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For as long as I can remember my family have always had a cat so when my partner and I bought our first house back in May I felt as though something was missing, so we embarked on a hunt for a cheeky ginger Tom which after a few weeks we found. We got Chester when he was 10 weeks old and he's now just coming on for 5 months. We are a little OTT when it comes to buying him toys to keep him entertained and he has a box full of them, but we're very careful to keep a rotation going so he doesn't get bored and gets plenty of stimulation. Amongst these toys he has a few Kong products which he appears to love particularly his refillable catnip hedgehog which sends him wild. ===About catnip=== I guess you could say catnip is a drug for cats which acts as a mild hallucinogen which stems from the aromatic oils contained within the catnip itself. Catnip is actually a herb belonging to the mint family native to Europe and it is the smell of the product that is intoxicating to cats and more often than not you will find that your cats' behaviour changes dramatically after catching a whiff of this non-addictive drug choosing to roll around the floor in what would appear to be complete ecstasy with the toy close at hand just having a generally good time. Catnip however does not have the same effect on all cats with about 10-30% having no reaction to the plant whatsoever so toys and other products containing catnip may not be the best option to keep your cat happy and stimulated. The effects of catnip may also be negative and could possibly bring out aggression in your cat, in which case it's best to avoid this kind of product. ==About the Kong Refillable Hedgehog== On a trip round pets at home my partner came across these clever little cat toys that are hollow on the inside with a secluded compartment located on the bottom of the toy in which you can stuff some catnip. The toy comes with a plastic container filled with dried catnip to allow you to fill the toy and refill the toy again and again allowing for the toy to last for a very long time. The options were a Beaver, a yellow duck, a squirrel and a hedgehog. My partner of course chose the hedgehog with its soft brown fuzzy upper resembling the protective spines on the back of a hedgehog and a tan coloured lower body with a little black pointy snout and little beady black eyes this hedgehog is a fun caricature of the real thing and we were hopeful that our little furry friend Chester would love it. We got the Kong toy home and snipped it out of its packaging. The compartment at the bottom of the toy is sealed with Velcro and is easily opened up to allow you to insert some of the dry catnip and you're ready to go. ===My cats reaction=== It was Love at first sight with this toy, and Chester got stuck in instantly rolling around the floor, tossing it around, biting it and kicking it with his back legs and he really does look like he's in his element every time he plays with it, giving him between 5 and 10 minutes of constant stimulation before he abandons it. Thankfully we've not experienced any aggression from our little pussy cat as a result of giving him catnip orientated toys and he always gets a lot of enjoyment from the catnip. Quite often we find young Chester carrying the hedgehog around in his mouth looking for a hidey hole for it no doubt so that no-one else can get at it and only he knows where the plush pleasure toy can be located. ===Longevity=== We've had the toy for about a month and a half and we only put a small amount of catnip in at any one time so we do find that we're filling it up every couple of weeks or so, but with the plastic container of catnip that came with the toy we have a long way to go before it's done. By storing the container of catnip in the freezer it ensures that the herb stays fresher for longer but you can buy extra from most pet shops and on-line so no need to worry about running out at all. The toy itself has gone a little hard on the top from the constant sucking it gets from my cat and I think we may need to see about popping it in the washing machine as it is fully machine washable with the catnip removed - that is if we can get it away from Chester for long enough. The toy shows no signs of wear and tear yet so is still perfectly safe for Chester to play with and will hopefully continue to keep him entertained in the months to come. ===Cost=== Now I'm not 100% sure but I think we paid around £3.49 for our catnip toy in pets at home but you can buy it online from Amazon for about £2.30 but you have to pay for postage. It is a little on the pricey side for such a small toy but for the amount of enjoyment our Chester gets out of it I think it's well worth it. You will be able to pick this toy up at most pet supermarkets so if you're looking for something to keep your pussy cat entertained then this toy comes highly recommended.
