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Pet Age
 

February 29, 2016

Cats are not supposed to be couch potatoes—and the pet industry is doing a lot to get this message out there by focusing on feline enrichment products. Retailers who endorse this message can educate cat owners and increase their profits through the sales of interactive cat toys.

Tunnel of Fun

The latest product to come to market from Nekochan, the UJI Tunnel system is specially designed for interactive play between cats and their owners and gives cats an opportunity to rev up their own self-play.

“I wanted to design a tunnel system that is stylish and safe for cats with the goal of encouraging cat owners to interact with their cats—a kind of amusement park for cats,” said Ellen Tsuyuki, Nekochan’s owner and product designer. “By offering different combinations, cat owners can set up what best fits their living environment in terms of size. The tunnels have peek holes, and the idea is to use other toys such as our wand toys so cats can engage with the wands and hone their hunting skills.”

The tunnels compress down easily and come in a stylish carry bag with handles for convenient storage and travel and the interior is ultra-soft, durable polyester. All of Nekochan’s cat toys have been endorsed by The International Cat Association (TICA).

Bonding through Play

“Interactive toys are a great way for pet parents and cats to establish strong relationships,” said Brittany Green, product manager at Petmate. “We believe that wands are the best toys in this category because they encourage playtime together, provide exercise for the cat, engage natural instincts and encourage bonding.”

“The Air Prey Wand features a feather that spins and attracts cats that prefer to watch birds fly through the air,” Green added. “For those cats that prefer chasing bugs and other critters, the Ground Prey Wand comes with a toy that mimics the movement of different bugs. Finding a wand that appeals to your cat will encourage play and build relationships, unlike toys that are only meant for solo play.”
According to Mandie Sweetnam, Knoxville, Tennessee-based product manager for the interactive cat category at Petsafe, the Pounce remains one of the company’s most popular interactive cat toys.

“The motion and settings are perfect for feline play. The stop and go action of the mouse on the track drives them wild!” Sweetnam said. “However, The Bolt remains our most popular cat toy, globally. I would go as far as to call it a classic since it has been on the market for more than five years and is still going strong.”

“PetSafe has been hard at work developing new cat toys to satisfy the wide array of feline play styles and we have some great toys to feature at the Global Pet Expo this month,” Sweetnam said. “The Whimsy is an automatic teaser toy that can be clamped nearly anywhere for your cat to bat and jump at. The Flitter is a two-armed rotating teaser toy that is great for multi-cat households. Both toys feature a Play-While-You-Are-Away mode, which means there is a setting that allows the toy to activate multiple times throughout the day for random playtime.”

“We consider both toys to be competitively priced,” Sweetnam said. “Cat parents are continuing to see the value in long lasting toys for their cats. The added Play-While-You-Are-Away function is making these toys even more popular.”

Worldwise, Inc., has various activity-boosting toys in their Petlinks line, including the Mystery Motion, an interactive toy that redefines the cat-and-mouse game. The toy replicates the mesmerizing movement of hidden prey with feathers peeking out from under a fabric cover. The whisper-quiet motor spins the enticing feather-tipped wand in an unpredictable pattern, keeping cats fascinated and poised to pounce.

New from Petstages is the Scooting Mouse, a small colorful mouse that scoots across the floor when its tail is pulled. It’s an ideal size for cats to bat about and wrestle with and the ears are made of a crinkling material to pique feline interest.

Bergan has revved up its Turbo Scratcher cat toy to produce the Mega Turbo Scratcher. The toy now has two interactive sides, a 14-inch scratch pad on one side and a “peek-a-boo” game with ball on the other. It is packaged with the ball and some catnip to ramp up the fun and keep cats engaged. Such toys are ideal for multi-cat households.

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