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Monthly Cat subscription boxes: This is what to expect

Have you considered getting a cat subscription box, but are not sure what to expect? I've received boxes for the past 6 months or so and will share what I've learned.

This information may help you decide if you want to try out a cat subscription box.

  • Are the toys right for your cat?
  • What if you don't want treats?
  • Are you getting your money's worth?

What is a cat subscription box?

Cat subscriptions boxes are offered by online sites, such as CatLady Box, KitNipBox (affiliate link - I may receive a commission if you visit website from this link and subscribe), and Meowbox. There are many more! These are the three boxes that I have tried with my cats.

Each month they mail you a box of cat toys (or other cat themed items). Some brands may also offer a quarterly option. Usually, your account will automatically renew each month or quarter.

Monthly Cat Boxes are fun to receive. There is joy in the surprise of seeing what is in the box.

The toys and/or other items you receive are a surprise! If you want specific toys for your cat, subscription boxes are not the way to go, unless they indicate that they specialize in only providing that type of toy (I haven't come across a brand that does this yet).

If you want to get an idea of what is in the boxes before you purchase, see if the website has a page that shows the contents of previous boxes (they usually do). Another option is to check out Unboxing Videos on YouTube. You can look at my unboxing videos on YouTube or read through the unboxing posts (which include pictures).

One of my favorite parts of making the unboxing videos, is watching the videos to see what my cats were doing in the background. Sometimes, I was not aware that they were behind me until I watched the video!

What about the cat treats?

Some boxes may include cat treats. If you don't want your cats to receive cat treats, check to see if there is an option to not get treats. If they don't offer a no treat option, you may receive treats that you don't want your cat to have. I suppose you could give them away, but you might want to choose a different cat subscription box!

We choose to not get treats for any of the boxes that we received since Lina has allergies. She had hot spots once, that were very likely caused by a new kind of treat, so we are not introducing anything new to her. And giving some of our cats one kind of treats and the other cats a different treat feels complicated.

Also, the website may provide information on where their cat treats (and toys) are sourced from.

The boxes may help you discover which toys your cats like best.

One benefit of cat boxes is trying out new kinds of toys with your cat. Your box may contain a toy you never would have considered buying or thought about buying at a pet store.

Your cats may ignore some toys completely. Others they may play with for days or months.

I have discovered that my cats like interactive toys and balls. For example, the wand toys where a toy can be dangled in front of them.

Taco with wand toys

Taco with wand toys

They also like balls. Any type of ball that they can easily bat around please them. It does not seem to matter if the balls have a noise maker in the middle or not.

If you find your cats have a favorite type, you can order more of that type from Amazon (affiliate link) or wherever you prefer. Or, you can check the box's website to see if they list where to get the toy that was in the box.

Some stuffed toys are designed to appeal to humans

Cats don't seem to care how cute the toys are to the human. Sometimes the cat boxes will have holiday themed items, like turkey and pumpkin pie shaped toys in November. The design of the toys may increase the cost of the toy.

With my cats, catnip seems to be what attracts my cats to a new stuffed toy or just general curiosity. Since the cats seem indifferent to the shape, that means the purpose of the design is for the human.

We have received some very cute toys! Posing your cat or cats with the themed toys is also popular on Instagram. I've done it with my cats!

Items for the CatLady: Fun vs practical

The CatLady Box provides items for the cat lady. For a bit more a month, you can get the crazy cat lady box that includes 2 items for the cats.

I've received a shirts and a hoodie which I will wear. And other items that I will likely not use like a ring, necklace, and hair pins. These items are very nice, but are not really my style. I don't normally wear those types items and would need to make an intentional effort to wear them. I also received super cute socks, but I am picky about how socks feel on my feet, and will likely not put them on.

While the boxes are fun to open, you may be accumulating stuff that is not practical for you. I suppose you could re-gift the stuff you will not utilize to another cat lover who would!

If you like CatLady Box items, but don't want to subscribe, they sell leftover items for direct purchase on their website. Other sites may do this as well.

ball toys that were pushed under the white cabinet in the background

ball toys that were pushed under the white cabinet in the background

Exclusivity and Community

Some cat subscription boxes will include items made only for them. The CatLady box does this sometimes with items for the cat lady and also with the toys (which come with the Crazy CatLady box).

CatLady Box seems to send the same items to every subscriber. Meowbox is a random selection from a group of toys. That means that someone else you know getting Meowbox may get different cat toys. I feel this reduces the feeling of community.

When everyone gets the someone items, I feel like we are all in the same club.

