I recently purchased the Blackhole Cat Litter Mat Interactive Swimming Robot Fish. This battery-operated toy is a unique enrichment opportunity for the cat rescue I am the director of. We have a set of 7 enrichment totes that are labeled with a specific day of the week. We just decided to make the robotic fish one of our weekly enrichments to hand out to all of the cats at the start of the day. There are a total of four richly colored fish in each box with a unique pattern that is highly appealing.
I highly suggest buying multiple packages so you can provide a unique opportunity for every cat to practice their natural hunting instincts since you do not want the cats to fight over just four fish. Each package of fish toys will come with batteries already installed, and a few extra sets of LR44 batteries which is hugely convenient. I especially was thrilled that a screwdriver was included. You can buy this product with a discount by clicking here.
Each robotic fish will last about twenty to thirty minutes while actively moving around the water before you will need to install a new battery. An LR44 battery will cost you around eleven cents per battery, which is about twenty-five cents per hour of hosting this engaging enrichment activity for your cats. I find this toy is well worth the price of replacing the batteries once per week if you want to do this enrichment once per week. I would host this enrichment about twice per week.
The robotic fish is 3 inches long by 1 inch wide, which is about the right size for a cat to play with. The robotic fish will activate automatically once submerged in water and are completely waterproof. You do not have to worry about water seeping through and frying the battery. I initially dropped three of the fish in 2 gallons of water and did not notice any damage to the robotic fish. The robotic fish will turn off within a few seconds of being dried but can temporarily activate when in your hand and being stimulated during the drying process.
Each robotic fish toy will whip their tail back and forth, creating ripples in the water and propelling themselves continuously around the container. The auto swimming feature and built-in LED light system is the most appealing traits of this toy for a cat. The automated movements are random, which allows for variation in enrichment and mental stimulation. Most cats will start by dipping one paw in the water or smacking the water with one paw, then they upgrade to hunting with both paws. The time it will take for your cat to catch their first fish will vary, but it took our most enthusiastic cat about 5 minutes to hone their fishing skills enough to catch one of the fish.
It took me just a few days of observing the rescue cats for me to calculate and write down the massive amount of benefits that the cats reap from this enrichment, which extends beyond having fun. Some of the cats were truly avid water lovers. I discovered that the cats would drink much more water while playing with the fish since the vibrating tail would create ripples in the water with every movement. Cats prefer water that is fresh and constantly moving, so this is the perfect option for preventing dehydration.
I start the enrichment day by filling up 8 litter boxes or 8 stainless steel bowls about 3/4 of the way with tap water. I then insert one robotic fish per litter box so each cat can have an opportunity to hunt without competition. I executed this strategy poorly on the first day when I thought it was a fantastic idea to insert 8 robotic fish into one huge litter box, which resulted in the cats fighting over the fish. Enrichment is only valid when each cat is provided the opportunity to participate in play without being forced to fight or compete over the enrichment.
The Hexbug toy collection is very similar in scope to the robotic fish toys as they utilize the same battery type. I will empty excess water into a mop bucket so that the water usage is not shot through the roof to provide this enrichment opportunity. Satisfaction is 100% guaranteed, which offers you the ability to ask for a full refund or replacement if you are not satisfied with this product.