I have been and always will be an animal lover. My family didn’t have many pets when I was growing up however, I did have two guinea pigs, some goldfish and a puppy named Skipper, for a week before my folks decided to give him away. My parents understood ALL that really went into being a pet owner and they took that responsibility seriously. But unfortunately for me that meant no dogs or cats. However, I knew as soon as I was on my own, things would change and I would be welcoming a cat or a dog into my life.
That was 36 years ago, and I have been blessed to have had many cats in my life over the years. I am not sure why it turned out to be cats because I do like dogs, but cats are apparently where my heart lies. Maybe it has something to do with my last name…Katz…who knows? But certainly, cats it is!
Even in my personal life I knew it would be important to connect with others and hopefully someone special who also enjoyed and loved cats as much I did. After all my cats were and are a big part of my life, my family. Not surprisingly, children came into my life and my family expanded. We had two older cats at the time so from an early age, my kids had exposure to cats and experience living with them. Sadly, our two cats passed away and for a while the home was……dare I say….catless!!!!!! Well, that wouldn’t last long.
In November 2011, we went to our local cat shelter with the intention of bringing home two kittens but that wasn’t how things ended up working out. There were three kittens remaining from a larger litter and we just couldn’t take two home and leave one sister behind. So, it was with tremendous excitement and joy that we brought back three amazing kittens, Zilla (largest and oldest), Sweetie Pie (middle sister in age and size) and Skittles (smallest and youngest). We could not have been any luckier and had no idea of the fun in store for us all!
Once the kittens adjusted to their new home it was like living in a cat habitat. We distributed cat toys throughout the house and had a respectable amount of cat condos for the sisters to climb on and play in. It seemed like there was always something going on, always something to be knocked around or batted across the floor, always something to be jumped on and off.
But, unlike previous cats in my experience, these girls were sisters (family) and they acted like family. One moment they were all sleeping together, the next moment they were eating together and then for lack of a better word, pandemonium. The kittens would chase each other around the house. Their confidence grew quickly and the stalking and chasing intensified. Up the stairs, down the stairs, under the beds, over the couches, under the table, up and in the cat condos and so on. Each kitten having its own qualities played accordingly. Zilla, being the biggest and slowest was always more prone to staying on the floor and catching her sisters when they ran past. Skittles, the smallest sister was the true climber and leaper. Her acrobatics were astounding and she, on a daily basis, and usually Sweetie Pie often raced through the house with reckless abandon. Even though we cautioned friends about our rowdy new family members, the cats still caught many folks off guard when the action came their way. It was amazing being part of this sleep, eat and play cycle, and we ALL had a great time watching and interacting with each other.
This literally went on for years. And then one day, in early 2017, after playing with our cats, I settled down to watch an episode of My Cats From Hell (Hosted by, Jackson Galaxy). The episode featured a cat owner who invited Jackson to their home because surprise, surprise they were having problems with their cats. In the episode, the cats loved to be up high. They loved being on the counter tops, they loved being on the spaces above the counter tops, they were hanging from the cover and vent over the stove in the middle of the kitchen. It was outrageous. And Jackson explained how these cats wanted to be UP HIGHER! The cats don’t want to be underfoot, they want to be up with you and you need to give them safe spaces and places to go (paraphrase). And of course, the owner complied and the cats thrived. Well all of that got me thinking…….
Cat condominiums and staggered cat climbing shelves are fine but what else could I do, what else could I make to provide that nearly “outdoor” experience for indoor cats without altering my home (potentially damaging it in the process) and/or end up costing a ton of money? Something unique that could be customized and expanded at the owner’s convenience. Something that would work with and compliment the other cat furniture already present in their home. And that was it!!!! I was quickly in conversation with some close pet friendly friends to discuss some ideas and that is how CAT TRAILS began. How exciting, especially because we knew how much fun it was going to be having our cats test our ideas.
But like many stories in life there can be some sad and somber moments and that time came for us unexpectantly in October 2018, just when we were working on our 1st CAT TRAIL demo. Sweetie Pie, who had been acting normally up to that point rather suddenly started losing weight and we all took notice and agreed something was wrong. The next morning, Sweetie didn’t come to eat with her sisters which was highly unusual and that was enough for us so off to the veterinarian we went. The vet did everything possible but she had a terrible infection from a large number of kidney stones and none of her options were good. She came back to us a few days later but only for a short time before she passed away. It was devastating. We ALL mourned the loss.
My hope of seeing Sweetie Pie, play with her sisters on her CAT TRAIL would sadly never happen. And even though Zilla and Skittles were still here, my enthusiasm for the CAT TRAILS diminished and for a while I wasn’t sure we would continue. It takes time to overcome the loss of a loved one but friends are friends for a reason and my friend’s continued support, enthusiasm and excitement, about CAT TRAILS encouraged me to move forward. So, it is with tremendous love we offer CAT TRAILS and hope everyone is able to enjoy it as much as we do. In loving memory of Sweetie Pie, who will always be in our heart.
Partner and Co Fpunder
Partner and Co Founder