TwinCritters Handmade Wool Cat Cave Bed Review

TwinCritters Wool Cat Cave

Cats are experts when it comes to finding the perfect place for a nap. This makes sense considering that cats sleep 12 – 16 hours per day. You’d be a nap expert too if you slept for over 50% of your life.

Left to her own devices, your sleepy cat will probably curl up on a stack of newly folded towels or pile of dirty laundry. While a cat in a laundry basket is cute, you may not want her sleeping there. It may contain substances that are harmful to cats, such as paints or residues of certain foods.

Sometimes the easiest way to keep your cat from sleeping in places you would like to remain fur-free is to coax her away with a better option. That’s why it’s a good idea to consider getting a cat bed. Giving your cat a comfortable sleeping option means that she is slightly less likely to sleep in inconvenient places. She may still flop down all over the place, but she’s more likely to take her extended cat naps in a common location.

Choosing the Best Cat Bed

So you’d like to get a cat bed for your cat now, huh? The next question you’ll need to ask yourself is, “What kind?”

There are mats, traditional beds, window ledges, combination cat furniture/beds, and countless other varieties of spaces for your cat to lay its fuzzy little head. But how do we pick which one to go with?

The simplest way to pick a cat bed that your cat will use is to look at the types of places your cat sleeps currently and pick a cat bed that closely resembles those. When choosing a place to sleep, cats prefer a location that they feel is safe. Many cats like to be fully enclosed when sleeping, offering a sense of protection. As a result, you’ll often find cats sleeping inside of open suitcases, laundry baskets, and cupboards.

Sleeping cats love their privacy. Pet bed manufacturers know this, and they have incorporated this innate desire to be curled up inside of something into their designs.

The result? Cat caves!

Cat caves are exactly what they sound like: tiny caves for cats to curl up in. Many of them resemble a sort of kitty cat cocoon. They can come in several different shapes and sizes, but all of them contain an inner cavity for your cat to disappear into the moment you say the word “vet.”

TwinCritters Handmade Wool Cat Cave Bed

TwinCritters Handmade Wool Cat Cave Beds are made up of 100% merino wool imported from New Zealand, and no harmful chemicals are used in their production. TwinCritters is an environmentally conscious company. As a result, the cat cave production process is eco-friendly, and the caves are made using sustainable, renewable materials.

Each cat cave is handmade in Khatmandu, Nepal!

HEY! That’s the place the site is named after!

Photo Source: https://www.twincritters.com

Cat Cave Specifications
  • Weight: 1.0 – 2.6 lbs (varies based on design)
  • Length: 20”
  • Height: 12”
  • Opening Width: 9”

 

Assessment
Comfort

The cave shape is irresistible to cats. The bed manages to remain both compact and spacious, giving your cat room to lie down but also enough enclosure to feel secure. The structure is firm enough that it doesn’t collapse in on itself, but flexible enough that it can be flattened into a mat. It’s also strong enough to stand the occasional rabbit kick from a couple of squabbling cats.

If your cat isn’t too crazy about going inside the cat cave, it can be flattened and used as an open-topped cat bed. A lot of cats actually prefer the TwinCritters cat cave in its mat form, but it’s worth experimenting with both to see which your cat likes best.

Design

One of the coolest things about the TwinCritters cat cave is that there are over 15 different designs to choose from.

You can go with something classic and basic:

Something fun and colorful:

Orrrrrr…

The variety is staggering.

Value

The TwinCritters’ cat cave is not the cheapest cat cave on the market. But it’s also not prohibitively expensive, coming in at under $100. Part of the cost goes towards high-quality merino wool, which your cats will no doubt thank you for. The cat cave is also well-constructed, so you won’t have to replace it after only a year like you would with a cheaper model.

Another factor to consider when evaluating the cost of the TwinCritters cat cave is its production. The product is made from sustainable components and is produced using a 100% eco-friendly process. These cat caves are produced by a socially-conscious company that wants to make unique, high-quality cat caves while also limiting the impact on the environment due to their production. It’s nice to know that you aren’t receiving something that has been mass produced using harsh chemicals and cheap materials.

