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When Peaty the Orange Tabby recently tested the viral Potaroma Wall Cat Toy, he was largely unimpressed (at least, after the cat sugar ran out). It’s not you, catnip. It’s him. But there’s another cat toy on the market that’s even bigger among the cat lovers of Amazon and TikTok: the Potaroma Electric Flopping Fish.
Does it live up to its nearly 14,000 five-star reviews on Amazon? Peaty and friends tested it to find out.
All About the Potaroma Electric Flopping Fish
Measuring 10-11 inches long, the Potaroma Flopping Fish is an interactive fish toy made to look like a real fish, and it succeeds about as well as a cat toy can. The one I tested looks like a grey carp, with grey-blue scales and a hint of orange printed on a velvety fabric cover. Other options include a clownfish, a rainbow trout, and a red carp.
The head of the fish is squishy and stuffed with fluff. Within the body is an electronic mechanism enclosed in a plastic casing. It’s accessed through a zipper on the fish’s belly and easily removed to charge the battery or clean the outer cover.
The tail of the toy is where the magic happens. When activated, a lever attached to the central mechanism snaps back and forth, causing the flapping of the tail that the fish is known for.
This tail movement has two cadences: one is rapid-fire (flopflopflopflop), and the other is more rhythmic (floppyfloppyflop). They alternate upon activation, and each continues for about 15 seconds before stopping. The motor is motion sensitive, so it will sit idle until tapped or bumped—or pounced upon. A switch inside also allows you to turn it off if desired.
Unboxing the Toy
The flopping fish toy came sealed in a clear plastic sleeve.
“It’s like how frozen fish comes,” my husband observed.
Tearing open the plastic, I found a packet of catnip alongside the toy. The catnip gets inserted into the fish’s body alongside the flapping mechanism. That is, it does if your cat is actually into catnip. Despite Peaty’s general ambivalence to the stuff, I slid it in.
Charging the Flopping Fish Toy
The Potaroma Flopping Fish toy does not require any batteries. A micro USB cable comes included to charge the mechanism, and you’ll likely need to charge it upon arrival.
The instructions that came with the toy indicate that it takes about 90 minutes to charge, which seemed about right. A red charging light goes on while the fish charges and turns off when it’s ready for play.
With moderate use, the toy we tested lasted several days before requiring a charge. In their reviews, some cat owners reported just a day or two. (We figure battery life depends on how actively your cat is playing with it.)
So What Did Peaty Think of the Potaroma Flopping Fish Toy?
The first thing to know is this: introducing a cat to a toy when they’re sleepy is underwhelming. They might look at you more than the toy, even with it flopping right at their feet.
If you have a dog in the house, the second thing to know is that your canine may be equally interested in the toy.
Once the fog of sleep cleared and the dog was sufficiently distracted, Peaty got his chance. He was interested, to be sure, but also overwhelmed. Based on some other cats’ reactions, he’s not entirely alone. It is a lot of flopping.
We found that tucking the moving toy under a blanket or his play rug resulted in a better response. It’s like toes under a blanket; there’s something about the mystery that seems to intrigue a cat’s senses, Peaty included.
But the best response came after the battery died a few days in—that’s when he pounced on the flopping fish toy with all of his goofy self, holding it close to his belly and kicking with his feet. It was the reaction I’d hoped for when the thing was on, but, well, he is a cat. They are known for their quirks.
So Peaty loves the flopping fish toy—when it’s not flopping.
A Cat Toy . . . for Dogs?
While the Potaroma Flopping Fish toy is primarily marketed as a cat toy, some dog owners have discovered that the toy is great for dogs too. In one popular TikTok video, a labradoodle (appropriately named Tuna) was a big fan. When my dogs also showed interest, we went ahead and tested that too.
For my Labrador Retriever Logan, it was love at first flop. Living up to his water dog heritage, he quickly claimed the toy. The movement was not a deterrent but a challenge, and he proudly captured the fish and carried it around the house.
Our Terrier mix (Miss Bennet) was not as enthralled as her brother, showing more concern than interest at the thing wiggling around on the rug. Lucy, a friend’s dog with a usually sunny disposition, was also presented with the flopping fish toy—and growled and walked away.
It’s safe to say that canine reactions are mixed.
If you decide to pick up the flopping fish toy for your canine friend, we recommend that you do so with caution. The cover seems sturdy, but it’s thin; there’s not much to protect the mechanisms inside from dogs’ strong jaws.
Eager chewers and crunchers may be able to chomp through the toy easily. I heard at least one concerning (though thankfully not disabling) crack when Logan had the toy in his possession.
As with many toys, it’s a good idea to monitor your dog’s play if you do decide to give it a whirl….or, rather, a flop.
We’re going to call the Potaroma Electric Flopping Fish Peaty-approved.
Flopping or not, the toy is a great size and shape for kicking play, and the catnip makes it appealing for many cats. In full flop mode, the movement of the tail adds extra excitement and stimulation that many cats and dogs will enjoy. The fast-charging and motion-sensing features are a great touch as well.
At around $14, the price of the flopping fish is on the higher end of many cat toys. However, Potaroma offers a 100% satisfaction guarantee, offering to refund or replace the toy if you (or your cat) are unhappy with it.
Plus, Potaroma has launched a new version of the Flopping Fish toy, which includes a remote control. The remote allows humans to start and stop the fish’s flopping at will, presumably for even more flopping fun with your cat.
Carolyn Rousch is a freelance writer and hobby photographer. She is based in Tucson, Arizona, where she happily shares her home with a dog, a dog who acts like a cat, and a cat who acts like a dog.
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Published at Tue, 19 Oct 2021 19:40:04 -0400