Six of the best gadgets and gizmos on a theme. This week: Six of the best fun gadgets to keep your pets happy, active and entertained.
By Peter Jenkinson Running until May 7, National Pet Month is upon us. It's all about promoting responsible ownership of pets and making people aware of the benefits that furry friends can bring.
As a nation of animal lovers, there's a burgeoning amount of gear and gadgetry to allow us to dress up animals and shower them with gifts.
So take a look at our half-dozen devices to keep cats and dogs entertained and, meanwhile, get involved with other pet lovers at www.nationalpetmonth.org.uk Mix And Meow - Cat Scratch - £15 from www.suck.uk.com Cats scratch furniture to mark their territory and get a bit of exercise too. But to keep your sofa looking the way it was intended, invest in these scratch decks. Not only a way to ensure maximum entertainment for your moggy but you should be able to take some comical snaps of your feline spinning the moveable turntable - sit back and smile.
All Weather Walker - Fit Fur Life Treadmill - £2,535 from www.firebox.com A little over the top and a royal price tag too, but this contraption, which made an appearance on Dragons' Den, will provide any pooch the daily regime of exercise required and keep them clean if the weather takes a turn. This is an ideal additional offering to be combined with parks, paddling pool dips and squirrel chasing.
Place Your Biscuits - Dog Casino - £33.99 from www.companyofanimals.co.uk This is an ingenious puzzle game for dogs of all ages - and it is quite entertaining for pet owners, too. Load up the sliding trays with your dog's favourite treat, then your clever canine should begin to paw at the trays and pull them out to retrieve the contents and tuck in. You can make it harder as they get smarter by putting in the bone-shaped pegs to lock the drawers, so they'll have to remove those first - fiendish!
Cat's Entertainment - FroliCat Twitch - £19.95 from www.gizoo.co.uk This is a simple yet highly effective way of keeping felines entertained while you're out. Just stick this device to any flat surface and attach the spring and toy, so they dangle mid-air, teasing your cat. This automatic entertainment system can be set so the toys swing side to side for 10 minutes, or another mode which turns it on at intervals throughout the day. Watch as your cat, over time, hears the beep of the machine and runs to attend their play session.
Sound Sphere - Babble Ball - from £6.99 at www.firebox.com We think it'd be quite fun to sit in a room of pet toy inventors, especially the session when the boffins came up with this idea. When it is touched, the Babble Ball talks or makes animal sounds, making it great fun - and a good companion - for dogs. There are more than 20 different audio sounds, such as "sweet puppy" and "grrr", to entertain your pet.
Ducks Away - Hyper Flying Duck - £8.99 from www.firebox.com Those tennis ball lobbing machines are so very last season, this year it's all about 100ft flying ducks. Launch the Hyper Flying Duck by hooking your thumb under the beak and pulling back the tail rope section - then release. It makes playing fetch in the park a lot easier and it's kind on dogs' gums and teeth.
App of the week: Game for cats - Free download at www.ipadgameforcats.com This pet app is outstanding, and is sure to keep your feline entertained for hours.
The free version allows cats to chase an on-screen laser and then you can upgrade this, after you've seen the fun that's being had, to a mouse-chasing game. It makes for cute, playful entertainment.