Pros

This cat cave scores points for its ability to convert back and forth between a cave and a mat. The cave is strong enough to hold its shape, but it isn’t too difficult to flatten it into a mat. It’s certainly nice knowing that your cat isn’t going to have to dig itself out of the cave after the walls come tumbling down during a brief nap.

The TwinCritters cat cave is constructed of high quality materials, meaning it will last you for quite a while. It’s also fairly easy to maintain since it doesn’t have to do much besides sitting there and letting your cat sleep on it. Plus there are a ton of design options to choose from, so you can match your cat cave to your cat’s unique personality.

Cons

Some cats simply aren’t into caves. Fortunately, TwinCritters has them covered with its convertible mat option. Wool is also a fur-magnet, but your cat’s bed is going to be matted with a layer of fur regardless of the type of material.

Final Verdict

Based on our rating system here at Mr. Catmandu, the TwinCritters Handmade Wool Cat Cave Bed scores a 9.3 / 10.0. This is definitely a cat bed you should check out!

 

The 5 Best Cat Carrier Backpacks [2018 Buyer’s Guide]

Blue Natuvalle 6-in-1 Pet Carrier Backpack

Choosing the right cat carrier is tough. It may seem like a pretty inconsequential item, but it ends up playing a crucial role in you and your cat’s lives. Just consider the amount of time you’ll spend lugging your cat to vet appointments, friends’ houses, book signings, etc. A bad carrier can make every trip with your cat into a nightmare. Faulty straps, latches that don’t latch, carriers that collapse in on themselves and force your cat into a tiny little sphere. I’ve seen them all and they all suck. The carrier market is full of options, and, as usual, Amazon offers a buffet of garbage that bears the label “cat carrier.”

Which one should you choose?

Why Get a Cat Carrier Backpack?

The vast majority of carriers that are available to cat owners are your standard, run-of-the-mill box with a handle. It may be hard-shelled, it may be fabric. Either way, you’re going to be carrying it using your arms. And for a lot of people, that’s no problem. But for others, especially owners of large cats, carrying your cat a significant distance using only your arm strength can be exhausting. City dwellers especially know the pain of lugging your cat onto the subway for an annual checkup at the vet. 

Distributing your cat’s weight across your back is better for your overall posture and will make for a more comfortable travel experience for both you and your cat. You don’t have to risk bumping your cat into door jambs and objects sitting low to the ground that may be tough to avoid with a normal carrier. Plus you’ll conserve your arm strength, which can be crucial during a 40-minute round trip journey to the vet’s office.

So what makes a cat carrier backpack great?

Critical features of a cat carrier backpack:
  • Top and side loading
  • Comfortable straps
  • Strong, lightweight material
  • Sturdy body that won’t collapse in on your cat
  • Well-ventilated
  • Even weight distribution
  • Provides a space your cat doesn’t hate

Best Cat Carrier Backpacks

5.  Petsfit Comfort Cat Carrier Backpack

Specifications:
  • Material: High Quality PU & EVA Mesh
  • Weight: 4.6 lbs.
  • Dimensions: 16” H x 10” W x 13” L

The Petsfit Carrier Backpack is a very average backpack. It didn’t take long for me to find the exact design on Alibaba, and the design offered by Petsfit is essentially the unaltered original.

The Petsfit is capable of holding cats up to 15 lbs. It includes a tether on the interior to secure your cat while you’re traveling. The carrier offers top entry only (no side entry), but it makes up for the lack of a side panel door with large pockets on each side. The design also maximizes the space available for your cat on the interior.

The bag has a solid bottom, which means it doesn’t collapse in on your cat as soon as you load them onto your back. The bottom is also waterproof, so if your cat has an accident during a trip it won’t get all over the place. It also includes a chest clip and waist strap, which makes carrying your cat a bit easier, especially if they’re overly excited to be out on the town.The mesh used for the see-through panels on the sides and top of this backpack are very strong and will not tear if your cat scratches at them.

The Petsfit is undoubtedly the most boring bag on this list. It’s dependable and sturdy, but not quite as glitzy as some of the other options we’ve looked at. Design-wise, it looks classic with some subtle accents. It also looks pretty damn generic, but for a lot of people, ordinary is a desirable aesthetic. Don’t believe me? Go look for yourself…on Amazon!

