Innova Introduces Nature’s Table

Natura Pet Products‘ Innova line of dog and cat food recently introduced its new Nature’s Table Grain Free Dog and Cat Foods and Treats during an invite-only, farm-to-table dinner in New York City, which featured the same farm-grown ingredients found in its product line.

Nature’s Table brings the farm to a pet’s bowl, using real, wholesome ingredients such as sweet blueberries, seasonal pumpkin and fresh carrots. Ingredients that are grown and raised with care, from places they know, by trusted partners, like handpicked apples from Evans Fruit Orchards, in Washington State.


Like all Innova products, Nature’s Table does not contain any chicken by-product meal, fillers, wheat, corn, soy, or artificial preservatives, colors or flavors. Animal protein is always the first ingredient, helping to maintain lean muscle mass. The products are grain and white potato free, with no gluten added.

During the event, attendees were able to feast on a menu prepared by chef Kerry Heffernan and inspired by the fresh ingredients you would find in the new Nature’s Table line of products. The four course meal, included entrees like smoked chicken breast with lentil and root vegetable ragout and rosemary custard, carpaccio bison with cranberry agrodolce and sunflower chive oil and pumpkin brulee with sweet whipped cottage cheese and Mexican cinnamon.

Dog owners can choose from five nutritious dry recipes and two treat recipes:

  • Grain Free Farm-Raised Chicken & Savory Turkey Recipe Adult Dog Food
  • Grain Free Cold Water Salmon & Wild Herring Recipe Adult Dog Food
  • Grain Free Ranch-Raised Beef & Red Lentils Recipe Adult Dog Food
  • Grain Free Adult Dog Food with Ranch-Raised Bison & Green Lentils
  • Grain Free Adult Dog Food with Pasture-Raised Venison & Split Peas
  • Grain Free Farm-Raised Chicken Recipe Dog Treats
  • Grain Free Ranch-Raised Beef & Garden Peas Recipe Dog Treats



Cat owners will have two nutritious dry recipes and one treat recipe to choose from:

  • Grain Free Farm-Raised Chicken & Tender Turkey Recipe Adult Cat Food
  • Grain Free Cold Water Salmon & Peas Recipe Adult Cat Food
  • Grain Free Cold Water Salmon & Savory Chicken Recipe Cat Treats


The company will have their new product line on display at the Global Pet Expo.

Pro-Pet Recalls Dog, Cat Foods

Pro-Pet LLC, of St. Marys, Ohio, voluntarily recalled a limited number of dry dog and cat foods for possible Salmonella contamination.

A single field test indicated products manufactured during a two day period, on a single production line may have the potential for Salmonella contamination. Only products made during this time frame are being recalled. There have been no reports of illness related to this product to date.

These products were distributed through select retailers, distributors and on-line consumer purchases in: Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, North Carolina, North Dakota, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin and West Virginia.

No other products/lot numbers are affected by this recall.

Salmonella can affect animals eating the products and there is risk to humans from handling contaminated pet products, especially if they have not thoroughly washed their hands after having contact with the products or any surfaces exposed to these products.

Pets with Salmonella infections may be lethargic and have diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, fever and vomiting. Some pets will have only decreased appetite, fever and abdominal pain. Infected but otherwise healthy pets can be carriers and infect other animals or humans. If your pet has consumed the recalled product and has these symptoms, please contact your veterinarian.

Customers should immediately discontinue use of any impacted product and contact Pro-Pet at 1-888-765-4190 for disposition.

For more information on the recall, customers can contact the customer service line for Pro-Pet at 1-888-765-4190. Customer service representatives will be available Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. CT.



Zuke’s Joins Nestlé Purina PetCare

Zuke’s Performance Pet Nutrition, was acquired by  Nestlé Purina PetCare, the company said. 

“I’m personally so pleased that Zuke’s is now a part of the Nestlé Purina family,”  Patrick Meiering, founder of Zuke’s, said. “Their understanding of Zuke’s core mission of fostering an active and healthy lifestyle for pets and pet parents alike, their commitment to keeping Zuke’s and its employees in Durango as an independent operation, and their ability to help grow the Zuke’s brand in the pet specialty marketplace were important factors in partnering with Nestlé Purina.”

According to a press release issued by the dog and cat treat company, “Zuke’s, and its employees, will continue to be operated as an independent company based in beautiful Durango. Zuke’s will continue creating and producing outdoors-inspired, safe, and healthy dog and cat treats in the same facilities, in the same way, right here in the USA.”

“I joined the Zuke’s team in 2010 with the goal of growing the Zuke’s brand while staying true to its authentic roots and history,” John Hart, president of Zuke’s, said. “We achieved that goal and are excited to continue and accelerate that growth in pet specialty with our new partnership.”


Toys That Engage, Inspire, Comfort

Whether they’re stalking, pouncing, chasing or climbing, playtime is very important to the physical, mental and emotional development of cats.

But not all cats respond to the same stimuli and most cats require a variety of toys to keep them fully engaged. This need for variety makes cat toys a great investment for a retail store.

Catit has built a reputation on designing fun, exciting toys that keep cats engaged. By utilizing all five senses, a cat can fully explore their potential. 

“The Catit Design Senses Speed Circuit and Treat Maze are a complete interactive experience, designed to stimulate a cat’s senses and encourage exercise and play,” Damian Hall, senior marketing manager for Rolf C. Hagen, said. “The Speed Circuit helps kitty beat boredom, imitates the natural instinct to stalk prey, and introduces exercise as the feline follows an illuminated ball around a track. The Treat Maze helps manage food intake, helping to maintain a healthy weight while stimulating the cat’s sense of touch, smell and coordination as they use their paw to push treats down the maze for the ultimate reward.”

The FroliCat line of products utilizes automated laser-based toys for their BOLT, DART and DART DUO.

“Pets need mental and physical stimulation to keep them healthy,” Mandie Sweetnam, product manager of toys and behavior at Radio Systems Corporation, said. “FroliCat toys provide pets and their caretakers with a solution for bored or out-of-shape pets. Our automated enrichment toys are designed to keep pets engaged during playtime, and then automatically shut off after a defined period. Multiple settings for speed and time keeps the pet’s interest and provides a new challenge.”

