Products

Product Review: SturdiBag Pet Carrier

When the folks at Sturdi Products asked whether I would like a sample of one of their pet carriers for review, I jumped at the chance.  In all the years I’ve had cats, I’ve never had a soft-sided carrier, and I’ve always wanted to try one. 

When they said I could choose size and color, I was even happier.  I choose the large size pink one – even though Allegra weighs only eight pounds, I like having carriers that give the cat plenty of room to stand up and turn around in during transport.

The carrier arrived just in time for me to give Allegra a little time to get used to it before “road testing” it for her first trip to the vet’s.  It came in a flat box, so immediately I knew that there would be some assembly required.  These words usually instill fear in my heart.  I’m pretty useless when it comes to using tools, following directions, or figuring out diagrams.  Thankfully, what little assembly was required to put the carrier together was minimal, and the instructions were fairly easy to follow. 

Allegra was watching me with great interest, and even tried to help during the process.  Once I had the carrier put together, I put it in the middle of the living room floor.  Allegra immediately went inside and proceeded to sniff every nook and cranny.  Once she finished investigating, I put the carrier in our family room.  I always keep the carriers out, hoping that the constant availability won’t make it quite so scary when we actually need to go somewhere.  I’m not convinced that this theory really holds water, though.  All my cats have always napped in their carriers, and all my cat have always hated riding in the car in their carriers!  At any rate, I have seen Allegra take naps in the SturdiBag occasionally.

On the big day, she didn’t fuss at all when I put her in the carrier.  I loved how easy it was to carry and maneuver with it.  With my old hard-sided carriers, I was always bumping into corners and doors, and they were heavy.  This one is very lightweight, but yet, aptl named:  it really is extremely sturdy.  The handles are comfortable and didn’t cut into my hands.  It also comes with a padded shoulder strap, but I chose not to use that.   The carrier fit perfectly on the passenger seat.  I looped the seatbelt through one of the handles (they’re not designed for that, but I’ve always done that with my carriers).

Allegra seemed comfortable in the carrier on our short ride to the veterinary clinic.  It was easy to get her out of the carrier.  It unzips in the front, and also has a smaller opening on top.

The carrier is well-designed.  Zippers open and close smoothly.  Mesh windows on the front and on top of the carrier provide plenty of ventilation.  The zippered floor panel contains a durable foam core board that can be replaced.  The fleece pad is attached by velcro straps and can be removed for cleaning.  There’s a little zippered pocket on the side of the carrier that could hold treats, or travel or veterinary documents.

The carriers are airline approved for in cabin travel and,  due to their unique construction, fit under the seat.  Flexible fiberglass ribbing prevents the top of the carrier from caving in and crowding the cat while the carrier is stowed under the seat. 

The carriers comes in a variety of sizes, colors and patterns.  For more information about the carriers, and Sturdi Pet’s other products, please visit their website.

SturdiBag products are available in The Conscious Cat Store.

Sturdi Pet Products sent me a carrier for this product review.

Allegra and The Play-n-Squeak Wand

As you know from Allegra’s last post, she is most definitely not lacking for toys.  Nevertheless, I was delighted when the folks at Play-n-Squeak products offered to send us a couple of their new Play Wand toys for Allegra to test.  And Allegra was over the moon with excitement when the toys arrived.

These folks know cats.  The press release announcing these toys was titled “The Tiger Inside:  Crouching Tiger, Hidden Hunter” – a clever header for explaining that these toys are designed to encourage indoor cats to exercise their natural hunting instincts.   For our indoor cats, who don’t have to worry about hunting down their dinner, toys take the place of prey, and the best toys are those that mimic prey behavior.  The toys that do this best are interactive, fishing-pole type toys.   They not only make it easy to encourage cats to play, but because they require a human on one end of the toy, they also strengthen the bond between cat and human. 

The Play-n-Squeak wands incorporate everything kitties love in a toy.  We tested the Tiger Teaser©.  It consists of a nice, sturdy handle with an equally sturdy, thick rope attached to it. It has a feathery tuft at the top of the pole and a fuzzy mouse at the dangly end.  Not only is the mouse stuffed with catnip, but it’s got some kind of electronic gadge inside that is motion-activated and meant to mimic the squeak of a real mouse.  Even though it sounded more like a bird to me, it certainly got Allegra’s attention.  The mouse squeaks each time it’s batted, and even when it’s just swung through the air or dragged along the floor and furniture.  Allegra couldn’t decide what she liked better:  the sqeaking mouse, or the feathery tuft at the top of the rod.  I actually managed to exhaust her with this toy – not an easy feat.

When you play with your cat using an interactive toy, whether it’s the Play-n-Squeak or any number of other fishing pole toys on the market, try to imitate the hunt.  Make it interesting for you cat.  Drag the toy across the floor, up and down furniture, around corners, up and down stairs.  Let your cat catch the toy occasionally to keep it fun for her.  When you’re ready to end the play session, don’t stop abruptly, instead, slow the toy down, pretending it’s a wounded animal that is getting tired.  Let your cat catch the toy one last time before you put it away.  Never leave interactive toys out for your cat to play with on her own, they should only be used when you can supervise.  Cats can easily get tangled up in the strings and ropes of these toys if they play on their own.

Allegra’s review:  Weeee!!!!!!  Super fun toy!!!!!  Four paws up!!!

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hu9HfdBhcYg

The Play-n-Squeak wands toys are available online or at pet retailers near you.