Scratch, scratch, scratch

As a cat owner few things are more annoying then your cat not using their scratching post but instead scratching your bed, sofa, carpet, wallpaper or really anything BUT the scratching post! I know all about it, because Dirk and I went through quite a few climbing trees and scratch boards until we finally found some options that we are both happy with. Dirk was fairly persistent in his sofa, chairs, carpet and bed scratching behaviour, but we’ve now mostly tackled the issue (although he does still scratch the bed in the morning as a means to get me to feed him).

The first scratching tree I got Dirk was a fairly small one and not all that sturdy. He is a big cat and needed something bigger. So that’s what he got!

I loved this scratching barrel, it looked very sleek and had levels inside so Dirk could climb inside and hide. Dirk loved sleeping in it, but hardly ever used it as a scratching post. He still used the carpets, sofa and chairs instead…

I figured he might like some horizontal scratching surfaces as well as some thinner scratching posts. In came the scratching pads and sisal poles, but with limited success. Dirk used them, but rather in addition to his other “scratching posts” (by now you know which ones I mean).

I don’t give up that easily though and realised that part of the appeal when scratching carpets and sofa was the fact he was destroying them: pieces of fabric came off. Perhaps he would be happier if I gave him a scratcher that he could shred?

Luckily, he really likes his cardboard scratchers, both to scratch (or shred) and sleep on!

Dirk also loves the most recent addition, which is a floor to ceiling climbing tree. He actually uses it to scratch, climb and sleep and has left the sofa and chairs alone since the tree’s introduction (knock on wood).

If you want advice about which type of scratching post to choose, then check out this brilliant article by International Cat Care.

Dirk discovers Nyagomidokoro’s fish kicker

If you regularly read my blog then you’ll know I sometimes review cat toys for Katzenworld. I’ve met them at cat shows as well and I know they sell the best cat toys. I wanted to give Dirk a new toy and preferably not a catnip one this time! He has plenty of those 🙂

I came across a Japanese brand, Nyagomidokoro. Their toys look great and they contain matatabi, or silvervine. Dirk has never tried that so I was curious and got him a fish kicker. Any toy that involved vigorous kicking is a hit with Dirk so I was hopeful about this one too.

As pictures are always better than words I’ll just show you how much Dirk likes his new toy. The one thing you can’t see in the pictures is that he was even drooling all over them and the floor!

And in case you are worried about the smell, I find it quite pleasant and not too strong (I like catnip too, but it makes my nose feel a bit itchy when it’s fresh).

If you want to get your cat something new this Christmas, check out the series of Nyagomidokoro toys or any of the other toys in the Katzenworld shop.

You may think Dirk likes all cat toys, but I only write reviews about the ones  he likes. I give feedback about the ones he does not like to the manufacturer so they can improve their product. Sometimes it’s simply a case of toys being more suited for kittens than older cats in which case I recommend they add that to their marketing details.

Christmas came early for Dirk: Gus & Bella’s Santa Paws box

* Originally written by me for katzenworld.co.uk

Regular readers of our Katzenworld blog will know about Gus & Bella’s Boxes, but for those who haven’t heard of them yet let me tell you a little bit about them.

Gus & Bella’s gift boxes contain gifts for cats and people, so they are perfect for cat owners! They contain a mix of toys, food and treats for your cat and trendy gifts for yourself. You can subscribe to get a box every month or choose to buy a single box, ideal as a gift. This year’s Christmas box makes an ideal gift for any cat owner, whether they have a kitten or adult cat. And rest assured if you have a fussy cat or if your cat has any food intolerances: these are catered for as well!

Dirk and I received our very own Christmas box, the Santa Paws box. I don’t know who was more excited about it!

Obviously, unpacking it together is part of the fun. If you order the box for yourself then you’ll see on the website what is inside so it’s less of a surprise. I had no idea though, so it was very much like the anticipation of unwrapping a Christmas present.

Dirk could hardly wait. In fact, he decided to get inside the box first at the opportunity he got to check out his gifts.

So let’s check out the cat presents first. The box contains a lot of food and treats. Now that makes Dirk a very happy boy!