Kong recently released their new Glide ‘n Seek, which is a battery-operated cat toy that uses magnetic levitation technology to move feather toys unpredictably. This is a fun way to invite cats to chase and capture the toys through the many openings on the top of the toy.

“Feather toys glide, bump, and hop quickly around the circular toy,” Robert Cohrs, marketing director for Kong cat products, said. “The interactive Glide ‘n Seek helps cats release energy by providing an outlet for their natural hunting instincts.”

Engaging Instincts

One reason that behavior problems are so prevalent is because cats become bored. To effectively tire a cat out, it’s important to physically engage them in rousing games, like that of catch and release.

Popular wand toys include Neko Flies, which can be “baited” with realistic lures ranging from a fancy fur mouse to lifelike insects. These interactive toys are a perfect selection for high energy cats or low-energy cats that need to be inspired to exercise.

Milia Bell, founder of Tipsy Nip FPV, developed an almost cult-like following for her Tickle Pickle, originally a fun hand-knit toy that is stuffed with 100 percent organic catnip. That has since morphed into a line of Feline Precision Vision cat toys, which includes the Tickle Tassel and the Tickle Tassel Ball.

By using colors that provide a wide range of contrast, Tipsy Nip FPV toys help cats see motion clearly and quickly, making it easier for them to catch their “prey” and keeping them entertained for longer periods of time.

“All of our toys are manufactured in North Carolina and finished in Vermont using organic catnip,” Bell said. “We are very proud to offer the new Purple Haze toy, which is a Tickle Pickle that includes valerian.  About half of cats that don’t respond to catnip will respond to valerian.”

Puzzle toys, such as the Cat Treat Maze from Nina Ottosson, or the The Aikiou Feeding Station from Stimulo, encourage cats to “hunt” for their dinner, which engages their hunting instincts. Cats must solve a puzzle or identify, and then reach into, tube-like holes to retrieve their kibble.

Stimulate Their Senses

Catnip relies on a genetic response, which many breeds do not have in their genetic makeup. In fact, fewer than 70 percent of cats have the “catnip gene.” If they do have the gene, they are responding to nepetalactone, which closely resembles MMB, a compound found in female cat urine.

“While catnip appears to drive cats crazy, it is actually a great way to stimulate their senses,” Rob Morgan, chief operating officer for Worldwise, said. “They react to it with a burst of energy that is usually followed by a period of relaxation. It is this type of stimulation that is an essential part of their overall well being.”

Recently, Quaker Pet Group announced they will be expanding their durable plush toys into miniature versions for the cat world.

The SuperCat Plush includes a two-pack of best-selling and very colorful characters from Gatorz and Dinos and Yetis and Birds, and includes a sample bottle of SuperCat Catnip Spray.

Made with Nano-Burst Technology, this clear, non-staining and non-toxic spray is ideal for keeping toys fresh with pungent catnip scent. Encapsulated catnip scent bursts each time it is rubbed, scratched, or buffed, helping the scent stay fresh for up to six weeks.

“SuperCat is capitalizing on a category that has lacked innovation for many years,” Cristen Underwood, director of marketing for Quaker Pet Group, said. “Cats are naturally playful companions, so we are excited to continue exploring new ways to engage and enrich the lives of felines.”

Scoop It Up

While the number of litter boxes owned in U.S. households are on the rise, the focus driving sales remains the perennial need to make litter box clean-up more efficient and simultaneously control litter scatter, as well as odor.

According to statistics in the 2013-14 National Pet Owners’ Survey published by the American Pet Products Association, 89 percent of cat owners have litter boxes. These figures indicate an increase in both standard pans in varying designs and automated boxes.

Since the acquisition of ScoopFree by PetSafe owned by Radio Systems Corporation, the company released another new design called SweepOne at the end of last year, giving cat owners more options in automated and semi-automated boxes.

“The ScoopFree line remains our top seller for us in the waste category,” Jason Hart, director of marketing for the Knoxville, Tenn.-based company. “The disposable crystal litter trays used in the system provide a recurring revenue stream for retailers while meeting the customer desire to maintain a clean litter box with a minimum amount of hassle and mess.

“The SweepOne, can be used with most of the clumping litters. The dual rake and spade system combined with a non-stick surface also does an excellent job removing stuck clumps at the bottom of the pan. However, the consumer does need to throw away the waste, which is raked, into a separate compartment. Ultimately it comes down to a choice of preferred method of waste disposal, type of litter and of course price.”

ScoopFree boxes retail around $130 and SweepOne is around $200.

As a result of cat behaviorists educating cat owners that in multi cat households, where there may be a little feline rivalry causing cats to trap one another in a litter box, the market place has seen an increase in bigger boxes with higher sides such as those manufactured by Van Ness Plastics, and Nature’s Miracle.

Further, the fact that litter boxes are being integrated more into households instead of being relegated to laundry areas, the market has seen an a variety of colors from black reds, greens and blues trending in order to better blend with home décor trends.

“Color trends in little boxes fluctuate although neutral colors are always popular, Damian Hall, senior marketing manager for Rolf C. Hagen, said. “Over the past couple of years we have introduced more pinks and blues and even tiger prints.”

According to Amy Cross, purchasing manager for MadCat Pet Supplies in Madison, Wis., large open boxes continue to sell well.

“Customers ask for recommendation and take heed when we suggest a big open high sided pan over an enclosed box if there are feline issues in the home,” she said. “However ultimately we sell an equal amount of both designs. There’s no question that consumers have less clean up if their cats use either an enclosed litter box or one with high sides.”

Monika Allen, product manager for Petmate, said sales of larger litter pans are trending upward because of the growth in multiple cat homes, as nearly 60 percent of U.S. households have two cats, and 44 percent have three or more cats, and also because of the increase in pet obesity.

Further, sales of open litter pans exceed the sales of the covered litter pans.

The company took larger and overweight cats into account when designing their Stay Fresh Litter Pan by Petmate and Arm & Hammer Jumbo Hooded Litter Pan which features a spacious enclosure and provides extra protection against litter scatter. It is also available in a variety of popular interior design colors.

