Darqstar (darqstar) wrote,

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Cat toys and being cool

Finally, it's cool enough that I feel I can sit down at my computer for more than five minutes or so. We've had some roasting weather this summer, and even though my computer is in a well ventilated room, it still seemed to heat up the room so bad that I just didn't want to use it too often, for fear the room would become unbearable, especially when it came time to sleep.

But, tonight is cool enough.

So, I've been working on the cat toy design instead. And, I'm getting really near to needing test subjects for it. I already have one, you may know about this one, It's Sparta from the "mean kitty" song. I figured if I was going to come up with a toy that can handle tough cats, Sparta would be a very good test to do it on, because a lot of folks have heard of the cat.

But, that's one cat and while that one cat is good for rep, I still need some other testers to see if I've got it, or if I have to tweek it. This is when I turn to Live Journal.

Anyone feel their cat is brutal on many cat toys and want to test a toy to see if it will hold up to your cat? I'm willing to send you one of the toys. It's a dangling type toy, that will have interchangeable toys to put on the end of it.

The handle is wood that's been sanded and covered with 3 coats of polyurethane. Some have even been stained, but most are a light color. The stick is 18" long in most cases, but I did make a few that were 24" long. It's a 1/2" diameter. This is a very difficult stick to break accidentally, so I figure it'll hold up to almost any accident or rough play from a cat. Then, I've wrapped the holding end of it in a cloth tape so you can hold it tighter and so it'll be more comfortable to hold for longer periods of time. I've been testing it for weeks. It's only meant for supervised play, not to be left around unattended.

I need about ten people to test it for me, I figure.

Okay, here's the deal..

Q: What do I need to qualify to get one of these fabulous toys!

A: Live in the continental United States, or be willing to pay for all postage. And, have a cat who is tough on toys.

Q: How much will it cost me, dollar wise

A: Nothing. This first batch was made with a lot of craft stuff I already had, so they didn't cost me that much in actual materials, more in time and effort. Also, I don't feel right charging folks for these before I've tested them.

Q: Will you cover mailing expenses too?

A: If I have to, I certainly will, although I won't pass up any offers for folks to pay for shipping (I think it's going to cost about 5.00 to ship, because of the odd size, but I'll know more about that later) I don't mind paying for shipping (as long as you live in the continental USA, anywhere else and yes, you'll have to pay shipping) but because I am not made of money, it might take me a bit to get the toy out to you, as I'll have to send them out a few at a time as payday allows. However, don't let "But I can't donate to pay for shipping!" stop you, if you feel your cat really could put this toy to the test. We're not on any real time restrictions here, and if it takes me a year to get all testing done, then it takes a year. Good testing is more important than recouping mailing costs.

Q: Okay, what's the catch? Nothing is free, what do you want from me?

A: To really test the product and to be willing to honestly share your thoughts. If I can, I'm going to try to include a questionaire with each toy, along with a SASE, so people can fill it out and send it to me. You won't even have to tell me who you are, just fill it out honestly. If not, I'll have an entry in my LJ where people can leave me comments, unsigned if they want to. Although, it doesn't matter. Niceness doesn't mean anything to me when it comes to this, I want honesty. No, I don't want personal insults, but if the cat manages to rip apart the attachment in less than an hour, I want to know about it. I'm going to be "advertising" these toys as toys designed for cats who are tough on toys (the name of the toy is TuffCat) I want to be absolutely sure that I'm not blowing smoke at anyone.

Q: Okay, so, what all will I get with this toy?

A: You'll get the handle, which will allow you to use any of the attachments I'll be making. You will get at least one basic attachment, but the odds are good you'll get another attachment, because I'm trying different things. It is also possible that in the future, free of charge, I'll send you other attachments to try out and let me know what you and your cat thought of them too.

Q: Okay, so, what happens after I get the toy? What do I do?

A: Play with your cat, of course! Well, if you want to take a moment to admire my fine craftsmanship on the handle, stroke your fingers along the shiny wood, that's fine, but the most important thing is to play with the cat. And play fairly. As I've said, its a toy meant for supervision, so be sure you do use it for supervised play. But, don't be gentle either. Play with it the way you and your cat want to play with it, don't baby it. A cat toy that needs to be babied isn't going to be much fun for your cat. Play with it for a few days at least, or as long as a couple of weeks, then let me know what you think and how well it held up.

Q: What if my cat turns it into mince meat?

A: I'll sob like a baby. No, seriously, I have some faith in this toy. Since the attachement that comes with the toy has feathers, yes, after a couple days of hard play, the feathers will look battleworn, but the toy should still be usuable. However, if your cat does manange to litteraly rip all the feathers out, and/or tear apart the entire attachment, then gather up all the peices, throw them away, and let me know that for your cat, this was a fail. Don't leave bits and peices of the broken toy around for kitty to chew on.

Q: So, are you hoping to get rich on this?

A: Uhm... nope. In fact, any profit I make from this will be donated to the shelter I volunteer at. And by profit, I mean anything above material costs. My labor will be part of the donation and will not figure in the raw costs of the toy.

Q: You're not going to make a cent on this, not even some money for your troubles. Why in the world are you doing this?

A: Because I like making stuff. I'm not someone who knits, sews, or does crochet, but I do have this creative streak. I painted T-shirts for awhile, but after awhile, everyone I knew had enough of these. Same goes with other crafts, I just get to the point where I can't do anything with them. I would like to be able to make something that can be appreciated by many, so I can continue to make them. Making them is a hobby for me, not a chore.

Q: Well, I do have a tough cat, and I wouldn't mind getting him a free toy, but really, I can't afford postage and I don't want to look like I'm greedy.

A: You won't look greedy, trust me. I'm tossing in the whole idea of, "Donate for mailing" in case someone can afford it and would like to get the toy ASAP. But don't let an inability to pay for postage stop you. Testing is the most important issue. If your cat is tough, I'd rather pay the mailing so you can get it, then to have someone pay for the mailing, and find out their cat is like a gentle little lamb when it comes to toys.

Q: Okay, you've sold me. What do I need to do?

A: Either leave a comment on this entry with your snail mail address, or email me. (The comments on this entry will be screened, so don't worry. Once I write down your address I'll erase the comment too.) I have a perminant LJ account, so you know what address you can use to email me.

Q: What if you get hundreds of people asking to test these toys?

A: Wow, I can only dream! Seriously, if I get more volunteers than I have toys for testing, I will go on the "first come, first serve" basis. I will let people know if they'll be testers or not.

Q: If I don't make it as a tester, will I be able to buy this toy?

A: Yes you will. It will take a bit before I offer them for sale, but I will offer them.

Q: How much will they cost?

A: I'm still working that out. The initial "kit," which will contain the handle and at least one attachment, will most likely be around $10.00. Yes, that is a bit steep, I admit it, but that should be only a one-time purchase. And, I won't be making all that much profit on it, once you add in the sandpaper, stain, varnish, handle tape, etc. But, the beauty is that once you have the handle, you'll be able to get more attachments and those I'm hoping to sell at a really reasonable price.

So, hopefully I'll be sending these out to testers soon.

But right now? The bed calls. And calls hard. It's actually cool enough that I feel sleeping will be an easy master to follow tonight.
Tags: cat toys, tuffcat

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