Hey Lis, how are your cats? asked nobody ever.
Why, dear blog reader, they are adorable/lazy/pain in the neck/trying to steal my fuzzy blanket/all of the above by lunchtime!
They’ve actually been doing exceptionally well this past couple of weeks, as amidst the pre-Christmas bloggermail packages have been a couple aimed at the feline members of the household. So I thought I’d share the contents with you, in case you were planning to pick up a few things with which to spoil your cat with this Christmas. As is, indeed, normal and proper, and I have a bottle of rosé Pawsecco on ice ready and waiting for the big day.
(Of course it’s not actually on ice, what do you think I am, some kind of monster?!)
Marc from Katzenworld actually got in touch back in October, while I was in Toronto, offering me a complimentary valerian-filled cat toy if I would swing by their stand at the National Pet Show in Birmingham. Birmingham being a bit of a trek
for a Scottish girl in Canada, I asked if he’d be up for sticking a couple in the post – and the next thing I knew, this massive box showed up at my door containing two of possibly everything from the 4cats premium valerian toy range.
Although obviously delighted by Katzenworld’s generosity, at first I was a little confused about why they thought I might need quite so many cat toys – until I realised it was part of the company’s philosophy. Cats, you see, go absolutely nuts for valerian, and spoiling each cat with his or her own toy is the best way to avoid potentially aggressive behaviour from a cat that gets a bit too possessive!
So what is valerian? Well, it’s a natural root which, when consumed by humans and many other animals has a proven tranquilising effect – it’s actually one of the main components of many herbal sleeping and anti-anxiety aids, which was how I was first introduced to it. In cats, however, it seems to have the opposite effect, prompting enthusiastic cuddling, sniffing, licking and rolling around the floor for sustained periods, which can be pretty hilarious to watch.
The reason for this reaction lies in a substance called actinidin contained in the valerian root, which is also found in catnip. The fragrance works on cats for between five and 20 minutes, and is followed by a “refractory” phase of between 30 and 120 minutes during which the cat will lose interest and no longer react to the material. It means you can pack the toys up and stow them away somewhere for future play, at which point the fun can begin again!
I had already come across 4cats’ valerian toys in either a Cat Hampurr or My Purrfect Giftbox subscription box, so I already knew that Scooter and The Big Man were big fans of this magical substance – even more so than catnip! And we had loads of fun playing with the 4cats rustling cushion, wrestler and fried egg toys (“especially designed for gourmets and small egg thieves”!). The quality of these toys, which are made from top-quality cat-safe fabrics, thread and cotton wadding, as well as the more exciting ingredients, is absolutely second-to-none, and they’re built to last even the most vigorous cat-lovin’!
If valerian comes with a downside, it’s a super-stinky one: I mean it, it stinks. But I think it’s a small price to pay for the ecstatic delight my cats get from these toys. Much like with catnip toys, you want to allow valerian toys to dry off (I know, gross, but it’s true) after use then store them somewhere safe, making them a real treat when you bring them out to play again.
There are some fantastic, and really reasonably-priced, festive-themed valerian toys in the Katzenworld shop right now including gingerbread men, Christmas stockings and Christmas presents – and you have my guarantee that your cats will be so interested in them they’ll forget about the wrapping paper. I honestly couldn’t recommend 4cats toys highly enough (and neither can these guys), and I really hope you check them out!
As I said at the top of this post, it’s been a big couple of weeks for the kits on the bloggermail front as they have also had the chance to try out Pure Pet Food‘s newly-launched freeze dried food for cats. Founded in 2012 by a pair of childhood friends who saw a gap in the market for varied, high quality food for dogs, Pure packs the finest ingredients into an innovative dehydrated product that they claim allows you to give your pet the goodness of a raw food diet without the inconvenience.
With the company’s expansion into cat food being a relatively recent development, there are only two varieties in the range at the moment: Whisker Lickin’ Chicken and Surf & Turf. The contents of each 200g box will, once rehydrated, make up to 800g of food, and the box comes with a handy scoop and a resealable bag for ease of serving and to keep the contents fresh.
We keep our cats on a mostly dry food diet on vets’ advice: big, crunchy kibbles are better for their teeth you see, and if it’s that or start introducing regular teeth-brushings (something that every cat owner is supposed to consider, but nobody ever tries more than twice) then kibbles it is, supplemented by the occasional tin of tuna and the handfuls of prawns that help Big’s medicine go down. So I thought the kits would jump at the chance to try food so good that one of the business co-founders actually ate it on BBC Dragon’s Den.
And indeed, all signs looked promising when I began preparing the food according to the instructions (one scoop of dry ingredients to one scoop of warm tap water, stirred well and left to rehydrate). I chose the Surf & Turf variety first, which is packed with freeze-dried chicken and white fish, given our two’s love of fishy treats. As I worked, Biggie pranced around my ankles, knowing from his favourite smells that something tasty was coming that he couldn’t quite figure out…
The recommended two/three minutes rehydration time having passed, I popped the two bowls of food down in our cat feeding station… and watched as Biggie delicately stepped around them (no mean feat, he’s a hulking great cat) to get to his kibble bowl.
Because cats are dicks.
Long story short, the kits eventually – in their own time – cleaned their plates, and I’m looking forward to jazzing up their mealtimes with Pure in the run-up to Christmas. Even the fishier of the two varieties is much more pleasant to share a living space with than a tin of tuna, and it’s comforting to know that my little ones are getting proper nutrition in a break from their typical routines. I love food so much that it makes me a little sad sometimes that cats don’t get to enjoy the whole spectrum of eating since everything’s either “meaty” or “fishy” – well, until Scooter gets into the cheese, or starts licking my yoghurt pot lids, anyway.
Pure Pet Food have put together a Christmas advert, and while I may not know Santa I do at least know their star Arch the Pug (well, his owner, anyway!). Check it out below!
Pure Pet Food is offering Last Year’s Girl readers £15 off and free shipping on a fresh pet food starter pack, for either cats or dogs! Follow this link to claim yours.
Serious question time: what are you buying your pets for Christmas? I want to know!
This post contains PR samples, but all views are my own and unbiased.