The Chase Is On! A look at Petstages’ exciting new range of track toys.

By Sarah Brown, PhD.

Many cats spend a long time alone at home and can become very bored and frustrated without adequate stimulation – this can result in cats becoming sedentary and obese, or may lead to destructive behavior, over-grooming or other stress-related behaviors.

Toys are a great way of providing entertainment and exercise for your cat when you are out and it is important to find products that will stimulate her instinct to investigate and chase without your input. A toy that doesn’t look or smell interesting, make interesting sounds or move when touched is probably not going to achieve much without an owner present to throw it around! Movement is particularly effective at retaining a cat’s attention as it represents what a prey animal might do.

Why a track toy?

Track toys are especially useful for cats alone at home as they create interest through movement whilst avoiding the age-old problem of the cat chasing the toy and losing it under the fridge or couch, never to be seen again!  They also provide an opportunity for cats in multi-cat homes to share toys – often the sight of one cat playing can be an incentive for another to come up and investigate. With a track toy two cats may embark on an exciting game of batting the ball back and forth between them around the track, like a sort of cat version of tetherball!

Following the huge success of the original award-winning Cheese Chase toy Petstages has produced a range of different track toys designed to stimulate and encourage cats to play when at home without their owner. They are all based around the same concept of a ball in a track, but each has a variation that gives the toy an added element of interest.

The Cheese Chase has, in addition to the ball in a track, an enticing ball hidden inside the cheese top – the cat can dip its paw through the holes to push the ball around and try and hook it out. In addition there is a catnip-filled mouse on top, providing a scent to lure the cat to come and play.CheeseChase

The Catnip Chaser offers, instead of a catnip filled mouse on top, the opportunity to add catnip yourself to the compartment on top of the track, and to vary the strength of the scent by opening and closing vents.CatnipChaser

The Tower of Tracks takes track play to a whole new level – literally – as there are three separate layers of track each with its own ball. This is great for multi-cat situations where everyone wants a ball to bat at the same time!TowerofTracks

Finally the Nature Track from Petstages’ new invironment range is designed to represent some of what a cat might experience outdoors. It has a central patch of faux grass, inviting to the paws, and its clear top means the cat can see the ball, which spins to enhance the effect of movement, the mirrored surface reflecting the light in an eye-catching way. So much so, some cats, like Bootsy below, may feel the need to examine it from a whole new angle!invironmentNatureTrack

About the author:
Dr. Sarah Brown PhD., is co-author of the book ‘The Behaviour of the Domestic Cat’ (2nd edition) by Bradshaw, Casey and Brown, published by CABI 2012.  Preview the book here!

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What makes a friendly cat?

What makes a friendly cat?  The importance of socialization in kittens.

By Sarah Brown PhD.

Cats are well known for their varied personalities and the different ways they behave around humans: ranging from the distinctly aloof, to the quite ridiculously affectionate!  Traits inherited from their mother and father will affect their personalities to a certain extent, but the experiences kittens receive early on in life can also profoundly affect the way they perceive and interact with humans as they grow up.

From the moment they can see and hear at around two weeks old, kittens start to explore, interact and socialize with other cats – usually their mother and littermates – and also, if they are around, with humans.

Scientists have discovered that, between the ages of two to seven weeks, kittens are in what is known as the “sensitive” period for socialization towards humans.  The greater the number and variety of people a kitten meets before the age of 7 weeks, the more approachable they seem to be later in life.  The amount of handling is also important: kittens handled more when they are very little will, later on, stay on a person’s lap for longer than those handled less often.

Most kittens stay with their mother until about eight weeks of age when they find a home of their own.  Provided some socialization to humans started before the end of the sensitive period, the kitten should be able to adapt to a life with new people.  Importantly though, reactions to humans will continue to change over the next couple of months.  This is the time that the kitten broadens its experience of the world and people and hopefully becomes a well-balanced, contented cat.  Therefore, it is vitally important for owners to handle and interact with a new kitten as much as possible during this time.

