Are Cats Pets Too?
This has been bothering me for quite some time now…
I see commercials about pets, posts on social media about how to ‘keep your pet healthy‘ and read multiple articles every week on pet nutrition. Yet it takes in depth investigation to find out if any of this advice is applicable to our cats.
Often times it is not.
We spent 10 years in the pet nutrition industry before branching out as the Two Crazy Cat Ladies. In those 10 years I did not learn anything specific about a cat’s nutritional requirements. In fact, cats and dogs were recommended the exact same products, protocols and diets in the business I was involved with. It wasn’t until one of our cats became deathly ill did I realize that many of these recommendations for pets are actually harmful for cats.
In the past few years of research I’ve found that a large percentage of pet nutritional companies and pet food companies have a serious lack of knowledge when it comes to feline health. Why is this?
Do they simply not care about cats?
It’s about the market. Dogs are more popular in the world of pet health and bring in larger profits than cats do. And if the majority of your business is coming from dog parents, why would you take the time and money needed to invest in cat studies?
Makes sense that the focus would follow the money. But these same companies intentionally mislead consumers by using the term ‘pets’ in their marketing. Many will even include a picture of a dog and cat on their labeling. And this makes a lot of business sense because more than 90 million households in America have a ‘pet’ cat too. Businesses acting like they don’t realize that cats and dogs are different with very different needs may be profitable, but it’s also potentially harmful.
My opinion: If the focus of your business is 99% on canines, please stop using the term ‘pets’. Those of us who are die-hard cat ladies need to know how to treat, prevent and protect our felines.
But the blame isn’t solely on these companies.
For too long, cats have been considered ‘convenience companions’. Cats are clean and ‘easy’. They make the ‘best pets’ because you can leave them alone for long periods of time. They are independent. Cats have a reputation for being aloof and unemotional. They aren’t as ‘needy’ as dogs.
The list goes on… and some of this is true. Cats are very stoic compared to dogs. But many of the stereotypes about cats exist because there is a genuine lack of understanding.
We cat parents know how complex and compassionate our cats really are. Many times it takes an illness or issue to realize that we can’t find the answers we really need. We can’t just walk into a pet store and find products, foods, treatments or supplements we need specifically for our cats. And we need to start asking why. We have the power to change the way this market works.
It’s time for all concerned cat parents to come out of the closet and make a difference. Maybe dog parents – like dogs – are a little louder when it comes to what they want. 🙂 And maybe we’ve been silent too long. It’s time for the market to focus on our feline friends too. Cats ARE pets. And they deserve the same time, consideration, research and love that all pets do.