. “We sell today in probably about 125 countries, and we’re really looking at Meowijuana as a household name. It’s steeped in quality, and it is a solid business, but we do have a lot of fun with it.”
Looking ahead, Glissman says the company plans on making treats for cats, Meowijuana Munchies, “because you know, you’ve got to have your munchies.”
Politikats wants to not only add to its list of available politicians, but also design a cat scratching house modeled after the White House.
“There’s a lot of products out there for cats, but none of them are really that cool,” Cormier-Jensen said. “I’ve been in many friends’ houses, and their living rooms have this cat furniture, and they’re kind of cringy—they’re not very pleasing to the eye. You can have a really nice looking house, a well-designed house.”
As for Apollo Peak, the company plans to build on its current line—which also includes beverage treat options for dogs.
“Cat Wine and Dog Wine [have] become our passion as we continue to innovate and create more and more unique flavors designed for all types of cats and dogs,” the company said.