Cat Product Reviews

REVIEW - Catify Scratch & Spin

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We’ve all seen the plastic versions of these ball tracks. They’re on the shelves of almost every pet supply store. Some have light up balls. Some have scratchers in the middle. Some are open around the sides while others are open at the top. So what sets Catify’s version apart?

The concept is simple enough. The ball goes in and stays captive (i.e. - not lost under the furniture) while your feline friend attacks it and pushes it around inside the ring with gusto. The good news is that this version is nearly 16” in diameter, weighs over four pounds and has rubber feet, so it stays where you put it. An added bonus is the fact that it’s made of heavy-duty recyclable materials.

So far this toy is a huge hit, trumping even the light up ball version we bought years ago at Target. Unfortunately, that light up ball doesn’t work with this track - it simply won’t fit - but other balls will work if they’re the same size as a ping pong ball (40mm or approximately 1.5” in diameter). It comes with two balls, so you probably won’t ever need to find a replacement unless you just want something different.

The only downside is that there is some noise when those balls go spinning around, but that’s true of all these sorts of products. We suggest removing the balls overnight or whenever you need a quiet moment.

This product is highly recommended!

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REVIEW - New Cat Condos

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We’ve tried lots of cat “trees” here at KHD. Everything from the ultra-cheap to the ultra-plush. While all of these cat jungle gyms were certainly adored and used every day, none presented the value and durability of the products from New Cat Condos.

We tried two different models. The Large Cat Gym and the Large Cat Tree Playground.


LARGE CAT GYM

The Large Cat Gym is a very well-made cat tree. It arrived almost completely assembled. All we had to do was connect three pre-assembled pieces to the base and vacuum up all the loose carpet fibers to make sure the cats didn’t accidentally ingest them. This isn’t a knock against New Cat Condos. It’s simply a fact that new carpet sheds a bit.

The build quality is impressive with solid wood, unoiled sisal scratching post, and thick, durable carpet. All the hardware is top notch and the whole thing is very sturdy, even with two cats battling for the top position.

All our cats loved this one right off the bat. In fact, they could hardly wait for us to get it assembled. They were climbing all over the pieces on the floor the second we unboxed them. The top tier is the most coveted position, standing a full 5’ off the floor. It’s important to note that while the top tier is the only level with sides, the scooped levels are just as attractive to the cats while not impeding their ability to run up and down the tree at will (more on this later).

We give the NCC Large Cat Gym five out of five stars. In fact, we’re considering purchasing a second one because the price is so reasonable. At the time of this writing, Amazon sells this unit for $112 and NCC’s site lists it at the same price with flat rate $4.99 shipping. We cannot stress enough what a bargain this is! Many cat trees of this size and quality sell for two or three times as much.


LARGE CAT PLAYGROUND

The NCC Large Cat Playground is just as well made as the Gym. At 61”, it’s one inch taller than the Gym. The design is sturdy, if a little top heavy when a cat is in the bowl on top. Yes, it teeters a bit, but we’ve never felt that it might tip over, not even when our daredevil cat, Lucy, leaps from the top over to the bed.

The cats didn’t take to this cat tree right away. We believe it’s because all of the other cat trees they’d experienced before had flat lower levels without sides, making it easy for the cats to run right up the trees without any issues. This particular design with bowls at every level made that difficult for them. Yes, they could climb it, but it was a lot harder for them to do so. They use a nearby cat tree to use as a ladder to get to the top of this one. We intended to replace that tree, but it remains to this day.

Overall, we would grade the NCC Large Cat Playground three out of five stars. We like it more than the cats do. If the lower levels were simply flat circles, this would easily be a five star tree for us as well. It doesn’t help that this tree is also more expensive than the Gym on Amazon (around $130), though NCC’s site currently lists it on sale at $106.99. With their flat rate shipping charge of $4.99, that puts both trees in the same price range.


CONCLUSION

We highly recommend the products from New Cat Condos. They’re very well made and conscientiously produced at attractive prices. The company makes an extensive line of products so we suggest you peruse their web site at https://www.newcatcondos.com/ before making your choice. Cats differ in their tastes, so bear their preferences in mind. While our feline friends had some difficulty with the Playground, your cats may find it to be the best cat tree ever!

REVIEW: Catit Cat Pan With Rim

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There are hundreds of litter boxes on the market, most of which are too small, too covered, too thin, too shallow…you name it. In many cases, we’ve been happiest with Rubbermaid or Sterilite storage containers, but those solutions present problems as well. We’re happy to say that we’ve just found our new number one litter box recommendation - the Catit cat pan.

We’ve been impressed with the Catit line of products for some time now. They’re all intelligently designed to put the needs of the cat first. This cat pan is no different. It’s a good size, even with the 2” wide rim, with tall, sloping sides and a generous footprint of 22.4” x 15.3”. It’s well made of sturdy plastic and adds some great features that us humans will appreciate.

First off is that rim. We have one young cat who is a litter kicker. She just adores kicking litter as far as she can get it to go. With short-sided pans, she can actually kick half of the litter out of the box in a day of use. Not with this pan. Yes, she can still get some litter on the floor but it’s a fraction of what we saw in the past. The rim does its job admirably well everywhere except the side with the “bag holder” (more on that in a moment). The rim is easily removable for cleaning and it stays in place without the use of any fancy (read:breakable) latches.

