2019 Design Review: Checking In With You

Tink and the jumbo Cat CanoeTink and a jumbo size Cat Canoe® cat bed

We Want to Check In With You

It's December 13, 2019 and my studio space here at the Cat Ball World Headquarters is scattered with shipping supplies, outgoing packages, partial bolts of fabric and a lot of prototype cat beds. I get ideas for toys or beds and start to test them, drafting the patterns and making samples as I experiment with the concepts. I look at these samples now and wonder if I'm going in the right direction. Am I making things that people will be interested in? Will cats like them? What do humans want for the cats? What is important, necessary, and fun? 

I would like to know more about what you think, what you need, and what you want. I'll tell you more about what I'm working on, and I'd love if you'd leave any comments here, or email us with your comments. 

What We Did in 2019

We created three new novelty Cat Ball® cat bed designs in 2019. It's a lot of work to create a new novelty bed, just figuring out all of the details (like how big to make the horse ears. I messed with them forever) is one thing, then finding the components is another. Here is what we were able to accomplish:

Hairy Dog Cat Ball® cat bed

It wasn't enough to make a "dog Cat Ball", I wanted it to be a "hairy dog Cat Ball". I was able to source fur for both "chocolate lab" and "yellow lab". Both dogs are made with a synthetic fur and lined with ridiculous onion rings fabric. 

The hairy dog Cat Ball cat bed made in brown fur and lined with onion rings fabric

We didn't make many of the dogs because sadly, a bunch of the fabric ended up being damaged. It looked bald in places so I couldn't use it. 

A cat peeking out of the novelty dog Cat Ball cat bed The dog has a special hidden detail. Can you find it? 

Horse Cat Ball® Cat Bed

I had a goal when I started prototyping the horse, but figuring "horse" out was step one. The Cat Ball® doesn't look like a horse, you know how long their heads are, so I hoped that the details would carry the design. I fussed over the ears for a long time, continuing to make them smaller and smaller. The other big detail I fussed over was the species' characteristic interdental space, that gap between the front teeth and the molars. How would I deal with this in my design? I made about 10 prototypes as I tested these details and the mane, and here is our final result. 

A cat walking around the novelty horse Cat Ball cat bedRetro is checking out the horse Cat Ball® cat bed

The final version uses a big ric-rack, has a starry lining, a shock of nice fur for the mane, brown horsie eyes, and a cute star on the forehead. I chose to make him in bay, and I found another fabric that makes a good buckskin horse. Palomino is another potential color option. 

The Horse Before the Unicorn

So I said I had to do the horse first, but why? Because I wanted to create a unicorn! I wanted my unicorn to look really "horsey", mostly using the fabrics to help create a "unicorn" look. Here is how the crazy unicorn turned out.

Novelty unicorn Cat Ball® cat bed, made in lavender panne velvet fabricNovelty unicorn Cat Ball® cat bed, made in lavender panne velvet fabric

The unicorn is totally silly and still makes me laugh. The lining fabric is accented with some kind of amazing sparkly glitter ink, the mane looks like rainbow rave boots, the eyes are made of sparkly aqua stuff, and the kiddie-sized horn might make you giggle. 

Detail of the novelty unicorn Cat Ball cat bedThe unicorn Cat Ball® cat bed has fun details, like sparkling aqua eyes

See? Isn't the unicorn fun? I'm hoping to see some funny photos with this crazy cat bed. Post yours on Instagram with the tag #unicorncatball and if you also tag us on the photo it's even easier for us to find it later. We are @thecatball

We Want Feedback on Practical Cat Beds, Too

It isn't all about novelty animal cat beds around here. We want to work on some more everyday, practical items too, and would love your feedback. 

Cat Canoe® liner

I started testing out liners for the Cat Canoe®, wondering if a removable liner would help with cleaning, keep cats warm, add more padding, etc. I've experimented a bit with how to make them, how to stuff them, what to stuff them with. Is this something that sounds practical or useful to you? What is important to you? Why would you want something like this?

Heat retention cat bed options

Is retaining or reflecting heat important to you when it comes to cat beds? We've experimented with this a little and are trying more options. Does your cat currently have a bed with a reflective heat component? 

Fleece lining options

People have requested a fleece lining option and I've been prototyping this to see if there are any technical concerns that need to be considered. Would you want a fleece-type fabric lining in a Cat Ball® cat bed? What aspects of this would be important to you? Texture? Color? 

Flat sleeping mat options

I've been experimenting with a flat sleeping mat for cats, thinking it would be nice to use the same high-quality quilting fabrics I get for our dimensional cat beds to make a flat sleeping mat. It seems like this could be used to pad the inside of a Cat Ball® or a cat carrier and might be nice to have. What do you think?

Do you foster cats or kittens?

Anyone who is fostering cats or kittens may have different needs than a cat owner has. What have you learned as a foster parent? What needs do you have, and is there any way I can help you with them? 

Thanks for your input!

We really appreciate your input and the time you spend leaving us comments, sending us photos of your kitties, and interacting on social media. It's a great community because you're in it! 

Closeup detail photo of tiny cat feet: Tink's kitty toes

Tink's tiny little feet







1 comment

  • Janet Crouch

    Jennifer, I would personally not be interested in any of the options mentioned above and I do foster kittens, have a houseful of cats and like designer products that are unique. I have purchased many cat balls from you. What I would love to see is a Cat Bowl using your style. Round. That is why some cats like to sleep on top of the cat ball. We could still enjoy your great fabric combos and no one else would offer something like that. I would buy one and be your first tester! I have cats of all sizes!


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