Enrichment Toys That Bring Outdoor Fun for Indoor Cats | Dezi & Roo

Animal Innovations Show - Episode 125 - Dezi & Roo

Enrichment Toys That Bring Outdoor Fun for Indoor Cats | Dezi & Roo

Want to get your bored cat excited even when you’re not around? Why not try cat toys from Dezi & Roo?

Founded by Dr. Lynn Bahr, Dezi & Roo designs, manufactures, and sells enrichment toys that enhance your lives and your cats’ lives. The goal is to bring outdoor fun to your indoor felines.

According to Dr. Lynn,

Dezi & Roo toys get cats excited to play and are an important aspect in keeping them happy and healthy. Our toys are intentionally designed to look, feel, sound, and smell like wildlife to appeal to cats’ natural instincts.”

From Cat Lover to Veterinarian to Dezi & Roo

dezi and roo cat toys

A veterinarian by trade, Dr. Lynn grew up as a dog person. However, it was a little gray kitty with a pink nose that turned her onto the world of cats.

“This little gray and white fluff adopted me in 1980 and turned my world upside down. It was through him that I realized that new medicine was the career that I wanted. Specifically, I wanted to work with just cats,”

she shared.

At the time, specializing in cat-only practice was unheard of, so Dr. Lynn spent the first couple of years catering to both dogs and cats.

Fortunately, the world has started to slowly change, and she counts herself as one of the lucky ones to spend her veterinarian career taking care of cats.

With the pandemic, Dr. Lynn changed her focus from helping cats physically to now helping them mentally.

“Being locked up in four walls is a whole different lifestyle. And with it comes a whole new host of problems and medical problems as well… So, I feel like our indoor cats are almost a new breed… They never walk on grass, breathe fresh air. They have no idea where they live in the neighborhood.”

Having shifted her focus, Dr. Lynn tried talking to other cat lovers on how they can further enrich their felines’ lives.

“They need exercise, entertainment. They need to be active. So, I would search and search for products that I could recommend, but I rarely found any that I really, really love.”

Aside from that, the cat parents she knew often complained about how their pets don’t play.

This bothered the female toy maker, as she was of the opinion that kittens would play with almost anything.

Eventually, this dilemma encouraged Dr. Lynn to make toys that really appealed to furbabies.

“Our toys at Dezi & Roo are all handmade here in the U.S. They’re designed for the cat, not for the owner. My goal is to mimic everything that a cat does outside, which is to hunt and to explore and to smell things and to bring those elements inside. So, that’s the focus of our company—really designing toys that are for cats to play with.”

 

 

Learn more about Dezi & Roo!

Visit their website at https://deziroo.com/.

Have suggestions for who we should interview next?

Send us a message at [email protected]!

Dr. Bahr: Hi, everybody, I’m Dr. Lynn Bahr, and you are tuned in to The Animal Innovations Show.

Chris: So, you get to start us off. Tell us who you are and how you’re innovating and helping animals.

Dr. Bahr: Well, I am a veterinarian by trade. It was a little gray kitty with a pink nose that turned me onto the world of cats.

I have two of my own, Dezi and Roo. That’s the name of my company: Dezi and Roo. And they actually changed my world as well.

Just totally changed my focus from helping cats physically to now helping them mentally. Being locked up in four walls is a whole different lifestyle. And with it comes a whole new host of problems and medical problems as well.

But it’s a— I recently wrote a book called: Indoor Cat. Because I really feel like this is almost a new breed.

In the book, I name it felis interius.

Our indoor cats, they live a totally different lifestyle. They never walk on grass. They don’t breathe fresh air.

So, I now have gone from being a veterinarian to being a toy maker.

Chris: Quite the transition, I mean, veterinarian study of science to now you’re kind of studying the behavior to get them to interact and play.

But as I understand it, that was kind of like the point, right. You really wanted to make toys that really appeal to cats, not just the ones that we find on every shelf in the pet store.

Dr. Bahr: Correct, you know the majority of products in every industry is meant for the purchaser, the buyer, and the customer.

And so, toys for cats have been made and marketed to the owners, not to the cat. And while I was always trying to really enrich their lives, talking to owners, how they can improve, you know, they need exercise, they need entertainment.

