The same way that many restaurateurs have worked out that they can sell just about any dish if they simply add bacon, cat toy manufacturers have discovered that they can really expand their product lines by simply adding catnip, and cat lovers will respond and purchase on behalf of their felines.
The selection of toys for cats has been further expanded with the introduction of other feline herbal stimulants to the U.S. market, such as silver vine and valerian mint. And of course, they are being blended together, too, for maximum feline interest.
Catnip Gets Creative
According to Chris Achord, owner of The Cat Shoppe and The Dog Store in Nashville, Tennessee, her customers come in regularly to buy new catnip toys the way dog owners come in for specialized dog treats.
“I sell refillable products, but generally my cat customers like to purchase all new ones for their felines,” she said. “The Ratherbee El Gato Muy Loco Catnip Cigars from Blue Rat are my biggest sellers. From a retailer standpoint, they are beautifully presented to look like a box of real cigars. That attracts customers, and they keep coming back because the cigars are so potent. Cats love them, too!”
Blue Rat owner Judith McCullogh, who is the designer behind all of the Ratherbee catnip products, explains that she supports local farmers in Philadelphia for her catnip supply.
“I release new toys when creativity strikes, but I take a lot of time perfecting them before they are released,” she said. “Our labels have always featured one of our own cats on them.”
Apart from a selection of fun shapes, Blue Rat also does seasonal shapes for popular holidays throughout the year.
Worldwise, Inc., calls its proprietary blend of catnip and silver vine HyperNip. The company has also introduced a huge selection of cat toys incorporating the new blend.
The Wild Wooly is a furry and feathery critter with a long rope tail for picking up and batting about. The Playful Peacock is all feathers and ribbons plumped up with HyperNip and the Crinkle Crawly is a crinkle toy with floppy rope legs. The Nutty Nester is a wobble toy “powered” by a ball of compressed HyperNip.
First-time exhibiter at this year’s Global Pet Expo in Orlando, Florida, Meowijuana won the New Product Showcase Award for Best In Show/Pointof-Purchase Display with its display of catnip buds, leaves and toys styled to look like they belonged in a human marijuana pharmacy.
Currently, the company has two catnip toys: a Catnip Blunt and the Freshly Rolled Catnip Spliff. “We are planning to expand our toys with some cat joints and other toys,” said Marc A. Adams, head of business development for the company.
“We’ve had a lot of interest from retailers in our premiere buds and grinders designed for cat lovers to keep their cat’s toys constantly refreshed.”
Something to Scratch
OurPets Snag-ables is a new range of door hangers and floor scratchers from the company designed to provide cats with a play e
xperience that simultaneously fulfills their hunting instinct and naturally grooms their nails. Made with looped, durable, textured materials, the play experience is further enhanced with crinkling sounds and catnip.
New from Petstages, which is now part of the Outward Hound family, is a fun range of catnip-infused puzzle pieces called Mix & Scratch Play Stations. The pieces can be set up separately or interlocked together to create a big board of different activities and fun.
“Each puzzle piece is catnip blasted to keep their interest as they scratch releasing the scent of the herb,” explained Michael Parness, chief marketing officer for Outward Hound. “And each of the four bright pieces has individual features designed to keep cats engaged. So it’s ideal for both single cat and multi-cat households as it offers both vertical and horizontal scratching surfaces.”
The Channel Scratcher consists of strips of corrugated cardboard and sandpaper strips, ideal for filing feline nails. The Ball Chaser & Scratch has a circular field with a ball in the middle for cats to bat about. The Wavy Corrugate and Brush has a raised brush section for cats to self-groom themselves against and interact with a wavy corrugated surface on the square. The fourth piece, the Mix & Scratch Treat Pockets Scratcher with Post, features a corrugated square with numerous treat pockets and a corrugated scratch post.
Kong Catnip Botanicals Refillables is a line of cat toys from the Kong Company filled with U.S.- grown catnip and other herbs, such as lemongrass and valerian mint. The latter is popular in cat toys made in Europe to entice feline activity and play and is now being introduced to the American market, too.
The range includes a pig, frog and a hedgehog. All have easy-to-open pouches to refill, and there is a variety pack of the herbs so that cat owners can make their own blend when it’s time to refill.
Rolf C. Hagen has produced a line of all-natural catnip products called the Catit Senses 2.0 Catnip, which is designed for use with various products in Hagen’s Catit Senses 2.0 line of enrichment accessories. One such product is the Senses 2.0 Wellness Center, which is described as a relaxation and self-grooming center with dual self-groomer brushes to collect loose hairs. The design allows a cat to massage its head, neck, face and other areas of the body. The Catnip Shaker. which dispenses 100 percent Canadian-grown dried catnip leaves, is recommended for use with the Wellness Center. There is also a spray and a roll-on that can be used on soft toys as well as on items such as the company’s Vesper line of cat furniture.