BrushPod® - FAQ

Is catnip and matabi safe for cats?

Most research says yes and PETA also endorses the use of catnip. There are many variants and it's very likely your cat will respond to differenty types with a bit of trial and error.

In fact, we've written a blog that looks at the research based on peer revied studies (not heresay) on this, which you can read here.

What if my cat doesn't respond to catnip?

It's very unlikely that your cat won't respond to catnip or matabi. Please note young kittens under 6 weeks are non responsive. We've writtne a blog on things you can do or try here, which also looks at peer reviewed research into the effects of catnip and matabi. You can read it here.

What is catnip?

Catnip is the common name for a species of plant that contain a unique natural chemical that make’s cat react hormonally. A cat on a catnip high is quite fun to watch!

Catnip (Nepeta cataria), is a member of the Mint family of aromatic herbs. Catnip is a common aromatic herb of the high deserts of North America. Catnip was naturalized in Canada from its indigenous roots of Northern Africa and the Mediterranean. Catnip has been used for centuries by herbalists as a treatment for colic, headache, toothache, and spasms. It is a mild stimulant when consumed in a tea. Catnip is an excellent sleep-inducing agent.

What is Silver Vine (Matatabi)?

Silver vine is a plant in the kiwi family. It is also called Matatabi. The most potent form is the flower that turns into a fruit, which looks like a medium sized brown dried nut. It is then ground into powder.

The dried stems of the plant are also used as “Silver Vine dental sticks“.

Cat loves Silver Vine because it also contains “Actinidine”, a natural cat stimulant, along with the same catnip attractant Nepetalactone,. That is why about 70% of cats who don’t react to catnip will react to silver vine!

Is catnip good for my cat?

Yes it is. According to veterinarian, catnip is a nice way to make old and fat cat active and loose weight, which improve their health condition. You can give your cat some catnip toys without worry. The only thing you need to know is not to feed your cat too much catnip. 1 or 2 spoonfuls at a times, 2 or 3 time a day is enough.

Can I overdose my kitty with too much catnip?

Not likely, cats seem to know when to say enough. If you give your cat to much catnip she will eventually turn her nose away from its lure. This reaction will not last long though, in a few days she will most likely be back to the catnip stash for another play time.

I have a long haired cat, will the brush work?

The BrushPod has been designed as a kit that helps us as cat owners have regularly grooming and play time with our feline friends. We've put a lot of effort into finding the ideal bristle length for short, medium and long haired cats. However the brush isn't designed for dealing with heavy fur matting and as such we recommend seeing the BurshPod as a fun addition to your normal grooming rituals.

For short and medium haried cats, we have found that regular brushing with the BrushPod is a great all-round grooming solution. Well, Kuba and Leia both seems pretty happy - and their coats are nice and shiny!

Is the laser pen safe?

The strength of a laser is measured in milliwatts. We have worked hard with our manufacturing partner to ensure the laser toy provided with the BrushPod has a power of <1 milliwatt. It is a class 2 laser.
For more guidance and detailed laser safety advice, the UK government has written this excellent article.The key quote here is:

"Class 2 lasers are limited to a maximum output power of 1 milliwatt or one-thousandth of a watt (abbreviated to mW) and the beam must have a wavelength between 400 and 700 nm. A person receiving an eye exposure from a Class 2 laser beam, either accidentally or as a result of someone else’s deliberate action (misuse) will be protected from injury by their own natural aversion response. This is a natural involuntary response which causes the individual to blink and avert their head thereby terminating the eye exposure. Repeated, deliberate exposure to the laser beam may not be safe. Some laser pointers and barcode scanners are Class 2 laser products.'

Source: Laser Safety Facts. Link here.

From this we believe it's essential to keep the power of the laser in our toy pen to 1 milliwatt.

From our research and speaking with a number of manufacturers, we know many laser pens on the market have a power of 4 or 5 milliwatts, which push them into the class 3 laser category. This does not meet our safety expecations and will never sell a laser of this type:

"Class 3R laser products are higher powered devices than Class 1 and Class 2 and may have a maximum output power of 5 mW or 5 times the AEL for a Class 1 laser product. The laser beams from these products exceed the MPE for accidental viewing and can potentially cause eye injuries, but practically the risk of injury in most cases is relatively low for short and unintentional exposure. The risk is limited because of natural aversion behaviour for exposure to bright light for the case of visible radiation and by the response to heating of the cornea for far infrared radiation.Examples of Class 3R laser products include some laser pointers and some alignment products used for home improvement work."

General awareness and regulation of lasers varies widely, but this is likely to change in the future. If you do own or are thinking of buying a laser toy or pen in the future, we advise making sure the milliwatt information is provided and where possible ensure the rating is no more than 1mw as anything above this can be damaging to eyes of people and pets.

How long does the catnip / matabi last?

