Most helpful critical review
470 of 499 people found the following review helpful
Great toy - but fiberglass splinters dangerous to cats and people!
on January 18, 2011
We first purchased a "Da Bird" cat toy, based on its mention on the ASPCA website. Our cats loved the toy from the start: enough so that we purchased a second one along with some feather refills. The cats get a ton of enjoyment and exercise with these, and having two toys allowed us to play with both cats at once.
Unfortunately, during one session, a few weeks after buying them, my wife felt a burning/stinging on her hand where she was holding the wand. Upon closer inspection it was apparent that the wand, made of fiberglass, was damaged, and splintering at the "handle" end, leaving dozens of shards of fiberglass in the palm of her hand and fingertips. The shards are painful and tiny. Removal was only possible with tweezers and a flashlight; even then only a few of the largest shards could be pulled from her hand. She had to let the rest of them "work their way out" over the next few days.
Needless to say, we were alarmed by the hazard Da Bird was causing, not only to us but more seriously to our cats. -Our boy cat is especially fond of attacking the rigid wand end of `fishing pole' type cat toys. Had he gotten a paw or his mouth on the splintering fiberglass wand, he likely would have been in real pain and/or danger.
Doing a simple Google search of "Da Bird fiberglass splinters" we came across several product review sites and online cat forums where people had suffered from the fiberglass splinters, however these warnings were not known to us when buying the item online for the first time.
Given that Da Bird's manufacturer, Go Cat, prides itself on "Quality interactive cat toys handcrafted in the USA", my wife contacted them in early 2009, hoping that they might issue a warning to resellers of the toy, post a warning in the toy's packaging and change to a more safe and durable material to prevent serious injuries to cats.
In spite of (or perhaps because of) the skin injury mentioned, they never responded to our letter.
There are certainly other materials that could serve as the wand, without the fiberglass splinters included! The fact that GoCat hasn't improved the safety of the product after several years of this issue being known speaks poorly of the company and its leadership.
We still use the product (two of them, actually), but had to tape the ends with electrical tape in an effort to "seal off" the fiberglass shards that are exposed at the tip of every wand, (exposed even when the wand is not damaged). The manufacturer does put small rubber caps on the wand ends, but they aren't very secure and both of them fell off of the ends after a short while. We're also careful to keep the toys stowed away from the cats when not in use (BTW this also keeps toys interesting for cats: if they know a toy "lives" in a place they cannot normally access, they're a lot more excited when it comes out to play!)
One other tip for users: Our cats destroyed the feather ends pretty quickly so we've ordered a lot of refills - then a family member put an end to those purchases by making some cool, sturdy attachments out of scrap leather and fur from a fabric shop: we call them the "bat" and the "mouse", and we haven't had to order refills in a year!!