Felis catus, the domestic cat. They've been our companions for thousands of years, but if you're a cat looking for some comfort, distraction or just some new playthings, there's never been a better time to be alive. We recently looked at some fun apps for your cat to play with on your iPad or tablet, but if you're not inclined to let your feline loose on an expensive piece of modern computing equipment, read on. Whether your furry fleabag is a pampered Persian or an ear bitten moggy, Gizmag's top 10 cat gadgets have been compiled with Puss's pleasure (and yours) in mind.
1. Cat DJ Scratching DeckCheck it. Your in da housecat can lay down some tasty beats on this hilarious scratching pad turntable designed for sharpening claws (and saving your furniture) from Suck UK. It comes flat packed and folds together into a simple structure decorated with groovy stickers and a top that spins as your cat paws at it. I'm not sure how stable it is or how long it would last if your cat is a large and enthusiastic DJ. Still your puss will be one cool cat and if it stops your sofa being ripped to shreds, it might make you feel like dancing. Price: GPB15 (around US$23).
2. Superheadz Holga K202 Cat Camera
This 35 mm film camera is supposed to look like a cat and sound like one too. It actually meows to draw your cat's attention to the shutter using a variety of different cat vocals. This might work if you find it difficult to get your cat to look at the camera, but as we cat owners know, felines respond when and if they feel like it! I believe it might work better on a dog. It features electronic flash, 1/1000 shutter speed and weighs only 162 grams (5.7 oz). It's really just a point and shoot unit but if you're into cat-photography then this could be the camera for you. Oh and bafflingly it comes in a reusable tin. Price: US$40.
3. Eyenimal video camera for pets
If, like me, you've sat through footage of a friends' baby's first steps or your niece's dance concert and wanted to gouge your eyes out with a stick, then this could be the payback you've been looking for. Weighing only 35 grams (1.2 oz) the Eyenimal video camera attaches to your cat's collar to give you a personal view of what she gets up to when you're not around. Handy if you've been wondering why there are mice heads in the kitchen or you're worried Puss is hanging out with the wrong crowd. It has an 8 GB built in flash memory, records in AVI format at a resolution of 680 X 480 pixels, has a built in microphone and a battery that lasts 2.5 hours. Eyenimal records a cat's eye view of her shenanigans for you to download via USB transfer to your computer. You can then bore your unsuspecting friends and family for hours. Amaze as she stares out the window! Thrill as she naps and grooms! Gag as she defecates! More excruciating than a slide show! Price: US$129.
4. Cat Condo Deluxe
Designed for apartment living or confined areas, this three-in-one unit resembles a piece of furniture and can hide all your cat's less savory bits and pieces. The Cat Condo Deluxe contains two drawers or "floors" - the bathroom contains a kitty litter tray, second floor is the kitchen with food and water bowls and the top of the unit acts as kitty's bedroom with a sunken inlaid bed. With the drawers open kitty can access her rooms at will. When visitors pop round or you need more space the drawers close to hide everything away. The idea of shutting kitty litter and cat food in the same unit seems unhygienic to me, but the manufactures claim there is plenty of space and ventilation between these areas. Made of MDF with a melamine surface, it's billed as easy to clean and durable. It comes with a two year warranty but you do have to put it together yourself using an Allen key and glue ... and at US$688, it's quite an outlay to keep your home cat-tidy.
5. Catit Design Senses Massage Center
The Catit Senses range includes a number of cat activity centers to stimulate your cat and provide enrichment. This one is a massage center that contains a variety of sculpted surfaces and textures such as a gum stimulator, an acupressure mat for paw relief and a body groomer. You can even add catnip to the unit to really drive your cat wild. The ultimate pampering experience after a hard day's napping and blinking. Price: around US$30.
6. Frolicat Bolt
My massive ginger tom loves to eat and purr but getting him to exercise is a challenge. Frolicat has designed a range of exercise devised to get your pets moving and stimulated, even when you're not in the room. Bolt is an interactive laser toy which your cat can chase and pounce at. You either hold it yourself or place it on a surface and set the timer which switches off after 15 minutes. The automatic mode moves the laser in random patterns for a hands-free play session. Bolt retails at US$19.95.
7. Hidden Litter Tray Planter
Pets Best Products have come up with a range of fake planters that contain hidden litter trays for your cat. The latest in their range, The Tuscany, is made to look like a terracotta planter. It's made of sturdy plastic with a light weight plant that you remove to clean the litter tray. The opening can be turned towards the wall to conceal it completely which also gives your cat privacy when attending to her toilet. The enclosed tray stops litter scatter and it has a filter to minimize dust and odor. The Tuscany starts at US$64.95.
8. Piss Off! Cat Odor Eliminator
If your cat enjoys spraying around the house then you know how hard it is to eradicate that vile odor. Try as you might, hormone infused cat urine is a mighty pungent and lingering stench on your soft furnishings. Australian product Piss Off! claims to have revolutionized the removal of cat urine odors. The colorless, odorless product is enzyme based and bio-degradable and instead of attempting to mask smells it apparently traps them by absorption. Piss Off claims fantastic results in an instant. Price: 500ml for US$20. There is a similar product available in the U.S. called Urine Off. The name just isn't as much fun.
9. Cat Playhouse
These fun cardboard playhouses for cats from Suck UK come flat packed and can be assembled without the need for glue or clips. There is a plane (with rotating propeller), a fire engine (with ladder) and a tank (with moveable turret and gun). Your puss can soar through the air, put out a fire or go to battle. Or realistically, rip and chew the entire structure to bits. Price: US$30.
10. Kitty City
Kitty City seems like the ultimate in fun for your cat. Made from reinforced pipes and durable fabrics the components are apparently easy to assemble and have built in scratching posts and detachable toys. The modular design means you may choose to add more of the components over time. These include a tower, hideaway cave, tunnel, climbing hill, sleepy corner, peek-a-boo passage and slumber bed. If you have plenty of room or more than one cat you could get the lot and create the ultimate cat city. What fun! Smaller components start at US$10.