Pros: it doesn't use a litter box; I bought it on clearance
Cons: BORING; hard to use; doesn't work as advertised
Someone needs to alert the vet or call the morgue and start making arrangements, because our new Hasbro Funeral Kitty was DOA - even three C batteries and a sharp tug to the tail couldn't bring this exciting interactive toy to life (or at least to life for more than 30 seconds).
Mother Knows Best
Who needs Robert Young when you have me? While I may not be Queen of the World (yet), I am Queen of Toy Purchasing in my kingdom (aka my house). With four kids I need to make sensible toy purchases (ha ha ha) or least put in the effort to try and make them. I don't enjoy buying something that gets played with once and tossed aside - if I'm going to that, I may as well put a tens and twenties in the bathroom.
When it comes to holidays and birthdays I like to buy my children what they ask for (within reason), but there are just times that I am older (ok so I'm always older) and wiser. I can usually pick out a lemon and try to work my magic so the child stops asking for it - such was not the case with Hasbro's Furreal Friend - I caved and bought something that I knew would be bad just to make my child happy, and since I can't say this to her without making her cry again, I'll say to you what I wanted to say all weekend long - in the words of the great philosopher Mr. Bumpy, "I was right, you were wrong, I get to sing the I was right song."
Between a rock and a hard place
Since December my youngest daughter has been begging for a Furreal Friend - it was one of the hot toys of the 2002 holiday season and very hard to find. To be honest I will admit I made minimal to no effort to find a Funeral Kitty - I knew by looking at it that it would stink worse than an dirty litter box, but try and explain that to a small child.
Sure I understand why my 5 year old was hooked and had to have one or die - after all the TV and Hasbro promised her that the Funeral Kitties were a "magical line of electronic plush animals that when stimulated by touch convincingly duplicate and mimic mannerisms unique to real household pets through lifelike organic movements and sounds." In other words Furreal Friends were the next best thing to having a real cat (and since my son has allergies and we can't have a real kitty, Claire thought this would be a wonderful substitute).
I thought she might have received the message that she wouldn't be getting one when Santa stiffed her. That move just seemed to make her more determined to get one. Somehow she turned that into they must be so great that everyone got one and now I really need it.
From January to May it was relentless - every day Claire told us how she needed a Funeral Kitty for her 6th birthday (on May 10th). It was a non-stop barrage of how great this toy was and she even pulled out the big guns -"I don't want anything but a Furreal Friend." Around March we had already decided that we had to get her one - despite our belief as to how stupid it would be. I started scouring the stores and finally found the little gray menace on clearance at Wal-Mart for about ten bucks - I'm sure it was mismarked, but I wasn't going to argue.
While the cats away (or even home)
the mouse will play or do anything else it so chooses to do because this cat isn't fooling anyone.
My daughter was thrilled to death on Saturday when she received her Funeral Kitty. She immediately asked that Chihiro be removed from the box (she got that name from her new favorite movie - Spirited Away). I promptly suggested that she keep it in the box because it would probably be more fun that way - she didn't agree and I started the extraction process.
I happen to think the box is one of the best parts of the toy - it looks like a cat carrier. Because they want you to think the cat is alive, Hasbro goes as far as putting in breathing holes in the box and telling you not cover them up - please, who are they trying to fool.
It took some time to get the cat out of the box and you will need to have scissors handy. I think it had about 12 or so of those plastic devices and twist ties holding it to the cardboard. Hasbro also used string with those plastic tabs so you have to cut the strings to release the cat.
Once released we had to add the three C cell batteries. You lift a flap of faux fur on the bottom of the cat, unscrew the battery case, insert the batteries and close the case. The cat has an on/off switch on the bottom so we switched it to on and waited for the realism to ensue. Nothing happened and tears started flowing. We read the instructions and nothing - no stretching or noise making, the cat just sat there.
It took three times before we realized that the stupid string in the battery case was causing problems and making the battery not make contact (can you say design flaw) and once we got that taken care of, the cat was ready to "come alive."
Is that your kitty grinding or are you just happy to see me?
Now, according to the instructions after you insert the batteries and turn the cat on, it will, "move like it is stretching and then go to sleep." HUH? So the toy will come for 5 seconds and then go to sleep - that's exciting! How about turn on and meow, hiss or beg to be petted - anything but sleep.
First off, no matter how many times we turn off the gray menace and turn it back on, it never stretches or moves without severe help from us. It sits there like a lifeless lump of cat litter. If it does turn on, it makes this crazy grinding noise before it hisses or mews - granted it's been some time since I owned a real cat, but I don't think any cat I owned ever made that noise.
This exciting toy is fur covered and the less than advanced insides of the cat are a series of sensors designed to create a movement or noise in the cat if they are pressed. They say it is for ages 5 and/or 6 and up - (on Amazon the minimal age varies by color of cat). One reason for the age warning is that this toy is heavy, and if dropped could cause damage toes and the toy. The fur is surface clean only - do not place it in the washing machine or submerge in water.
No Kitty that's my pot pie!
So, our Funeral Kitty has 6 magical sensors and maybe if we're lucky about 3 of them work every now and then. I do find it comical that the battery door is located in the lower back quadrant of the cat under the tail. The one saving grace to this toy is that it requires constant attention so if the child can't get it to work or pets it then walks away, the cat will turn off quickly - unlike Mr. Furby who kept rattling on for hours.
The sensors are in the left and right cheek, the head, the shoulders, the mid back and the tail. Supposedly if you touch the cheeks, the head will turn to the side of the sensor you press - that exciting movement has yet to occur.
Pressing the other sensors may get the cat to twitch and mew.
The only feature that works somewhat consistently is the tail sensor - tug the tail and the cat goes into the presentation position and hisses. I think the tail is supposed to lower after that, but ours like to keep its tail up - maybe that's how you get a Furreal Kitten. The tail also tends to get "dislocated" if you tug too much so you have to go through this ordeal to get it back in place.
So right about now you must be thinking - boy I need to run and get one of those cats - they are so exciting and interactive. But Nancy, I need to know - do they only come in gray - nope, you can get them in gray, white, black and orange. I also need to know if there is anything else fun about them - well yes, these are ventriloquist cats - when they feel the need to mew and hiss, the mouth does not open (I swear Teddy Ruxpin from 20 years ago was more advanced than this lump of fun fur and metal).
Never fear, if your kitty doesn't work as promised, you can ship it back to Tiger for a $23.00 service fee. Yeah, that sounds like a great option - pay $23.00 to fix something that cost me $10.00. Like I said I knew this cat would be a bomb from the start so I made sure I had a back up gift for my baby - Pia a new doll from MGA Entertainment (the ones who make Bratz dolls). She requires no batteries and has entertained my daughter non-stop since Saturday.
The Funeral Kitty on the other hand no has the job of holding open the door to the garage so we can go in and out without having to open the door - sure ten bucks is a lot for a fur covered doorstop, but at least I found a use for it.