Products

Product review and sweepstakes: Neko Flies Cat Toys

Neko Flies interactive cat toys

I love interactive toys, and so do Allegra and Ruby. We have a closet full of them. They do come out of the closet frequently, the only reason they’re in there is because I don’t want the girls to play with these toys without supervision. According to the girls, a kitty can never have too many toys, so they were excited when we were contacted by the makers of the Neko Flies toys to see whether the girls wanted to review a couple of their products.

Nekochan Enterprises, Inc., a company specializing in the development, manufacturing, and distribution of unique, high quality pet products, was started by Ellen Tsuyuki, a multiple cat owner, because she was dissatisfied with toys available in the cat toy marketplace. Ellen decided to create a toy that would measure up to her and her cats’ particular needs. Ellen named the company after her mother’s Abyssynian cat Nekochan (“neko” means cat in Japanese, “chan” is a term of endearment).

I could barely get the toy out of the box and assembled (there isn’t much assembly required, you simply hook the string with the attached toy to the wand) before Ruby started pouncing on the the toy. The Neko Flies toys feature extremely realistic looking creatures – to the point where they actually creep me out a little, I’m not a fan of any insects. The things we will tolerate for our cats….

We tested the kittycada and the katarantula toys, and they were both equal hits. I was really excited that the girls played together with this toy! This is the first time they’ve done this with a single wand toy. Usually, I have to have a toy in each hand, and they’ll both play with their own toy. As you can see in the video below, they shared this one. And yes, that is a low growl that you’re hearing from Ruby – she did it every time she caught the cicada toy!

These are well-made toys that should stand up well to vigorous play, and if Allegra and Ruby’s initial delight in the toy are any indication, they will provide endless hours of fun at our house.

You can win a Neko Flies rod and attachment for your cats in the Neko Flies Sweepstakes! And as an exclusive offer for Conscious Cat readers only, Neko Flies provided a special contest code for one extra entry into the sweepstakes! Enter code NEKCON1 when prompted. The contest ends July 31. Good luck!

To enter the contest, go to the Neko Flies Sweepstakes Facebook page.

For more information about Nekochan Enterprises, Inc., please visit their website. When you do, make sure you take a minute to watch the fabulous video on their home page!

Allegra and Ruby playing with the Neko Flies kittycada:

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kbS0xBmQagk

 

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Product review: New Wellness grain-free canned food

Allegra and Ruby Wellness canned cat food

I don’t usually accept food and treats for review here on The Conscious Cat. I like what I feed Allegra and Ruby, and I won’t use them as product testers for diets whose claims I can’t verify. However, I have been feeding Wellness® grain-free canned food for many years, and it meets my criteria for what constitutes a species-appropriate diet for cats (a feline diet must be completely grain-free, and it must be canned or raw. I don’t recommend ANY dry food for cats).

When a representative for Wellness® contacted me to see whether Allegra and Ruby would like to taste test their new Succulent Cuts with Savory Sauces for Cats line of grain-free canned diets, I accepted their offer (and there was much celebrating on Allegra and Ruby’s part). 

The new Wellness® Cubed, Sliced and Minced canned diets are 100% grain-free and contain no added artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives. For each recipe, Wellness® has paired succulent cuts of wholesome, all natural protein sources like chicken, turkey, salmon and tuna with savory sauces that are designed to please the palate of even the most finicky feline. The new diets come in 12 different sliced, cubed and minced varieties

Finicky is not a word I’d associate with either of my two. Ruby would probably eat just about anything I put in front of her. Allegra is a little more discerning and sometimes needs a little encouragement whenever I present a new brand or flavor.

We tested the Minced Chicken Dinner and the Sliced Turkey Entree. Allegra got the chicken, Ruby the turkey. But why don’t I let the girls tell you what they thought.

Allegra: Finally! I told you about those cans that had been sitting on our kitchen counter last week, and even though Ruby and I tried our best, we just couldn’t figure out how to open them ourselves, and we had to wait for Mom to do it. When she popped the lids (She makes it look so easy – why can’t we figure it out?), the smell coming at me was incredible! I couldn’t wait to taste what smelled so good!

Ruby: I smell food! Woohoo! It’s dinner time!

Allegra: When Mom put the dish in front of me, I wasn’t quite sure at first. It looked really different from our usual raw food, and it looked different from any of the canned food Mom occasionally gives us, too. But boy, did it smell good! So I took a lick – and that was all I needed. I proceeded to eat the entire can in one sitting. Yummy!

Ruby: Food, food, food! Put it down already, Mom! I’m totally starving! I haven’t eaten in hours!!! – Oh. Hmm. This is different from what I had for breakfast. But it’s food! It smells great! I’m going to eat it all as fast as I can!

