When his rescue kitten Mooky kept playing with a little red ball that fell into a folding bookcase, Andrey Grigoryev was inspired to create an even better toy.
"I watched him reach inside and bat it around and a lightbulb went on," Grigoryev tells MNN. "I grabbed an empty shipping box and a box cutter and made something trickier."
Mooky quickly mastered everything his owner could throw at him.
"I'd create; he'd defeat," Grigoryev says. "Eventually I thought there must be something even more complicated out there already, because making these was taking a long time. To my surprise, there wasn't, so we (Mooky and I) decided we should bring it into the world."
While working his tech job by day, Grigoryev created a toy he called Cat Amazing, which is a box filled with holes that cats have to poke and play with in order to get to specially placed treats.
"Cats love it because it's cardboard and there are treats inside with just the right level of challenge to get to them. Cat parents love it because they can either watch or have some peace while kitty plays," Grigoryev says. "And vets recommend it because it not only provides the stimulation and enrichment that indoor cats often lack, but also because it helps slow down and manage eating. Kitty has to work for their snack instead of inhaling out of a bowl."
Bigger and more challenging
Although sales were brisk, Grigoryev says Mooky was bored and customers were asking for a bigger, stronger, more challenging version. So, he recently created a more intricate toy box he calls Cat Amazing Epic.
It's much larger and more complicated, with seven interconnected sections where treats can be hidden. It's made from heavy-duty, double-walled, coated cardboard with various levels of difficulty so as cats get more skilled, the toy box grows with them.
Watch Olive and Rye check it out:
Epic just launched a Kickstarter campaign in mid-October. If the $15,000 goal is met, the boxes will start shipping in January.
Grigoryev says the colorful box is essentially a puzzle feeder that stimulates a cat's hunting instincts.
"Cats evolved sharp claws and quick brains so they can hunt in the wild, and that's what they love to do. Epic provides them that stimulation and enrichment in the home."
And that's not something a plain old cardboard box can do for cats, he says.
"A regular box is fun to sit in but it presents no opportunity to hunt and be active," Grigoryev says. "The Epic puzzle feeder has nooks and crannies for treats to hide, which then activates the hunting instinct of the wild — giving cats exercise and play while they work for their food."