“Most of Petmate’s litter pans have antimicrobial protection to inhibit the growth of stain and odor-causing bacteria,” Allen said. “However, we also recommend annual litter box replacement to help prevent feline health issues.”

Simplifying Cleanup

Hagen’s answer to meeting litterbox needs is the CatIt SmartSift, a manual, noiseless litter sifting hooded pan. It operates by pulling down on a lever, which rotates the cat pan and rotates and pours its contents into an integrated sifter, which collects and then deposits waste in pullout waste bin located below thus deleting the need for a litter scoop.

To help simplify manual litter box maintenance, WorldWise, recently introduced the compartmentalized Petlinks PurrfectOrder Litter Accessory Organizer and the VaporVault Litter Waste Container to ensure that cat owners have all litterbox needs in one place.

The VaporVault litter waste container can store a week’s worth of waste, and has a snap close lid with an odor-proof seal. The unit is fitted with drawstring liners for emptying. The PurrfectOrder organizer holds liners, deodorizers and all cleaning essential and has in four different locations for a scoop to be attached.

For those who still believe the only accessory needed for a litter box is a scoop, the broad-headed ergonomically designed K-Kat scoop from K-Kat Innovative Pet products should have appeal. The all-steel scoop is designed for dealing with multi-cat households where although there may be multiple boxes, certain boxes are preferred over others. It’s also recommended for cat shelters.

The Trifecta of Cat Care

Throughout their long history, cats have been shrouded in secrecy. Their wild, independent nature is the thing that contributes to our infatuation, and often, exasperation, with these creatures. 

While thousands of years of domestication have done little to change a cat’s sometimes aloof nature, it has done much to change how we provide for them.

Retailers are in the unique position to educate customers on how to provide nutritional, mental and emotional stimulation for their cats. These days, preventative medicine is the key to this trifecta.

“Cat owners view their pets’ health as a high priority, yet many are unaware of the subtle warning signs that indicate their animals are suffering,” Dr. Jack Stephens, president and founder of Pets Best, said. “Cats hide their symptoms much better than dogs. Cats will often only present with symptoms when it is too late to fix. This is why preventative medicine, such as blood tests, is so critical, because oftentimes, it’s the only way to determine the existence of a problem. Pets Best offers an affordable way to cover expensive healthcare for pets.”

Along with preventative care, there is a renewed focus on feline nutrition.

“In my opinion, good nutrition is the single most important factor in promoting longevity and quality of life for your pet,” Marie Moody, founder of Stella & Chewy’s, said. “Minimally processed foods retain more vital nutrients, and animals thrive on this type of diet. We have heard from pet owners that while feeding Stella & Chewy’s their animals have a healthier appetite and better digestion, increased stamina and vitality, healthier coat and skin, fewer allergies and less obesity.”

While most pet owners want what is best for their cats, they may not know the best way to provide it, a theory confirmed by a recent survey conducted by Royal Canin in coordination with global insights firm Kelton.

“Cat owners unknowingly make food selections that could be harmful to their pet’s health. Half, 50 percent feed their cat a variety of different forms of food, unaware that variety is bad for a cat’s diet,” according to the survey. “In addition, about one in five feed their cat foods they may have sensitivities to, such as milk, 21 percent, and dairy products, 18 percent.”

Treat Options

Treats can further complicate a cat’s diet, which is why minimally processed, low-calorie treats should be used to encourage training.

“Our four new Purrfectly Natural single-ingredient cat treats offer the quality and health benefits of shrimp, buffalo, beef lung and chicken at a very competitive price point for retailers and cat owners alike,” Eric Abbey of Loving Pets, said.

New treat delivery systems, like Lickety-Stik, can also help.

“At only one calorie per ten licks, it’s easy to reward great behavior without fear of packing on the pounds,” Tracey Quillin, category manager at PetSafe, said.

While a protein-based diet is of critical importance with our obligate carnivores, it’s also important to provide fresh cat grasses to help your cat increase fiber intake.

When selecting a brand of catnip to carry in stores, it’s important to focus on organic, locally-sourced herbs.

“Organic catnip is beneficial as it keeps intact more of the essential oils in the catnip plant that cause cats to respond,” Robert Cohrs of the Kong Company, said.

Drink Up

One of the biggest struggles cat owners face is getting their pets to drink enough water, but it’s very important for their health. A pet fountain can help owners avoid many health problems by increasing fluid intake.

“Cats drink more water when it is flowing” Robin Hawn of PetSafe, said. “With our patented free-falling stream of water, the fountains continually aerate your pets water with oxygen. Increased fluid intake helps prevent, and often eliminate, recurrent urinary tract infections and other problems.”

Drinkwells pet fountains use charcoal filters to keep water fresh and appealing.

Grooming is also a very important part of maintaining a cat’s mental and physical health.

Oster Animal Care and ShedMonster Professional De-Shedding Tools are now available from Jarden Animal Solutions.

“Treating your cat to frequent brushing with gentle deshedding tools will help prevent matting, decrease the amount of fur around the house, support a shiny and healthy coat, and reduce the challenges of hairballs,” Justin Crout, group marketing manager for Jarden Animal Solutions/Jarden Consumer Solutions, said.

Despite our best efforts in nutrition and grooming, cats can still be susceptible to skin problems. The most common conditions resulting from infections, flea bites, mites and yeast. Since cats are highly sensitive to toxins, many of these common skin irritants can be easily resolved with natural solutions.

“DERMagic Feline Skin Rescue lotion offers cats fast and effective relief from skin irritations, hot spots, scaly skin, flea allergies, dermatitis, and dry skin conditions,” Dr. Adelia Ritchie, founder of DERMagic, said.

Natural Needs

Beyond the physical needs of cats are their instinctual needs. Creating a natural habitat for a cat can eliminate many behavioral problems.

“Our focus is on bringing the outdoors in,” Joe Delmonico, founder of Pet Tree Houses, said. “We understand the instinctive nature of cats and focus on creating a habitat that is organic.”
Other instinctual needs of cats include the ability to observe, chase, stalk and pounce. A stimulating environment can be easily satisfied with practical toys and activities that simulate these processes. Neko Flies and WorldWise are two companies creating realistic experiences for cats.