If you have read my previous reviews you will know that my cat Whizz is driving me mad at night time. She is obviously a nocturnal cat and wants to be let out of the house at 2 in the morning and then comes in again at 5 in the morning and as we have no cat flap it falls to me to go and open the door for her and let her in again which is rather annoying when it interrupts my much needed sleep. I thought I would try some catnip items in her bed to see if it would keep her in there during the night and although this didn't really happen she seems to like this toy and has fun just carrying it around and pretending its a mouse and pouncing on it and playing with it. So what exactly is catnip and what does it do? Well, I am going to quote an article I read to help explain it a bit better as all I really know is that it is called crack for cats!! The article says, "Given to the right cat, catnip can cause an amazing reaction! The cat will rub it, roll over it, kick at it, and generally go nuts for several minutes. Then the cat will lose interest and walk away. Two hours later, the cat may come back and have exactly the same response. Although no one knows exactly what happens in the cat's brain, it is known that the chemical nepetalactone in catnip is the thing that triggers the response. Apparently, it somehow kicks off a stereotypical pattern in cats that are sensitive to the chemical. The catnip reaction is inherited, and some cats are totally unaffected by it. Large cats like tigers can be sensitive to it as well." THis hedgehog is quite cute as a little cat toy. It has a light brown plush face with a little black nose and them lots of furry darker brown hair to make it look like hedgehog needles. Thank fully these are nice and soft and not like the prickles on a real hedgehog. The nice thing about this toy is that you can have the catnip in it or you can take it out if you wish. We've taken it out now as I can't be bothered to keep replacing it all the time but its quite easy to do if you wish to keep this at a catnip toy. Underneath the belly of the hedgehog there is a velcro fastening where you can secure the little bottle of catnip and this is what wild rive your cat wild. Well, this works better as a toy than a tool to keep her in her bed at night but I'm glad she likes it as a little fun toy to play with. At only £2 for a little cat toy this is a good purchase.
I have four cats, all of them male and they range in age with Dude being 9 years old, Geezer is 8, Asbo is almost 4 and Dexter is just a year old. They all get along fairly well with one another and on odd occasions one will try and become the dominent cat and it will decend into chaos for a few minutes and then life becomes all quiet as they all relax and lie down, knackered from running about and chasing each other. The younger two cats need a lot more attention than the older two and I am always looking out for ways in which I can keep them entertained and we have no end of things around the house from climbing frames, scratching posts, balls with flashing lights on them and so on. On a recent trip to the vets I noticed they had a selection of toys on offer, usually they are quite expensive to purchase but this particular toy called the Kong Catnip Hedgehog was rather cute and priced at £2.18 and having shown it to Dexter he seemed rather taken with it and I bought it. I am always keen to buy toys that keep my cats amused, allow them to explore their instincts and are not harmful to them or could cause an injury. Most of the toys I buy for my cats come from well known companies like Hagen who mass produce a lot of the toys and equiptment we have, everything from the fresh water fountain to the cat sensory toys and even some of the small laser pens that we have. I have never heard of Kong though, but given it was on sale in the vets, I assumed it would be alright. The hedghog itself, which is machine washable, is a soft toy which as you imagine is a hedgehog and it s quite fury and has a nose big enough for my cats to grab hold of and shake about as they do rats and mice when they catch them to kill! Along with the toy you also get a vial of catnip and the vial itself is a see through reseable tube. This allows you to replace the catnip once it has lost it smell and is no longer of interest to cats. I have always wondered why catnip was so popular with my cats and when I asked the vets why most toys contained catnip he told me that it contains various essential oils, one of which attacts the cats attention most and is a mild hallucinogen which I had to look up to find it was called nepetalactone and whilst some cats don't react at all to catnip, those that do however react in different ways. All four of my cats roll around on whichever toy they happen to be playing with which contains the cat nip and they lick it, nip it and throw it around. In other cats it is known to have the complete opposite effects and turn cats agreesive and want to fight, both sets of behaviour similar to those of a drunk and that is how it was described to me especially with the latter as something to watch out for. Its worth noting that if your cat does love catnip and behaves in a positive manner, that it can be bought and grown in your garden or you can also buy it as a spray in most pet stores. Its also worth noting that kittens under the age of 8 weeks have no reaction to catnip also. So this hedgehog toy has become something of a favourite toy with the younger two cats and whilst we have only had it for a few weeks I don't yet feel the need to change the catnip inside because it's the first toy they go too when they want too play, as soon as they begin to ignore it then I will change the catnip. The catnip is best kept stored in your freezer in the tube within which you receive it, this ensures it stays fresh. When the time does come to change the catnip you simply need to unfasten the velcro which keeps the catnip in place, empty the old stuff out and then this is one of the best times to shove it in the washing machine because you shouldn't wash it with the catnip inside, then once dried simply add more catnip. I really like this toy, it keeps Dexter and Asbo amused for long periods of time and until he becomes bored of it and stops playing with it I am more than happy to keep on washing it and re-filling it with catnip and whats more it cost me £2.18 and is a complete bargain at that price. There are also other 'animals' within this range such as a beaver, a rat and a mouse that I have seen though the rat looks nothing like the vermin I have seen Asbo catch and kill, its far cuter. If you are looking for this hedgehog toy, it can be found online from quite a few pet stores and places like Amazon but it does range in price and the most expensive I have seen it advertised for is around £3 without shipping. A definite toy to try if you have a cat that needs something to do to keep them amused or just because you like to see them play.