BY: Kate Benjamin
Cats have been elevated to a new status level in recent years, taking their rightful place as beloved family members. They have also become the beneficiaries of innovative product development aimed at making their lives, and the lives of the humans who love them, better. Never before have there been so many opportunities to please cat customers.
Looking back at the past 12 years since I started writing about and designing cat products, I am overjoyed at the progress I’ve seen in the category. Where once there were only a handful of individual designers and small companies making inventive and stylish cat products, today there are new offerings continuously coming to market from a wide range of manufacturers.
A new cat-centric culture—one that truly understands that cats need enrichment in order to live their best lives—is growing. These contemporary cat owners also understand that living with a cat doesn’t mean we have to lose our sense of style.
The days of the crazy cat lady stereotype are gone. Today’s style-conscious customers seek out products that both they and their cat will love. From gourmet meals and treats to interactive toys, cozy beds, climbing furniture and satisfying scratching surfaces, the best products tap into a cat’s natural instincts.
As predators, cats do best when fed a high-quality meat-based diet. They also need places to scratch, climb and rest comfortably in order to feel a sense of territorial ownership. Products that satisfy these instincts will create a stimulating environment, giving a cat confidence and a sense of well-being, and ultimately reducing potential behavior issues.
My own cat product line, manufactured in partnership with Primetime Petz, aims to bring both function and style to the savvy cat customer. From designer toys that cats love (and that also look like modern art on your living room floor) to sleek climbing shelves and multi-functional furniture, these pieces are indicative of the changes we are seeing in the category. These are not items that need to be hidden away when guests come over.
As more and more manufacturers embrace this new era of living with cats, I expect that we will see exciting innovations and product designs that were never imagined before. The time has come to celebrate our feline family members and provide them with the things they need to not just survive but also to thrive.