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Cat Marketplace: Sell More Grass

Posted: June 15, 2012, 5:30 p.m. EDT

Indoor cats can especially benefit from grass, and manufacturers have it all, from the ready-to-eat variety to DIY kits.
By Karen Shugart

Cat advocates may have different ideas about nutrition, but they often agree on one thing: Grass is good for a cat.
“Grasses are great,” said Jay Horwitz, co-owner of The Cat Connection, a retailer in Dallas. “They want it for digestion. They use it as a calming agent for the stomach. Also, if you’re transitioning diets, it definitely helps.”

Yet, for an indoor cat, the green stuff can be hard to come by. That’s why many manufacturers and retailers recommend selling grass products, whether in the form of kits or seeds.

grass for indoor cats
Informed employees can tell customers why grass can be beneficial to cats. Photo courtesy of Rolf C. Hagen (USA) Corp.
About a year ago, Rolf C. Hagen (USA) Corp. released the Catit Design Senses Grass Garden. It’s part of a collection of sense-stimulating enrichment products, said Damian Hall, marketing and communications manager for the company in Mansfield, Mass.

“When you’ve got an indoor cat, they don’t necessarily have the opportunity to take care of themselves naturally,” Hall said. “It’s very simple to grow at home. You basically just add water.”

The grass garden kit is a 9-inch circle that comes with seeds. It also includes an acupressure mat that provides pressure point paw massage, according to the company.

“What this does is give the cat a safe space and a safe plant to actually eat,” Hall said.

While some retailers sell seeds to their customers, other storeowners, such as Chris Achord, owner of The Cat Shoppe and The Dog Store in Nashville, Tenn., grow their own grass in-house.

Customers, she said, “love it. They call to make sure I have grass before they drive all the way over here.”

If customers do opt for grasses, just be sure to advise them on one possible side effect.

“As cats spend more time indoors, some owners like to provide ‘outdoor’ environmental enrichment, like grasses, in the house,” said Dr. Marcie Campion, a veterinarian with P&G Pet Care. “This may provide emotional or nutritional benefits for indoor cats, but one downside is the potential for ‘green hairball’ type surprises.” 


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