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November 2, 2015

Design for the pet industry is just as inspired as design for humans, and this year cat furniture is getting a makeover with sleek, minimalist designs. Today’s consumers understand that a well-furnished home can result in happier indoor cats and fewer behavior problems. For this reason, they are seeking designs that fit naturally with their own décor and that are made from durable, cost-effective materials that will keep any cat content.

For Fashionable Felines

Making an impression is the newly-released, seven-piece Vesper V-line series of cat furniture from Rolf C. Hagen. The Vesper V-line furniture offers a combination of cubes, platforms and tunnels with strategically placed sisal scratching areas to provide comfort and playtime for cats of all sizes and ages.

“We developed Vesper as a new and unique line of cat furniture in a timelessly modern design,” said Stephan Hagen, marketing director at Rolf C. Hagen. “In addition to its highly aesthetic look, we incorporated high-quality materials and meticulous workmanship for a durable product, sold for a great value.”

Luxurious but affordable, kathy ireland Loved Ones from Worldwise is a standout line of furniture solutions for cat owners.

“Kathy Ireland is a true believer that ‘our pets are truly members of our family and we want these loved ones to know how important they are to us every day’,” said Aimee Diskin, director of innovation and product development for Worldwise. “With that in mind, she partnered with pet industry leader, Worldwise, to create the Loved Ones line of solution based pet products. The line includes a collection of stylish, modular cat furniture that satisfies your cat’s natural needs by providing places for them to scratch, play, groom, stretch and rest. Innovative designs are inspired by home décor trends. These elegant pieces work perfectly on their own, but can also be combined to create a stylish activity center for your cat.”

Different Styles for Different Cats

Form follows function, so it’s important to help customers understand their cats in order to purchase the proper piece of furniture.

“When designing furniture for pets, you have two customers, the pet and the pet parent,” said Josh Feinkind, owner of RefinedKind Pet Products. “Each has their distinctive needs. We design our products to satisfy each; cats want to be able to climb, scratch and perch, and could care less about the look of the product. However, pet parents who are concerned with aesthetics want not only their pet happy, but pieces that flow with their decor. Our designs address both parties. Bottom dwellers who lay under tables and couches may find a bed on the ground ideal, like our Kitty Ball Bed. Cats who tend to climb bookshelves and armoires may be keener on tall cat towers like our Lotus or wall shelves like our Cat Clouds.”

For those who prefer to bring the outdoors in, Pet Tree Houses has developed an inexpensive new indoor treehouse that’s sure to engage any cat’s climbing instincts.

“Natural means that the cat can engage on an instinctive level,” said Shelley DelRocco, vice president of Pet Tree Houses. The company, who recently set the world record for the world’s tallest cat tree, uses real trees and synthetic silk foliage to encourage cats to scratch and stretch on naturally gnarled branches.

“We recently introduced the KIT-TY tree that the customer can easily put together at home,” DelRocco said. “The Tree is affordably priced and is the same high-quality and craftsmanship as the rest of the line and includes the real tree, silk foliage, removable carpet and poseable foliage.”

Retailers should also consider the types of homes their customers have when stocking furniture for cats. The market is showing innovation in developing products like the space-saving cat shelves or the inspiring Cat Crib, which attaches to virtually any type of traditional chair.

“Our beds blend into the owner’s furniture,” said Greg Hora, president of Cat Crib. “The cat hammock attaches right to the chair legs. They provide a comfy place where the kitty feels safe while taking up wasted space in the home. We were tired of the bulky cat beds (that our cats didn’t use) taking up space on our floor. They were a bit of an eye sore just sitting there. The Cat Crib blends right into the furniture in your home and gives your cat a sleeping area catered to their liking.”

Make It Easy

The easy-to-install shelves feature strong metal platforms with faux sheepskin fabric pads that attach magnetically and permit easy replacement.

“Not all cats can jump three feet and you might have an older cat with arthritis or poor balance that you want to provide a cat tree or window perch for,” said Rebecca Mountain, president of Mountain Cat Trees. “The design of the cat tree, window perch or shelf should take this into consideration and not be too high, or should have raised sides to prevent a fall.”

Another easy to stack and store option is from Catty Stacks, who created the simplest of designs made from a feline friend: high density cardboard. These stackable cubes are a hit with all customers and cats, and allow for an easily modified, cost-effective solution that is environmentally friendly and appealing to both cats and humans.

Another fun product is the collapsible NekoNappers house from Nekochan.

“Our houses offer many benefits, but most of all they are versatile, unique and compatible with any home design,” said Ellen Tsuyuki, owner of Nekochan Enterprises. “I think cats enjoy places where they can have a hiding spot to view what is going on, feel protected as they sleep and still stalk prey passing in front of the opening.”

Outside Accommodations

Outdoor cats are even being shown the love this year with specialized shelters that you can place outdoors to help protect them from the elements. These sturdy, weatherproof enclosures also come in an indoor, carpeted version for scratching and lounging.

“Our cat beds are unique because they’re designed for inside and outside use, whereas many other brands focus on indoor cats,” said Pascale Duffieux-Pierce, executive vice president of Brinsea Products. “The KatKabin has a weatherproof shell to keep outdoor or feral cats dry and cozy in adverse weather, as well as shaded in the summer. The unique dome shape makes it easy to hide in bushes, which cats love, and the removable cat door gives them an extra feeling of security while simultaneously blocking wind and weather. Our SkratchKabin is a great indoor activity center because it’s a scratcher and lounge in one, which is a big hit with consumers.”

As cats gain a larger section of the pet market, retailers will find that high-quality cat houses, beautifully designed and sourced from environmentally friendly materials, are in high demand.

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