By Elisa Black-Taylor
With a house full of cats, I like to do a lot of research before investing in a few choice toys for them. Most look too flimsy to hold together or just plain uninteresting. Or they’re simply too expensive. It’s hard to know what to choose with so many options on today’s market. My cats have both the Bergan Turbo Scratcher and the Hagen Catit Design Senses Play Circuit, so I’m writing from their experience with these two toys. I also like the design of the Bergan Turbo Track Cat Toy, and it will likely be next on my list of toys to purchase.
BERGAN TURBO SCRATCHER
I purchased the Bergan Turbo Scratcher back in 2009 as Furby’s first toy. He played with it several hours that first day. The easily visible ball on a round track, as well as the scratching pad in the center are what drew me to the toy. Plus it was under $20.
All of the cats have absolutely loved this toy. They’ll play with it in group sessions or alone. Whenever we put it out, we can hear the ball going in circles during the night and know someone is still up playing.
Here are the pros of this product:
- Easy access to the ball
- Circular track keeps the ball in motion longer
- My cats are smart enough to figure this toy out
- Under $20
- Replacement cardboard pads sold separately and the cats really use them to groom their claws
- Here are the cons of this product
- Ball can be gotten off track and lost
- Caution: should ball be removed from track, it poses a serious choking hazard for medium to large dogs
That’s really the only flaw in the design I’ve found. So either have the toy where the ball can be found later, or invest in a few spare balls. Please monitor this toy if you have a dog, because the ball is a choking hazard.
There’s also a lighted version of this toy available called the Bergan Turbo Star Chaser. It has a lighted ball.
HAGEN CATIT DESIGN SENSES PLAY CIRCUIT
I purchased this toy for the cats for Christmas this year. I caught it on sale for under $15 from Amazon.com. After reading the reviews on how the ball can’t be removed by the cats, plus the versatility of being able to arrange the track into different shapes, I decided to take a chance on it.
The cats seem to enjoy this new toy. Someone is always playing on it. Our cat Mandy, who plays more than the others, runs over every time she sees the ball move. She can’t figure out why she can’t get her paws down into the track holes and remove the ball.
The ball included with this track is similar to the ball in the Bergan Turbo Scratcher. A lot of the reviews on the Amazon site suggested to use those small plastic balls that have a bell inside so the cat is more likely to be enticed to play.
Here are the pros to this product:
- So far the ball has stayed on the inside track
- Our cats are more enthusiastic about getting their little paws on the ball
- Material-wise, overall construction is good
- Additional play circuits can be purchased and linked together to make a larger play area. Each end of the cat toy is capped off to keep the ball on the track
- This toy has survived our roughest player Mandy
Here are the cons on this product:
- Cats lose interest when ball quits rolling
- Ball is not as visible as with the Bergan Turbo Scratcher, so cats walking by may not “tap” the ball to begin a play session. I’ve had to sit in the floor and search the tube for the ball to encourage play
- Product has some type of rubber tip to prevent sliding. It slides all across the floor anyway. At least it doesn’t come apart with all the rough play
- Available for under $20 if you can catch it on sale
AND THE WINNER IS…
If I had to choose between the two toys, I’d go with the Bergan Turbo Scratcher. It serves a double purpose as it offers a scratching post for our cats. Our cats have gone through several packs of replacement pads in the three years since I purchased it. It also appears to be a tougher product. The plastic used to construct the circle is thick. While the circular track does move around a bit during hard play, it does it much less than with the Hagen Senses Play Circuit.
Do any of you have any favorite toys a cat can use without my help? Something to keep them entertained while I’m at work?