In the last few years, a lot of people have started adopting pets. There is a visible rise in cat adoption and buying, which has also given rise to the cat business in India. We decided to have a quick chat with businesses catering to cats to know how they are functioning.
Unlike other pets, felines are low maintenance, they are independent, and can take care of themselves very well. These qualities have made cats one of the most beloved pets for Indians, and that is why, in the last few years, there has been an increase in cat owners. This growth and change have given a push to the cat business in India too. There are multiple stores that are selling cat essentials. Local Samosa was in a conversation with people who are running businesses catering to cats, and they shared their thoughts on the growing cat business in India, cat products, and a lot more.
In the world of cat products:
"Cats being carnivorous, need more protein in their diet. Their food is high in protein. You need to follow a diet, and they should be fed at proper times.", says Sandeep, who is the co-founder of PUPS Pet Store that offers a wide range of pet food, toy, grooming services, and accessories in Mumbai and Lucknow. He is also a part of a shelter home in Lucknow.
According to Noor Irani, most of the cat food they sell is seafood-based. "Cats prefer maceral, Tuna, and other seafood, unlike dogs.", says Noor, who is the manager at Shake Hands, a chain of pet stores in Mumbai that is selling cat products for over 40 years.
Though there are multiple online stores and platforms where people can buy healthy cat food, there are many who are not very educated in this matter. "I would like to tell some people that they should stop giving dog food to cats. This has been happening a lot. I have seen many shop owners do this and, it’s not right. A puppy is around 3-4 kgs, and a kitten is 1 kg, so there is no sense in feeding them the same food.", says Miesha Khan, who is a cat behaviorist and the head of My Cat Shop, a marketplace that works for cat adoption, and sells cat products.
Kunal Gupta, who is the co-founder of Goofy Tails, a pet supplies company running for the last 10 years says, " If it is a textile product, then the cloth needs to be non-toxic. The catnip has to be sourced from an ethical place. We import it from Japan. We have a product called Cat water fountain filter. The cats prefer drinking from moving water and consume more water compared to stagnant sources. So, keeping this in mind, we got an Australian designer on board and built a water fountain filter, that ensures that the water is not stagnant. It has been loved by our customers.", he explains. Goofy Tails has a wide collection of innovative pet products, and they keep coming up with new ideas.
How to keep up with the trends:
In the last couple of years, there has been a rise in cat trends. There are different types of food, new techniques of keeping them safe, and also a lot of fashion and style when it comes to accessories and toys. It has worked well for businesses catering to cats. Kunal Gupta welcomes these trends at Goofy Tails. "We think fresh food is the only way to go about it. We got dried fish jerkies on board, and they are preservative-free. Along with that, we also have our eco series, interactive toys, and laser toys. We've got a list of 50 different cat products currently, and they are fun.", he says.
On the other hand, Miesha Khan prefers to launch new products after doing online surveys and talking to cat parents. " We have lovely accessories. We do go by the trends, and we see the kinds of things that people are liking.", she says. But, Miesha also feels that there is a scope for improvement. "So, I see these brands and bakers who make Barkery for dogs, but when I ask them if they are making it for the cats also, they say no. I just feel it should happen. All pets are equal.", she further says.
Mr.Irani also has the same opinion. He feels that new trends are great. " It leads the brand to come up with new products, and I think the cat product industry will grow because of these trends.", he explains. But, for Sandeep, trends are not that important. He prefers having a conversation with the cat person to know what the cat needs the most. "I go with the one-to-one conversation with the owner. The needs should be addressed first and then anything else.", he explains. For Sandeep, it's all about keeping things basic and comfortable.
The growth of cat business
In the last few years, there has also been a growth in cat adoption, and people have even started feeding and volunteering on their own. It has also impacted these businesses in a good way. "30% of my customers are feeders. But, I also think, it's important to get help from NGOs who are working for them. There are people who are doing it at a personal level also, and it’s great. Instead of buying, why not invest in helping shelter animals.", says Sandeep.
Mr.Irani says that during the lockdown, the adoption has increased a lot. "Newer Generations are pet lovers, and it's good. They want to take care of them. I think, in the last couple of years, the adoption has increased at least by 20-25 percent.", he says.
A message for the cat owners:
To all the cat parents out there, there are some products that can help them take care of the cats in a better way. "Always keep them in a bag when you are taking them out. Hold them as they have a tendency to escape. If not this, then a small harness would be a good option too.", says Kunal. While Mr.Irani feels that the cat parents of today are very smart. "They know their pets very well and are usually very clear about what their pets need. Yes, but the first time owners, I want them to know that cats are independent and have low maintenance. They are the best. They are one of the most loyal animals, and it all depends on how you treat them", he explains.
While Miesha advises that one should make sure that the casts are neutered. "Indie cats are aggressive, but the bred cats are very calm, and docile. Yes, they want to run away, but you have to take care of them anyway.", she says.
We wish these businesses catering to cats great luck and hope to see them rocking the cat essentials and trends in the best way.