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Feline Fun

By Cynthia Hubert -- Bee Staff Writer
Published 2:15 am PDT Tuesday, April 13, 2004 in the Sacramento Bee

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Snatches of yarn and balls of tin foil are sooooooo yesterday. For the modern feline, nothing less than high-technologybased on algorithms and chaos theory will do. At least, that's what the folks at Takara, a Japanese noted for its innovative pet products, tell us.

They describe their latest accessory, called Cat Attack, as "so advanced it is virtually the iPod of cat exercisers." It is a remote control device that "uses the latest research in chaos theory and complex systems to simulate the movements and personality of a cat's favorite prey," namely, the rodent.

Sufficiently impressed, we decided to put Cat Attack to the test on a few felines we know.
The toy consists of a round, plastic cat with wheels on its underside and a wand with a brightly colored pompom attached to its back. The wand dips, sways and bobs crazily, while human companions can pilot the plastic cat via remote control.

The reactions of our test subjects were decidedly mixed.

Otis, a neurotic and cranky brown tabby, showed interest in the herky-jerky movements of the wand at first, but bolted in terror when we set the plastic cat in motion. Last seen, he had taken up residence in the back of a closet.

Lila, a diminutive black and white "tuxedo" cat, expressed mild interest, batting at Cat Attack for a few minutes before becoming distracted by a stray rubber band on the floor.

By far the most enthusiastic feline of the test kitties was the elegantly named Whilomena, a Manx whose pastimes include bird-watching and terrorizing real mice.

Whilomena grabbed, dragged and chased the whirring Cat Attack around her Land Park living room until the device's batteries started to wane and we had to turn it off.

If Takara is looking for a feline endorsement, they could do far worse than Whilomena.

Cat Attack's suggested retail price is $25, and it will soon be available at "fine pet and specialty retail stores" around the country.

--Cynthia Hubert
Reach her at [email protected]