Well – I told you not to expect much of a review from Ruby.

Allegra eating canned Wellness grain-free food

Allegra takes her product testing duties very seriously!

We were also sent cans of the Minced Tuna Dinner and Sliced Salmon Entree varieties. I only very rarely give the girls fish protein based food, so we’re saving them as a special treat. 

If I were feeding canned food on a regular basis, I would definitely consider adding these new foods to my rotation. I think it’s important to feed a variety of flavors and textures to avoid having your cat stuck on only one diet. The different texture may be an issue for some finicky eaters who are used to the standard canned food texture, for those cats, Wellness®’s regular grain-free canned varieties may be a better choice.

If your cat has tried these new products, let us know how she liked them in a comment!

For more information about Wellness and their wide range of products, please visit their website.

You may also enjoy reading:

The truth about dry cat food

Cats are not small dogs, especially when it comes to nutrition

Feline nutrition: who bears the responsibility?

Product review: NOse Offense for Pets

NOse Offense...for Pets review

It seems like every time you turn around, there’s a new odor remover on the market. Many of these products have a strong scent and do little but mask the offending odor, whether it’s litter box odors, or any other “pet generated” smells. For someone like me, who doesn’t like scented products at all, the overpowering fragrance of most of the odor removers I’ve tried is worse than the initial offending odor.

NOse Offense...for Pets review

When the folks at NOse Offense contacted me and asked whether I would like to review their product, I was intrigued, because the product claims to neutralize odors without the use of any fragrances. No artificial vanilla or citrus scented cover ups? Just complete elimination of the offending odor? I was hopeful.

And I wasn’t disappointed. Let me just say that pet odors are not a big problem at my house. I feed raw, so Allegra’s and Ruby’s stools literally don’t smell (for most people new to raw feeding, this is one of the most startling, and quite pleasant, positive “side effects!”). Urine odors aren’t much of a problem, either, because I work from home and I’m very conscientious about scooping as soon as the girls deposit something in the box. Allegra has been known to complain that she can’t even finish covering up before I come with the scoop and baggie…

So I didn’t get much of a chance to try the product on cat odors, but I tried it on several other odors that I don’t particularly enjoy. I don’t like lingering cooking odors, no matter how yummy the meal I just enjoyed may have been. When I’m done eating, I don’t want to smell my dinner for the next few hours. A few light squirts of NOse Offense, and the lingering cooking odors dissipated almost immediately.

I sprayed NOse Offense around the litter boxes, but as I said, odor isn’t much of a problem for us, so I can’t speak to its effect. I wanted to test the product with something else, and I found the final frontier of odors: the trash can in the garage. I empty my kitchen trash into it several times a week, and it then gets picked up once a week. I also empty the deposits out of the litter boxes directly into that trash can. Over the course of a week, it gets pretty rank in there, especially during the warmer months, when temperatures in my garage easily reach the 90s. I sprayed NOse Offense into the trash can, and it actually got rid of the nasty smell. 

I also like that the product 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.

For more information about NOse Offense for Pets, please visit their website.

SmartyKat products: a bonanza of kitty fun

SmartyKat sisal post

When the big box of products from SmartyKat® arrived, it was like kitty Christmas in April at our house. My little product tester was ready and eager to get started!

The SmartyKat® CompleteNeeds® system is designed to meet cats’ unique needs when it comes to playing, hunting, scratching, interaction, privacy, independence, and more.  From scratching posts to kitty hammocks to litter box accessories, SmartyKat® offers a dizzying array of products.

We got to test the ScratchScroll™ and the SisalColumn™ scratchers, the HammockHouse™ cat condo, the CrackelChute™ and the LoofaLeap™ wand toy.

SmartyKat ScratchScrollThe ScratchScroll™ is a well-designed, sturdy wave scratcher, covered in a mix of different scratching surfaces including a couple of different texture carpets and sisal. Allegra was more enamored with the space underneath the scratcher and the little feather snap in toy than the actual scratcher. The feather toy snaps out easily, but not to easily that she could rip it out herself, and can be exchanged with several other toys in the SmartyKat® line.

The SisalColumn™ is a well-made scratcher. The base is pretty sturdy, and Allegra loves vertical scratchers, so she took to it almost the minute I had it assembled. It is probably better for smaller cats, even at a mere 8 pounds, Allegra managed to make the base move just a bit when she used it, so it might topple over with bigger cats.