“When I created the Neko Flies toy, my goal was to create a toy that could simulate a realistic hunting experience,”  Ellen Tsyuaki, owner of Nekochan Enterprises, said. “Our toy encourages all elements of a hunt, such as stalking, chasing and jumping, and has improved the lives of cats around the world.”

Worldwise creates products with the cat, and its owner in mind.

“All of our furniture and toys fall under one of twelve categories,” Shannon McWilliams, vice president of product development at Worldwise, said. “Our Pet Links line of products enables cat owners to easily select the best products for their cats by educating the retailer on their complex needs. Our SmartyKat product line includes simple packaging designed to identify a cat’s basic needs and help consumers understand how to best resolve problem behaviors.”

For cats that don’t quite know how, or where, to play, or who need encouragement to do so, there is the new line of SuperCat catnip-infused products from Quaker Pet Group.

“Keeping cats active and stimulated is so important to their health,” Cristen Underweood, director of marketing for Quaker Pet Group, said. “In creating our patented new SuperCat line of microencapsulated catnip toys and interactive accessories, we want cat-parents to not only get their cats moving and feel engaged, but also develop product innovations that strengthen the bond between cat and the people that love them.”

Cat customers need to evaluate the physical, mental and emotional needs of their pets when thinking about resources.

“Cat products have skyrocketed in the past several years,” Abby Bishop, manager of Only Natural Pet Store in Boulder, Colo., said. “The selection has increased and guardians of even the pickiest of cats can now find toys that appeal to them.”

Publisher to Be Honored at Global Pet Expo

Connie Wilson, the founder, publisher and editor-in-chief of Modern Dog and Modern Cat, will be the 2014 recipient of Global Pet Expo’s annual “Excellence in Journalism and Outstanding Contributions to the Pet Industry Award.”

“Connie’s true passion for pets and their well being comes through in all that she’s accomplished,” Bob Vetere, president and CEO of APPA, said. “Her magazines and websites are just another way for her to share in the love we have for our pets to be active and enthusiastic group of people, which is the true essence of this award. We congratulate her on her contribution to the industry and the pet-loving population.”

Wilson will accept the award March 13 in Orlando, Fla. at the Purina Media Reception during the Global Pet Expo, presented by the American Pet Products Association and Pet Industry Distributors Association.

This media exclusive event is held in conjunction with Global Pet Expo, the pet industry’s largest annual tradeshow, taking place March 12-14, at the Orange County Convention Center.

Passing Down Evanger’s

After acquiring Evanger’s Dog and Cat Food Company, the Sher family has come together to help improve the brand.

Evanger’s Dog and Cat Food Company was established in 1935 and taken over by the Sher family 10 years ago. Holly and Joel Sher have five children, all of which are involved in the business in various capacities.

“As we move to our beautiful new, expanded and eco-friendly manufacturing facility in Markham, IL, we are starting to get the kids even more involved in the ownership role,” Holly Sher, owner of Evanger’s, said. “As we get older, we will be playing less of a role.  It is amazing to Joel and I that five kids could be so different in their strengths, but also very much alike in their goals in working hard and focusing on delivering high-quality made in the USA dog and cat food.  We are lucky that our children all get along and want to be a part of creating and driving the future of the pet industry.”

Sher said that on the job training is critical for the process they go through with passing their company down to their children.

“Every day is a learning experience for us, and it’s critical to have them all actively involved in the day to day business for many years as this is the best real world training they can get,” Sher said. “They are all building relationships within every phase and aspect of this industry … relationships that will build and strengthen year after year.”

For Sher, the hardest part would be stepping away for what you have been involved in every single day, seven days a week, for the past 12 years.

“My parents owned their own business, so based on their example is a big reason why I wanted to run and devote myself and our family to our own company,” Sher said. “As an independent business, we will continue to support independent business, and work hard every day to deliver.”

Cat Travel Made Simple

It’s long been believed that cats don’t always make the best travel companions. But the truth is, with the right equipment, you can ease just about any feline into being a tolerable explorer.

These days, pet travel is being made easier as manufacturers team up with hotels to offer the ultimate travel packages.

For example, pet guests staying at the New York City-based Flatiron Hotel are greeted with complimentary Sleepypod & Friends Welcome Kits filled with premium pet travel necessities from top brands like Sleepypod, The Honest Kitchen, SimplyFido and Little Eatz.

They join the ranks of notable hotel chains that include Kimpton, La Quinta, InterContinental, Loews and Holiday Inn, which tout their pet friendly status with pride. Before customers hit the road, be sure they are prepared for the journey.

Identification Is a Priority

No matter what type of transportation a cat will require proper identification in case of escape. Keep a pet passport for the cat, which is an easily carried folder, or flash memory card, that includes a copy of their medical records, vaccinations and a current photo. A cat should be microchipped and wearing a collar with proper ID.

“A blanket ID provides a 24/7 link to everything you would want someone to know if they found your cat,” Martin Hubbard, co-owner of Blanket ID, said. “Using blanket’s ‘Missing Pet’ email broadcasts means that all local resources and members are immediately alerted and supplied with all the important information to identify and care for your cat. Being able to change your contact information to your current location is a great feature when you travel and provides the lifeline you need to get quickly reunited in unfamiliar territory.”

Select Carrier for Safety & Comfort

The carrier customers select to transport their pets in is of utmost importance and no matter which style they choose, it should be large enough for their cat to stand up and turn around in.

Carriers like Petmate’s See & Extend line of pet carriers include interior tethers, exterior seat belt loops, convenient pet entry and a zip-out vestibule to provide more room during layovers and stops.

“Pet families can trust that Petmate’s unique travel products, including our See & Extend and WETNOZ Carriers, will transport their cherished feline friends to their destinations safely, comfortably and stylishly,” Ann Hanson, director of marketing and innovation for Petmate, said. “We know that traveling can be stressful both for cats and their people, so we have specially-designed our carriers to create a more enjoyable travel experience for all.”

To get a cat accustomed to travel, first get them accustomed to their carrier. Cats should view their carrier as safe place. By encouraging cats to explore the carrier prior to the trip, they will associate it with security.

