Products

The Cat’s Trapeze

the cat's trapeze

When Kate Benjamin of Moderncat asked me whether I would like a Cat’s Trapeze for Allegra and Ruby, I was excited. I had visions of my two kittens flying through the air in an act rivaling anything Cirque du Soleil could put together.

Okay, no. It’s not that kind of trapeze. The Cat’s Trapeze is a unique product designed to provide active cats with an alternative to climbing the curtains and furniture. The sturdy cotton fabric withstands heavy use and the soft cushions provide a perfect place to nap.Continue Reading

Hundreds of cat greeting cards, only a mouse click away

cat thank you card

In this age of e-mail and e-cards, receiving a “real” greeting card in the mail is a real treat. I know quite a few of my friends feel that way, too, and as a result, I enjoy shopping for greeting cards. However, as with everything else in life, time is precious, and selection at card stores can vary greatly from one visit to the next. When the folks at Greeting Card Universe approached me about reviewing their cards, I was intrigued.

I got to choose a selection of five cards. Sounds easy enough, right? Well, not really, considering that Greeting Card Universe has 680 cat-themed cards to choose from!  I chose the thank you card above for its unique design and eye-catching colors, even though red is not usually a color I’m drawn to. I just thought the card was gorgeous.Continue Reading

Product review and giveaway: Martha Stewart double feeder and feeding mat

Marthat Stewart Pets double feeder

Martha Stewart Pets is offering a new line of pet products exclusively through PetSmart. A cat owner herself (click here to watch a slide show of Martha’s cats), Martha has devised many unique cat care solutions for herself and her animals.

One of these products is the Double Feeder pictured above. PetSmart’s PR agency sent us a set of the feeder and the Feeding Mat from the same line to test, and we are pleased to be able to offer to give away one of these combos to one lucky reader.Continue Reading

NVR Miss: the perfect litter box

NVR Miss litter box

When I adopted Ruby in April, I didn’t realize that I would be embarking on the search for the perfect litter box. Ruby is a vertical pee-er. I had never had one of those. My regular litter box wasn’t going to work.

She doesn’t spray. Spraying is usually done by male cats. When a cat sprays, he stands up, typically makes a treading motion with his back feet, quivers his tail and sprays urine onto a vertical surface such as a wall. Spraying is a marking behavior.Continue Reading

Product review, giveaway and $10 off Comfort Zone with Feliway

Comfort Zone with Feliway diffuser and spray

If you’ve ever had a cat with behavior problems, whether it’s territorial aggression, urinary marking, or simply a stressful trip to the vet’s, you may have been told to try Comfort Zone with Feliway® to help your kitty calm down.

Comfort Zone with Feliway® is a synthetic copy of the feline facial pheromone, used by cats to mark their territory as safe and secure. By mimicking the cat’s natural facial pheromones, Feliway® creates a state of familiarity and security in the cat’s local environment. As a result, Feliway® can be used to help comfort and reassure cats while they cope with a challenging situation and help prevent or reduce the stress caused by a change in their environment.Continue Reading

Product review: Sureflap Microchip Cat Door

SureFlap Microchip Cat Door

Guest review by Fern Crist, DVM

The SureFlap Microchip Cat Door is a new-to-the U.S. product from the United Kingdom.  It uses RFID technology to read a cat’s veterinarian-inserted microchip and determine whether or not to let the cat inside. This prevents strays, and other animals, from entering a home and adds a high-tech level of convenience to the homes of outdoor cat owners.

SureFlap offered to send one of these doors to Ingrid, and since Allegra and Ruby don’t go outside, but my cats do, she asked me to test and review it for The Conscious Cat.

Let me start out by saying that the Sure-flap Cat Door is a wonderful invention. My favorite feature: it is unlocked by the microchips my cats already have in place.