As to that “bag holder”, there are gaps in the front edge of the rim. These are meant to use to snag the edge of an open trash bag when scooping the pan. We’re not sure if that’s actually useful for some people, but for us it’s the Achilles’ heel of this otherwise fine product. These gaps mean there is a way for kicked litter to get out of the box. Our little litter kicker still manages to get some litter outside of this box and it’s almost always through these openings. It isn’t a deal breaker, but we could live without these gaps.

We should also mention that this may not be a good pan for those older cats who have a hard time getting in and out of the litter box. The front edge is a little over 6” off the floor. That may make it difficult for cats with joint issues to enter and exit the pan.

As to price, these were around $15 at the time of this writing. We purchased ours from Chewy since the Amazon seller who carried these was overcharging for them. Caveat emptor.

All in all, we’re very happy with these litter boxes and intend to replace all of our existing boxes with these. We just need to cover up those front notches. Recommended.

REVIEW: Litter Genie

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How do you go about disposing of your feline friend’s litter box deposits? Since most cat litters are not approved for septic and sewer systems, you can’t just flush them. I used to use doggie poop bags. I’d collect the deposits in the bag twice a day and tie the top, then I’d deposit them in a trash can near the litter box, but these eventually started smelling. I moved to ziplock bags and those too started smelling in short order. Not only that, but both options wasted a lot of plastic. Then, one day, I happened upon the Litter Genie in a local store.

I’m not sure why I’d never considered one of these before, but I hadn’t. At around $15 to start with, the price was right for a trial run. I bought it and I haven’t looked back since. In fact, we now have two of them - one by each litter box.

How does it work? It’s amazingly simple. Almost too simple. There is a spring-loaded “door” that you pull out to allow the deposit to fall into the bottom of the LG. Then you let go and the smelly deposits are down below where the smell cannot escape.

Believe me when I tell you that I have a very good sense of smell. It’s one of those senses that really doesn’t have much of an upside. if you have great hearing or eyesight, you might find your skills useful in many ways, but with smell, not so much. However, there is a big downside. I can smell every nasty, obnoxious odor within 100 feet. Especially fresh litter box deposits. I can tell you which cat went to the box when and what they left behind. So you can imagine my joy at finding out that the LG actually works. That’s mainly due to the type of plastic bag used in the system.

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Each Litter Genie comes with one relatively short bag refill. The refills hold a long tube of 7-layer plastic. You tie a knot in the end to start it then use the LG’s built in bag cutter tool to snip it off and tie it up when you’re done. It’s that 7-layer plastic that holds in the odors where the doggie bags and Ziplock baggies failed. Plastic bags are porous. The microscopic holes aren’t large enough to allow liquid molecules through but they do allow many gasses to pass over time.

As great as it is, the Litter Genie isn’t perfect. Here’s the rundown of pros and cons as I see them:

PROS

  • easy to use

  • locks in odors

  • comes with a good litter scoop

  • scoop holder can be attached to left or right side of LG

  • Built in cutter works well

  • inexpensive initial buy

  • not an eyesore in your home

CONS

  • housing made of very thin, bendy plastic

  • top and bottom of housing don’t latch together well

  • stray litter granules can keep lid from opening all the way

  • plastic waste (inevitable but an ecological problem nonetheless)

  • no real difference between models despite “Plus” branding

 
 

The pricing issue deserves a more in-depth explanation. The LG and LG Plus both come with one “refill”. In the case of the Plus model, the refill is longer. That’s it. That’s the “Plus”. The Litter Genie Plus currently sells for around $15-16 on Amazon.

 
 

The standard LG refill has 14’ of plastic inside and sells for approximately .53 per foot. This becomes important when comparing the non-LG branded refills.

Our current favorite off brand is the one offered by Firik in a pack of four. These each contain 21’ of plastic tubing and they sell for approximately .25 per foot. That’s less than half what the LG folks are charging! We’re using the Firik refills now and are very happy with them, so that’s our recommendation.

If your house smells of cat waste, the Litter Genie will seem like a godsend. Highly recommended.

REVIEW: AmazonBasics Pet Bed

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We've gone through many a cat bed in our house. We've tried them all, from the flimsy doughnuts with no padding on the bottom to the expensive raised beds with cubbies underneath. None have been outright rejected, though several came in boxes that were ultimately more interesting than the beds they contained. This time, we bought four beds - one for each cat - and all four have been inhabited ever since. Pretty good for a reasonably-priced AmazonBasics product.

The bed is a generous 20" in diameter. It has polyester canvas outer sides and bottom and fleece-like upper sides and top. The padding is soft and pillowy, and there's plenty of padding on the bottom of the bed. These are plush! There are even seams on the bottom to keep the padding from moving around inside the bed.

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The only negative is the fabric bottom. Many pet beds have rubberized or textured bottoms to keep them from slipping around on smooth surfaces. Not so on this bed. If you put it on a smooth surface like a hardwood floor, it can slide around pretty easily. That said, we've had no issues with ours so far. At least the cats aren't playing air hockey with them yet. Part of that is due to the size of the bed. Weighing in at a little over one pound means that it mostly stays put unless a cat launches out of it suddenly.

We appreciate that these beds can be machine washed. One of ours has already weathered a small bout of regurgitation and it came through with flying colors.

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All in all, these are a great bargain and come highly recommended. Oh, and the boxes they came in were big hits too!