Can you guess what the product in the above picture is? Well, it’s a liquid supplement developed especially for cats that has been gaining attention among cat owners in Japan recently. The supplement, called “Matatabi Blend”, is scented with the smell of the silver vine plant, known as “matatabi” in Japan. The silver vine plant is known to have an intoxicating effect on cats, much like catnip, but the purpose of the supplement is not to provide cats with pleasure, but to help keep them healthy. Apparently, this supplement can help prevent certain types of ailments common in cats.

So how does Matatabi Blend work? It’s quite simple. All you have to do is add it to your cat’s drinking water - about 5 or 6 drops per 500ml (17oz), and presto, you have an extra-appealing special drink for your cat. Cats in general tend to be prone to dehydration, because they don’t drink much water by nature, and also because many cats are fed a diet of relatively inexpensive, dry cat food. This unfortunately causes cats to be prone to afflictions such as kidney disease and stones in the urinary tract, and the problem is more common than you may expect. According to Mr. Koichi Akatsu, who heads Taurus, the manufacturer of Matatabi Blend, roughly 40% of pet cats are thought to be suffering from such diseases. But the supplement provides a strong incentive – in the form of the irresistible scent of silver vine – for cats to drink more water, and thereby helping to prevent these illnesses in cats.

Matatabi Blend contains the scent of not only silver vine but 7 other different herbs as well, including catnip. Careful adjustments were made to the concentration of the ingredients in the process of developing the product, as too high a concentration of silver vine could be harmful to cats.

Mr. Akatsu commented that “Many cat owners are not aware that inadequate water intake can lead to sickness in cats. It would be ideal if cats could be given a wet-type cat food with high moisture content, but those can be expensive and so may not always be an option. We wanted to offer an inexpensive way to get cats to drink water, and we came up with this product after considerable trial and error. We hope the product will encourage more owners to take an active interest in their cats’ health.”

Since its release in April, the product has been selling unexpectedly well, and 16,000 bottles of the supplement have already been shipped out. Even Mr. Akatsu himself admits that he has been pleasantly surprised by the initial figures, as their initial projection for the entire first year was 54,000 bottles – not bad considering that shipment figures for pet-related products in the first three months typically amount to less than 10% of sales during the first year. Amazingly, Taurus says that they have not done any serious advertising for the product, and so far, Matatabi Blend has sold mainly by word of mouth.

But then again, we guess it’s not all that surprising that there are a large number of cat lovers out there who want the best for their cats. In fact, we wouldn’t be surprised if the product gains further popularity with an increasing number of cat-owners concerned with their cats’ health in the coming months. After all, we do love our furry feline friends, don’t we?

Source: Nikkei Trendy Net (Japanese)