About Cat Dancer Products

In 1983 Cat Dancer was the first nationally marketed interactive cat toy (toys designed to be used by a cat and their owner simultaneously). According to a recent survey by the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association, 40% of all the cat toys now sold in the US are interactive in nature.

Cat Dancer is now used in millions of homes worldwide to provide house bound cats with healthy play and exercise and is singled out by veterinarians for its safe design.

Cat Dancer Deluxe is our Original Cat Dancer handheld toy packaged with a plastic paw that is to be attached to a wall to hold the toy for cats to play alone.  It is attached to the wall using Command Strips which we include in the package.  It takes just 30 seconds to install and it’s literally a snap to attach the toy for the cats to play.

Cat Dancer Pro-Model is the first toy designed to be used by a cat confined in a cage or a carrier. Our exclusive “Cage Clip’ attaches the toy to a cage or carrier to help alleviate boredom and anxiety and to help cats get a bit of movement and exercise when confined. Shorter, stiffer and faster than the regular Cat Dancer, this toy has a convenient clip on the handle that makes it easy to attach it to a carrier or cage for either transport or play. Designed to make cats leap, chase and pounce, in a cage or on the carpet, this is the most fun you can have with a cat. Perfect for rescues and shelters. A portion of the profits from the Pro-Model will be used to send toys to rescues and shelters nationwide.

Catnip Cat Dancer includes a mouse shaped handle that is impregnated with 100% catnip oil. The handle will give off the scent for a full four months after opening and is refillable.

But cats and people need variety in their toys, so we designed the Cat Charmer which is an unbreakable handle attached to four feet of colorful fleece. The attachment is made with a powerful glue and covered with a rubber collar for safety and holds the fabric to the rod securely, the fabric will tear before the joint lets go and has been tested to over 30 pounds (13.3 kilos).

For chase and fetch play we have three toys called Chasers, RingTail Chasers, Whisker Chasers, BowTie Chasers and 6 pack Chaser (2 of each of the Chaser line), which are all made from the same cardboard we use on the Cat Dancer and a bit of the fleece used in the Cat Charmer. These ingredients will combine in your cat’s imagination to create irresistible play, chase and fun.

Mouse in the House is the first automatic cat toy which is designed with a timer to call your cats, and then play with them when you are not home. Our busy lifestyles often keep us away from our pets for several days at a time, this can lead to separation anxiety, overeating, laziness, obesity and even health and behavior problems. Mouse in the House is designed to provide stimulation and exercise for housecats left alone.

The Wall Scratcher is a scratching surface for cats to use to remove the outer sheath of their claws to expose the fresh healthy nail underneath.  Using Command strips which hold it securely to your wall without damaging the surface, the wall scratcher is vertical just like the trees cats use in nature.  It includes a Cat dancer toy that makes it into a play station for cats.

Cat Dancer Products is dedicated to providing fun and innovative products for you and your cats.


Jim Boelke
President, Cat Dancer Products


Safety and Your Pet

A Veterinarian’s Caution on Toy Selection
By Martha Gearhart, DVM

When it comes to pet entertainment, you can go crazy trying to decide what items to stock. They all look tempting and fun, so it’s hard to make a choice about what products deserve to take up precious shelf space.

But as a veterinarian, I can tell you that you ought to choose carefully. There really are bad toys, good toys and great toys out there, and unfortunately the lines separating these three categories are sometimes blurred.

For example, when a good toy is given to the wrong pet, it automatically becomes a bad toy … for that particular pet. Do you see what I mean about blurred lines?

A truly great toy is one that is safe for pets of both the feline and the canine persuasion. I can think of one product in particular, a cat toy that consists of flexible wire with fire-cracker-like papers attached to the end. The product is inexpensive, cats and kittens love it, disabled people can manipulate it, and young puppies who discover and destroy it can’t get sick by eating the little paper wads.

Dr. Martha Gearhart, a columnist for The Pet Dealer operates her New York clinical practice on a consulting basis, with emphasis in small animal care.

(Reprinted from THE PET DEALER. May 1994)

What Others Say

article1The Cat Dancer
For the kitty that displays the habits of a sloth and the girth of a hippo.


A three-foot piece of 20-gauge oil-tempered spring steel, tipped at each end by twisted strips of cardboard. Waved at a cat, the Cat Dancer undulates enticingly.


A basement inventor’s dream come true: a gimmick born of scrap metal and ingenuity that has become the Nordic Track of cats, selling at the rate of 300,000 units a year, for $2 to $5 each.


Kitty Ritalin. House cats that can’t exercise enough sometimes begin acting inappropriately, channeling their energy into aggression with humans, said Carole Wilbourn, a Manhattan cat therapist. “I try to get cats to play as much as possible, especially if they have Single Cat Syndrome,” she said. This is tricky stuff. In a two-cat household, the problem can be Inter-cat Hostility, Ms. Wilbourn said. Her prescription’? Two Cat Dancers.


It’s not just your imagination. Cats are getting fatter, making aerobic activity or some form of personal training obligatory. “We’ve seen more obesity in cats in the last 8 to 10 years than ever before,” said Debbie Elston of T.H.E. Cat Hospital in Irvine, Calif.


When Mr. Boelke couldn’t come up with a name (“Kitty Flip” was what he called the prototype), he asked a fellow with a big-paying job in marketing to help him. After four hours of being coaxed with Black Russians in a local bar, the marketing genius said he couldn’t possibly take the time to help. As he was leaving, Mr. Boelke said, “the alcohol took effect, he clapped his hand on my shoulder, said ‘Cat Dancing’ and passed out on the floor.” Mr. Boelke said he changed that to Cat Dancer, took the fellow home and has never seen him again.


“It’s way up there with food,” said Suzy Cusack, an owner of Cats, Cats, Cats & Finnegan in Manhattan.


Several years ago, Calvin Klein’s cat Max appeared on a celebrity-cat calendar with a blurb saying that the Cat Dancer was Max’s favorite toy. “I never figured out how to write to Calvin Klein and thank him, because he doesn’t have his address on the jeans,” Mr. Boelke said.


“it works on a simple principle: that there isn’t a cat alive that won’t chase something that moves,” said Alison Steele, an owner of Just Cats in Manhattan. “It’s like manufacturing your own fly.” Mr. Boelke said it’s because the cardboard tastes like a moth.


Late one night in 1978, Mr. Boelke, the owner of cats named Jake and Elwood (for the Blues Brothers), was sweeping the floor in a factory in Oshkosh, Wis., when a strip of scrap metal caught his eye and unleashed what he calls “one of those left-brain connections.” He took it home and waved it at Jake and Elwood, and they went into Nijinsky imitations. Mr. Boelke took to entertaining at parties with performances by Jake and Elwood. This went on for four or five years, during which he gave away about a thousand of the gizmos. Then, in 1983, with $1,500 he’d saved, he went into business.

(Excerpted from THE NEW TORK TIMES, SUNDAY, DECEMBER 13,1992)

Meet the Cat Dancer Staff

Otis_Photo Cat Dancer Products has been around for over 26 years and is staffed by several generations of three families. Unfortunately, most were too shy to have their photo taken for this page for fear of being mobbed by hordes of grateful cats.

One employee who was not shy is Otis, our Corporate Product Tester. This is Otis as he pitched us the idea for the new RingTail Chaser Cat Toy, he was very convincing.