Ratings:
  • Value:  3
  • Design:  4
  • Durability:  4
  • Cat Comfort:  6
  • Human Comfort:  6
FINAL RATING: 4.6 / 10.0
4.  HBuir Innovative Diamond Traveler Pet Carrier Shoulder Backpack

 

Specifications:
  • Material: PVC & Mesh Fabric
  • Weight: 4.5 lbs.
  • Dimensions: 13.8” x 10.6” x 18.1”

The HBuir Innovative Diamond Traveler Pet Carrier Shoulder Backpack prominently features a sharp, 3D geometric design and a clear plastic semi-spherical dome that serves as a cat porthole. If you don’t want to have a plastic bubble protruding from your back, you can replace it with a mesh cover that comes along with the carrier. Some owners have reported that the bubble comes off a bit too easily, but others have reported that it feels secure. Either way, it’s nice to have the mesh cover as an option. 

The carrier design gives your cat the opportunity to see the outside world, and with a maximum capacity of approximately 14 lbs, there is enough room for your cat to sit or lie down. The HBuir also comes with a cloth pad that sits on its bottom, acting as a sort of cat pillow to make the trip a bit more comfortable. Ventilation is provided by 8 holes located along the sides of the carrier. The The carrier’s hard plastic shell prevents it from collapsing in on your cat as you walk.

From a design perspective, the HBuir looks particularly uninviting in direct, intense sunlight. It may be better suited for evenings and cloudy conditions. Also, while the holes provide sufficient ventilation for most weather, it is important to consider that plastic traps heat in much more efficiently than most fabrics. As a result, the HBuir may made an ideal carrier for cooler weather, but a much less hospitable environment in the heat of summer.

Go take a look on Amazon to check it out for yourself!

Ratings:
  • Value:  2
  • Design:  8
  • Durability:  6
  • Cat Comfort:  5
  • Human Comfort:  6
FINAL RATING: 5.4 / 10.0
3.  PetAmi Deluxe Pet Carrier Backpack

Specifications:
  • Material: Polyester
  • Weight: 3.5 lbs.
  • Dimensions: 12.5” x 10.2” x 16.3”

The PetAmi Deluxe Pet Carrier Backpack offers two-way entry, a zip-up mesh window, and sherpa-lined bedding for your cat to snooze on. Who doesn’t love a sherpa bed?

It also includes a safety strap  on the interior and a buckle on the exterior zipper to make sure your cat stays safely in the carrier until you arrive at your destination.

The body of the carrier is reinforced to prevent it from collapsing inward while it’s on your back. It also has pockets on the front and sides for storing treats and other cat necessities. It even comes with a collapsible pet bowl!

The bag has a weight capacity of up to 18 lbs, but it is advised that you stick with a cat weight limit of about 15 lbs.

While the PetAmi resembles many of the cat carrier backpack clones available on Alibaba, the creators appear to have not used a stock design. Instead, it appears that they used a stock design as a starting point and made modifications to the bag design to improve its performance and overall look. It’s also possible they used a stock design and I just can’t find it. Either way, kudos to them.

The resulting product is an impressive backpack that gives your cat a nice view of its surroundings and plenty of space to chill out in. Plus it looks like a kid’s school backpack, which is neat. Check it out on Amazon!

PetAmi is a part of a brand portfolio operated by the Caravan Group. While the other brands operated by this group span a variety of different markets, they all have a focus on cloth and cloth-based products.

Ratings:
  • Value:  7
  • Design:  8
  • Durability:  7
  • Cat Comfort:  7
  • Human Comfort:  8
FINAL RATING: 7.4 / 10.0
2.  Pet Magasin Pet Travel Kennel (aka Lambo the Backpack Carrier)

Specifications:
  • Material: Waterproof Oxford 1680D Fabric
  • Weight: 3.6 lbs.
  • Dimensions: 17” x 13.5” x 11”

The Pet Magasin Pet Travel Kennel functions as a normal carrier, a backpack, and a kennel. It has fold-out wings on each side that can extend the carrier’s size when it’s stationary. This will give your cat enough room to walk around a bit.  

