Winged Chase Cat Toy


Motorized toys are often hit-or-miss with cats. With our older feline friends, they're usually more miss. Winged Chase is no exception.

The toy is well made, with a plastic base that houses the batteries (3 X AA) and the motor that runs the toy. The butterflies are on the end of stiff pieces of wire than can be bent to create different types of movement. We have no problem whatsoever with the design of the toy and its components. In fact, we thought this might be the one motorized toy that would be a hit due to the unique way the butterflies flutter and move.

When we initially set it up, there was a great deal of curiosity about it. Upon initial power up, the curious examination of the toy continued for a few minutes, and then...

Curiosity was sated and the toy got no more attention. Even days later, when we'd turn it on, no one expressed interest. This isn't any indication as to whether or not your cat will enjoy Winged Chase. It could be an instant hit with some cats, particularly kittens. Older cats like ours are more likely to take a been there, done that attitude.


The fact is that most cats can identify mechanical patterns quite quickly. They're usually much happier with a human-controlled toy that skips and skitters with random movements. Using a toy you control also means that you get more bonding time with your feline friend. You also get to monitor the condition of the toys so your cat doesn't end up swallowing bits of it when they play.

Winged Chase was purchased at Petco on sale for $13.99.

Love My Cat Corrugated Scratcher

Whether it's a post, a tree, or your favorite sofa, every cat is going to scratch something. They have a physical need to scratch. It helps them to shed the outer sheaths of their nails while also acting as a territorial marker. There are lots of choices for good scratchers out there and some cats respond more to some than to others. Your best bet is to try several types until you find the one your felines like best.

Today, we're looking at a horizontal scratcher made from corrugated cardboard. This one, made by Love My Cat, has a few design features that distinguish it from the crowd. First off, it's inexpensive. As of this writing, the scratcher is selling for $12.95 on Amazon. That's much less than some comparable scratchers.

The best plus, and one we haven't seen on other scratchers of this type, is the convoluted surface. This actually helps cats gain purchase with their claws when using this scratcher, making it very appealing to most of our test kitties.

In addition, the scratcher can be flipped over, offering a flat surface if your cat prefers that, or if the convoluted surface wears out. Yes, this type of scratcher will eventually wear out. The cardboard rips a little with each use and some cats can produce a pile of debris in very little time. This isn't due to any problem with the scratcher. Instead, it just shows how appealing it can be to felines who like to get a good horizontal stretch when sharpening their claws.

In the odd responses department, we must add that one of our cats is intrigued by the feline silhouette on the side panel of the scratcher. But that hasn't stopped her from using the surface for its intended purpose.

We highly recommend the Love My Cat scratcher. Happy scratching!

Curious Cat Cube

Cats may be the toughest friends to buy for. Nine times out of ten, they prefer the boxes their gifts come in to the gifts themselves. But every now and then a product comes along that captivates them from the word go. The Curious Cat Cube (C3) is one of those special hit products and it comes at a very reasonable price too.

The C3 arrives broken down into the outer shell, the bottom floor and the bed on top. There are also a couple of dangly puff balls that are optional and can be hung outside the holes on the cube. The sides are fairly solid with a faux suede covering that's easy to clean. The inner floor is covered in the same white material that covers the bed up top, but without the extra padding found there. The lid just sits on top like a shoe box lid so it's easy to separate the bed from the box if your cats prefer that. All assembled, it's 15.5"x15.5"x16.5".

Our cats were immediately attracted to it and love to sit inside and reach for toys through the holes on the sides. Our older girl prefers to snooze on the top, especially during the winter months when we positioned the C3 next to our wall furnace.

All in all, it's a solid piece that's easily broken down for moving or storage, it's fun for the cats, and it's currently selling for less than $25. What's not to love? The Curious Cat Cube is highly recommended!


The Royal Treatment: A Natural Approach to Wildly Healthy Pets

I have no doubt that Dr. Barbara Royal is a fantastic veterinarian. She clearly embraces the best of both traditional and alternative treatment methods in order to help an animal's own body heal itself. I wish I lived near her and could bring my feline friends to her for treatment. Unfortunately, her book, The Royal Treatment, lacks the clear focus present in Dr. Royal's veterinary practice. It's a mashup of treatment philosophies, autobiographical storytelling and a few bits of very useful info. Some chapters are a single page while others are a little long-winded. All in all, the book could certainly benefit from a clearer objective.