“All of our carriers are versatile and each have a crash-tested car seat function. The machine-washable, ultra-plush lining found in all of our carriers makes each carrier a perfect bed away from home, thus reducing the need to purchase and carry multiple items,” Michael Leung, product designer for Sleepypod, said. “Our new Sleepypod Pendants can be used for pet identification or as a stylish and fun carrier identification tag when attached to any of our carriers.”

The new PupSaver booster seat is making waves in the auto industry and is perfect for felines.

“Booster seats, and especially harnesses, might seem appealing or safe, but in actuality can cause serious injury to your pet if an accident, or short stop, occurs while driving,” Ashleigh Bennett, owner of PupSaver/Pet Protection Products, LLC, said. “The PupSaver provides impact protection in the same way that an airbag, or child’s safety seat, does. It drastically reduces the risk of injury or fatality by doing this, as well as keeping the pet from entering the roadway, post-accident.”

Consider a Disposable Litter Box

Litter boxes are very important on the road, and the best option is a disposable one.

“Litter One has everything you need for the litter box and it’s included maintenance,” Natalie Robbins, CEO of Litter One, said. “There’s no need to haul around a giant bag of heavy litter and another bag with the litter box and scoop to be set up when you arrive at your destination. Everything is in one box. When you are leaving for your next destination you just throw the box away (or recycle it). You don’t need to empty out the old used litter and wash the box before packing it up to take with you.”

Walking Vest

Harnesses and walking vests are much safer for traveling cats and a pet should be accustomed to wearing one prior to travel.

The Kitty Holster from Crazy K Farm offers a handsome selection of vests that attach with Velcro, making cats feel secure and offering an added level of safety.
If a kitty is Velcro-shy, Sturdi products offer a comfortable, stylish vest that snaps.

“For safety when in an airport, especially when going through security, your cat should be wearing a vest with the leash attached inside his carrier,” Penny Johnson, executive vice president of Sturdi Products, said. “Even if your cat’s not yet leash trained, you will have control once the cat is removed or jumps out of the carrier. Leash training your cat does take patience, but the rewards are worth it.”

Size Matters When It Comes to Litter Boxes

While litter boxes aren’t the most glamorous part of owning a cat, it’s the part that can help make or break a relationship.

As customers continue to seek out quality and innovation in cat boxes and manufacturers are meeting that challenge. From traditional litter trays to fully automatic, self-cleaning boxes, the market has changed through the years.

Litter Boxes

Selecting a cat box is a very personal decision that will vary according to each domestic situation.

Automatic litter boxes with rakes allow more freedom and cleaner boxes, but some cats may not be comfortable around a motor. Many owners, particularly those of multi-cat households, prefer these types of units as they result in fewer boxes per cat throughout the house.

Automated boxes are now available in a wide selection. Popular classics include Nature’s Miracle Self-Cleaning litter boxes or the LitterMaid, both of which rely on the use of a clay-based scoopable litter. These quiet-running boxes offer superior odor control and ease of use, coming in several sizes to accommodate any type of cat.

For those who prefer the ease of automation, but prefer to avoid motors, CatIt offers a manually operated sifting system. Simple yet innovative, the SmartSift’s unique design does the scooping, but allows the owner to control the frequency of litter sifting.

“There is no motor, so it doesn’t frighten cats and it’s large design is perfect for multi-cat households,” Damian Hall, senior marketing manager for Rolf C. Hagen Corp, said. “It’s two steps: 1-2-clean.”

The newer automated boxes, such as the ScoopFree Self-Cleaning Litter Box, uses disposable litter trays that rely on a silica-based “crystal” litter, which is included in each tray. The litter is free of perfumes and dyes, and nearly dust-free. The scooping mechanism sits over the disposable tray and it is easily removed each month by simply covering the tray and disposing.

Size Matters

When it comes to litter boxes, size matters. Certain breeds of cats require larger litter boxes, while others prefer their own individual box. Some cats prefer privacy while others prefer an open environment.

It’s important for consumers to understand their cats’ needs, and it’s important for retailers to provide the knowledge and expertise in helping them select the best products for their cat.

The biggest drawback to litter and boxes is the shelf space it takes to keep them in stock.

“Retailers need to understand the needs of their customers in order to maximize shelf space,” Abby Bishop, store manager at Only Natural Pet in Colorado, said.

Most manufacturers understand this problem and have created POS displays that can help educate customers while saving room on the floor.

Traditional cat boxes are still a feline favorite and they now come in a large variety of shapes and sizes. Corner units are perfect for keeping litter in place, while the traditional rectangular litter tray can be easily placed in any location, including the interior of planters or chests for those who prefer to keep boxes hidden.

Hooded litter trays are perfect for the cat who demands privacy.  As they generally include a carbon or charcoal absorber as a form of filtration, they are effective at controlling odor.

Boxes like the LitterLoo from SmartyKat helps keep litter in the box with its special wall design and their DigDeep litter box, with its high walls, affords extra protection against cats who like to kick litter from the box.


When stocking litter boxes, retailers are presented with an opportunity to cross-sell other helpful accessories.

“SmartyKat offers a variety of stylishly designed and functional waste management, scatter control and odor control products that improve the litter experience for pets and pet parents,” Shannon McWilliams, vice president for product development at Worldwise, said. “Clean Exit is a scatter control mat that keeps litter off of the floor to decrease tracking.”

Odor can be a recurring problem in homes with even the best hygiene system.

“The CritterZone Air Naturalizer creates a natural, charged flow that fills the room and continually cleans the air,” Bill Converse, president of CritterZone USA, said. “CritterZone provides indoor air with the natural charge it needs to virtually eliminate odors, allergens, dust and bacteria.”

The Litter Genie Plus Cat Litter Disposal System reduces odor, makes clean-up quick and easy, hygienically seals soiled litter clumps and reduces trips to the garbage.

“The Litter Genie can hold up to two weeks of waste before emptying, eliminating the daily need to go to the outside trash and making it a convenient way to keep litter boxes clean,” Chikako Harada, brand manager of Litter Genie, said.

Choosing which litters and cat litter boxes to carry in a store should be a result of research and knowledge of your customer base. While cat consumables can be cumbersome, the market is expanding rapidly and as customers increase their knowledge thru well thought-out marketing programs from manufacturers, demand will be high for these new consumables.

