Cats are man’s best friend, regardless of what dog owners told themselves for years. Sure, our feline friends are a bit standoffish and emotionally complicated, but these tiny hairballs make for the greatest companions (if you’re giving them attention).
What does this have to do with the stock market? Absolutely everything. Like every passion in the world, you can invest in soft, adorable kittens with your broker or brokerage. No, this doesn’t mean buying and hoarding cats as they go up in value. Nor does it mean investing in your local animal business (though you could always donate to worthy cat-based causes.)
Rather, a handful of stocks on the market directly benefit from cat owners around the world. If you love cats or just want to ride the tail-end of the internet cat craze, these stocks might be for you.
Chains like Petco and PetSmart are unfortunately private, so you can’t invest in them. At the same time, these companies are seeing increased competition with online stores like Amazon ($AMZN), Target ($TGT), and Walmart ($WAL). It’s worth noting that cat food and cat supplies are an infinitesimally small portion of these companies’ revenue streams, so investing in them does not necessarily mean you’re investing in cats.
Many publicly traded companies make cat food. These same companies also make human food, too. For instance, Nestle ($NESN) owns Nestle Purina Petcare, makers of the ever-popular Friskies and Fancy Feast. (The company owns the Tidy Cats brand, too.)
Hill’s Pet Nutrition makes Science Diet and Ideal Balance specialty cat food. They also happen to be a part of Colgate- Palmolive ($CL), one of the largest consumer products companies in the United States. Hill’s helps C-P’s revenue streams, but they don’t make up the overwhelming majority of the company’s sales.
Big Hearts Pet Brands makes food under the 9Lives, Meow Mix, and Natural Balance brand names, among many others. They’re also owned by The J.M. Smucker Company ($SJM), though they’re a major part of the company’s attempt to diversify their product offerings.
Freshpet ($FRPT) only sells fresh pet food. They’re quite popular with cat owners who want to feed their feline friends fresh, refrigerated food for each meal. Refrigerated pet food in a much smaller market than the above brands, but it’s been growing at an impressive rate in the last decade.
Cat meds and supplies
Petmed Express ($PETS), which does business as 1800PetMeds, is one of the most popular online pet pharmacies. IDEXX Laboratories ($IDXX) makes many of the drugs sold through 1800PetMeds. These companies have their respective strengths and weaknesses, but they more or less exist to keep your cat healthy.
You probably take your kitty to your local vet when they’re sick or need a check-up. Yet VCA Inc ($WOOF) owns over 600 animal hospitals in North America, which are frequented by countless cat owners. The company is currently in the process of being acquired by Mars Inc. (makers of M&Ms) for $7.7 billion, and will soon work as an independent entity within the company’s Mars Petcare division.
Should you invest in cats?
That depends. If you want stocks that specifically deal with cats, consider investing in the companies that only make money from pet food, pet meds, or any pet-related matters. Just be sure to do your research on each company before you invest.
If you feel the pet industry will continue to be taken over by major corporations selling other, non-cat-related products, you could invest in those that will greatly benefit from pet-related sales. The J.M. Smucker Company ($SJM), for instance, stands to greatly benefit from Big Hearts Pet Brands even if their human food division takes a sudden downturn. If this doesn’t sound like a good idea to you, simply invest elsewhere.