Pootie Pads were developed for an online community of pet-lovers who post daily about their kitties, called “pooties” after the name of a certain cat. Initially, we thought we had designed a simple catnip toy.
However, reports from customers showed us the Pootie Pad is much, much more than a plaything. We heard story after story of how the pad often helped to improve the behavior of cats. We heard:
• Aggressive cats tend to chill out when blissed by our catnip
• Shy cats become approachable and learn to accept petting
• Cats who are anxious about car trips to the vet or “coming home” from adoption calm down when a Pootie Pad is put in their carrier
• Clingy cats will settle wherever the Pootie Pad is placed
• Older cats who spend time on a Pootie Pad feel more comfortable and playful – we think our catnip may soothe aches and pains
We even heard that a Pootie Pad in a humane trap worked to entice a lost cat when food in the trap had failed to do so.
The story that really got our attention and made us realize that the Pootie Pad was more than a toy came from a gentleman who lived on a boat with his wife, who was in an advanced stage of Alzheimer’s. Another resident of their boat home was a white cat, whom the wife loved dearly. The day their Pootie Pat arrived, the man’s wife laughed as she had not laughed in a long time, just to see the cat play on the pad. It was, he said, “a happy little boat that day.” And the pad proved especially useful when the gentleman received respite care for his wife and left the boat to attend to other things. The cat would go berserk with anxiety when he left – but he learned to soothe the cat by putting the Pootie Pad on his berth. The kitty would quietly lie down on the pad and sleep until his return.
No, this is not just a toy.
Soon, dog owners asked us if there was something we could make for their pets. Working with a professional trainer, we tried making pads for dogs containing a mix of organic lavender and thyme. The report back was that dogs with anxiety would be drawn to the pads and, over time, calm down. This can be very helpful for separation anxiety – and the pads are a nice fragrant addition and cushion for a dog crate.
Thus Pootie Pads for Pooches came to be.
It did not stop there. Pet owners moaned that they wished they had a calming pad for themselves. Well, lavender is the aromatic soother of choice for many people. We not only put it into pads, we added it to a lap throw, a Pootie Pad for People! We were surprised to learn that some cats are soothed by lavender, too. Who knew?
This is our problem. We have a beautiful, hand crafted, and useful product that has been well received so far. Making Pootie Pads has helped us, two mature women, to squeak by in a down economy. BUT we don’t have the means to update our website and advertise – in other words, to bring our project to the next level where it will provide a living for us and then provide employment for other people, as well. We are looking for a kickstart for:
• Professional website redesign
• Funds for advertising
• Materials to make enough stock to supply increased demand
• Money to cover our labor for the months it will take to complete the above
But let the happy kitties have the last word about our product! Here are a couple of videos sent to us by very satisfied customers. We hope you enjoy them.
Risks and challenges
A very welcome challenge we will face is keeping up with demand once an advertising campaign is successful. Up to now, we two sisters have been the only people constructing Pootie Pads. We will need to train and employ helpers and find a bigger workshop, one where we can continue to pre-wash all our fabric, thus removing the toxic sizing that might be harmful to pets and people. It is important to us that Pootie Pads continue to be (as we say on the label) “made in Oregon" by Oregonian makers from Oregon Tilth certified organic herbs.
Another challenge will be handling sales overseas, exporting and dealing with currency exchange. We would love to see our very American product become popular in other lands…Japan, perhaps? The internet is full of cats and not all of them live in North America! Help our Oregon-based small, artisan/maker business bring joy to cats, dogs, and their people around the world.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (21 days)