Hunt, Eat, Sleep

While indoor cats don’t have to “hunt” for food, the instinct is still ingrained in their DNA.

For this reason, the importance of playtime for indoor cats cannot be overestimated. Cats are natural predators and in a domestic situation, regular playtime should be substituted for the rigorous, “hunt, eat, sleep” schedule they would normally experience in the wild. 

“Many behavioral problems can be eliminated through a program of purposeful play and activity,” Kate Benjamin, owner of Hauspanther, said. “By fostering a cat’s instinctual activities, we enable them to live in a way that is natural to them, eliminating anxiety.”

A cat’s hunt revolves around a four-step process, observe, stalk, chase and pounce. A simulated hunt can be easily created with realistic toys and activities. But remember that felines can be as finicky about playtime as they are about their diets.

“No one toy will appeal to all cats,” Benjamin said. “Manufacturers understand this and have created toys for cats that will appeal to any different personalities and play styles.”

Stocking a wide variety of cat toys is to a retailer’s advantage, and companies like Worldwise, OurPet’s  and Petmate make stocking multiple toys a simple matter.

With clear packaging that enables consumers to select a specific type of toy addressing a characteristic of play, manufacturers continue to prove they understand not only the instinctual needs of pets, but the educational needs of retailers and consumers.

Plush, Rollers and Catnip Toys

“We’re seeing a big increase in interactive toys that contain catnip this year,” Kristen Le, from Petsport USA, said. “Toys like our Kitty freak Ladybug, Mouse Ball and motion-activated Kitty Flash toys are gaining in popularity.”

From crinkle balls to sisal rollers, simple toys are always a feline favorite.

Companies like OurPet’s and Kong offer fun toys that are packed with catnip and include a crinkle or realistic sound, such as a bird call or mouse squeak, to help stimulate play. Made from ultra-soft plush fabric, these are great for low-activity level cats that prefer a good roll and cuddle.

Recently, Petmate unveiled its new line of interactive toys, which include plush birds, butterflies and pom-poms filled with high quality catnip.  The Cataction cat toy line will be available in September, 2013.

“The Cataction cat toy line is designed to exercise a cat’s body and mind,” Chad Lee, JW product manager for Petmate, said. “Cat guardians are more in tune with the primal needs of their cats, and at JW it is our goal to develop innovative toys that activate a cat’s natural instinct to play. Intelligent ideas. Happy pets.”

Wands, Tech and More

Popular wands toys include daBird and Neko Flies, both of which are fishing pole style toys that can be “baited” with realistic lures ranging from a fancy fur mouse that can be made to realistically scamper across a room, to lifelike insects that are guaranteed to get cats jumping.

These interactive toys are a perfect selection for high energy cats.

“When I created the Neko Flies toy, my goal was to create a toy that could simulate a realistic hunting experience,” Ellen Tsyuaki, owner of Nekochan Enterprises, said. “Our toy encourages all elements of a hunt – such as stalking, chasing and jumping – and has improved the lives of cats around the world.”

If your cat prefers to hunt when you’re not at home, there are many battery-operated toys that function on their own. Lasers have fascinated cats since their invention, and the FroliCat DART and BOLT both offer automatic rotating lasers that be set up on a timer to keep cats on their toes while a pet owner is away.

Other fun, automated toys include the Crazy Tail Spinning String cat toy from PetLinks and the FlingAma String cat toy. Both are designed to simulate the movement of prey, encouraging cats to observe and stalk.

Foraging toys are increasing in popularity by focusing felines on scavenging, a natural occurring trait in cats.

The Aikiou Feeding Station from Stimulo encourages the cat to “hunt” for their kibble by fostering this instinct. Cats must identify, and then reach into, tube-like holes to retrieve their kibble. Each tube can be easily interchanged and lengthened or shortened.

BPA-free, this product uses only human-food grade plastics to make their feeding stations.

Other popular foraging toys include the Nina Ottoson Treat Maze, the Trixie Snack Box and various treat balls and puzzle boxes. Each of them caters to a cat’s natural instinct to forage for food, while keeping them entertained and providing them with extra exercise.

Track toys focus on activity and movement, encouraging a cat’s natural response to observe and chase.

Bergan Turbo Scratcher toys offer scratcher replacement pads made from recycled material, while the Turbo Track can be easily reshaped for cats that prefer new shapes and designs on a regular basis.

Thrill of the Chase is a classic in the Play n’ Squeak line from OurPet’s, and CatIt now offers a Play Circuit and a Speed Circuit in their popular line of track toys.

Activity Centers

For the easily bored cat, an appeal to all of their senses is the best enrichment exercise. Catit’s Senses Comfort Zone is the latest in the Senses modules, which combine water, grass, and a variety of textures, sounds and movement that is guaranteed to provide the ultimate in enrichment experiences.

“Cat products have skyrocketed in the past several years,” Abby Bishop, manager of Only Natural Pet Store in Boulder, Colo., said. “The selection has increased and guardians of even the pickiest of cats can now find toys that appeal to them.”

Whichever brands of toys a retailer chooses to carry, be certain they carrying a wide selection that appeals to cats of all personalities.

Iams, Eukanuba Pet Food Recalled

Procter & Gamble voluntarily recalled specific lots of Iams and Eukanuba dry pet food because they have the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella, the company said in a press release on their website.

The affected product was distributed to select retailers across the United States, and were made during a 10-day window at a single manufacturing site, according to the release.

P&G’s routine testing determined that some products made during this timeframe had the potential for Salmonella contamination. As a precautionary measure, they recalled the potentially impacted products made during the timeframe.

No other dry dog food, dry cat food, dog or cat canned wet food, biscuits/treats or supplements are affected by this announcement, the company said.

The lots were distributed in the United States and represent roughly one-tenth of one percent of annual production, the company said. No Salmonella-related illnesses have been reported to date in association with these product lots, according to the release.

More information, including the specific lots, can be found on their website.

Scratching Your Way To Sales

Scratching posts are a necessary item for any cat-loving home, but they haven’t always been the most glamorous of household additions.

