By Priyanka Kaushal*

In last five years, we have seen 50–60 % increase in cat population in Indian households. This is the outcome of luxury and urbanization. Moreover, cats are more convenient animals as compared to dogs. With an increase in cat population, also comes an opportunity for business in different product categories such cat food, supplements, veterinarian products, toys, cat litters etc. Creature Companion team organized a webinar on 6th June, 2020 to conduct Indian Pet Industry Dialogue on growing business opportunities in Indian Feline Market. It was attended by various budding entrepreneurs and industry leaders. Fatema Siamwala, a cat enthusiast herself, hosted the Dialogue.

The Panelists for the day were as follows:

Saquib Pathan, president of the Feline Club of India

Feline Club of India is the first and ‘only’ cat registry in India. It is working for the betterment of cats in the country through series of conventions, registration drives, and cat shows.

Bharat Pittie, founder of Orange Pet Nutrition

Orange Pet Nutrition is an organization that offers world class pet foods to Indian pet parents. Their products range from snacks to meals and encompass the entire gamut of pets from a loving Labrador to a happy hamster.

Our expert speakers discussed the kind of development that is happening in Indian feline market, consequently giving rise to various business opportunities for budding entrepreneurs. At present, cat population in India is around 2 million and this number is estimated to get doubled in coming 5–6 years. So, there is tremendous scope in Indian feline market.

The Feline Club of India has been super active from past one and a half year in creating awareness about cats. It has conducted several registration drives and conventions in order to register cats on account of breed, colour, marking, and ownership, and to educate cat owners about various cat issues. Registration is a major step in its cause to introduce ancestral tracking all over the country. This prevents inline breeding and helps improve the Indian Breeds’ Standards.

Discussing about the International brands’ perspective towards Indian market our panelists observed that the former look upon India as a growth story. Gaining customer base in India makes a lot more difference for them as in their home ground market is already at its peak. They reflected that in next two years, there is going to be a big change in the Indian market and there is a lot of scope. Thorough study of the market backed by proper research can work wonders in favour of Indian companies.

Our panelists agreed on the point that cat food forms major chunk of the feline market, followed by litter market, and then grooming products. Currently, a few brands such as Royal Canin also offer breed specific food. However, as the size of retail shops is quite small, there is not much space for different varieties to get in. With the change in demography of pet industry, the retailers will flourish; then new varieties can be introduced in the market and people will have more options to make choice.

Importance of Cat shows was discussed at length. They empha-sized that Cat shows educate about temperament, cleanliness, health, breed standards etc. of cats. They inculcate competitiveness and establish the importance of grooming, hygiene, litter habits, and nutrition of cats. They work as a catalyst for the industry people. Manufacturers of the products can come in direct contact with the end users i.e. their customers and this way they are of great help to the newcomers in the market.

In the end, our panelists concluded by observing that with increase in cat population, there is tremendous scope in Indian Feline market. People need to research more and participate in the cat shows that are conducted to educate people.

*Editor – Creature Companion Magazine