SmartyKat CrackleChuteThe HammockHouse™ was the biggest hit. I was a little worried when I realized that there was “some assembly required” – words that usually instill fear in my heart. However, the HammockHouse™ came with instructions and diagrams that actually made sense, and I had it assembled in less than a minute. The frame is sturdy even though the actual house is lightweight. Allegra loved leaping in and out of the two entrances. She hasn’t used the hammock part. I was curious whether it would hold even a big cat without collapsing the house, so I used an 18-pound bag of cat litter to test it, and the house passed this test easily.  This product is listed in the privacy section, and Allegra gives it her wholehearted approval for just that. She’s afaid of thunderstorms and usually hides out in our downstairs bathroom behind the shower curtain during storms. The first time we had a storm after the HammockHouse™ arrived, she was curled up inside it.

Allegra is a big fan of kitty tunnels, so the CrackleChute™ was an instant hit. The chute is designed to be connected to the HammockHouse™, which made it even more fun.

Here’s a video of Allegra with the HammockHouse™ and CrackleChute™:

I could barely get the LoofaLeap™ wand toy off of its cardboard backing before Allegra went wild. The combination of different textures and the  movement created by wiggling the wand proved to be irresistible. As the human on the other end of the wand, I would have preferred it to be a bit longer, but I’m a quick learner and after the first few tries, my hand was no longer part of the game. A truly interactive game!

All of the products are well-made and should stand up to even multiple cats for quite some time. They’re also pretty to look at. I’ve always felt that there’s no reason that cat toys have to be ugly, and the SmartyKat® folks seem to share this view.

Ruby Scroll and Scratch SmartyKat

Ruby wasn’t part of our family when I wrote this review, but she has since given four paws up to the LoofaLeap™ wand toy and the CrackleChute™. She also thinks that the The ScratchScroll™showcases her cuteness perfectly. She’s less thrilled with the The HammockHouse™ – mostly, because Allegra likes to hide in it and then pounce on an unsuspecting Ruby when she walks by, just minding her own business.

For more information on the entire SmartyKat® line and where to purchase, please visit their website.

You  may also enjoy reading:

Keeping your single cat happy

Cat scratching solutions

Product highlight: Clean+Green all natural cleaning products

Clean+Green natural cleaning products

Many commercial cleaning products can be extremely toxic, and even deadly, to pets.  Cats are especially susceptible since they groom themselves by licking and as a result ingest anything that comes in contact with their feet or fur. 

While it’s getting easier to find natural and eco-friendly cleaning products, even in regular grocery stores, not all of these products may be safe to use around cats. In particular, stay away from products containing essential oils. Even though many manufacturers of essential oils claim that they are safe to use around cats, this is not always the case. Tea tree oil especially can be deadly to cats.

As a result, I’m always looking for “all natural” cleaners that are truly safe to use around cats. When the folks at Sea-Yu Enterprises® offered to send me a couple of their Clean+Green® cleaners to test, I was more than happy to accept.

Sea-Yu’s eco-friendly cleaning products are made from organic and biodegradable ingredients. They’re even packaged in recyclable containers. Their ingredients are labeled “cosmetics safe”, and they disclose the ingredients on their website. The only thing I didn’t like was  the “proprietary blend of botanical extracts.” I understand that companies need to protect their unique formulas, but I would prefer to see a complete list of ingredients.

The Clean+Green product line includes concrete & grout, furniture refresher, wood & tile, carpet & upholstery, and litter box odor eliminators and spot removers.

I tested the carpet & upholstery product on my off-white carpet, and while I didn’t have any fresh stains to test it on (and I wasn’t about to ask Allegra to create some for me especially for this product test!), I used it on some very old stains of indeterminate origin (most likely source: cat vomit). Even though I try to avoid chemically based cleaners, I had used everything from Resolve® to OxyClean® to hydrogen peroxide without making much of a difference. A couple of treatments with Clean+Green’s carpet & upholstery cleaner, and much to my surprise, the stains actually disappeared. You can’t ask for an easier application: just spray and allow the area dry. No need for scrubbing or blotting.

And the best part? The product is completely unscented. I don’t like scented cleaning products of any kind, whether they’re chemically based or natural, and I’m guessing if cats had their say, they’d prefer unscented products, too.

They also sent me the furniture refresher product. I can’t say that I’ve ever had any need for a product to refresh my furniture – I’m thinking that’s more of an issue with dogs than it is with cats. So the most I can say about my experience with it is that it, too, meets my requirement for being completely scent-free.

You can learn more about the Clean+Green product line on their website, and you can find them on Facebook and on Twitter.

The company sent me products for review.

