Sunday, August 26, 2012

The Cats Fly after Neko Flies

Pet Product Advisor was really pushing Neko Flies recently. And with a 10% coupon code, I decided to give them a try. The concept was interesting - life-like critters on a wand. The videos at the Neko Flies web site made the products even more enticing.

We have a zillion wands in the cat attic. The cats don't normally go for them with a lot of gusto. Ivan gets obsessive over wands with a big clump of long feathers on the end of the string - he grabs the feathers and locks them in his jaws and growls ferociously, as if he has caught himself a big, tasty bird (good thing those wands are cheap, usually $5 or less, because it doesn't take long for Ivan to destroy the feathers!). Boo is less motivated, but a few wand-like toys get him going, especially the Cat Dancer (which is a long, slightly flexible wire with random pieces of cardboard on the end - the wire causes unusual movement and the cardboard pieces move around like a bugs legs). Another wand toy that fascinated them for a while was the kind with a mouse on the end that squeaks when it moves. However, as with all wand toys, they grew bored with it.
Why did I think Neko Flies would be any different? I didn't necessarily, but I thought they could be more instruments in the cat exercise arsenal. The cats would be fascinated by them for a while, then grow tired of them, at which them the toys would go into the cat attic and come out again a few months later, and the cycle would start again. No problem.

The minute the Neko Flies wand with the included attachment, the small kittenator toy (a very lifelike mouse - the photo above does not do it justice!), came out of its box, the cats were interested. Ivan went bonkers after I pulled the mouse across the floor. Soon he was in overdrive, and after about 5 minutes of overdrive, Ivan was a panting maniac, his pink nose almost bright red with excitement. Ivan and Boo used to take turns with toys like this, Boo taking over while Ivan rested, but Ivan was so obsessed that Boo could hardly get a swipe in. After about 10 minutes of Ivan chasing, catching, and not letting go of the kittenator, panting heavily, I had to put the toy away!

Now, every time I ask if they want to play with "the toy" they go wild. As with all toys that they get obsessive with, it must be hidden in a place that is inaccessible to them, or they'll get it and destroy it. In the beginning, it was very difficult to get the mouse from Ivan. Upon catching it, he would try to carry it away in his mouth. Sometimes I would let him, following him with the wand. After about a week of trying to teach him that it's better if he lets go of the toy after a while, he finally seems to be getting it. He'll relax his grip on it just enough that I can pull it away from him and engage him in the chase once again. When he does get completely tuckered out or otherwise distracted (the latter does not happen very often at all!), Boo will come in. He hasn't gotten as crazy about it as Ivan. He'll run back and forth a few times and then flop down. But he is interested, and he is always the tougher one to get interested in most toys (he will go crazy over the Undercover Mouse, though, if Ivan isn't in the way).

I bought all three of the insect attachments for the wand, because I thought they looked especially enticing to the cats. I thought I'd let the cats get a little tired of the kittenator before trying any of the other "flies". The insects do look very real, with gangly legs and bright colors. The dragonfly has iridescent wings! Again, the photograph below does not do it justice.  I'll write again once I do use the other flies with these crazy cats.

The price of the wand with three additional flies was $51.37, including shipping and a 10% discount, from Pet Product Advisor. The discount almost made one of the flies free. You can probably find better deals elsewhere.  However, be sure to check out the photographs and video at the Neko Flies web site.

I've seen Jackson Galaxy of "My Cat from Hell" pull a Neko Flies wand and small kittenator out of his guitar case, but I hadn't seen him actually use it until the most recent episode, "My Cat is a Bully" (an episode that showcases one of the weirder pet-owning families featured in the show). Jackson seems to prefer Da Bird*, which we also have, and which these cats also go crazy over. The one benefit of the Neko Flies over Da Bird is that, since Da Bird's lure employes only feathers, the lure gets very beat up rather quickly. The small kittenator mouse that I'm using with the Neko Flies wand, on the other hand, is pretty darn tough, despite Ivan wanting very much to crunch it like real prey.  However, both toys are very enticing to the cats.

*I was certain that Da Bird had been reviewed here, but in trying to find the review to link back to, I discovered that it has not, in fact, been reviewed!  We will right that wrong in the next installment!