Friday, March 9, 2018

Cat vs. Dog at the Pet Store



I went into a pet store the other day and I was moved almost to tears at the floor space devoted to dogs vs cats. I was intending to take photos of only the treats at this store. I didn't take photos of the food which was pretty evenly split. I also didn't take photos of the dog toys which took up several isles on their own.

dog
dog
dog
dog
dog
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dog
cat
As you can see the cat treats don't even take up one full section of an aisle. The rest of the aisle has medications and nail trimmers etc. Yes, the store had some cat trees, some toys, some litter boxes, but it was overwhelmingly "dog".

Now, I accept that there is and should be different products for toy breeds vs medium breeds vs large breeds, but that does not account for the nearly 14 to 1 ratio of treats.

I see this over and over in pet store after pet store. I am presuming that they aren't there because they don't sell. But are they not buying them because they aren't available or are they not available because no one is buying them? I couldn't buy anything there because my cat has dietary requirements that eliminated all of the treats on display so in my case I didn't buy anything because they weren't available.

Let's work on the 'they aren't available because no one is buying them". Go out and buy something for your cat. Go out and buy something for someone else's cat. Go out and buy a whole bunch of stuff for the shelter cats in your area. Let's communicate to pet manufactures that cats deserve just as many goodies as dogs already have!

30 comments:

  1. yes, they aren't there because sales are absolutely more dog than cat. (Imagine if you are a reptile keeper - odds are even worse.) Dog people spend tons more than cat people every single day and stores ultimately are out to sell products to people who want to buy them. It will change when people drop in for a chio treat for kitty like they do for the dog's pig ears. Or when the client comes in for the high end cat food rather than dropping $90 on a bag of Orijen for their dog whilest feeding the cats meow mix. When ponying up $100 for a memory foam bed is a thing. When bringing your cat to get groomed isn't weird, or a least buying grooming supplies. When "man's best friend" could be a cat. If there is demand someone will supply it!! (of course there are several "dog" treats, supplements and products that also work for cats - some of which you've reviewed before - and it makes more sense to buy the "dog" version because of $/size of bag. Producers need to wake up to the fact that cat staff typically have multicat homes and small expensive bags won't sell.) Square footage isn't really a fair marker either - dog stuff is bigger. Cat culture needs to change for the market to change (you don't see dogs thrown away when people move, or tossed out because they scratched the door or peed on the floor.) The people who go to a breeder and purchase their dog are perhaps more willing to continue to support the dog than the craigslist kitten people. People see and value a lab or goldendoodle or yorkie but a cat is just a cat rather than a Persian, a Bengal or a Norwegian Forest. When we cat people treat our cats as family with our dollars the way dog people do the market will respond.

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    1. Speak for yourself. *I* as a cat person spends plenty on my cats, who are indeed my family. And since I follow most of the bloggers below, I know they also hold this view. Your comments are extremely rude and patronizing, did you realize that?

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  2. My human does a lot of shopping for me at pet stores (as opposed to buying everything online), but not so much toys. Maybe she should buy more toys too!

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  3. This is a major pet peeve for our mom too. It's totally species-ist! Her fantasy is to someday open her own cat-only shop. High end products too.

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  4. My perception (absolutely no data to back it up) is that this is primarily the case in large stores. We have a chain here in Canada that has fairly small stores. Even though they're usually more expensive than PetSmart, I prefer them. They seem pretty balanced in their stock. Of course, they're small, so still limited, but limited equally. I also know a few independent stores that are more balanced. Maybe the argument should be to shop independents; they're more flexible and more receptive to customers needs anyway!

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  5. Yes! At the PetSmart where our cat room is, one entire half of the store is dog, plus islands in the middle of the front. Of the remaining half, 1/2 of that is "other" pets - fish, birds, reptiles, rodents - and the other half of that, so only 1/4 of the store, is cat. AND the dog side is on the side where the cat room is, so we get a constant parade of dogs freaking out the cats. I like to think it's because dogs are so high maintenance... lol

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    1. Yes, this drives me NUTS. Having a cat adoption room surrounded by the dog food/toy aisles makes no sense to me.