Our last cat door was unlocked by a magnet hanging on the cat’s collar, a concept doomed from the start. Cats mostly regard collars as irritations, something to be chewed, ripped, or tugged off as soon as possible. End result: a lost collar, a cat stuck outside, and you have to keep buying new magnets.

This door runs on 4 AA batteries, allowing it to recognize the microchip and unlock the latch. The batteries pop into an easy-to-reach chamber on the top of the door. You don’t have to stand on your head to get to the batteries. Well done, engineering team!

The installation procedure was not appreciably different from any cat door. I really like the tube extender, an optional part we needed so that the tube remained unbroken through the full thickness of the wall. All the parts click together easily. The hardest part was cutting the hole in the wall.

Once installed, the door needs to “learn” your cat’s microchip. This is done by the simple method of pushing a button and having your cat walk through the door. Repeat as needed, once for each cat. I was delighted to discover that the door remembers the microchips even if the batteries are dead or missing, removing the need to “re-teach” the door every time the batteries need changing.

After we had our Sure-Flap in place, I taped the flap open for a week so my kitties could get acquainted with the door without unpleasant sensations. Since it is easier for them to push through the flap with the microchip feature turned off, the second step was to leave the flap down but unlocked — batteries out.

The third and final step was the reinsertion of the batteries. To open the door when the microchip reader is active, they do need to squinch themselves up a bit to get the microchip, which is between the shoulderblades, close enough for the door to read.  However, they figured out pretty quickly how to position themselves (this part of the learning process goes faster if you have food on the other side!) and now the mechanics of the door are no problem for them.

I’ve only had one issue with our Sure-Flap: the diameter is a little tight for my larger cat. At a lean 16 pounds, he doesn’t so much walk through the door as ooze through. He looks for all the world like toothpaste coming out of a tube. In future models, I’d suggest that the opening be a little bigger.

While I can’t testify that the door is totally raccoon-proof, I can say that as of this writing, we’ve had several raccoons attempt to get through, so far without success. With our last cat door, a raccoon just needed to insert a claw under the flap and pull, and in he came.  This door seems to be made of sterner stuff.

A warning to consumers: the Sure-flap people sell an adaptor that is supposed to allow you to install the flap in a glass door or glass window, through the glass panes. This only works with single pane, non-safety glass. You cannot install the flap through existing double pane glass (the manual suggests you purchase a replacement double-pane piece manufactured with a premade opening in it, which may be prohibitively expensive), and safety glass will just disintegrate if you try to cut a hole in it. Be sure you know what kind of glass you have before you buy the adaptor.

Our first Sure-Flap is installed between our kitchen and our sunroom. We plan to install a second one between the sunroom and the deck, creating a double level of security against those pesky raccoons. We had planned to install it in the sunroom glass, but – well – you guessed it.

So we will be installing the Sure-Flap in the aluminum wall of our sunroom. The manual is discouraging about installation in metal walls and doors, since the metal might interfere with the microchip reader. With no other choice, we plan to use the glass adaptor to install the flap through the metal. Worst case, we can turn off the microchip function and leave the outer flap unlocked.  Hopefully I can post the results of this experiment in the future.

Overall, I rate this as an excellent product. Great ease of use, fabulous concept, strong construction. It could be a little bigger, but apart from that, I’m delighted with my Sure-Flap!

For more information about the SureFlap Microchip Cat Door and to purchase, please visit SureFlap’s website.

Dr. Crist has been practicing veterinary medicine since 1982, and has been working exclusively with cats since 1993.  She served on the board of the American Association of Feline Practitioners.  Dr. Crist is married with four children, two of which are not fuzzy.

Product review and giveaway: Tipsy Nip Organic Catnip Products

cat high on catnip

Allegra and Ruby were very excited when the mailman brought a package addressed to them the other day. They’ve learned by now that that means that there’s a new product for them to test!