Meowbox (as of writing this) writes the name of each cat on the box lid, which gives a personal touch to their box.​

The Card Art

Moewbox, CatLady Box, and KitNip box, include lovely cat picture or art on the front of the card insert that is in each box. The card will usually indicate the artist or graphic designer's website. Some of the artists have Etsy stores where prints can be ordered.

The backside of the cards describe what is in the box or gives a link.

The cards are a creative way to introduce you to a cat artist! And I love cat designs that are pleasing to my eye!

CatLady Box - January 2017 Card Insert

Example of card and the card art

Are getting your money's worth?

Some cat boxes, like the CatLady Box, include the retail value of each item on the card. This is any easy way to see that you are getting good value in the box. Or you may decided otherwise. I surmise that the items can be shipped to subscribers at less cost then retail as they are being sent directly to the customer and not sitting in a retail store.

Keep in mind that part of the charge is a convenience cost. Someone else is gathering the toys, putting them in box, and delivering them right to your home. You are being saved a trip to the store!

Also, some of the subscription services offer quarterly or annual subscriptions. Options to pay for a longer term (such as, quartelry or annual) s are usually a better deal than paying month to month.

It's all about perspective. The average toy price (if you divide cost of box by number of toys in box) will likely be much more than the homemade catnip toys or low cost toys for the pet store. The homemade triangle catnip toys sold at local stores (and perhaps at your vet's office) may feel like a bargain

If your budget is tight for one month, some services have an option to skip a month without canceling your subscription. Check their website to see if they offer this option.

if you are having to modify the toys (cutting parts off - more on this below), you may feel like it's not worth it. Why pay for toys that you don't want to give to your cat?

How many toys does your cat need?

That's a personal question. I feel that my cats have more than they "need". If you have extra toys you can rotate them. Rotating means to put some in a closet that they cannot access for a while. And then after a week or so, switch those toys out with the toys that they have been playing with.

I thought about giving some of the toys away to friends or relatives that have cats. Then I came across this article on Catster, which does not recommend buying used cat toys. The issue is that the smell on the used toys could upset the receiving cats. I don't want to be the reason someone else's cat reacts poorly to a toy!

Buster with cat toys. Many, but not all, of these toys were acquired from a cat subscription box

Buster with cat toys. Many, but not all, of these toys were acquired from a cat subscription box

You may get toys that are not ideal for your cat

Buster likes to bite pieces off of toys. This could be feathers or anything else dangling from the toy. In the past, he has had feathers gummed up in his mouth. I fear that the piece would get stuck in his throat or cause a blockage further down in his intestines. Last December he had an incident with ribbon attached to a toy. He got a small piece off and swallowed it. This happened very quickly. I was in the same room with him. Fortunately, he vomited the ribbon almost immediately on his own.

For any new toys that arrive, the feathers are cut off and anything else that I've deemed too risky for my cats. Of course, the toys have warnings on them to supervise your cats with the toys.

I noticed the cats were initially tracked to the new toys, but sometimes after a hour they had lost interest. Maybe the smell of catnip doesn't last!

If you are particular about what types of toys your cats can play with, than you may want to avoid subscription boxes since what you get is usually a surprise.

Our boxes have contained a few toys that I haven't figured out how to use. The sounds weird for cat toys, but it is true!

Beware of payment dates, especially when canceling

You will automatically be charged on the specified renewal date each month (or quarter - whatever terms you agreed to when signing up). If you decide you want to cancel your subscription and you've already paid for that month's box, most sites seem to still send you the box you already paid for instead of giving you a refund. You will not be charged the next month.

Essentially, you are prepaying for each box. There may be 2 weeks (or more or less) in between when you pay for a box and when it ships, so I encourage you to pay attention to the dates if you are thinking of canceling your cat subscription box.

Summary

Cat subscription boxes can be fun to receive. Most boxes are sent monthly. There are many cat box services to choose from and some may offer a no cat treat option. Review websites for cost, delivery options, and other features.

Cat subscription boxes are NOT the cheapest way to obtain toys for your cat. You may end up with cat toys or other items that go unused. You could discover a new favorite type of toy for your cat. You may question the value of the box.

My experience is based on receiving boxes from CatLady Box, KitNipBox (affiliate link - I may receive a commission if you visit website from this link and subscribe), and Meowbox

I've shared my views, and now it's up to you decide if you want to get a cat subscription box!

Do you get a monthly cat subscription box? If so, which one and would you recommend it to others?

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Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 2 comments
Three Chatty Cats - February 4, 2017

That picture with Buster and the toys is hilarious. Yes, he probably has more than he needs there!

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    Heidi from The Joy of Cats - February 5, 2017

    Usually we do not have at all the toys at one time and that picture didn’t include all of them! I think Buster was a little overwhelmed.

    Reply

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