Trixie Cat Activity Toys

Pete needs to lose weight so I’m trying to encourage him to eat more slowly and be more active. I tried him with a couple of the treat balls – you put the treats/dry food inside and as the cat plays with the ball, treats fall out of the hole, which is supposed to encourage the cat to be active to get its food reward. I’ve tried Pete with two different ones and he could not give a toss. So, I decided to try some other options.

The first thing I tried was the Trixie Cat Activity Fun Board, £24.99 from Amazon. It’s got good reviews and seemed to have several levels of difficulty, so it seemed like a good place to start. The board is well made, solid plastic, and the plastic bowls screw on and off easily. It’s difficult to wash in a kitchen sink, so probably better for people who have dishwashers. And definitely better for people with brighter cats than Pete. I started off with dry food, putting some in the bowls and some in all the parts. He looked at it, walked off and sat by his dish. After much encouragement he came and had a proper look but he wasn’t interested at all – and Pete’s a cat who is always interested in food. So I decided to pique his interest and encourage him to use it and put some tinned tuna on to all the parts. He was willing to work to get the tuna and scooped nearly all of it up on his paw, but it doesn’t work very well with wet food – it gets into all the nooks and crannies so the cat can’t get it all, and it’s a pain to hand-wash. I don’t think this is a toy for Pete. I’ve left it sitting on the floor with dry food in it for a few days, and he’s just not interested. So I’ll see if I can pass it on to someone else, or put it back on Amazon.

We’ve had a bit more luck with the Trixie Cat Activity Slow Feeder, £7.99 from Amazon. It’s shaped like a giant mouse, made of plastic and made in two halves. The top half lifts off so that you can put dry food and treats into it, then you fit the top back on and the cat works to get the food out of two large holes in the mouse’s sides. Pete was much more interested in this. He spent a good few minutes poking food out with his paw and munchitycrunching it. He had a good go at tipping it over too, to shake the food out, but either couldn’t, or couldn’t be bothered to try hard enough. He did once manage to knock my Ikea CD tower over in pursuit of live prey, so I’m sure if he really tried, he could flip the Slow Feeder over. At the moment he’s on one meal of dry (diet) food and one meal of wet food. I might put half his dry food into his dish and the other half into the Slow Feeder and see how he gets on with that. If he really struggles with it, I’ll alter the proportions so he’s working for extras rather than a big chunk of his meal.

Ha. Just as I was typing that he woke up and asked for food. I put some dry food into the Slow Feeder and he ignored me and sat by his dish. I took the lid off the Feeder, and let him eat some of the food from the tray, then put the lid back on. He looked at me for a few minutes, and walked off. I think he’s going to have to be very hungry to overcome his laziness and work for his food!

I think both products are well made, seem to be quite robust, and work well. Pete’s lack of interest isn’t because the products are poor; it’s because he’s lazy and dry food will always be his second choice.


2014 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 590 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 10 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Can You Give a Cat a Home?

I got Pete from Lothian Cat Rescue, who couldn’t have been nicer or more helpful, or more pleased for Pete that he had finally chosen his person. They always have lots of cats looking for homes, and for some reason black cats and black & white cats always take longer to be rehomed. I don’t know why because they’re easily the most attractive.


They update their page of cats looking for homes regularly, and it’s sad to see how long some of them have to wait. Watson, for example, has been looking for a home for months. Charlie hasn’t been there very long, but is scared and depressed in the shelter and needs a home soon. Felix, Missy, Ronnie, Misty – they’ve all been on the page for months now. If you’re thinking about getting a cat, please consider a Lothian Cat Rescue cat.

Pete’s New Bed and Space Blankets

This flat can be quite chilly at this time of year, especially when the heating is off, and especially because I have bare floorboards, not carpet. I’ve filled in as many of the gaps between the floorboards as I can with this stuff, but there are still some draughty areas. The heating is off when I’m at work, because I’m not a millionaire, so I wanted to be sure Pete would be warm enough.

He has his round flat fake sheepskin bed, and he has his favourite cardboard box, but over the past few weeks he’s been spending a lot of time sitting on the floor right under the radiator, so I thought I’d have a look for something to keep him a bit warmer and that would be a bit more comfortable than floorboards. I didn’t want to spend a lot as he already has a bed (and a cardboard box).

The first thing I got was a soft, squashy bed. The material is rigid enough to hold its shape with a heavy cat leaning on it, but soft enough to be comfortable. The bottom pad is removable for washing, and the bed is big enough to hold Pete comfortably (and he is not a small cat). Within a few seconds of me siting it under the radiator, he was investigating it, and since I added the self-heating mats, he’s hardly left it. He did sleep in it for the couple of days between the bed arriving and the mats arriving, but it’s the combination of the bed being under the radiator and the self-heating mats which have sent him into kitty bliss. The self-heating mats have a washable outer envelope which contains something like a reflective space blanket. When the cat lies on it, the mat reflects the cat’s body heat back towards it, so it stays warm as long as the cat is on the mat. I decided to go for this type as unlike the electrical ones, there’s no danger of fire, and unlike the microwaveable ones, there’s no danger of accidentally burning the cat with a too-hot mat. Pete was a little bit anxious about it at first, because it makes a plasticky noise when he walks on it, but once he lay down it rapidly became his favourite thing apart from food. As you can see, it’s a hit.