From the subtitle, you might infer that this book was going to present a clear method that can help you to aid your pet in becoming the healthiest animal that she can be. I know I thought as much. But there isn't very much in the way of advice here, and what is here is mainly focused on dogs. Yes, there are a few sections devoted exclusively to cats, but they are few and far between. I'd estimate that less then 1/6 of the book is feline-centric.

The bulk of the 400 pages is a veterinary memoir. The stories are well-told and entertaining and I enjoyed Dr. Royal's writing style, but I wasn't particularly interested in reading her biography. I was more interested in learning about her care model. Her basic philosophy is clearly communicated but much of her advice is presented anecdotally here in the form of stories. I'd personally prefer clear, species-specific advice even if it wasn't as entertaining to read.

The biggest problem I have with the book is the fact that much of the care advice given is written without a clear indication of exactly what species the advice applies to. This is a frequent occurrence in the book and an awful oversight for someone who is looking for help with caring for a particular kind of animal. It's clear that Dr. Royal likes all animals, but she loves dogs. In many cases where no species is mentioned, it's safe to assume she intends the advice for dog caregivers alone.

As a reader who is primarily interested in cats, I found this and a few of her offhanded cat criticisms a tiny bit off-putting. Not enough to hamper my enjoyment of the book, but disappointing because I hoped to actually learn something new that I could apply to my work here at KHD.

If you're looking for a good, non-fiction book to read for pleasure, I can certainly recommend this one. If you're looking for specific cat care content with a focus on holistic care, I'm afraid you'll need to look elsewhere.

A Street Cat Named Bob

A Street Cat Named Bob is a 2016 feature film based on the bestselling book by James Bowen. While it's well produced, it plays a bit like a made for TV Lifetime movie. The film is based on the true story of Bowen's climb out of the gutter with the help of a ginger tom cat called Bob. While the no holds barred true version straight from Bowen's pen is presented in his bestselling book of the same name, the film version is somewhat whitewashed. As far as I can tell, this was done for the sake of easier storytelling and to broaden the appeal of the feature.

The story revolves around Bowen, played by Luke Treadaway, and his fight with heroin addiction and homelessness on the streets of London. After years of struggling alone, the presence of a generous social worker, here played by Downton Abbey's Joanne Froggatt, and the titular cat help him to realize that he has more to live for than his next fix. The film is harmless enough but it never really opens up any of the characters beyond what's needed by the very basic plot.

All of the performances are sound, not the least of which is Bob's. He's given star billing and we're expected to believe that the real Bob is the only cat we see in the movie. He isn't. The crew used a cadre of lookalike stunt-cats alongside the real feline star in order to get all the shots they needed.

Make no mistake - this film, though it is based on Bowen's true story, includes a lot of fabricated elements to try and force it to conform to the warm-hearted, rags-to-riches plot it so desperately wants to embody. In that regard, the film is entirely predictable.

I thoroughly enjoyed Bowen's very honest account in his 2012 book. I enjoyed the film less, and only partially because of the watered-down tone. Any time a cat is used on set, I cringe a little. I've worked on film sets myself so I know how impatient people can be when time is running short. It's no place for an animal, least of all a cat. 

Worse yet is the film's portrayal of James feeding Bob nothing but human food from the corner store. He's shown giving Bob milk, tuna, and other canned fish products along with what looks like a little bit of dry kibble. While most cats will gladly eat canned tuna, it lacks many of the nutrients they require, especially taurine. If James was still feeding Bob this inadequate diet, I've no doubt that Bob would not have survived. The fact that this is never mentioned in the film shows just how cat-unfriendly the production really is.

While I have no doubt that James Bowen loves Bob and cares for him as well as he can, the fact remains that Bowen, his publishers and the producers of the film are all exploiting Bob's popularity for money. There are now several Bob books, including a children's book (which begins with Bob's elderly caregiver dying - another convenient omission from the film), a Christmas book, and a sequel to the original bestseller. If this adds to people's love of cats, I'm all for it, but I know that Bob really only cares about being safe and warm and fed with his human. Fortunately, books don't require Bob's presence, but this film did.

The Real Bowen and Bob

The Real Bowen and Bob

Rather than a rags-to-riches story, I'd have preferred the filmmakers focus on Bowen's awakening to the fact that Bob is a sentient being who isn't that different from all us other mammals. That's the part of the story that's present in the book but is missing from the film.

A Street Cat Named Bob is a harmless enough entertainment, albeit a shallow one. It's just too bad that's all it is.