A Visit to Super Pet Expo, and I Fall in Love … with Cat Toys

Yesterday I stopped by the Super Pet Expo in Edison, New Jersey. It was my first time at the Expo and I had a set of simple goals: to meet local rescue organizations, check out some pet technology exhibitors, learn about local pet-related business and take a few pictures.

And one more thing: Do Not Buy Anything. I was not going to be tempted by all the shiny, fabulous, adorable, and irresistible dog and cat items that would be on display. Because once I open my wallet, it gets hard to close and the temptation to buy again increases by a factor of 273.

The event was packed. I had to park in Nebraska. Or maybe it was Idaho. The line to get in snaked through the parking lot, with two-legged and four-legged attendees patiently waiting to get in.

The line at the Edison Super Pet Expo was filled with two and four-legged attendees.

The line went on for a very long time.

Once I got inside, I waded through the crowd, treading carefully lest I accidently trip on a chihuahua or sideswipe a shih tzu.

Buying biscuits…

I made my rounds, stopping at several booths, and chatting with some local New Jersey-based vendors, including Grace and George Craft, the husband and wife team behind Roxy’s Choice, whose home-cooked dog treats and compelling dedication to healthy ingredients broke down my  Do Not Buy Rule in the time it took for George to say, “I had three dogs die of cancer; I want the best for my dogs, so I started making my own dog biscuits.”

I bought some sweet potato chips and pumpkin banana treats.

Of course if I buy something for the dogs, the Guilt Gremlins won’t stop yammering until I buy something for the cats, too, but the expo seemed to slant somewhat heavily toward the canine.

…and cat toys

And then as I squeezed between a Great Pyrenees and a Harlequin Great Dane — and their people — I saw a sign for Polydactyl Cat Toys, and I was drawn in.

And that is when Do Not Buy turned into  Want to Buy Everything.

As a creative person, I really groove on other people’s talent. It’s why you’ll see me write about topics like a dog art show or dog park sculpture. I love meaningful art. I love good design. And when you combine that with dogs and cats…you hit me right in the Must Have.

The creativity of Randi Warhol and her simple organic catnip toys blew me away, including her packaging.

Duck sauce and catnip toys

Duck sauce and mustard catnip toys. Perfect glassine envelopes!

There were peanuts and sugar packets and hash browns and curly fries. Each one more cute and adorably detailed than the next.

Pickle catnip toy from Polydactyl Cat Toys

Pickle slices in a pickle envelope! Just like it came out of one of those barrels at the grocery store.

It’s all in the details. The design of the bags. Even the feel. “Why do cat toys have to be boring?” Randi asked.

Popcorn catnip toy from Polydactyl Cat Toys

Popcorn! You can smell the butter. All original designs by Randi.


The cats fall in love, too…

When I got home, the cats could smell the catnip. Elsa Clair in particular was quite vocal. “I know you’re hiding it somewhere,” she meowed while I took pictures on the kitchen counter. (Where else would one take photos of a pickle catnip kicker?)

I smell catnip!

I smell catnip!

After about fourteen decades (in cat time, according to Elsa Clair), I stopped admiring and taking pictures of the toys and shared them with the cats.

Elsa Clair breathes in the catnip from Polydactyl Cat Toys

Yes! Finally!

I think they liked them as much as I did.

Athena enjoys a catnip toy from Polydactyl Cat Toys

Athena loves the mustard toy.

Calvin plays with catnip pickle from Polydactyl Cat Toys

And Calvin swept up his pickle kicker to get a good sniff.

You can find Randi’s work at her website, Polydactyl Cat Toys, and shop at her Etsy store.

Full disclosure. For those wondering, I did not receive any compensation for this story, other than a small discount at Randi’s booth, and the fun of watching my cats enjoy awesome art.

Did you ever buy toys for your pets simply because you fell in love with the design? Tell me about it in the comments.



30 Comments on "A Visit to Super Pet Expo, and I Fall in Love … with Cat Toys"

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  1. Amy says:

    I would adopt a cat just to buy those toys LOL!

  2. My Magical-Dawg loves the cats’ toys and steals them every chance he gets!

    • My dogs do, too. Tucker is the worst. He thinks every toy is his, and there are some cat toys I can’t keep in the house, because he’ll eat them and then throw up. Yuck. Lilah likes to toss the cat toys in the air, but she’s smart enough not to eat them.

  3. easy rider says:

    I have a fible for cat toys. I have a nip mouse what I hold in my hand sometimes, because it feels so good. And currently I use it to train my fingers :o)

  4. Those toys are pretty cute! And you’re right, there’s always way more stuff for dogs than cats.

  5. Emma says:

    They look so fun, but we can’t have them because my cat bro Bert eats them…not chews, but eats them completely. No cat toys allowed at our house. Sad thing, really.

  6. Cathy Armato says:

    Nice toys! This post is making me hungry w/ all that great packaging! I can never resist all the cool stuff at pet expos. I always say I’m not gonna buy anything, which turns into I’m only gonna buy a few inexpensive items, after which it all goes to heck in a hand-basket and I shop w/ reckless abandon. It’s wonderful, isn’t it? LOL!

  7. I just love attending Pet Expos! You see the best things! OMG that popcorn is just too cute!

  8. Jen Gabbard says:

    That makes me wish I had cats – or a dog that didn’t instantly devour anything not made of steel. My favorite toys to buy my dog have been the food themed items. She has a hotdog and hamburger, now I need the darn condiments.

  9. We’ve seen some of these toys and they’re pawsome! WANT!!

  10. Jen says:

    Those cat toys are amazingly cool and so fun!What cat wouldn’t want pickles in an envelope?! Thanks for sharing!

  11. Geoff says:

    Duck sauce catnip toys. Parker likes duck flavored dinner for her birthday if the texture is right. The ribbon looks like it might be of interest.

  12. MattieDog says:

    Those toys are awesome – I can see why everyone in your house lubs them!
    Mattiedog, A Little Dog Making a Big Difference in This World

  13. You’re kidding right? Mom went to the IKC dog show and there were lots of vendors. She went and looked at them all and each time they tried to sell her something she’d just say “I just got here so don’t want to carry things just yet.” Or something like that. I did get one present though, a new slip leash. Are you kidding me? Not fair! Love Dolly

  14. This sounds like a blast! Wish it would come to Minnesota!!! 🙂

  15. What fun looking cat toys! It certainly seems like your cats approve of your purchases for them. I always wind up buying something for the dogs even when I say I am not purchasing anything.

    You did a great job of keeping it reasonable and not buying one of everything from each vendor though.

  16. Robin says:

    I love the designs on the cat toys! I wouldn’t be able to pass those up either. Whether a cat toy is attractive to me or not is not really a deal breaker if I think the cats would love it. Of course, it is easier for me to part with my money if I like the design of the toys too.

  17. Susan Bewley says:

    Those cat toys are absolutely adorable! It sounds like you had a blast too!

  18. I’ve bought a lot of stuffies for Nike because I loved them… and then she proceeded to obliterate them in 5 minutes. Oops!

    These are some really cool toys for pets. I mean, what will they think of next? Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  19. Irwin says:

    Looks like that would have been a lot of fun!

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