Your first job once that cute, fluffy little bundle arrives in your home (perhaps after you’ve shown her the litter box and food bowl!) is to let her know how fabulous, fun and affectionate her new human ‘family’ is.

One of the best ways of doing this is to engage her in play. Most kittens will naturally want to play without much prompting from you, but an interacting toy, such as Pounce ‘N Play or Tiger Tail Tease Wand from Petstages, gives them an opportunity to play with you and gives you both some fun bonding time.


Be sure to give a new kitten some space to chill out quietly alone sometimes when it needs to, as this is a period of huge readjustment for your young pet. Leaving its mother and possibly siblings at the tender age of 8 weeks and being transported to a new, unfamiliar and different home can be a little overwhelming for a kitten.  Petstages has some great Soothing cat products which might help ease the process:


Finally, don’t forget to cuddle her as much as possible during these early months.   Stroke her, tickle her, brush her, talk to her and introduce her to as many new people as possible. As you and your kitten get to know each other and her confidence and trust in you grow, hopefully you will both reap the benefits of a well-socialized kitten as you look forward to many happy years of cat-human interactions.

the importance of kitten socialization

About the author:
Dr. Sarah Brown PhD., is co-author of the book ‘The Behaviour of the Domestic Cat’ (2nd edition) by Bradshaw, Casey and Brown, published by CABI 2012.  Preview the book here!

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Petstages Has A New Website!

Innovative Pet ToysPetstages proudly announces the launch of our redesigned website at  The new website features an updated look to match our recent packaging redesign. QR Codes scanned from the back of our packaging are linked directly to the product page with videos, testimonials and more!

Click on any of our categories and slide through innovative toys to find solutions to your pet’s behavioral needs. By popular request, we’ve also added a retailer finder section that allows visitors to enter their zip code to find nearby stores that carry Petstages products!

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All About Catnip

catnip plant

What is catnip?

Catnip is an herb that grows naturally in the wild, and is a cousin to mint!  It is estimated that between 50-75% of cats react to the catnip plant.  For cats that are triggered by the scent, some may say the effect is somewhat of a “catnip high”.  Rest assured, catnip is safe and non-addictive!

The nepetalactone chemical found in the plant is what triggers a cat’s response in the brain and stimulates a cat’s desire to play “wildly” with a catnip filled toy, all in good fun.  Many times they will rub their cheeks and face over a toy, bat or lick at the toy, and purr or meow.  Some cats will even drool!  After a few minutes of play, the cat will return to it’s typical behavior.   This series can take place over and over again, making it a lot of fun to watch your kitty excitedly play!

It is important to note that you should wait to interact with your cat until the catnip reaction has worn off, as you may not know what kind of response they’ll display.  Also, in a multi-cat household, be sure to introduce catnip to your cats one at a time if they’ve never experienced it before.

Petstages toys North American CatnipPetstages provides catnip toys that contain 100% fresh premium catnip to engage kitty in active play!  These toys contain that strong long-lasting catnip scent that cats love in order to excite their senses.  For cats that react to fresh catnip or catnip oils, Petstages catnip toys promote and maintain energetic play by arousing kitty’s natural instincts.

Interesting Catnip Facts:

  • A cat’s reaction to catnip is inherited.
  • Even lions and tigers are attracted to the scent!
  • Cats that “sniff” the scent are more likely to produce a wild behavior, whereas cats that ingest the catnip plant often become “euphoric” and calm.
  • Most kittens and senior cats are not effected catnip.
  • Humans can also enjoy catnip: make catnip tea (if you are not pregnant) to reduce headaches and an upset stomach as it acts as a mild sedative.

Watch these two cat’s reactions to the Petstages Green Magic Mightie Mouse, a catnip stuffed cat toy:

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Petstages Testimonials

Fiona with Petstages Kooky ChickenJasper with Petstages ORKAEva with Petstages Fuzzy FlossHans with Petstages Durable (DOGWOOD) Stick

We want to show your furry friend on our website!

