Friday, October 27, 2017

Fun Feline Finds: Freak MEOWt Cat Toys

As an Anglophile and lover of all things Dickensian, one of my favorite symbols of the holiday season is the Christmas pudding. Some of you may even remember that our Christmas card last year featured Mudpie alongside a pudding and one is prominently displayed in our holiday blog header each year.

One day during last year's holiday season I was browsing through either Etsy or Instagram and stumbled upon a shop selling ridiculously adorable cat toys called Freak MEOWt. Imagine my glee to find the cutest catnip Christmas pudding *ever*, and my horror at discovering they were already sold out!!! Needless to say I immediately put them on my calendar for this year so I wouldn't miss out again, and I ordered one the day they became available.


I have a dream to one day design and create my own line of cat toys. (Not exactly sure how that's going to work out since I have absolutely no crafty abilities whatsoever, but a girl can dream, right?) I can't think of anything more rewarding than building a business out of making something that will make cats happy. Until my inner Martha Stewart decides to kick in I live vicariously through others, so when I ordered my pudding I also reached out to Freak MEOWt's owner Jayne Rowlands and her kitty crew (led by British shorthair Major Tom) to see if they would have time to answer a few questions for us because I really wanted to feature their shop on our blog. Despite being crazy busy with holiday orders (which is a very good thing!) Jayne and Major Tom were happy to tell us more about themselves...


Jayne, could you tell us about the creation of Freak MEOWt and how you got into the business of making cat toys?

I have been making catnip toys for my own cats for a number of years as I was disappointed by the quality, range and aesthetic of with the cat toys available on the high street. We were also horrified when we discovered that the catnip found inside the ‘catnip’ toys in some high street pet stores was the colour of hay!. We use freshly dried Canadian catnip (which is green) and only make our toys in small batches so when they reach our customers they smell very catnippy!!

What goes into the creation of your adorable designs and how much work goes into each piece?

Our prime objective is to make cat toys that’s cats actually want to play with, so we always pay a lot of attention to the size and shape of our designs, We also appreciate that not all cats are the same some prefer a large kicker toy while others prefer tiny toys that they can easily bat around. Some of course are just greedy and like both. We also aim to make toys that will look good in the home.

Once we have a design in mind we make a mock up, on some occasions we get it right first time on others it may take several weeks or even months. When we are happy with the toy it is of course tested by our in house team as well as some of our furry friends. Only when we are completely happy with the design will it go to market.

Our catnip Christmas puddings for example take around an hour each to make so they are a real labour of love. We do not use any glue on any of our toys and they are stuffed with very generous amounts of catnip, some toys contain only catnip and nothing else. And if necessary we will also line the toys with calico for added strength.

We have also introduced a small range of Valerian root cat toys, which make the purrfect alternative to catnip, if your kitty isn’t keen on the nip or if your cat is going though a stressful time as it has a calming effect on cats (and humans!).


How you do give back to less fortunate kitties?

We have helped a number of cat charities in the UK in various of ways, we provide catnip toys for prizes, raffles, auction etc. Last year we were involved in The Not On The High Street Battersea campaign, where 5% of the cost of catnip bunnies and the mini sushi selection will be donated to Battersea Dogs and Cats Home. We are currently involved with Cats Protection offering prizes in their annual Black Cat Competition. Freak MEOWt also donates £1 to a cat charity for every catnip bunny sold. In addition we send a box of catnip bunnies to a cat charity each time a Facebook milestone is reached (https://www.facebook.com/freakmeowtcatnip)

Please introduce us to your own fur babies.

We have a team of seven beautiful cats who are an integral part of Freak Meowt. Tav and Tzippy are brother and sister and are19 years old so they are in semi retirement and spend most of their time having cuddles and napping. Vienna is 13 and has been part of the family since he was three weeks old having been found in a carrier bag up a tree. Percy the ragdoll 11 years old and the kindest, gentlest cat you could ever wish to meet. Kevin is 5 he came to us from Cats protection, he does love to keep warm and can usually be found under the duvet. Tesco, 7 years old another rescue who has been with us since he was 4 week old after he was found hanging from a fence by his back leg. He does love his food!! And finally Major Tom (British shorthair) he is just over a year old and the naughtiest but most loveable cat I have ever known. He begrudgingly does most of the meowdeling for Freak Meowt.


