The Cat Fishin’ Rod - Operation, Play Tips & Techniques
Congratulations on your purchase of the Cat Fishin’ Rod! It shows you care more than most about the mental and physical well-being of your feline family members, and want to enrich their lives with toys that satisfy their natural instincts to stalk, chase, pounce on and capture their prey.
By playing Cat Fishin’ with your cat for 10 or 15 minutes each day, you will create a strong bond and become even closer friends.
- For best control during play, use a short to medium length of line. (Short: 0 – 2-1/2 feet; Medium: 3 – 4 feet).
- Don’t try to cast the line—the Cat Fishin’ reel is a fly fishing reel, and is not designed to be cast the way a spinning reel is. The Cat Fishin’ line is lengthen and shortened manually (see Lengthening the Line below), and the Critter PITCHED where you want it to go with a flicking action of your wrist.
- Reel tension and reel lock dials—refer to Figure 1 below. These dials are set correctly and the manufacturer recommends you do not turn either of them. The reel should make a clicking sound when it turns. If the reel isn’t clicking, you may CAREFULLY turn the tension dial (the small black knob farthest from the rod handle) about one-quarter of a turn clockwise to the opposite setting. This will restore the clicking — and the correct line tension.
- When playtime is over, reel the Critter in all the way and store the Cat Fishin’ Rod in a place where your cats can’t get to it—and preferably can’t even see it.
Figure 1 - Reel Tension & Lock Dials
Lengthening the Line
Grasp the rod handle in your favored hand, then grab the line below the reel with your free hand and pull some out. There should be a clicking noise as the reel unwinds, meaning the tension is set correctly ON (see reel tension and lock dials above). Then, with Critter end pointed down, give the rod a few shakes and let gravity do the work—or simply grab the Critter end with your free hand and pull the line through to the new length.
Figure 2 - Manually Lengthening a Line
Shortening the Line
Reel the line in by turning the wooden crank handle AWAY from you — or counterclockwise — as you hold the rod out in front of you. This may seem counter-intuitive, but it’s how true fly fishing reels operate.
Lengthening and Shortening the Line While Playing - Quick Method
You can quickly lengthen and shorten the line during play by grabbing it with your free hand below the reel, pulling it out and away from the rod—then releasing it when you want it longer again.
Although the special line on the Cat Fishin’ Rod is tangle-resistant, tangles become rare if you only pull out only as much line as you can control, and avoid raising the tip of the rod more than 45 degrees above the horizontal. The rod tip can be pointed downward at any angle during play—but playing with the tip up at extreme angles will cause the Critter to swing back and wrap the line around the rod.
Removing Line Tangles
- Remove tangles with gentle teasing and unwinding.
- If the line becomes entangled in the reel mechanism, please refer to Figures 3 and 4, showing how to open up the reel and carefully free the line.
Figure 3 - Opening the Reel to Remove Tangled Line
Figure 4 - Reel Housing and Mechanisms (left), Spool (right)
Play Tips & Techniques: “It’s In the Wrist”
To begin, hold the rod by grasping the handle in front of the reel, and pull out some line. With the rod tip angled downward and using mainly your wrist action, sweep the Critter back and forth in a big arc along the floor.
- Vary the speed and the action of the Critter. Have it “crawl” slowly along the floor--or if kitty isn’t stimulated by these movements, move the Critter back and forth at a faster rate (again, using your wrist action).
- Attach a Disco Ball Critter to a medium length of line and use your wrist action to flick the Critter quickly towards and away from your attentive cat. This can be done along the floor—or in the air if your cat is on top of a perch. With a little practice, your cat will learn to catch, or continually bat or volley the ball back to you as in a game of Ping-Pong.
- When your cat’s eyes are intently focused on the Critter on the floor, flick it towards and away from them a couple of times—then the next time you flick it towards them, at the instant it gets close--SURPRISE!--swing it up off the floor and over their head (using a slight upward motion of your wrist). This trick will cause most cats to make a leap into the air as their sharp eyes follow their prey. As you and your cat practice this game, the leaps and feats of athletics will become more spectacular! (Note: Play this game a safe distance away from hard furniture and walls which your cat could accidentally crash into.)
- Pull out a longer (10-12’) length of line and fling the Critter down some stairs--then pull it quickly back up the stairs with your cat in hot pursuit! (Tip: Use the quick line shortening and lengthening method described earlier to bring the Critter back up the stairs.)
- With a medium-length line (three to four feet) move the Critter along the floor and over furniture keeping it just ahead of your pursuing cat. You’ll have to be quick—but controlled. With practice both you and your cat will get better at this game.
- Scatter newspaper sheets, open paper bags or cardboard boxes around the play area. Using a medium to long line, flick the Critter under the edge of a sheet of newspaper and drag it slowly along like a dazed bug trying to hide. Similarly, you can drag it around the backs and insides of boxes and bags. The soft rustling of the Critter under the paper or the faint scratching sounds of the “trapped bug” against the cardboard will captivate your cat—who will try again and again to trap the elusive “bug.”
- Drag one of the Mouse or Ratzo Critters slowly along the edge of an area rug—as a real one might move (you can be across the room and do this).
- Dance the Critter along the walls about three feet off of the floor to make it appear like it’s a flying bug. Very effective around scratching posts too.
- If your cat wants to hold onto the Critter just to chew it up, retrieve it at the first opportunity (Tip: Give them a cat treat when they release it). Promptly replace Critters if any lose or torn parts occur.
Don’t Forget To:
- Praise your kitty for capturing the Critter, especially if he/she made an extra effort, such as spectacular leap to catch it in mid-flight.
- Play fair. Don’t always make it impossible for your cat to catch the Critter. By allowing them the satisfaction and reward of capturing their prey, your cat will be encouraged to try harder—and will look forward to playing again.
- Allow your cat rest periods to catch their breath. Young cats and kittens in particular will not stop chasing and trying to catch the Critter even when they are panting hard, so it’s important to monitor this.
- Practice and improve your accuracy in flicking the Critter to precise locations and targets—such as on top of favorite perches or inside cat condos, and by volleying it back and forth in a game of Ping-Pong with your cat.
- Change Critters often and your cat will never be bored!