The package came from Tipsy Nip™ Organic Catnip Products, the creators of the original Tickle Pickle™. According to cat behaviorist Jackson Galaxy “your cat needs ritualized play—to hunt, catch, kill, and eat every day. That’s what they are built to do.” The folks at Tipsy Nip share that view, and they provide the perfect toys to fulfill that ritual.

All Tipsy Nip™ products are made from only the best quality materials and ingredients. Their mission is to create products that make cats insanely happy. They are committed to safe quality toys and treats. Everything that goes into the toys is made, grown, or manufactured in the USA. Their catnip is certified organic cut and sifted leaf and flower, and has been referred to as some of the best catnip available in the USA.

cats with catnip toys

We received two Tickle Pickles™, a jar of loose catnip, and a Tipsy Nip™ ball, which is infused with and nesting in organic catnip.

A side note: An estimated 50% of cats don’t respond to catnip. Whether or not cats respond to catnip appears to be genetically determined.  Kittens are not affected until they’re about two months old (if they fall into the category of cats that do respond).  Chances are that if your kitten hasn’t reacted to catnip by the time she’s six month’s old, she falls into the non-responsive category. Allegra falls into that category, so it was up to Ruby to review these products. Unfortunately, she is too strung out on catnip to write the review, so you’ll have to take my word for it that all the products were a big hit with her.

This is potent catnip! I could smell it before I even opened the box, even though the products were sealed in plastic jars and bags. As soon as I got the pickle out of the bag, Ruby went for it. You can see that she had a good time with it in the video below. According to Tipsy Nip, the pickle is made out of a durable tight cotton knit, so it should hold up well even to Ruby’s vigorous kicking!

httpv://youtu.be/2rBD0EeskxE

The catnip ball is extremely potent, too, and Ruby had a blast with it. She was so fast dribbling and chasing it through the house, I couldn’t get good video of it. Allegra enjoyed the wooden ball, but I think for her, it was the motion, and not the catnip, that provided the fun.

wooden cat toy with catnip

Ruby is sleeping off her catnip high, but she wanted me to tell you that she gives these products a very enthusiastic four paws up. Her comment: “Far out, Mom!”

For more information and to order, please visit the Tipsy Nip™ website.

We are giving away one Tickle Pickle™ to one lucky kitty! To enter the giveaway, leave a comment and let me know why you’d like to win the pickle. For an extra chance to win, share the giveaway on Facebook or tweet about it and post the link in a separate comment. This giveaway ends Tuesday, September 6.

You may also enjoy reading:

If you don’t talk to your cat about catnip, who will?

How to keep your indoor cat happy

Up close and purrsonal with Jackson Galaxy

Special discount on NOse Offense Odor Removers

cat at microscope research

NOse Offense Odor Remover is a fragrance-free, environmentally friendly and super effective odor remover developed by using a patent pending technology based on the scientific principle of odor conjugation. NOse Offense is made with natural and organic indgredients,  doesn’t contain alcohol, phenols, aerosols, or phosphates, and is completely biodegradable. It is also eco-friendly and made from recycled materials.

I really like this product – you can read my full review here.

odor remover litter box odor fragrance free green

NOse Offense just launched their newly redesigned website, and to celebrate, they are offering an exclusive 20% discount on any purchase to Conscious Cat readers only. To claim the discount, “like” NOse Offense on Facebook, and use code CONSCIOUS20 during checkout. The discount is good through August 22.

For more information about NOse Offense products and to purchase, please visit their website.

Related reading:

Product review: NOse Offense for Pets

 

Product review and giveaway: Cascades Boutique cat teepee

cat house playhouse for cats cardboard house for cats

Allegra and Ruby are always excited when there’s a new product to review, and since they had so much fun with this one, I thought it was only fair to let them write the review.

Allegra: When this odd looking box arrived at our house the other day, Ruby and I went to check it out immediately. We do that with all boxes that come into the house, but this one looked really different.