However, the first thing he went for was, of course, a catnip toy. He loves both catnip toys in this box and we had a great time playing with the teaser wand together (although Dirk would not have minded having the toy all to himself…)

As for my presents, well, Dirk was not overly impressed (can’t eat them, no catnip, he’s not allowed to play with them) but I am very happy with them indeed. I’ll be spreading some Christmas cheer and helping to keep others safe with the Christmas cats face mask! I also absolutely love the felt Christmas bauble. No problem if Dirk tries to knock this one from the Christmas tree and it looks so cute! I’ll need to get more, even if just for the lower branches of the tree 😉

Last, but not least if you ask Dirk, the box itself is a gift for the cat as well – even if he does not quite fit inside….

The Santa Paws box is available for pre-order here and ships 8 December

Dirk’s unusual game with Peek-a-Bird

* Originally written by me for katzenworld.co.uk

We all know that cats don’t always do what we want or expect them to do. For me, that’s part of what I like about them: they are not as docile or obedient as some other pets. They very much have a mind of their own and can be very particular about things.

Dirk is – frankly – pretty docile but even he doesn’t always do what I want him to do or play with a toy quite the way it was intended… PetSafe’s Peek-a-Bird is one such example.

The Peek-a-Bird has openings on either side and when switched on a feather appears randomly from either side so your cat can chase it. Sometimes it appears on the same side twice in a row so it is not possible for your cat to predict on which side the feather will appear next. The feather moves around for a bit before retreating to entice your cat to hunt for it.

A play session lasts for 10 minutes after which the toy switches off automatically. You can also activate and ‘all day’ mode. The toy then switches on for 10 minutes at a time every two hours. Even better: it also switches on when the sensor picks up movement from your cat. Basically, your cat will have a toy that switches on whenever they want to play! I absolutely love that idea.

As I said, though, Dirk had other ideas of how to play with the toy!

When switched on, Dirk keeps watching it and also tries to bite the feather, but he does not chase the feather much. However, as soon as the bird switches off he wants to play with the bird itself. He does sometimes try and get the feather out of the toy when it’s switched off, but his main focus is giving the bird a good kicking.

He’ll kick it around the floor or the rug and also seems to like kicking it back and forth with me. Should perhaps not have been too much of a surprise as he is named after a football player 😉

But in any case, that is not what I expected him to do at all. When the Peek-a-Bird is on the floor somewhere he’ll walk over to it when he wants to play with me and starts pushing or kicking it towards me.

Peek-a-Bird also comes with a spare feather in case the first one becomes too damaged to play with. Knowing most cats are mad about feathers (Dirk is too with some of his other toys) it’s good that PetSafe included a spare one. However, it would be even better if they start selling extra spare feathers as I can imagine some cats will quickly go through both.

My guess is that cats will either love Peek-a-Bird or ignore it and whether or not your cat will like it may be difficult to predict. I’d recommend it to owners of kittens or cats that enjoy hide-and-seek style games.

Dirk and the new 4Cats Cuddly Cushion

* Originally written by me for katzenworld.co.uk

Dirk couldn’t be happier because 4Cats has a new Cuddle Cushion!

You may have read the review about Dirk’s first cuddle cushion: he went absolutely mad. He loves this new one at least as much as the previous version, perhaps even more.

So what’s new about this Cuddle Cushion? 4Cats uses a different fabric for the new cushions. The fabric is soft but also a bit of texture to it. The previous one was soft and smooth and Dirk mainly cuddled with that cushion. With the new one he still cuddles a lot – he loves rubbing his face in it. He now also quite likes kicking this toy which he didn’t really do with the previous one. Rather than animal print these new cushions come in 4 different colours.

Those are the details, but I know you want to see Dirk in action 😉

Did I tell you he goes mad for it?
Part of it is undoubtedly the catnip effect as 4Cats use catnip of excellent quality. He rolls around with all through the living room and kicks it a lot.
Don’t try and take this cushion away from him – he’ll hold on to it with all his might! Use other toys to play tug-of-war 😉

Rolling and kicking are just two of Dirk’s favourite things to do with the cushion. The others are rubbing and licking/biting it. I have to admit he does this a lot. I think it looks super cute. It also makes this toy a bit different from other toys as Dirk doesn’t usually cuddle with his toys. The 4Cats Cuddle Cushions are an exception.
Even though these Cuddle Cushions are quite small cats of all ages will probably like them. Initially I thought it would be best for kittens, but I’ve since given several of my cat sitting clients’ cats a Cuddle Cushion and it triggers similar cuddle&rubbing behaviour in those other cats too. Fun to watch and I’m absolutely certain it will make your cat feel happy too 🙂

Get your 4Cats Cuddle Cushion in the Katzenworld shop.