They need to be active. And I would search and search for products that I could recommend, but rarely found any that I really, really love. There’s just a handful of good cat toys out there. 

The other problem is owners would always say, “Oh, my cat doesn’t play.” And that really bothered me.

And it was like: Why are they not playing?

I have my suspicions. I don’t have any studies on it, but kittens will play with anything. And so, kittens play. Then owners go out, and as the cats getting a little bit older, they buy toys.

When, in fact, the majority of toys are made overseas. We actually make ours 100% in the United States.

They’re all hand-made here, and they are designed for the cat, not for the owner. My goal is to bring the outdoors in, to mimic everything that a cat does outside.

Which is to hunt and to explore and to smell things and to bring those elements inside. 

Chris: As you know, each cat is so different.

We have five cats, and I feel like their personalities—you know,  I’m playing with one with a string and the other one’s looking to be like, really? That’s just silly. I’m not going to do that.

And if I toss a ball, then it’s like, oh, my goodness, there’s a ball. And they all kind of have their own thing.

So, you got to figure out what their personalities are. Are they the ones that want to go in a tunnel? Are they the ones who want to go under things, jump for things because they’re all slightly different.

Dr. Bahr: Cats absolutely need a variety—as well as just something new every day. They really need new things every day.

Chris: I was going to say it sounds like things are working out for you, right? So, it sounds like the cat toys are taking off and people are buying them.

I’ve seen you’ve been in all sorts of magazines and on TV.

I mean, just from being that person that’s focused on cat behavior and specific cat toys, it seems like it’s really paying off.

Dr. Bahr: It has, in fact, I exhibited this year at Global, which was unbelievably amazing to me that I had a booth there and I’m playing with the big boys and people want our products.

Chris: I mean, you’ve now written a book, so now you’ve gone from veterinarian to cat toy creator to writing a book.

Tell me more about the book and how that came about.

Dr. Bahr: The book was— again, I never set out to write a book. But there’s so much information that owners need to know about with their indoor cats.

Like I said, this is a different breed. When cats went outside, they were easy.

If they are indoor cats, they’re high maintenance. If they go in and out, they’re out, they are exploring, they’re getting fresh air, they’re eating grass. They are lower maintenance.

But if they’re within four walls, owners need to know a lot about caring for this caged animal.

It really is. It’s a big cage, but they require additional care. An indoor cat, their entire life is commanded by their owner.

We determine where they eat, when they eat, what they eat, what they eat out of. They have no choices whatsoever indoors.

And so, it was really important to me to start really addressing these issues and helping owners that are doing they’re keeping their cat inside because they love their cat, because they want what’s best for their cat.

And so, that’s why it was really important to me to get this book out.

Chris: I like that, I like that idea.

So, Doctor Lynn, what’s next for you? What does the future look like? You’ve written a book. You’ve got toys.

Like, what’s next?

Dr. Bahr: Who knows? I never planned any of this, so I have no clue what the future holds. No doubt, it will involve a cat changing my life, I guess, in whatever way that is.

Chris: So, if people are interested in obviously buying the products or getting the book, where can they go?

Dr. Bahr: They can come to our website DEZIROO.COM for our toys. And the book is available anywhere where you buy books.

Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and your local bookstore.

Chris: Well, Dr. Lynn, is there anything else you want to mention before we wrap things up today?

Dr. Bahr:

I would just like to encourage people to really start recognizing that their indoor cats need more than whatever it is they’re doing.

Even mine that I do so much for every single day we could still do more.

Chris: I like that, that’s a great way to end the show. So thank you, Dr. Lynn, for wrapping it up so nicely.

And as I wrap up the show here today I just love the journey and that’s why I love having guests like Dr. Lynn and she started as a veterinarian turned toy manufacturer, turned author, and who knows what’s next.

But if you have an idea for an innovative product or service, anything that’s helping animals, we want to know about it go to INNOVATIONS.SHOW and we’d love to have you on the show and don’t forget to sign up at DOOBERT.COM so you can be a Dooberteer and you can help transport and be a foster for rescue animals that need you.

Dr. Lynn, thank you again for coming on. I really enjoyed the conversation.

Dr. Bahr: Thank you so much for having me. It’s been wonderful.

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