Each BrushPod is provided with a premium grade blend of Catnip and Matabi. It's a 50 / 50 mix. Once opened, you can place the spare blend into the tube provided with the BrushPod. It should last for a few months, but you'll know when the potency is going as your cats will be less interested. Remember it does take time for cats to become sensitive to catnip again after a 'session', so we'd recommend keeping the brush sessions to know more than three times a week.

If you're running low, you can buy replacement catnip from our website here. We source organic and premium catnip and matabi making sure your cats only get the best! But of course you may already have a local supplier you can use.

What can I expect as a reaction to catnip from my cat?

Cats reactions differ. Some cat will become hunter and stalker with their toys. Some will just run around and about in frenzy. Some will simply lie down and start biting, licking and drooling on the toys with catnip in it.

Why is my cat acting like that when it smells or eats catnip?

Cats react to the natural chemical “Nepetalactone” in the catnip plant.

The domestic cat along with the great cats of the wild; cougars, bobcats, lions and lynx respond biochemically to a compound called nepetalactone. This chemical is the primary constituent in the essential oil of catnip. Nepetalactone induces a harmless physiological reaction in some cats.

Cats have a special gland on the roof of their mouth called the Vomeronasal gland. Essentially, they use it to recognize and analyse other cat’s pheromones, like those contained in urine. The Nepetalactone in catnip have a similar chemical composition as those pheromones. That is why cats love catnip so much!

This reaction has been studied extensively, and has been found to induce a psychosexual response in both male and female cats. One might say that catnip has an aphrodisiac effect.

What shouldn’t I do with catnip?

Very important: Never use catnip to train your cat to go to his litter. For example, there is a lot of new natural litter format available on the market, and your cat may not like it at all and avoid his litter box. NEVER put catnip in the litter to attract your cat there. The reason his that he will more than likely eat the catnip and the litter filled with feces.

Doing so for feline can cause many fatal disease like heart worm and fungus poisoning. Also, using catnip on litter will associate play area with releasing area, which will confuse the cat.

How can I differentiate the quality of the catnip? There are so many companies that offer’s it..

First, look at the color of the catnip. Like any other plant, bright green is a sign of freshness. Then you can try to smell the catnip through the bag. With potent catnip, you should be able to smell it. But most of all, know your catnip supplier. Inquire about your catnip business through internet. Ask them where their catnip has been grown, and when.

Pale yellow catnip is usually been harvested a few years ago, and has been sitting in a warehouse for a long time before hitting the shelves of the store.

Kuba and Leia are made with catnip that is always with the current crop of the year.

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LitterPod® - FAQ

When will the LitterPod® be available?

The short answer is, at some point in 2021. The more detailed answer is dependent on our ability to finance the manfacturing of the LitterPod®. At this point we have not started the manufactruing process. When we do, the lead time will be between five and seven months before we can start shipping to customers. We will be using every penny of profit we make from the BrushPod® to fund the build of the LitterPod®. The great news is we are ready to manufacture the LitterPod®. The product is real-world tested and is something we're really excited about. To be kept in the loop about progress be sure to sign up with us. 

What types of litter does it the LitterPod® work with?

The LitterPod® only works with clumping litter. It does not work with silica, pellet or non clupming litter types. It performs better with finer and heavier litters, but we have tested many types over the last three years. Lighter litter types can - from time to time - result in some build up of litter mess on the near side front of the unit. Thicker (large granules) litters don't sift through the rake as it passes as easily and as a result you can end up with excess litter being passed into the waste compartment. If in doubt, please contact us with your litter choice and we'll let you know how it performs.

What bags does the LitterPod® use?

You can use any standard sized carrier or grocery bag. The bag simply clips to the frame. Please note, the LitterPod® has been designed to hold seven litres of litter. As such it's essential the bag you use is at least seven litres or more, as if you use a smaller bag than this, when running a fully litter change, the bag will not be able to hold all the litter and it will spill back into the tray. We are considering offering specialist bags with the LitterPod®, but in the interest of being environmental, encourage you to use any unused plastic bags you may have in your house. Because cat litter is incinerated (and does not go to landfill), the plastic bag you use will also be incinerated with the litter. Many incineration plants have become super effieicent and re-using the heat to create new energy and are becoming more and more efficient. Of course this will vary country to country, so do check with you local council is in doubt.

How often do I need to empty the LitterPod® bag?

It depends on how many cats you have, the numbr of trays you have in the house and how often they go to the toilet. Kuba & Leia pretty much only use the LitterPod® now, so despute us having three tray in total we have to swap out the bag once every two to three days. We also fully clean and change the litter rougly once every 20 days.

How often should I run a full litter change?

