As a person who likes to fish, I came up with a solution that works for me. I took off the top of the pole, inserted a "swivel" used in fishing, then put a snap swivel, like is on the bottom of the string (what the feather attaches with), onto the regular swivel. it's best to glue the swivel into the top of the pole. If you have a small drill bit, you can also drill out the top of the regular topper to hold the swivel better.
Then, after altering the top, I attached Spiderwire (not wire at all, but a braided fishing line, any brand of braided line will work). Then I put another swivel on the end of the Spiderwire and hooked the swivel hook on the feather to that. You can make several different lengths and change them out if you like. Also, a spool of EZ Braid Spiderwire is only about $10 for 120 yards. I used the 50# test because it has the most strength.
Braided line is super, super tough and my cats haven't chewed through it yet. Pretty good since once of my cats likes to pull it everywhere. Be forewarned, braided line is so tough it's even hard to cut through with scissors.
Anyhow, with these modifications, mine is working awesome!
No swivel base for the rod. Your hand becomes the swivel base as you wave it through the air or drag it along the floor. When you wave it back and forth in the air it looks like a bird flying and even the feathers somehow make it sound like a bird flying. My cats' favorite toys have always been wand toys but after getting this one they don't want to play with any other wand toy but it. If you do order one I suggest you also purchase some feather refills as both my cats love to catch these feathers in their mouths and then drag them and the string and wand following along behind them. They act as if they have caught their prey and will walk around the house dragging the rod with the feathers in their mouths growling as if to say, "Look at the prey I caught and no one is taking it from me."
But they do give it up quickly so I can make it fly again.
If I recall the original feather bit seemed to have a clip part thingy on the string, (worked the same as a safety pin mechanism). I actually "lost" the original feather bit with the clip still attached, so I'm going off of memory. Now a days, I just tie a knot around/through the small metal loop on the new feather bit. I just recently replaced the string as it got full of knots! (OH and by "lost" I mean my cat dragged it off somewhere, most likely under the couch or bed). Hope this is helps! :/