Submit a photo of your dog or cat playing with their favorite Petstages toy and tell us their story!

Submit your photo here:

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Starting from Scratch

A look at scratching behavior in cats and how Petstages’ latest range of scratching toys can help keep your cats entertained while caring for their claws.  By Dr. Sarah Brown, co-author of book ‘The Behaviour of the Domestic Cat’ (2nd edition) by Bradshaw, Casey and Brown, published by CABI 2012.  Preview the book here!

Climbing, pouncing, balancing, scratching…cat’s claws are used constantly throughout their busy (oh, to be that kind of busy!) lives.  Most cats have 18 claws – each of their front feet has five toes with five claws whilst each back foot has only four toes and claws, (apart from polydactylous cats that is, who have various extra toes!).  Claws are actually retracted when at rest, only being protracted (or extended) when the cat needs to use them. They are composed of layers of keratin just like human nails and as these layers are renewed the outer ones become worn and begin to shed.

 Although cats use their claws for many things, we humans tend to see them in action mainly when scratching.  Free-roaming cats, outdoors, are attracted to scratch on vertical objects such as fence posts and tree trunks along the routes that they habitually walk.  Over a period of time, scratching sites may become noticeably grooved.  Indoors this behavior may be directed towards furniture, much to the annoyance of their owners!  Scratching in this way leaves both a visual signal (very familiar to owners of sofa-scratching cats!) and also a scent signal, derived from the sebaceous glands of the feet.  In this way scratching provides a form of communication for cats.

Petstages Fold Away Scratching Tunnel

New from Petstages: Fold Away Scratching Tunnel

 Another reason why cats scratch is to remove the worn and broken outer layers of their claws to reveal the new, sharp layers underneath.  This is known as ‘stropping’ and is very important for maintaining the health of claws in cats.  They should not, therefore, be discouraged from scratching but rather have their scratching behavior directed towards more appropriate objects.  Ideal products for this include: the Easy Life Hammock and Scratcher; Easy Life Scratch, Snuggle and Rest; Wobble and Scratch; or the Fold Away Scratching Tunnel, all made by Petstages. Cats also use their claws while playing, often ‘scooping’ up an object with one of their front paws, curving the paw under the object and grasping it with their claws.  Petstages has produced a new range of ‘Scratch for Nail Health’ toys, which combines the cat’s love of playing with the opportunity to do a little pedicure work at the same time!

The toys are made of corrugate, an ideal material for ‘stropping’ those claws on, and come in 5 different designs to encourage different types of play:

New Corrugate Cat Toys from Petstages

Spin & Scratch is lightweight and tempting to bat and chase – the corrugate disc around the spinner enables the cat to more easily grab the toy with her claws, scoop it up and throw it around.

Bat & Scratch  with its rattle and streamers rolls around enticingly, encouraging the cat to chase, grab and scratch it.

The Scratching Top rolls around in a different way – when the cat pounces on the streamers her claws can dig satisfyingly into the corrugate.

For those that like their ‘prey’ a little larger, the Kick & Scratch with its tempting furry tail provides the opportunity to pounce then wrestle, while kicking and scratching the toy with both front and back claws.

The Wrestle & Scratch takes this a step further, giving the cat a big item of prey to wrestle with whilst she digs her claws into the layers of corrugate.

Watch a video of the Petstages Scratch For Nail Health toys here:

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Petstages Harlem Shake

Ever wonder if Petstages toys could do the Harlem Shake?  Oh, yes they can!

Starring: The Kooky Chicken (with a Stuffing Free Gator Mask), Kooky Mallard, Mini Stuffing Free Monkey, Puppy Cuddle Pal, GREEN MAGIC Mightie Mouse, Catnip Felt Mini Mice

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