You may also enjoy reading:

Pet-Friendly cleaning tips

Two reasons not to use dryer sheets

Product review and giveaway: Sunny Seat cat bed

Sunny Seat cat bed, as seen on tv

When the folks at Sunny Seat™ asked me whether I would like to review their product, I jumped at the chance. I had actually planned to have Allegra write this review. She loves the window seats we have, so I thought she’d be excited about having yet another one – after all, everyone likes a little variety, right?  Oddly enough, though, she completely ignored the Sunny Seat™.  It may have been due to the fact that she already has all the window seats she needs, or because there’s already a piece of furniture or window sills wide enough for her to sit on in front of all of our windows. 

I still liked this product a lot, and, with Allegra’s permission, I’m offering it as a giveaway for one lucky kitty.  After all, one cat’s reject could be another cat’s treasure, right?

Sunny Seat cat bed, as seen on tvThe Sunny Seat™ cat bed is designed to attach directly to the window with four giant suction cups – no hardware or tools needed.  I’ll admit, I was skeptical whether something that attaches with suction cups would be secure enough to hold the weight of a cat.  The perch is designed to hold a maximum weight of 40 pounds.  In order to test the sturdiness of the seat, since Allegra wasn’t cooperating (and weighing in at only 8 pounds, she wouldn’t have been a good test subject for this part of the review anyway), I set an 18 pound bag of cat litter on it.  I even bounced the bag to simulate a cat jumping on the seat.  The Sunny Seat™ stayed firmly attached to the window. 

One thing to note, especially if you’re someone like me, who tends to not to read instructions:  it is important that you start with a clean glass surface.  When I mounted the seat the first time, I ignored that part of the instructions, and sure enough, within seconds, the seat detached.  Once I cleaned the window, it stayed securely attached.

The seat is covered with a sturdy cloth cover, which can be easily removed  and is machine washable.  The cover material is not particularly soft, but you can purchase a fleecy seat cushion separately, or you could just put a soft pad or cushion you already have on top.

If visually appealing design matters to you, this may not be the window perch for you – it’s pretty plain looking. Despite that, I think it’s a clever product, and a great solution if your window sills aren’t wide enough to mount some of the other perches on the market, or if you don’t want to damage window sills or walls with mounting strips or hardware.  And at $19.99, the price is right.

The Sunny Seat™ cat bed, as seen on tv:

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EZAfYVE39gc

For more information and to purchase, visit the Sunny Seat™ website.

To enter the giveway, leave a comment on this post and let me know why you think your cats would like the Sunny Seat™.  Tweet about the giveaway or share on Facebook and post the link in a separate comment for an additional chance to win. 

***

This giveaway ended March 11. You may be able to find additional contests to win a Sunny Seat Cat Bed on the Sunny Seat Facebook page.

This product was sent to me by the company.  I received no compensation for this review.

Make Christmas a little brighter for shelter cats

Our cats are lucky.  They get spoiled all year long, and especially this time of the year.  They live in nice warm homes, sleep in soft beds, and get plenty of love, attention, and toys.   Quite a contrast to the life cats in shelters lead.  While more and more shelters are doing the best they can to enrich the environment for shelter cats, funds are low everywhere, and the cats in these shelters need your help.

Yesterday, Robin Olson posted a wonderful suggestion on how to help shelter cats on her blog, Covered in Cat Hair, titled A Christmas Wish for Shelter Cats, and I loved the idea so much that I decided to share it here with you.

Says Robin:  “Life behind bars for any shelter cat is usually flat out miserable. The poor creatures just sit there and wait around, bored, angry, frustrated. Studies show that cats who are active in a cage are much more likely to be adopted than cats who sit there glumly passing time.

Enrichment for cats can also help de-stress the animal, keeping it healthy longer. This is a very important thing to keep in mind. If fewer cats get sick, fewer of them are euthanized. It doesn’t take much to make their lives better, but with budgets cut and donations dwindling, how can shelters afford the “luxury” of enrichment for the cats when they can’t afford food or litter?”

This is where Stretch and Scratch comes in.   These cage-size scratchers keep cats exercised and entertained.   They’re a simple and inexpensive way to bring a little holiday joy to shelter cats, and there’s still time to some to have some sent directly to your favorite shelter in time to bring some holiday joy to shelter cats.

The scratchers are $45 for a half case, and $75 for a full case.  They’re good quality, sturdy scratchers.   For more information and to order, click here.

To read Robin’s full post about the program, along with some wonderful photos of cats enjoying the scratchers Henry County Care & Control in McDonough, Georgia (and the adorable cats in the photos are all available for adoption!), click here.

Robin Olson is the creator of Covered in Cat Hair.  She is a writer, art director, copywriter, and photographer.  Robin is the founder of Kitten Associates, a Connecticut based cat rescue.  You can learn more about Robin on her blog, and on Covered in Cat Hair’s Facebook page.

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.