Major Tom, please tell us a little about yourself and how you came to live with Jayne.

Apparently I was supposed to be a working cat. I moved in just over a year ago to do a spot of meowdeling and product testing. I am not keen on the meowdeling and often turn my head away from the camera. Human thinks I am a diva. Product testing on the other hand is soooo much fun.

Is there a story behind your name?

I am a catnip junkie! And my human loves David Bowie so really there wasn’t any other option than Major Tom. Although I get called lots of other names too!


What's a typical day like for you as you "snoopervise" your human?

I get up around 4am chase some toys around the house preferably on the stairs or under the bed. Then I go and sit on the humans head until she gets up and serves us breakfast. Then I might pop into my catio for a little while before brunch. If there are any toys that are in production I might help with the sewing (I love thread and ribbon) Obviously after lunch its naptime. If I have to do any meowdeling that normally happens in the afternoon I do get treats if I pose well. I also love to help with shipping I am very partial to a box. After tea its playtime, time for more treats, cuddles and a little nap before I go back to my catio and refuse to come in for bedtime.

How do you refrain from absconding with all the nip toys???

Human keeps all the toys in airtight containers in a room we are forbidden from entering so I cant get to them. However we have lots and lots of toys to test and of course all the rejects. I have on occasion been known to run off with one or two when human is still making the toys.


Our package made it's long trip across the pond and Freak MEOWt generously tucked a couple extra goodies into our order as a thank you for this feature. We received a darling little gingerbread man and a catnip bunny (for each full priced bunny sold £1 is donated to a cat charity) in addition to the coveted Christmas pudding.

I knew Mudpie was going to love these toys because they're loaded with premium Canadian catnip. She received a toy last Christmas that had Canadian nip in it and nearly one year later it's still her "go to" catnip toy. (I guess she knows her adoptive family has French-Canadian heritage!) I was 100% right as she started enjoying her bunny the moment I took it out of the box (the pudding and gingerbread man have been tucked away for Christmas). These are high quality toys, handmade with love, and so darn adorable you'll be tempted to keep them for yourself! We can't recommend them highly enough.


Christmas is now officially less than 2 months away (EEK!!!) and we know for a fact that Freak MEOWt toys are on your cat's Christmas list. We follow Major Tom and the gang on Instagram and saw just this week that their supply of catnip penguins (packaged in a cute little Christmas cracker) sold out and had to go back into production, and the puddings sold out early during last year's holiday season. Ordering today guarantees you'll have happy kitties come Christmas morning...just make sure you tuck the toys away in a safe place until the big day arrives because there's some potent nip inside!



This post contains Etsy affiliate links.

11 comments:

  1. Oh! I had to go follow them on Instagram immediately! What fun toys!

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  2. That bunny is so cute! It sounds like they have an expert feline staff, so you know the toys are top notch :)

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  3. Paw-some! That Christmas pudding toy is precious.

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  4. Oh my goodness, that Christmas pudding is purrfect! I am already excited about Christmas, and now I know where I'll be getting some kitty Christmas gifts!

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  5. OMG - those are so cute. and we always love hearing about handmade stuff that gives back!

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  6. Mudpie's tongue!!! That's a happy kitty! My Grandmother taught me to sew by hand ... so I've made a couple really rudimentary cat toys. Bonus?!? The cat doesn't really care if the toy's not perfect. Still, these are really cute designs. I think Bear Cat just started his Christmas list (#1 is Mudpie of course ...)

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  7. I love the Christmas pudding!! And I am running to Instagram!

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  8. It's always great to find people who are passionate about their job! And when it impacts kitties...well, that's just the cat's pajamas!

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  9. super cute toys! I was looking for a give-away (wink) catchatwithcarenandcody

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  10. Fantastic interview, those look like great toys too.

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  11. TW loves the packaging for the pudding. As you know, I'm very fussy about the nip I like so I wonder if I'd like it. TW bought material years ago to make catnip knots and it's still sitting there.

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