Focus on Feline Health and Safety
Offer cat owners a comprehensive selection of safety, health aid and first aid products for their pets.
Dermatologists report that one of the most common complaints that they see is that of “the itch.” The same is true with veterinarians. That’s why there’s been a rising demand for health aid products for cats, such as skin creams, ointments and pill maskers, which all have been selling strong.
Dan McFadden, vice president of animal wellness for Oculus Innovative Sciences in Petaluma, Calif., said the company’s latest advancements in skin and wound care products for cats is its line of MicrocynAH animal health care products, which will begin shipping this month.
“We are introducing two new MicrocynAH products; one a spray gel for the management of hot spots (Hot Spot Spray Gel) and the second, Anti-Itch Spray Gel for the management of skin irritations and dermatoses,” he said. “Our animal health care products provide hypochlorous acid-based solutions and hydrogels that are effective formulations for the management of wounds, cuts, abrasions, burns, lacerations, post-surgical sites, hot spots and skin irritations, as well as eye and ear irritations including pink eye.”
Keeping Cats Safe
Lori Fouts, senior vice president of sales management at MiracleCorp in Moraine, Ohio, said a roaming cat is a danger to itself and wildlife such as songbirds, which is why a cat owner should consider products designed with safety in mind.
“Cats enjoy the outdoors, especially in the summer, and they are escape artists,” she said. “[Our] Hamilton [brand] reflective collars, harnesses and leads combine premium snag-proof nylon in bold colors with highly reflective patterns, a breakaway design and a bell to warn unsuspecting birds.”
HOW CAN RETAILERS PROMOTE SAFETY AND HEALTH CARE PRODUCTS FOR CATS?
“Talk with every customer and help them figure out how best to help their cat. We know the products best and can steer them in the right direction.”—George Richter, owner of Dog.Dog.Cat. in South Lake Tahoe, Calif.
“Use extensive social media outreach to educate pet owners on the benefits of treating the pain and itch of skin irritations with a topical formulation rather than a systemic drug.”—Dan McFadden, vice president of animal wellness for Oculus Innovative Sciences in Petaluma, Calif.
“It’s imperative to be familiar with cats’ behavior to demonstrate how certain products address these issues. It’s also important to keep an eye on trends in the market so [retailers] know how safety products are changing and can offer their customers the newest and best.”—Lori Fouts, senior vice president of sales management at MiracleCorp in Moraine, Ohio
First aid kits are a must-have for all pet owners, but they can be especially useful when it comes to curious cats. MiracleCorp offers its Miracle Care brand First Aid Kit, which has everything pet parents need to treat minor injuries, including an antiseptic spray, liquid bandage, sterile eyewash, gauze and an adhesive bandage, Fouts said.
Kelley Parsons, manager of Denny’s Pet World in Kirkland, Wash., said the store sells Miracle Care Kwik Stop Styptic Powder to stop bleeding, eye rinses and Vetrap bandaging tape, and customers tend to make their own kits when they come in.
“Vetericyn is really popular,” she said. “That’s great for wounds, and most people know about that. It kills lots of bacteria and there are different types we carry—gels, sprays, eye care, ear care—and we keep them in our supplement area of the store.”
At Dog.Dog.Cat. in South Lake Tahoe, Calif., owner George Richter said that rather than selling first aid kits, the store does better selling individual items, such as antiseptic sprays and a lot of different things for healing paws, including products to combat dry paws and the effects of ice and cold.
When it comes to wound care, the proof is in the products, McFadden said.
“If a retailer has a customer with a cat that is afflicted with hot spots or is simply itching, have them suggest to their customer that they apply the MicrocynAH Spray Gel with dimethicone up to three times a day on the afflicted area,” he said. “Customers will soon see the results with their own eyes as their pet’s hot spots begin to heal and the pain/itch goes away.”
David Dietzes, principal for Proguard Pets in New York, said the demand for health and safety products is huge, and the company gets orders by the thousands on a daily basis. Some of its latest products include the Mesh Cat Muzzle, which allows for proper ventilation and breathing, and the Cat Stay & Wash, which keeps cats in place for bathing with the use of an industrial-strength suction cup.
“Our products are handmade in the U.S., so retailers should be calling attention to that because it’s always a good selling point,” he said. “Having specials on multiple products is also a good way to upsell the category.”
Kerry Elliott, owner of Hounds & Kitties in Maitland, Fla., said the store’s most popular wound product for cats is Homeo
Pet’s Feline Skin & Itch Relief, a natural product that provides relief from constant scratching, itching and gnawing.
“It’s not a huge category for us,” she said. “What we do offer we keep in the cat section of the store, and we see customers getting something every once in a while.”
Say It With Displays
Oculus Innovative Sciences offers shelf talkers to call out the benefits of its MicrocynAH products, which link via QR codes to videos that discuss the issue of pain and itch and explain the benefits of a topical approach, McFadden said.
MiracleCorp’s Fouts said cat health aids and safety products should be merchandised in multiple locations so they’re quickly accessible in times of need and as reminders for customers to have some on hand just in case.
“Reflective materials are wonderful safety products that are also very hot right now,” she said. “Unfortunately, it’s difficult to see the benefits on a regular collar and lead wall. Place your Hamilton reflective items in a separate section—paint the back wall black, ‘enclose’ the area on the top, bottom and sides with dark panels, and add an LED strip to shine down on the reflective material. Customers will be immediately drawn to the display, and collars and leads will fly off the shelf.”
This article originally appeared in the September 2015 issue of Pet Product News.