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  6. I would LOVE to set up a store exclusively for cats. Fun stuff, food, toys, trees. And have a room where we could socialize and do kitten kindergarten (guess I need to start buying lottery tickets again). It is SO frustrating.

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  7. Unfair--I have noticed that the cat toy section at the store I go to is about 1/8 of the size of the dog toys. While I realize that some dog toys are much larger, it still seems unfair, since there are many brands/versions of toys they don't carry that they totally could.

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  8. I have felt this frustration time and time again. More cats are in households than dogs in the US. They need represented in these stores.

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  9. Absolutely, Yes! We notice that, too, and it's the same in pet catalogs. We're suckers for picking up something extra every time we visit our pet store, except we don't ever consider ourselves suckers. We're supported the market and someone gets a toy. Win-win!

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  10. According to The Hubby, I buy stuff for the cats ALL OF THE TIME, but they also enjoy boxes and non-purchasable stuff, like the laces of my shoes and the shoulder strap on my laptop bag! And, the stuff that I really want to purchase is TOO EXPENSIVE.

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  11. All so true--I think everyone is right today. I just buy my cat stuff online now, but I have not checked if there is more dog stuff than cat stuff online! Probably is!

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  12. guyz....ita like that heer in de land oh trout two

    we iz knot grate... ore even good at math.. but even we noe stuffz
    knot rite when it 88- 3

    dawgs - catz ~~~~~~ ♥♥

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  13. Cats always seem to take a back seat to dogs...and we don't like it!

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  14. We've noticed that too! Even worse, there have been several events at our local store - and cats weren't included (and one of them was an adoption event!). Maybe people make more impulse purchases when they have their dogs with them!?!

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  15. I noticed the lack of quality cat toys. I buy them online. I usually buy from Petco when they autoship my specialty cat food. I always have to add the Cosmo banana because my guys love it so much much they destroy it within a month.

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  16. I understand the need for more space for dogs - they need to accommodate products for everything from Chihuahuas to Great Danes. But that store has a remarkably low selection of cat toys & treats.

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  17. This makes me crazy, too. The stats provided to marketing companies is that cat owners earn roughly half what dog owners do. That probably plays into the attitude that I got from a raw food brand that "cat people are cheap." It's frustrating, because there's room in the market for innovative products, but I don't know if they get rewarded enough.

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  18. Cats definately get the short end of the stick at pet stores. No where near as many toys or treats. On the other hand cats have a lot more litter. We think cat parents should get organzied and demand equal rights.

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  19. I found all the comments here really interesting. Lots to think about. Our PetSmart has their cat adoption area in the cat section and their cat section has several aisles. However, I'm not thrilled with the selection of toys and supplies and online is typically cheaper. I went to an indy pet store in Philadelphia and the cat section was very tiny and that was both food and toys. Even the indy pet stores I've been to in CA still only have a very small section for cats. I love the idea of a cat-only shop with a big selection!

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  20. That is sad. It seems like every store is the same, more dog things than cat ones.

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  21. Cats are second class citizens next to dogs.
    We need to protest, we need to start a movement...
    who's with me?
    Have a wonderful weekend.

    Noodle and crew

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  22. Nope I didnt intend it that way. I have a huge furry family and my cats are my biggest budget expense every month. But I managed an independent pet store and my experience with shopping public is exactly as I said. Cat customers don’t want to spend $ the way dog customers do. Those of us that read and write cat blogs aren’t the typical cat shopper.

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    1. This post was intended to be a call to action to pet owners. Yes, people who read and write blogs aren't your typical cat shopper, but there are more and more not typical cat owners out there and many pet stores are leaving them feeling quite cold. I was hoping I could encourage them back into the stores to buy something to help change things.

