Allowing cats to safely and securely experience the great outdoors is an overall boon to their general health and well-being. With this trend comes increased interest in feline collars, harnesses and leashes, and the selection is growing to meet this need in a variety of materials—from genuine leather, vegan leather and nylon to hemp and bamboo.
“We have seen excellent growth in the cat accessory market and have several new products currently in development,” said Kasumi Forth, technical design manager for RC Pet Products. “Our Kitty Breakaway Collar comes in nine plain colors with cyan and raspberry being the most popular shades. The Kitty Clip Collar line is available in 24 signature RC patterns, with the pirate cat and love birds designs being our best sellers.”
Forth added that the company tries to refresh its products’ pattern assortments twice a year, with the recent fish and bird patterns that were released in August 2016 being very well received by consumers. While the company also produces feline harnesses and leashes, they are not sold in conjunction with collars.
“But our customers do create their own matching sets or mix and match patterns as they please,” Forth explained.
Coastal Pet Products, Inc., offers a large selection of collars for both cats and kittens as well as a line of mesh harnesses sold with attached 6-foot matching leashes in several colors, including red, blue, pink and lime green. The harness sits on the shoulders so that it can be worn in conjunction with a collar. They are also adjustable around the tummy area.
The company’s newest collar selection is a range of glow-in-the-dark designs with a magnetic breakaway clasp.
“The glow-in-the-dark collars charge during the day, even indoors, to glow all night and feature a pivoting breakaway buckle,” explained Brooke Bower, marketing specialist for Coastal Pet Products, Inc. “The magnetic buckles self-align and provide a consistent breakaway point for maximum safety.”
Late last year the company also expanded its Li’l Pals Kitten line, introducing five high fashion safety collars.
“The Ribbon Safety Kitten Collar is available in green stripes and pink stripes and features a fashion forward, color-coordinated bead embellishment and a bell,” Bower added. “The other popular design has a decorative bow and is available in black silk, white silk and pink and grey velvet. They also have bells.”
According to Elizabeth Littlejohn, visual specialist for Petmate, the company’s research indicates that about 30 percent of cat owners put collars on their cats, and that safety features, rather than fashion trends, drives them to purchase a specific collar.
“Reflective prints in glow-in-the-dark ink and breakaway buckles top the list of important features for cat parents, and our various collections offer these important details,” Littlejohn said. “Such patterns not only look fashionable and on trend during the daytime, but glow for added safety and security at night. It’s an ideal combination.”
PetSafe Brand offers a free bungee leash to consumers who have purchased one of the company’s breakaway, snag-proof collars or the Come With Me Kitty harnesses.
“These sets are available in six colors, the most popular being blue, red, then black,” said Mandie Sweetnam, product manager for this category. “The advantage of a bungee leash is that it prevents kitty whiplash.”
Lupine Pet Products is known for its replacement collar guarantee for collars that have been chewed or badly frayed through scratching and exuberant play.
“We mostly get chewed dog collars back but occasionally there’s a chewed cat collar, too,” said Tracy McCarthy, a marketing repesentative for Lupine Pet Products.
According to McCarthy, many of Lupine’s customers who own both cats and dogs purchase matching collars and leashes for their pets. Consequently, the company makes matching breakaway feline collars in a narrower band and in one size intended for cats ranging between an 8-inch and 12-inch collar size.
Lupine’s H-shaped harness is available in two sizes; the 9-inch by 14-inch design is for kittens and svelte cats, while the 12-inch by 20-inch model is for cats with larger necks.
New York-based Around The Collar, which has built a strong reputation on its high fashion, handmade leather dog collars, recently started producing matching designs for cats as a result of requests from pet owners.
“Many of our canine designs cross over well for cats if the patterns can be replicated on a narrower collar that is between ⅝-inch to ½-inch wide,” explained Sharon Romero, creative director for the company. “Our small harnesses for tiny dogs are well-liked by cat owners, too.”
“And we have found that cat owners also love bling in the form of Swarovski crystals,” Romero added. “Flower patterns are very popular, as well as appropriately sized studs and spikes collars for larger cats like Bengals and Main Coons.”
Angel Pet Supplies also produces matching cat and dog collections.
“Our Athens rhinestone collection and our Alpine plain designs are the most popular amongst cat consumers,” said Eran Konorty, CEO of the company. He added that Angel Pet Supplies often offers retailers special promotions by discounting an entire collection.
“This allows us to offer deals on seasonal collections,” Konorty said. “It also gives retailers an opportunity to try a collection from Angel that they currently do not carry knowing they are getting the most popular colors and sizes within that deal.”
“And throughout the year, we also offer ISO deals (Initial Stocking Order) for new customers,” Konorty added. “We realize that new customers still need to familiarize themselves with our products, so we will either offer a certain percentage off of the order or we will recommend a pre-built or custom built collection based on their store type, location and budget. We want to ensure the success of the brand and will recommend our best starting point.”