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My cat loves toys that scoot and whir—she's a fan of bells and whistles...and lasers and feathers, for that matter. So I didn't expect much from a low-tech item with none of the above. Still, her penchant for waking me at 3 AM, out of boredom put me squarely in the I'll-try-anything zone regarding pet playthings. A good distraction means a good night's sleep for me. And you can't put a price tag on that.
Expecting very little but inspired to give it a go, I added the Yeeoww bright-yellow banana catnip toy to my Amazon cart. It had a ridiculous reception from Amazon shoppers — nearly 12,300 five-star ratings — and was 44 percent off the original price, down from $9 to just $5. I thought perhaps it would hold my cat's interest for a few hours then find its way to the pile of rejected toys littering a corner of my living room.
Boy was I in for a surprise.
Before I even opened the package, my kitty flung herself toward it, rubbing her cheeks on the sides, tearing at the plastic. I snatched it up to unwrap it. The cat tracked my every move, hypnotized, as I took the banana out of the wrapper, then she nearly tore it out of my hand.
The bright-yellow banana catnip toy might not look like much, but you can't judge a toy by its cover. It's what's inside that counts. And here, what's inside is organic catnip. Interestingly, the Yeeow banana is not like other catnip toys I've experienced. This one is more potent. You can actually smell the stuff inside, so it's exciting enough for even the most blasé sour pusses.
Made of strong cotton twill, colored with natural, non-toxic dye, this banana is ready to rumble. If your cat's like mine and puts her toys through gladiator-style death matches, don't worry—there's zero stuffing inside, just organically grown catnip. So cats are safe from ingesting anything but their favorite herb.
That first night, my kitty played with her new toy all evening, sniffing and biting it, pausing only to groom it like a kitten. She carried it all over my apartment, brandishing it like an Olympic medal. And the love continued the next day, the next week. There's a serious commitment here.
And like I said, my cat is not alone in her love for this toy. Tons of Amazon shoppers have seen similar feline responses to the Yeeow banana.
Writes one, of her cat-nip-crazed cat: "I tossed [the Yeeow banana] on the floor, and Basil, the nip-head, was all over it. While I didn't smell anything, one of the other cats got a contact high! Right now, the one cat who has never been interested in intoxicants of any kind has taken possession of the 'nanner, and is refusing to relinquish it."
I can totally understand cats competing for time with this toy. It seems to be a universal source of joy. In fact, I accidentally ordered two Yeeow bananas and gave one to a friend with a senior cat. This nap-oriented feline—who hasn't shown any interest in toys in years—can't stop snuggling the squishy banana.
Her tale isn't peculiar. Plenty of shoppers with disinterested cats have lost their marbles over this silly banana. Homes with multiple cats have to get a veritable "bunch."
"I would give this catnip banana 10 stars if I could," one shopper says. "All four of my cats love these and play with them all the time. I have several of them scattered throughout the house. In fact, it's the only toy that they all consistently play with and never seem to get bored with. The material that covers the catnip is a heavy yellow canvas twill that has stood the test of time and abuse from my little felines' sharp nails and teeth."
Another senior kitty seems to have found the fountain of youth with the Yeeow banana: "This toy made him lose his mind," writes a shopper. "He was licking it, rubbing his face against it, and becoming super energized (and staying that way). I've never seen him act this way. We adopted him as a senior, so I don't know what his play habits were growing up, but they were essentially non-existent when we got him. This is his new favorite toy...."
As for my cat? She's fast asleep, snuggling her beloved banana like a baby.
Humans love it too, because, at 7 inches, it's big enough not to get lost among tiny toys like balls and fake mice—and it's easy to spot, thanks to its vibrant hue. So it's right there when you—or your kitty—needs it. Say at 3 AM when one of you wants to sleep and the other is ready to party.
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