When it comes to beds, a cat has a lot in common with Goldilocks. They both desire the ultimate comfort zone.
From a retailer’s standpoint, however, there is a variety of innovative choices to build an inventory that will offer consumers plenty of options to meet their felines’ needs.
While cats traditionally like to sleep “in the round,” many also enjoy stretching out. In multi-pet households, cats are not shy about sharing a sleeping area with a housemate, so there is definitely some crossover from the dog bed category that will appeal to cat owners, too.
From Firm to Soft
“Nearly all of our products are appreciated by both cats and dogs,” said Bill Parsons, sales manager at P.L.A.Y. (Pet Lifestyle and You), in San Francisco. “Our Lounge Bed line is a particular feline favorite. They seem to like our Pet Teepees, too, and the classic canvas color and the denim remain firm favorites. While in our specially designed feline Snuggle Bed Collection, the most popular color has always been charcoal gray, because it offers such a rich selection of color shades.”
Snuggle Beds feature a plush velvet on one side and a smooth, sturdy canvas on the other, with the cotton-mix canvas being breathable and light for summer while the velvet keeps pets warm in the winter. Stuffed with a high-loft, eco-friendly PlanetFill, the Lounge Bed collection is crafted with furniture-grade materials that include natural cotton canvas and ultra-soft velvet materials.
Meanwhile, Pet Teepees offer a stylish sanctuary that is constructed of 100 percent natural cotton canvas and pine wood poles. The ergonomic inner foam cushion has a removable washable cover.
When it comes to designs, hooded beds offer felines comfort and the privacy to temporarily opt out of household activities. Albeit, other cats prefer being able to see around and above them or snoozing in a raised position.
“Cats enjoy materials like soft, plush fabrics,” said Nancy Waters, marketing manager for R2P Group Inc. “But, ultimately, apart from being comfortable, if they don’t feel secure, they are not likely to use the bed. Thus, our selection includes hideout options such as hooded bed tents, igloos and designs like our Stuft Snuggle Sack. We also have a large selection of couch-styled beds as well as round designs with high sides, which give cats the option to stretch out or sleep with a fury friend.
“It’s our policy to always cater to season demands in terms of fabric selections,” she added. “Consequently, we will be debuting a lot of new designs at the Global Pet Expo this month.”
In keeping with criteria such as comfort and privacy, Josh Feinkind of The Refined Feline, headquartered in New York, confirmed that his new A-Frame cat bed, available in mahogany and espresso brown, was created after seeing photographs of customers’ cats lying on top of home heating vents.
“We knew that, while cats may like a warm surface in the winter or a cool surface in the summer, this couldn’t be comfortable. Plus, they block the airflow of the vent itself,” Feinkind said. “Our goal with this design was to create a raised bed that was comfortable while allowing airflow rise into the microsuede foam-covered cushion as well as out the sides of the bed.
“To complete the piece, we added a large sisal scratch pad and a top platform to create an A-Frame style end table that can be placed against a wall or by a sofa,” he added. “Also, the sisal pad can be swapped out and replaced with a designer carpet floor square for cats that prefer a softer surface and a pattern that will further enhance the room’s décor.”
Functional beds from K&H Manufacturing include the EZ Mount Window Bed and the EZ Mount Kitty Pod that turn a window lookout into an “entertainment center” by tapping directly into the notion that cats love to bask in the sun and observe the activity this viewpoint has to offer. The products attach with a suction cup mounting system and come with the Amazin’ Kitty Pad designed to trap hair, dirt and dander.
K&H is known for its outdoor cathouses designed for outdoor cats and feral communities. Recently, the company introduced the K&H Outdoor Kitty House Extra-Wide to their lineup, which offers additional space for multiple cats to escape the cold.
According to Wonjung Song, director of bedding innovation and product development at Worldwise Inc., cat bed styles offered in the marketplace generally tend to be smaller based on the premise that cats like to sleep “in the round.”
However, concurring with Parsons, Song added that Worldwise is aware of the feline propensity to hijack a dog’s bed.
“We have found that many consumers also consider our Petlinks Supreme Soother dog bed for multi-cat or multi-pet households,” she said. “However, we have developed many designs in our Petlinks line in all sizes and shapes to meet all sleep needs as well as the tendency to hide and play in their bedding.
“In general, cat beds tend to offer additional functionality as opposed to standard dog beds,” Song added. “For example, adding a sachet of catnip to a bed is a popular accessory.”
The Touch Test
According to Song, cat beds is a pet category that many consumers like to shop for in a brick-and-mortar store as opposed to online.
“Pet parents like to touch and feel the fabrics and textures, as they envision the bed as an extension of their furniture and decor in the home,” she explained. “The goal is to blend and complement, not stand out and contrast. Over the last few years, we have continued to use super soft, high pile plush that consumers are already familiar with in comfortable human bedding like blankets and comforters.
“We are seeing the cat bedding market just starting to expand as more options are offered,” Song concluded. “In the past, pet owners have tended to spend less on their cats than on their dogs. This is definitely changing. Our Petlinks design team is excited to launch new technologies and designs in 2017 that address our Complete Needs product policy. And at the same time, the goal is to keep the price point affordable.”