Thanks to the creative genius of imaginative manufacturers, we can now replace those clichéd, carpet-wrapped posts with functional, yet trendy, contemporary cat scratching posts that fit any home décor.

Scratching is a physical and instinctual need for any feline.  Ignore that need at your peril, as doing so will inevitably lead to behavioral problems. Like human fingernails, a cat’s claws continue to grow throughout their life. They must “shed” their outer nail in order to expose a sharper nail from beneath, which can lead to the rapid destruction of furniture if the necessary equipment is not provided.

If a customer currently has a problem with such behavior, there is still hope.

Redirection is retraining a cat to use appropriate scratch posts by utilizing “markers,” such as Quaker Pet Group’s microencapsulated catnip scent in the form of stickers or sprays. Placing these stickers on appropriate scratch areas help to attract them to the new location.

“A few mists of SuperCat Catnip Spray on a cat scratcher will help entice cats to use it,” Cristen Underwood, marketing director of Quaker Pet Group, said. “Fresh catnip scent is released every time a cat scratches or rubs areas where it has been sprayed, helping it last for up to six weeks.”

For redirection to be effective, it’s very important to select the right post for your cat. Today’s scratching poles are elegant, functional, lightweight and constructed to provide longer life.

Scratching posts now come in thousands of designs, like the award-winning CurvyNest from Catswall. From modular cat climbing walls to curvy tunnel-like spaces, their innovative designs encourage exploration, scratching and comfort.

The Refined Feline offers scratch posts for even the most discerning of cat owners. An example is the Lotus Cat Tower which combines climbing and scratching into an elegant display fit for any living room.

“It’s stylish and functional, and anything that wears is easily replaceable,” Josh Feinkind, owner of The Refined Feline, said.

Selecting a Post

When coaching customers on how to choose the best scratch post for their cat, there are a few rules of thumb that you should follow.

The first is height. Experts recommend that a vertical post should be at least eight inches taller than the cat when it is standing on its hind legs at full stretch. Generally, you can estimate that length by measuring the cat’s body length and doubling the result. Taller is better, but make certain the furniture is stable enough for heavy scratchers.

Scratching posts can range from horizontal floor units to entire tree-like structures. Cats naturally seek the security of high places and so it is important to provide both vertical and horizontal scratching areas.

Natural Materials Are Favorites

Companies like Ware Manufacturing, Imperial Cat and Mountain Cat Trees understand the need for new materials that stimulate the cat’s natural need to scratch.

Sisal, sea grass, recycled paper, cardboard and raw wood are taking the place of traditional carpet-covered posts, which can be difficult to clean and even more difficult to replace. In addition, many cats may have difficulty understanding why it’s acceptable to scratch a carpet-covered post and not a carpet.

Mountain Cat Trees provides eco-friendly solutions designed to enrich the life of your feline companion. Their artistic trees are beautiful, artistic designs that range from simple to complex.

“Natural materials are best when it comes to scratching posts,” Rebecca Mountain, owner of Mountain Cat Trees, said. “Products made with chemicals can be ingested when cats groom themselves, so it’s best to stay with natural materials Also, cats tend to prefer sisal and natural wood because of their earthy smell and appealing texture.”

Recycled, corrugated cardboard remains a feline fan favorite and comes in a variety of shapes and sizes. Made in the USA from 100 percent post consumer recycled materials, Imperial Cat’s Scratch ‘n Shapes scratchers are fun for cats and available in a large variety of sizes and shapes.

The honeycomb texture of corrugated cardboard imitates natural tree bark, so cats instinctively want to sink their claws into the scratchers. For the feline with fastidious taste, each Scratch ‘n Shapes includes a bag of certified organic catnip to encourage an easy transition.

“Our animal themed Scratch ‘n Shapes were designed to make cats feel at home with their (not so) furry friends,” Kristie Hamilton, Imperial Cat’s director of sales, said. “These fun scratchers make a big statement, while providing hours of fun and a safe space for kitty to scratch and play. Plus, we love the idea of allowing animal lovers to bring the diversity of the animal kingdom right into their very own homes!”

If your customers need some additional assistance in selecting the right equipment, Worldwise places the instinctual needs of cats directly onto their packaging by utilizing their PetLinks system.

“All of our furniture and toys fall under one of nine categories that meet a cat’s basic needs,” Shannon McWilliams, vice president of innovation, said. “For example, we clearly package our products listing the instinctual need that the toy or scratcher meets. This may include the need for stimulation, hunt, privacy, hygiene, rest, independence, scratch or exercise. Not only does this educate the consumer, it encourages them to purchase additional supplies in order to meet all of their cats’ needs.”

Whichever shape, style or texture you select, it’s important to make sure the cats approve of any decision. Take advantage of a stylish, designer display in your store to open the discussion about the varying needs of cats.

Halo Continues Its “Do Good” Campaign at SuperZoo

Halo, Purely for Pets, continued its “Do Good” for pets campaign at SuperZoo booth 824.

The booth is designed for retailers to learn more about Halo, its philanthropy programs and have the chance to give back to the community. Each day at SuperZoo retailers can stop by the booth to play games and win prizes. Each day participants will be entered into a drawing for a 5,000 meal donation of Halo Spot’s Stew from, winners will be presented at the booth.

“Our philanthropy booth exemplifies a key component of what makes Halo different, ” David Yaskulka, vice president of marketing and communications, said. “Our core philosophy is “Be Good, Do Good”. “Be Good” has to be with the quality of ingredients in  the formulas. The “Do Good” is something very special. We are Halo, Purely for Pets. We are for our consumers pets and we are for all pets. But our consumers are too. They care about their own pets and they care about all pets. They adopt one pet from a shelter they wish they could adopt them all. But when they buy Halo they know they are making a difference for a wide number for pets who don’t have the same advantages that their pets have.

“So here at SuperZoo we are showing how we partner with retailers to make a difference for pets in their own community. One of the best examples is a kibble drop where we take at least a five thousand meal donation, sometimes more, deliver it to a retail location and we have shelters in the community to pick it up. It’s an exciting community building event, it’s makings a difference for pets and it’s showing the community this is a retailer who really cares. It’s something the supermarkets are not doing, it’s something the discount stores are not doing, it’s something that exemplifies some of the best of what independent pet retailers are about.”