This depends on what litter you use, how many cats you have and the frequency they use the LitterPod®.
Most litter brands will advise how often they recommend changing, with many suggesting every 30 days. Personally for Kuba & Leia we run at full change at least every 20 days. From time to time Leia may spray or spot wee on the waste comparment lid or the internal side panels, so we've got in the habit of checking for this and wiping down as required. The entire internal cabin evnrionment is made from highly resistant materials and can be easily cleaned at any time. One thing to flag, is to also keep an eye on the rake. The rake can be removed easily at anytime to be washed and cleaned. If your cat(s) suffer from the occasionaly loose stool or diarreah some residual can be left on the rake so we advise cleaning regularly. The rake is made form stainless steel so wil not rust.

How safe is the LitterPod®?

Very. The four weight sensors work in combination with the motion sensor above the entrance to esnure the rake doesn't move when a cat is in or near the LitterPod®. We have also developed a special code for the electronics where before any cleaning cycle the LitterPod® 'self diagnosis'. This checks to make sure all the weight sensor and motion sensor are responding. We've worked very hard to ensure the LitterPod® is super safe for cats.

How reliable is the LitterPod®?

We have develped multiple prototypes and test rigs over the last four years. The pre-prodcution versions continue to perform well and we have had no issues. Obviously, real world testing is something we have not been able to do yet as the LitterPod® is not yet on the market. But we have done everything we can to make the LitterPod® a simple, reliable and robust product. We have every confidence it will do you proud. Every LitterPod® come with a no quibble 12 month guarantee and we will also be offering every customer the option to upgrade there unit after a few years of owenrship. For more information click here.

How accurate are the weight sensors?

They are accurate to 50g. They also are sensitive enought to pick up a weight as little as 250g, meaning even the lightest kitten pawprint is picked up by the sensors to esnrue safety. We've been using the prototype we have at home (that Kuba & Leai use everyday) as a way to measure the weight of items before going to the Post Office! I nice side benefit.

How do I clean the LitterPod®?

Be sure to check out our video section on this. After you've run a full litter empty, the LitterPod® internal cabin and rake / plow can all be wiped down with soapy water. All componentns are made form stainless steel and ABS plastic so will not rust. Youre welcome to use any normal household detergent, but please remember that bleach in high concentration must be kept away from cats. Here a link to a video of James cleaning out the LitterPod®.

What are the dimensions and weight of the LitterPod®?

The LitterPod® weighs 16kg and is 596mm wide x 585mm high x 450mm deep.

Why is there no smart technology / bluetooth app?

It's important to stress that the LitterPod® has been designed to make our lives easier, but we must also have a relationship with our cat's toilets habits. Our philosphy is based on improving our cat's wellbeing, but this can't be achieved if the product becomes 100% autonomous. It's essential we as cat owners check the health of our cats stools, to regularly empty the waste bag and to comepltely change the litter and wipe down the LitterPod® at least once a month. We know that an app could measure frequency of use, or allow us to remotely run a cycle whenever we want, but in our experience this technology is still unreliable. We want the LitterPod® to be a robust and simple to use product - hence we designed it to have three buttons that do everything you need it to. Reast assured we're undertaking research and development and will likely add useful and purposeful technology as part of our upgrade programme in the future.

I previously pre-ordered / was an Indiegogo backer. Will you offer a discount when the LitterPod® is available?

First of all, thanks so much for getting behind us previously. Your support has been brilliant.
When we launch the LitterPod®, we will be doing so with a confirmed delivery date instead of the previous crowdfunding approach we tried early in 2020. So we'll only start taking orders when we're confident on having stock and shipping dates. Aside to this anyone who buys a Brushpod® will have a special LitterPod® discount voucher include. This will be at least the value of the BrushPod itself. We are also exploring a series of special discounts to anyone who has signed up with us.

How good is the LitterPod® at controlling smell / odor?

When designing any of our products we always focus on simplicity but also making sure anything we 'add' to the design has a purpose and is effective. For example we considered adding a carbon filter, but after testing saw no noticable difference in controlling smell. We looked at adding a baking soda compartment or some type of air freshner, but given cats sensitivity of smell we wated to avoid having any chemicals in or near the LitterPod®. Our key learning is based on a simple fact. Once your cat has done a poo in any litter tray, it smells immediately.

Of course some litters are better at caputring or maksing smell than others - so this is an imprtant consdieration. But for us, when desinging the LitterPod® the more quickly you can remove the poo or urine from the tray enviornment to the sealed waste compartment the better it is at controlling smell / odor.
This is why, with optimum litter clupming speed the LitterPod® can automatically run a cleaning cycle in as little as 60 seconds. You can of course control the delay timer to your needs (with settings anywhere between 60 seconds and seven minutes) - but the faster it runs a cycle the better it is at controlling smell.
The waste compartment also full seals agasint the tray and the waste bag. This means the only times the waste is exposed to the elements is for the five second window the compartment opens to deposit waste during a cycle and when you fuly remove and tie the bag for disposal.

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