Dirk the Rocket Cat

* Originally written by me for katzenworld.co.uk

The MelloCat Rocket Roller is one of those toys I wasn’t quite sure of initially. I mean, it looks like a rocket (complete with take-off smoke) which is sort of cool. But rockets and cats?

Once again, Dirk took me by surprise and was immediately taken with this toy.

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Give me that, I know it’s for me!

I’m sure you all know what Dirk is going to do with this toy! Yes, that’s right: give it a good kick 😉 And he can be really quite ferocious when kicking it so this is a proper workout for his hind legs. The toy is quite large: he can easily grab hold of one side and then kick the other side of the rocket.

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My favourite thing is to send it ‘flying’ through the house so Dirk can go and chase it. He doesn’t really let go of this toy very easily though. I guess he’s happy he’s our only cat because sharing toys would be a serious problem…

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Look at me and my cool rocket! We’re totally going places 🙂
(No, not really Dirk, you just look silly)

The MelloCat Rocket Roller is handmade and it looks amazing. It’s really well made and quite sturdy, it can take a lot of kicks! Cats that love kicking toys and want to look cool doing it: this is your toy 🙂

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Going to take a nap now, but don’t even think you can have the rocket back now!

How to Build the Best Cat Towers

* From my partners at katzenworld.co.uk

Building a cat tower requires doing some research and understanding your cat’s behaviour. It’s not an easy task. In fact, there may be instances where you build one, only to tear it down after you’ve seen how your cat is using it.

Here are some tips for building the best cat tower for your pet.

1. Research

It’s always a good idea to do some research on any project that you set your eyes on. Take some pictures, analyse reviews and talk to cat owners who own towers to gain some insight and advice. By researching, you can find design inspirations, determine which colours to use, and identify which structures you can add. The best cat trees are those that take your cat’s needs and behaviour into account, and also complement your home’s interior décor.

2. Determine The Size Of Your Home

One of the most important factors when making your decision to build a cat tower is the size of your home. You need to determine how big your walls are, how tall the trees surrounding you are, as well as the buildings around you. If you build a tower that’s too small relative to your space, your cat may be more interested in climbing taller and bigger objects. If the tower is too large compared to your space, you may feel cramped up in your space, considering it will share space with your furniture. Articles that discuss pet guides and product reviews can give you more insight into these essential considerations.

3. Determine The Tower Structure

Cat towers and houses are available in a variety of sizes. Some pet owners prefer to build them in tandem with a cat fence so that the cats will have a place to go to relieve themselves.

Most cats like to climb objects, which means that the structure you’re building needs to be tall enough for your cat to climb up and down comfortably. Your cat shouldn’t need to jump from one level to another, but the tower should help your feline companion improve their climbing skills. It is a good way to teach them to trust their paws and not use their claws when trying to climb.

4. Tower Material

The material used to build the tower can determine whether your cat will enjoy the tower. Materials such as rope, reed and thatch may be irritating for some cats because their claws get stuck in the material. Other materials used to make cat towers include wood which may be wrapped in cloth. Stay away from certain fabrics like cotton, because they may quickly become torn by the constant movement of your cat.

5. Consider The Size Of Your Cat

The best cat tower is one that can effortlessly hold your cat’s weight. You don’t want your cat to topple over or for the tower to give in to the weight. This can hurt your cat as well as the space in which the tower stood. Make sure to use a material that’s strong enough to hold your cat to avoid potentially dangerous scenarios.

6. Preferred Tower Location

Where you decide to place your cat tower is largely determined by your cat’s preferred location in the house. Some cats enjoy spending time with others in the lounge area, while others seem to prefer a quiet window corner. You may decide to place a tower where you’d prefer to see your cat, but if your cat hardly spends time in your preferred locations, then he or she may not fully enjoy the tower.

7. Rebuild

If you realise that your first attempt didn’t come out as intended, don’t be shy to dismantle and rebuild. Perhaps you’ll notice that it’s wobbly when your cat is on it, though it may appear steady. You may also notice that your cat struggles to navigate the tower because they’re too big for the tower. You simply have to observe your cat and fix the tower accordingly.

Conclusion

Before building your cat tower, you need to do some research. Gather design inspirations and building tips online. Consider the size of your home, your cat’s behaviour, and the size of the tower. Place the tower in a space that your cat enjoys. If you realise that there’s something wrong with the tower, you can always dismantle and rebuild. Wobbly towers or ones that are too small for your particular cat can cause dangerous scenarios where your cat may fall or knock the tower over. Also consider the type of material that you use to build the tower.

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.