If they choose, visitors to the booth can make a donation to the Halo Pet Foundation and, in exchange, receive official Ellen Show merchandise and other gifts.

“Pet adoption is something I’m extremely passionate about. I believe that by working together, we can find good homes for the millions of homeless and abandoned pets out there,”  Ellen DeGeneres, co-owner of Halo, said.

The official kibble sponsor of, Halo donates 1.5 million meals to shelter pets each year. The company partnered with the U.S. Postal Service to donate 1 million meals to shelter pets in support of the Adopt a Shelter Pet stamp in 2010. Halo is also the sponsor of the first two episodes of the PBS special “Shelter Me,” in 2012 and 2013 (airing now), to inspire adoption of pets from shelters. Halo recently held a Pop-up shop, Halo City Tails – NYC to raise money for the Halo Pet Foundation and, in partnership with New York City retailers, give back to pets in need in the New York area.

Looking Purrrfect

Pet pampering is reaching new extremes and even cats are getting into the grooming act with stores offering styling services that range from desensitization treatments and chin exfoliations to hot towel wraps and Brazilian fur blow-outs.

Whether customers want their cat to have a lion cut or they are simply learning how to eliminate dandruff with a Dead Sea Salt treatment, it’s obvious that the market for feline pampering is on the rise.

Spas like the Cat’s Meow in California are offering a wide selection of spa treatments performed in private sound-proofed rooms with cat calming pheromones and lavender hydrosols circulated throughout to foster the ultimate in feline relaxation. But if you’re not quite ready for that upgrade, there are many suggestions you can make to your cat-loving customers.

The first rule of grooming a cat is respecting a feline’s tolerance levels. Cat owners now have access to many tools that make grooming a cat simple. ThunderShirt’s patented design applies a gentle, constant pressure that has a dramatic calming effect for most cats. Holistic remedies, such as Rescue Remedy or Feliway, can help reduce stress during grooming.

“The most helpful trick to make grooming sessions fun and enjoyable for both you and your cat is to start early,” Eika Haas, CVT, NCMG and owner of Purrrfet Paws, LLC in Windsor, Colo., said. “The earlier a kitten learns that being handled and manipulated is OK, the better off you, your cat, your groomer and veterinarian will be.”

Most Difficult

“Nail trimming can be the most difficult task of grooming your cat, yet it is the most important,” Haas said. “The claws of a cat collect bacteria that can result in damage not only to your furniture, but also to you. Nail trimming should be done once a month.”

Products like the 3-in-1 Pedicure Set from the Furbuster line by PetMate are excellent as they contain nail clippers, styptic powder and a nail file in one easy-to-use product.

For customers who are not comfortable with monthly cat nail clippings, Soft Claws Nail Caps may be just the thing they need.  Application is as simple as filling a nail cap with adhesive and slipping it onto the nail.

Cats are quite susceptible to skin problems with the most common conditions resulting from infections, flea bites, mites and yeast. Most of these common skin irritants can be easily resolved with natural solutions.

Given that felines are highly sensitive, “DERMagic Feline Skin Rescue lotion offers cats fast and effective relief from skin irritations, hot spots, scaly skin, flea allergies, dermatitis, and dry skin conditions,” Dr. Adelia Ritchie, founder of DERMagic, said.

These all-natural solutions, as well as items like shampoos and in-between bath wipes, also make a great up sells to customers.

“Our Dead Sea Salt Scrub is an excellent up-sell for grooming salons,” Ritchie said. “For only pennies, you can offer your clients a complete spa exfoliation and dandruff treatment.”

For occasional quick cat cleanups, Earthbath offers specialty grooming wipes and waterless shampoos.

“When searching for a shampoo, consider formulas that are free from parabens, dyes or sulfates that are made in the USA,” Yvonne Roth, director of marketing for Earthbath, said. “Our all-natural, human-grade formulas are ultra mild but highly effective. Our ear and nose wipes are particularly useful for easy cleaning and our shampoo foam is designed for cats that prefer to avoid water.”

Coat and Clipping

When selecting grooming equipment, it’s important to choose the right equipment for the job.

“A cat’s skin is very thin and easily tears, which is why it is important to consult with a groomer or veterinarian prior to shaving or removing mats,” Charlene Hibbs, of A Gentle Touch Pet Care Service, said. “Cats also have less ‘time tolerance’ – it is important to get grooming done quickly before they become stressed.”

Alternatives to brushes, such as the PetMate 3-in-1 Grooming Glove, are particularly useful for cats that don’t enjoy grooming. The glove allows easy grooming of difficult to reach or sensitive areas under the shoulder or along belly. Other products, such as the Tender Tips Pin Brush, gently remove mats and tangles, while allowing sensitive felines to become adjusted to grooming.

Oster Animal Care and ShedMonster  Professional De-Shedding Tools are now available from Jarden Animal Solutions. Oster has shared a passion and enthusiasm for pet grooming for over 85 years and offers an extensive line of products for grooming, including cat cologne spray to give a cat that final fresh scent.

“Treating your cat to frequent brushing with gentle deshedding tools will help prevent matting, decrease the amount of fur around the house, support a shiny and healthy coat, and reduce the challenges of hairballs,” Justin Crout, group marketing manager for Jarden Animal Solutions/Jarden Consumer Solutions, said. “The cat cologne spray extends the fresh scent of a clean cat and helps hide odor.”

There are health benefits as well.

According to FURMinator, “up to two-thirds of the hair a cat sheds is ingested during self grooming, resulting in hairballs that are messy, stressful to the cat and the cause of potentially serious problems.”

Regular grooming is important. But if you’re not sure which brush or comb will work best on a specific cat, FURMinator offers an interactive online demo that will assist customers in selecting the best products for their pets.

Different Cats Have Different Needs

A hairless cat may only need quick rub down with a chamois, while a long-haired cat that is prone to matting might benefit from a lion’s cut or daily brushing. Keeping cats well-groomed also reduces visits to the veterinarian and can reduce the need for expensive food to keep hairballs at bay.

-Stacy Mantle


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