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4:07 AM   September 21, 2014
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CAT MARKETPLACE

How to Promote Enclosure Options to Customers
By Karen Shugart

Despite the demand, many cat owners still aren’t aware that options exist to let their cats go outdoors safely. But when they’re informed, many owners are sorry they didn’t know sooner. “When they see our product, they’re all excited,” said Karen Reed, co- owner of Wild Whiskers mobile pet enclosure. “It’s what they’re looking for.”

Ideally, the best way to alert customers to outdoor enclosures is by setting them up on the merchandise floor—no difficult task when promoting strollers and some of the smaller enclosures. George Parente, co-owner of Dogs & Cats Rule, which has stores in Newtown, Penn., and Pennington, N.J., recommended placing a stroller, with a stuffed animal inside, in a prominent store window. “It’s a conversation piece for sure,” he said. “It brings attention to your window, and it brings attention to the store itself.”

Bigger items can be promoted through brochures. But, as with any product, the best method might be just talking to customers, learning their needs and informing them of their options.

What Should You Recommend?
The types of products to let cats go outside safely are varied enough that they can meet many cat lovers’ needs. Which product should retailers and manufacturers recommend for their customers?

  • Stable enclosures: These products are available in various sizes, with the potential to offer a lot of space. The enclosures can be disassembled and moved, they and are ideal for people with enough space to keep them in their backyards.
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  • Fencing systems: These probably offer the greatest amount of mobility and freedom for cats, but owners must install them correctly in existing yards or else cats can get out (and predators can get in).
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  • Mobile enclosures: These don’t necessarily offer as much space as other enclosures, but they offer a greater amount of versatility and can be used in many settings.
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    For people who live in smaller homes or apartments or who need portable products, these can be great options.
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  • Strollers: These products are great for transporting pets. Strollers keep cats off the ground, limiting their exposure to fleas and insects, but they don’t allow cats to move around or explore as much.  <HOME>

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