The carrier features both top and side access, which makes trips to the vet a breeze. All your vet will have to do is open the top, give your cat its vaccination, and zip it back up. It’s also collapsable and can be stored flat, making it easy to put away. Plus, lots of cats enjoy hanging out in the Pet Magasin even when they’re not traveling. It offers a nice quiet space where a cat can get some alone time.

Of all of the bags on this list, this one (and possibly the Natuvalle 6-in-1 Pet Carrier Backpack) offers enough space for large cats. The fold-out wings make it even larger when it’s stationary, giving your cat plenty of room to spread out. 

While there are a few generic bags on Alibaba with designs similar to that of the Pet Magasin, none of them appear to match it exactly. Much like the PetAmi, it appears that the Pet Magasin was put together using a base fold-out wing design and adding features, including rubber grips on the bottom of the bag and a sleeker, more space-efficient design. Go take a look on…you guessed it! Amazon!

Ratings:
  • Value:  10
  • Design:  7
  • Durability:  8
  • Cat Comfort:  9
  • Human Comfort:  10
FINAL RATING: 8.8 / 10.0
1.  Natuvalle 6-in-1 Pet Carrier Backpack

Specifications:
  • Material: 600 Denier Oxford Fabric
  • Weight: (Varies, approx. 3.28 – 3.5 lbs)
  • Dimensions: (Varies)

The Natuvalle 6-in-1 Pet Carrier Backpack is the Cadillac of cat carrier backpacks. Unlike the other bags on this list, the Natuvalle comes in multiple sizes to accommodate a wide variety of cat shapes. Available sizes include:

  • Extra Small: Pets 13” Long & 7.8” High, up to 12 lbs
  • Small: Pets 13-15” Long & 11” High, up to 14 lbs
  • Medium: Pets 15-17” Long and 11.5” High, up to 16 lbs
  • Large: Pets 17-19” Long and 14” High, up to 18 lbs

The Natuvalle is flexible. It gives you six different options for carrying it around:

  • Shoulder Bag Carrier
  • Front Pack Pet Carrier
  • Hand Bag Carrier
  • 2 Position Carrier
  • Car Seat Crate
  • Backpack Carrier

Of course, you probably won’t use it in all of those different forms, but the flexibility is a dream come true. The Natuvalle also offers flexibility in terms of carrier openings, providing entrances on both the top and sides of the carrier. 

The Natuvalle is absolutely your best option for a large cat. It has a higher maximum weight capacity (18 lbs) than the other bags on this list. While the horizontal design may feel a little funny on your back since it is not a typical backpack shape, the carrier layout offers an expanded surface area for your cat to lie down. This is especially nice for long or large cats that may feel constricted by a normal-sized carrier. Why not give it a look…on Amazon!

Ratings:
  • Value:  9
  • Design:  10
  • Durability:  10
  • Cat Comfort:  10
  • Human Comfort:  8
FINAL RATING: 9.4 / 10.0
Final Verdict

You can’t go wrong with the Natuvalle (9.4) and the Pet Magusin (8.8) is a close runner-up. If you’re looking for something solid and dependable while still being affordable, go for the PetAmi (7.4). If you really want to stand out in a crowd, go with the HBuir (5.4). And if you’re trying to do nothing more than blend in with the crowd, you may want to try out the Petsfit (4.6). That way you can be sure you will never, ever have the best cat backpack on the block.

Thanks for reading!

CatGenie Self-Flushing, Self-Washing Litter Box Review

Orange cat sitting with a CatGenie self-flushing, self-washing litter box.

CatGenie is a household name in the world of self-cleaning litter boxes. Their systems have a recognizable faux-toilet design, and they have been available to buy online since 2006. Over the years, the folks have PetNovations have introduced subtle improvements to their system, resulting in its modern incarnation: The CatGenie 120.

Why Get a Self-Cleaning Litter Box?

Dealing with cat litter is a huge pain. Cat litter is dirty and gross, it gets everywhere, and it smells. Scooping and changing your cat’s litter box is tedious, and it feels like your cat sort of looks down on you for doing it, even though they’re very grateful for all the clean litter you give them. 

So what’s a cat owner to do?