Ruby: I saw a picture of a triangle with a cat in the center on the box! That looked really interesting. There were also words on the box, but I can’t read, so I asked Allegra what they said.

cats and boxes cats and cardboard boxes

Allegra: It says “Native American Teepee for fluffy little critters.” We’re fluffy little critters, Ruby!

Ruby: So this is for us? Woohoo!!!

Allegra: Mom took her time unpacking it. We couldn’t wait to see what it was! When she finally got it out of the box, it didn’t look all that exciting. In fact, it just looked like more cardboard. Now don’t get me wrong, I like cardboard as much as the next cat, it can be very tasty, especially the edges, but this was a bit of a letdown after what it said on the box.

Ruby: Allegra, look! Mom is making something out of the cardboard!

Allegra: I can see that, Ruby. It looks like a tent. Let’s see if we can help her. See, with our help, this is going much faster.

Ruby: Look, it has a little opening in the front. We can go in it!

Allegra: You go first, Ruby.

Ruby: Okay! Oooh, Allegra, this is fun. You should come in, too!

Allegra: That’s okay, Ruby. I’ll just check it out from the outside first.

cats playing with cardboard cat house

Ruby: Coward!

Allegra: Who are you calling a coward? Get out of there and make room for me. I can go in, too!

cat inside cat playhouse

Ruby: Wee! We can both go in it at the same time! Or better yet, I can hide in here and pounce on you when you least expect me to. Watch out – here I come!!!

Since Allegra and Ruby clearly prefer playing with the Cascades Boutique cat teepee to writing about it, I thought I’d add a few things. The teepee is made from nice, sturdy cardboard, and even though it didn’t come with assembly instructions, it was very easy to put together (take it from someone who shudders when she sees the words “some assembly required” on anything!). It comes with a couple of cute different decorations for the front of the teepee to give it that “authentic Native American look.”

You can see the girls checking out their teepee in the video below. It’s become a permanent fixture in our kitty playroom. Ruby uses it more than Allegra, and, not surprisingly, she uses it mostly to stalk Allegra! It seems like the teepee would hold up well to even rough play.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e0NU9xBO3F0

You can purchase the cat teepee from Cascades Boutique online. They also offer a Cat Chalet. Both the teepee and the chalet are made from 84% recycled cardboard.

As a special offer for Conscious Cat readers only, Cascades Boutique will offer a 25% discount on both products on all orders placed through September 30. Use rebate code CONSCIOUT during checkout. And one lucky reader will win either a cat teepee or chalet! To enter the giveaway, please leave a comment to let me know why you’d like to win, and whether you’d like to win the teepee or the chalet. For an additional chance to win, share this giveaway on Facebook or tweet about it, and leave the link in a separate comment. This giveaway ends Tuesday, August 23.

Help World’s Best Cat Litter donate free litter to shelters

It’s always nice to see companies give back to their communities, and it’s especially nice when that giving is focused on cats.  World’s Best Cat Litter™ just launched a new round of its GiveLitter™ campaign. After donating more than 40,000 pounds of cat litter between deserved animal rescue groups in Los Angeles, Washington D.C., and Texas, they are now focusing on supporting cats at three new shelters spread across the country.

From 8/1-9/16, you can vote daily to donate litter, for free, to one of three deserving animal rescue organizations: Animal Rescue Fund of the Hamptons (Wainscott, NY), Homeward Pet (Woodinville, WA), and A.D.O.P.T Pet Shelter (Naperville, IL). Each one of these participating shelters is part of the No More Homeless Pets® Network – a program of the Best Friends Animal Society.

It’s free to vote and you can do it daily. Click on the “give litter” badge in the right sidebar, vote via Facebook, or on the program’s website. The first time you vote and/or “like” World’s Best Cat Litter on Facebook, a pound of litter is donated. Each additional vote adds one-tenth of a pound. Voting is free and so is your litter donation.  At the end of the voting period, the litter will be distributed proportionally according to the total vote count for each shelter.

Now if only I could get Allegra to change her mind about this litter!