      But if people who manage independent pet stores and pet manufactures get defensive over posts and comments on posts like this, I challenge them to do better. Educate people why increasing play is helpful to a cat's physical and mental health. Carry treats that aren't just dry food in a different form but ones that cater to the fact that the cat is an obligate carnivore. Look for innovative products that cater to the cat's nature and cute products that appeal to the cat owner.

      I am constantly going into independent pet stores to support them and I leave feeling very disappointed by the quality of products offered. There is a lack of imagination in the products. Cat trees that are little more than carpeted boxes, cat toys that are poorly constructed. People who sell dog products educate dog owners on the benefits of the product but I am constantly running into people who don't understand why a knee high scratching post isn't keeping their cats from scratching the couch and why the smallest litter box is a bad idea. I rarely see pet stores run promotions on products to talk about their benefits and why they should want to buy them for the cats. I almost never hear a store talk about a cat's nature like why they scratch so why a short post is pointless unless you have a kitten, and even then it will only last them a month or two.

      So if this post is a call to action to a store, awesome. Although since I know *you* are no longer working in the pet store (congratulations btw I'm excited for your next adventure), I'm pretty sure I'm just talking to the great vast internets and nothing will change - which is just sad, don't you agree?

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    2. as I typed all that out, Skippy decided that the syringe I used to give Twee some water after pilling her is the *best* *toy* *eva* and I'm reminded why people get frustrated after buying their cat an expensive toy and they don't play with it. Dogs will destroy anything. Cats leave it for you to throw away making you feel like you have wasted money. If they have the same "shelf life" why is only one a waste? :)

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    3. Very well expressed. It's my personal opinion that the lack of cat toys, and quality toys, is a direct result of the opinion society has of cats in general. They are just aren't valued as dogs are.

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  23. yes, yes, yes! I've noticed the same about dog vs. cat books in book stores. I'm guessing dog people spend more money on their animals. I was in Lebanon Feed & Supply the other day and it is nearly all dog stuff with one aisle of cat. disappointing.

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  24. Dogs need more stuff, a collar for every occasion, harness, new toys because the others are chewed up, the best dog food and vitamins because if your lucky to get 15 years, that's not enough. They need baths much more frequently, they go outside, they need a sweater or jacket, booties. When I had a cat, she didn't need much because she refused everything. My dog is on board with almost anything I say. Cats just need less. Also I think dogs stomach can handle different treats and chew toys.

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    1. I completely disagree with your comment. Your dog didn't need any of that stuff, you wanted the dog to have it.

      Cats do not need less.. they end up making do with less because people generally don't understand what cats want or need. It isn't your fault, pet manufacturers make litter boxes that are too small, make toys that are not interesting, make food bowls that have water bowls attached to them (cats do not like to eat where they drink) and scratching posts that are not sturdy and are not big enough for cats to utilize properly so they end up using the couch or the bed because they are big and sturdy and they smell like their people. People then get confused why their cats refuse the things they buy them and blame the cat for not needing stimulation or play or for scratching the wrong things.

      I have had eight cats at one time, my furniture and walls are not scratched up.I have to shop in the dog section for treats for my cats that aren't full of carbohydrates (cats are obligate carnivores and as such should not be fed wheat /corn/soy/plants) Finding collars for my cats is difficult and when I do find them they are often cost prohibitive.

      Cats need better food than dogs due to the fact that they are obligate carnivores. People with attitudes like yours generally think that cats that are ten or eleven are really old. My cats are sixteen and I am fully expecting them to live another five years or more.

      This post was designed to educate cat owners that cats do need more than they are generally getting. Until there is an awakening that cats should be getting the best cat food and vitamins and new toys for mental stimulation and climbing trees for mental and physical stimulation cat owners won't demand that stores carry better products. Until cat owners start demanding better products, stores won't carry them. Until stores start carrying better products cats will be left with subpar / inadequate items and people won't know that there is a better relationship to be had with their cats.

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