For one, you could invest in a self-cleaning litter box! Self-cleaning litter boxes have a bit more of an upfront cost, but the luxury of never having to scoop your cat’s litter again makes it well worth it. Plus the higher quality self-cleaning litter boxes on the market can end up saving you money by eliminating or reducing costs associated with purchasing new litter.

Having a self-cleaning litter box means that you never have to worry about who is going to clean up after your cat whenever you go away for a short trip. The stench of dirty litter will be reduced since the box can clean up after your cat much more efficiently than you can all by yourself. Plus, your cat will thank you. Maybe not in any way that is directly perceivable, but trust me, they’re meowing thank you under their breath.

CatGenie Overview

The CatGenie is a fully automatic self-cleaning litter box that does not use traditional cat litter. Instead, the CatGenie uses its own type of litter (Washable Granules™). The litter is made up of permanent plastic granules that are not meant to be changed or thrown away. It is dust free, naturally biodegradable, and safe for disposal down the toilet or sink drain. Cat urine passes through the litter into a collection channel where it is mixed with sanitizing solution before being flushed through the unit’s drain hose, while poop remains suspended in the litter. The poop is then scooped out of the litter and liquified before being disposed out of the drain hose.

One of the biggest benefits of the CatGenie is that is touted as the first “green” litter box. Cat litter production is resource-intensive and produces a significant carbon footprint. Eliminating the use of traditional cat litter makes the CatGenie one of the most environmentally friendly pet products on the market.

Specifications

  • Weight: 25 lbs (11 lb Processing Unit + 14 lb Base Unit)
  • Base Color: Pearl Gray
  • Top Color: Porcelain White
  • Power Requirements: 120VAC, 60Hz (15A Fused)
  • Power Consumption: 20W (Cleaning Cycle – 17 minutes); 1200W (Drying Cycle – 17 minutes)
  • Dimensions: 19.25” wide x 24.5” long x 21” high
  • Bowl Diameter: 19”
  • Water Supply Hose: 8′ Long
  • Drain Hose: 10′ Long

 

CatGenie Diagram with labeled pieces

Source: CatGenie 120 Manual (http://www.catgenie.com)

 

Setup

CatGenie DimensionsThe CatGenie is pretty easy to set up. All you need is a power outlet and a space with some ventilation to prevent the litter box from heating up. This means avoiding furnaces, direct sunlight, or areas where the sides of the litter box are covered. You also need to make sure that the litter box isn’t in a location where it could get wet, such as under a sink or open window.

Suggested locations for the CatGenie include laundry rooms, utility rooms, and bathrooms. Each of these rooms includes a connection to your house’s cold water supply, which the CatGenie will need to operate. Your CatGenie will also need to connect to a drain for disposal of pee and poop. Connecting the CatGenie to the water and sewer systems requires a bit of light plumbing, but the directions provided in the manual are easy to follow and straightforward. The system also comes with a splitter that lets you connect directly to an existing water supply without losing any existing connections.

The system is made up of two main parts:

  • Processing Unit:  Includes the motor, sanitizing solution pump, and all the electronic pieces
  • Base Unit: Holds the Washable Granules; where the cat business gets done

The Processing Unit fits on top of the Base Unit and connects to the Genie Hand, which is used to scoop poop out of the granules. Poop that has been removed is scooped into the hopper, where it is turned into liquid and expelled down the drain via the drain hose. The drain hose can be draped over a toilet rim so that cat waste is dumped directly into your toilet. Or, it can be connected to another drain system that connects to your sewer or septic tank.

Operation

Your gateway to communicating with the CatGenie is the Control Panel:

CatGenie Control Panel

Source: CatGenie 120 Manual (http://www.catgenie.com)

The Control Panel lets you know if an error has occurred or if the SaniSolution is almost empty. It also lets you set the mode of operat

You are able to select from three different settings that dictate how the litter box cleans itself:

  • Cat Activation
  • Auto Start
  • Manual Start

Cat Activation

The CatGenie can be set to automatically clean itself 10 minutes after it senses that a cat has just done a big shit. If the system detects that a cat is sitting in the bowl, it will delay cleaning for another 10 minutes, or until the bowl is clear. Leaving the system in Cat Activation mode conserves SaniSolution since it takes less solution to clean up a “fresh” mess than one that has been sitting around for a while.

