SAINT CHARLES, Mo., Oct. 16, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Household pet cats outnumber dogs by 12 million in the United States*, but how much do cat owners really know about their furry feline companions? Royal Canin, a global leader in Feline Health Nutrition, recently released the results of a national survey1 of cat owners to dispel myths and better understand the relationship between felines and their owners.
The survey found that while there is no shortage of love and affection for cats, pet owners are lacking consideration of their cat's health. Nearly all cat owners (95 percent) are confident that they are doing the best they can for their pet; however, nearly half (49 percent) of cat owners did not gather any information or research before they brought their cat home. In terms of the cat's health, many are not giving their cat's well-being enough attention. In fact, only 50 percent of pet owners think about their cat's health every day.
"We understand the strong bond pet owners have with their cats, and one of the best ways to enhance that relationship is to learn more about them," said Dr. Brent Mayabb, veterinarian and Director of Corporate Affairs at Royal Canin. "Understanding a cat's physical and physiological traits is critical to not only finding the right fit for your family, but also in doing what's best for the cat's well-being once they are brought home."
Cats: Low-maintenance, NOT low-energy.
A majority of cat owners selected a cat because they easily adapt to their owner's lifestyle (61 percent)—they don't have to be walked or taken outside to go the bathroom (60 percent), and can be left alone for long periods of time (55 percent). However, many cat owners are uninformed of the typical cat lifestyle. While many are aware that their feline rests frequently (up to 16 hours a day), many are unaware that cats spend time each day marking their territory (73 percent), hunting (68 percent) and hiding (62 percent).
"By understanding how cats spend their day, we can enrich our cat's environment," said Steve Dale, certified animal behavior consultant and host of Steve Dale's Pet World radio show. "Simple things like creating lots of places for your cat to climb and scratch, or hiding food in toys throughout the house, allow your cat to 'hunt'—while improving the overall health and happiness of your pet."
Health is not a consideration when choosing a food.
Close to three-quarters of cat owners (72 percent) don't consider their cat's health when selecting food for their pet. Others don't factor their cat's breed (93 percent), weight (65 percent) or age (52 percent) into their decision-making process.
"Many cat owners don't consider key health factors when selecting their cat's food, because they aren't sure which factors they should be considering," said Dr. Mayabb. "Feeding cats a food suited to their age, lifestyle, specific sensitivities and breed contributes to the overall health and well-being of the cat."
Cat owners favor flavor.
When it comes to cat owners, taste plays a big role in cat food selection. Nearly two in five cat owners believe that cats have a strong sense of taste (38 percent), which is likely why so many consider flavor (42 percent) when it comes to what they feed their cat. In fact, 15 percent of owners even admit to taste testing their cat's food!
"In truth, a cat's ability to taste isn't nearly as powerful as a human's ability, the aroma and texture play a much bigger role in how cats choose their food," said Dr. Mayabb. "It's important to consider the kibble texture, shape and size, and especially food aromas when trying to pick a food your cat will like."
Royal Canin Feline Health Nutrition™
Royal Canin is committed to helping cats live a long and healthy life by delivering a range of formulas that meet a cat's specific nutritional needs at each life stage or lifestyle, while appealing to even the fussiest of appetites.
The full Royal Canin Feline Health Nutrition™ range is available at pet specialty stores such as PetSmart and PETCO, as well as independent pet stores nationwide. To learn more about Royal Canin's Feline Health Nutrition™ formulas, call the Royal Canin® Technical Services Team at 1-800-592-6687. For more information on Royal Canin, visit www.royalcanin.us. For a downloadable $7-off coupon for any Feline Health Nutrition™ formula, please visit Royal Canin on Facebook at www.facebook.com/royalcanin.us (available for a limited time only).
About Royal Canin USA
Royal Canin USA is a leader in science-based cat and dog health nutrition. Founded by a veterinarian in 1968, Royal Canin has more than 40 years of experience in delivering individualized nutritional solutions. In collaboration with an expert team of nutritionists, breeders and veterinarians from around the world, Royal Canin places cats and dogs at the central point of the innovation process. The Royal Canin® product line offers a range of diets based on size, age, breed, lifestyle and special needs. Royal Canin® diets are available at veterinary hospitals and pet specialty stores nationwide. Royal Canin is a subsidiary of Mars, Incorporated. To learn more about Royal Canin visit www.royalcanin.us and Like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/royalcanin.us.
*APPA National Pet Owners Survey 2013–2014
1Survey conducted between August 19 and August 23, 2013, of more than 540 Americans ages 18 and over who own at least one cat. The survey was conducted on behalf of Royal Canin by Kelton, an independent leading global insights firm.
SOURCE Royal Canin USA