As Cats Convince Their Staff They Deserve Pricey Cuisine, Dogs Get Stuck With Budget Meals

  • 01/08/2017
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South Africans will spend about R1.2bn on cat food this year but man’s best friend will have to make do with scraps.

The latest market research from EuroMonitor predicts that sales of cat food will increase 7% in 2017, as more manufacturers take advantage of the trend of pet owners looking after animals as they would their own children.

Cat food manufacturers are punting balanced diets that cost more, confident that cat-owners are willing to fork out thousands a year to keep their felines healthy.

"Some are of the opinion that cats should eat two-thirds dry food‚ with wet food seen as a treat or ‘mixer’. However‚ since cats do not naturally drink much water‚ it is necessary for them to eat wet cat food to gain moisture.

"Since wet cat food has higher unit prices‚ encouraging wet food consumption may result in bigger returns for industry players." EuroMonitor researchers said.

While consumers are willing to spend more on cat food‚ economy dog food brands are in growing demand.

"Imported brands have seen prices rise due to the weakening of the rand‚ further pushing consumers towards cheaper brands." researchers said.

EuroMonitor found that South African pet owners are either seeking value for money or products that offer the best nutritional value.

"With the weakening rand‚ premium imported brands became even more expensive in 2016 and only targeted those consumers who are not on a limited budget. The majority of consumers sought more affordable brands."

Most pet lovers with dogs and cats justify spending more on felines because they are "picky eaters".

"The dogs all eat the same food but the cat eats those jelly packets and only licks the jelly of the food and then wants new food. My three dogs cost about R1‚000 a month while the cat costs R800 on her own to feed a month‚" Petro Tonkin said.

Most pet owners buy food for the felines but cook for their hounds.

"The problem is cats are fussy. In most cases, you are forced to purchase the cans of food and cat pellets. And if it is fish-based so it’s expensive whereas dogs are often fed cooked meals. I can boil rice and mix in leftovers and gravy whereas a cat wants what it wants‚" Heinz de Boer said. 

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