Auto Start

The CatGenie can also be set to automatically clean itself after a set period of time. You can can configure the system to automatically clean itself from 1 to 4 times per day. The settings on the control panel allow you to choose what time of day you would like the clean cycle to occur, allowing you to avoid noisy cleanings during the middle of the night.

It is important that the CatGenie be run at least a couple times per day per cat you own. Failing to do so will result in clogs.

Manual Start

You also have the option of manually selecting when your CatGenie cleans itself. While this feature reduces the benefits associated with the system’s built-in automation, it may be necessary for some users who may only be able to run cleaning cycles at specific times that do not always occur according to a predictable schedule.

Under this operating mode, you can start a cleaning cycle with the push of a button. It’s that simple.

 

SHOW ME HOW IT WORKS

Here’s a video of the CatGenie in action:

During cleaning, the CatGenie rotates the granules counterclockwise, and the hand-shaped scoop is lowered into the bowl, sifting out any presents your cat may have left. It collects the waste, liquifies it, and flushes it to the drain. After each flush, the system cleans itself using water and the SaniSolution then uses a blowdrier to evaporate any excess liquid.

Value

Check out the CatGenie on Amazon to get its current market value. You will also need to purchase additional SaniSolution over time to replace what the system uses. 

All in all, the CatGenie is a pretty decent value. While the box itself isn’t cheap, the SaniSolution does not requirement replacement that frequently. To do a fair cost comparison, you need to figure out the amount of money you spend on litter in a month, then compare that to the cost of a month’s worth of SaniSolution. Dividing the cost of the CatGenie by the difference between the litter and SaniSolution costs will give you an estimated number of months before the cost savings associated with not having to buy litter have effectively paid for the CatGenie.

Design

The CatGenie scores points for looking a lot like a human toilet. One downside of the design is that the litter bowl is open, which means that any cat poop that has not been removed or any pee that is trapped in the litter granules may smell.

The design is compact and can easily be fit into a corner or other location where it will be out of the way. The clean cycle tends to be a bit noisy though, so it’s a good idea to place the system away from anywhere you or your family may want peace and quiet.

Common Complaints

One of the biggest problems that people have with the CatGenie is that it produces an awful “baked poop” smell if it fails. Examples of things that can cause failure include:

    • Your cat’s poop is not solid or has pieces that are too small for the scoop
    • Your cat poops in the middle of the bowl

In either of these cases, poop is left to sit in the bowl instead of being removed like it’s supposed to be. Since the bowl heats up, the remaining poop in the bowl will bake, releasing an awful odor.

One of the biggest complaints about the CatGenie is that is not actually “self-cleaning,” but actually requires a decent amount of user cleaning to keep odor under control. This box may be best for young cats as well as cats with fairly regular digestive habits. Cats that do not produce good, solid stools may not get along well with the CatGenie.

Pros & Cons

Pros:

  • Washable Granules™ are dust-free and permanently reusable
  • Fully automatic, meaning you never have to interact with the litter at all
  • Roomy litter compartment
  • 2-year warranty
  • Flexible programming options
  • Does a good job controlling odors as long as it is working properly and has plenty of SaniSolution
  • Your cat probably won’t want to get in the box while it’s cleaning.
  • No more scooping up cat litter!

Cons:

  • Washable Granules™ are proprietary and you can’t use just any litter in the CatGenie
  • Washable Granules™ gradually “disappear” onto your floor or down your drain and are not as permanent as one would hope
  • Drain tube is very thin and can clog.
  • Control Panel is not super advanced and could be more user-friendly.
  • Failure leads to a “baked cat poop” smell
  • Long cleaning cycles (30-40 minutes).

 

Rankings & Final Words

The CatGenie is a well-manufactured piece of machinery, a Jetsons-inspired modern convenience marvel fit for the 21st century. It’s fairly easy to assemble and it operates smoothly. All in all, it’s a great investment, so long as you are OK purchasing replacement SaniSolution and the occasional bag of Washable Granules™. You should be able to save some money on litter over time, or at least break even. Plus you’ll save time that would have otherwise been spent cleaning your litter box. Check it out on Amazon!