It’s interesting to note that when it comes to advertising flea and tick products, the focus is primarily on dogs. However, according to research done by the Hartz Mountain Corporation, cats in fact suffer more flea and tick problems than dogs. This is attributed to the fact that cats are very successful at grooming themselves against ticks.
The 2017-2018 National Pet Owners’ Survey produced by the American Pet Products Association highlights that half of America’s 47.1 million feline-owning households have purchased a flea and tick product in the last 12 months with topicals being the most purchased products. In addition, 25 percent of cat owners also purchase flea collars.
The survey also shows that the all-natural, chemical-free flea and tick product has grown since the survey was first produced over a decade ago with about 9 percent of cat owners—that’s about 4.2 million feline-owning households—favoring natural products.
“It’s great to see the increased awareness of the harm many flea and tick chemicals can do to pets. It’s unfortunate that the awareness has come about due to the dangerous side effects being reported from well-known flea and tick products, but it has opened up conversations about how to take care of your pets properly,” said AdreAnne Tesene, co-owner of Two Bostons stores in Illinois. “It is our responsibility as pet parents to make sure we understand 100 percent what we are putting on our pets’ bodies as well as in their bodies.
“Our customers are definitely more interested in more natural options that are safe for their pets,” she added.
Earth Animal is a company that takes an effective, no-harm approach, using herbs to fight fleas and ticks rather than potentially harmful insecticides and pesticides. It is Earth Animal’s goal to be safe for both the earth and Earth’s animals—which has been its goal since the ’70s, when co-founder Susan Goldstein began making flea collars by hand after she and her veterinarian husband Dr. Bob Goldstein linked the kidney and liver damage pets were experiencing to the day’s flea and tick products.
“We take a cause-no-harm stand,” Susan Goldstein said. “We are philosophically opposed to using the body of a cat as a carrier of a poison to flea and tick prevention and control.”
Earth Animal offers topical solutions, like in its flea and tick collar, as well as protection from the inside out with its herbal liquid and powder, which can be added to food, water or goat’s milk.
The powder’s combination of nutrients, vitamins and minerals helps change a cat’s odor so that fleas and ticks are detracted by the scent or taste of the blood, according to the company’s website. Likewise, the liquid drops keep the blood bitter, warding off the pests.
Susan Goldstein says she recommends owners use double protection on their cats, having a combination of topical and internal protection, especially if the cat has a serious infestation or there is a bad flea or tick season.
It’s important to remember that even cats that have an exclusively indoors-only lifestyle can be plagued by fleas brought into the home by humans or the family dog. Further, it only takes one flea bite to initiate an allergic reaction.
From a retail perspective, a survey produced by Banfield hospitals stated the top five states for cats with flea issues as Oregon, Washington, Florida, California and Alabama. The states with the lowest amounts of feline flea issues are Utah, Colorado, Nevada, Montana and South Dakota.
Most flea products on the market are species-specific. However, there are some products that are safe for cats as well as dogs, which is ideal for specialty stores with customers who have both cats and dogs. Wondercide is one of those products.
“Most essential oils are harmful to cats. However, our products are safe to be applied directly to cats as well as to their bedding and various items of cat furniture,” explained Stephanie Boone, CEO of Wondercide. “Our cedar oil is a modified Eastern Red Cedar oil that is properly diluted. It is not known to be harmful to cats or kittens since it does not contain phenols or phenolic compounds, which occur naturally in many essential oils.”
Further, Boone offers advice to retailers to pass on to their cat-owning customers.
“Always test a small amount of product on your cat before a full treatment,” she cautioned. “And if your cat is fearful of spray bottles, spray the product into your hands and massage on to the fur. Because a flea on your cat means there are fleas in your cat’s environment, take a holistic approach by treating your home and/or yard for fleas. Our sprays are non-toxic, but not intended for internal use. So, spray where it’s difficult for a cat to lick off.”
Recently, in line with the focus on non-chemical and natural alternatives, Natural Chemistry has added new products to its DeFlea line, including upholstery spray, powders and more. The cat sprays are all-natural formulas using various combinations of cinnamon, cedar wood, clove, geraniol and cottonseed extracts to attack and shut down the central nervous system of the insects. And the company is looking to further expand its feline products later this year.
The SonicGuard Ultrasonic Repellent from Gen7Pets is an ultrasonic tick and flea protection device that emits a series of ultrasound pulses that are harmless and imperceptible to humans and animals but repel ticks and fleas. This technology underwent rigorous testing at the School of Veterinary Medical Sciences at the University of Camerino, Italy, before it was launched on the U.S. market. It is also safe for both dogs and cats.
“The device has an operating range of about five feet and has no chemicals,” said Hope Graby, publicist for the company. “Consequently, it’s non-toxic and odorless.”
The built-in lithium battery lasts up to 12 months and has a button to alert when it’s wearing down. The gadget is also waterproof—in case it ends up in the water bowl.
SynergyLabs manufactures various flea and tick products under various brand names. And, according to Chief Marketing Officer Scott Cross, the company has seen an increase in sales across their various brands. For pet specialty retailers that also offer in-store grooming services, the Veterinary Formula Clinical Care Flea and Tick is formulated for cats over 12 weeks of age. The product can also be sold for home use.
For pet specialty retailers that also offer in-store grooming services, the Veterinary Formula Clinical Care Flea and Tick is formulated for cats over 12 weeks of age.
The Hartz Mountain Corporation has a long-standing reputation for over-the-counter flea and tick solutions for felines.
According to Christopher Orzolek, senior brand manager of the flea and tick category, its flea and tick collars rank as the company’s top seller in the category over topicals, drops and sprays.
“The Hartz UltraGuard Plus Flea & Tick Collar for Cats and Kittens kills and repels both fleas and ticks for seven months, plus it kills and prevents flea eggs for up to seven months, thereby stopping the flea life cycle and preventing re-infestation,” he said. “It’s water resistant and suitable for kittens from the age of 12 weeks onwards.”