Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Review: Rosewood Options Deluxe Open Top Carrier

I've persuaded the human to write about this after listening to her very frustrated gruntings and grumblings over the last few days. On the way to the show on Saturday, I finally convinced her that the carrier she had for me, whilst being one of the best ones she's seen, is just too small for me. What's that you say? I used to fit fine when I was brought home from the other place I lived at? I've put on weight and that's why it's too small now? Ridiculous! We all know that the reason I'm bigger is because of my extra floofiness for the show. The softness of my yummy tummy is not fat, it's furr. Still, the fact remains that I need a new carrier. The human says she's pleased. I was too boney and unsquishy when I came from the last place, so she doesn't mind that my, erm, floof has gotten a bit bigger. I'm not too squishy, and nor am I going that way, so she's happy. I keep telling her that squishy is good and she should give me more of the stinky wet food to get me that way, but this time, she said that the more moneys she has to spend on new carriers, the less is left to buy me all that stinky goodness. I had to concede the point, to my unhappiness. Seems peoples can use logic too.

But, yet again, I digress. She started looking on the internet for a new carrier. She usually reads lots of reviews before she swaps moneys for anything, but when it came to cat carriers, she just kept coming up blank. Sure, there were lots of short ones done by customers, but nothing in-depth like she wanted. "Well, human, why don't you alter that and write your own?" I said in a fit of peak last night. I'd just had enough of her griping at this point. She was so distracted that she replied, "Shush, Tia. It's not food time yet, and all that meowing is making it hard to hear the computer." Honestly! She wasn't even listening to me propperly! I told her later on though, and it seemed to get through.

I'm going to let the human write the bulk of these reviews, because peoples care about things we don't, like how heavy it is, how durable, and that sort of stuff. At the end, I'll give you my take on it. So, take it away, Human.

Review: Rosewood Options Deluxe

I didn't choose this carrier for myself. I was given it by an ex-friend breeder that I got my first ever Russian White kitten from. It was love at first sight though, and I don't just mean the fluffy white ball of yumminess that was inside it! If you go to this link
I think you can see pictures of it. The one I got was the Deluxe open top, size 1.

For many cats, travelling is a stressful time, and there's nothing quite like being able to fasten those huge, stroke-me eyes on their owner at a time like this. The Rosewood is excellent at facilitating. Its top and front are completely wire, the front having a square, grid-like pattern and the top being arranged with the wire in rows. The holes in the front are big enough that you can get your fingers inside for a quick, reassuring chin tickle, but unfortunately, they're also large enough for paws to come snaking out of. If you have a cat who will slash and grab when frightened, this carrier is definitely not for you, unless you leave it facing away from you, that is.

The carrier opens at the front and at the top. This latter is a distinct advantage if you have a cat who likes to go star-shaped as soon as you try and bundle them in through the door of a conventional carrier. It's also an added bonus at vet surgeries. for the very nervous cat, injections can be given whilst still in the safety of the box. For the feisty one, coming out through the top means less exposure to claws and teeth for the poor unfortunate charged with the dubiously delightful task of removing the caged fury from its sanctuary. It also facilitates a quick stroke, although you have to be careful that the cat doesn't flip the other way and wriggle free. Both doors feel incredibly stirdy. The wire isn't flimsy at all, and stands up well to the test of time. I've had mine for a year now. It's travelled lots, been through a house move, had heavy things dropped on it, been on trains, buses and goodness knows what else, and neither door has a scratch on it yet. The handle is afixed to the top door, but even though I use this to carry it, I've never been worried about it slipping or breaking.

The handle itself clips to the door rather than being fixed there, but seems in little danger of snapping off. However, due to its design, if you use it, the carrier will swing a little as you walk. I usually tuck the box against my hip as I'm walking, so this isn't a problem for me, but if you like to use the handle and you have an active or easily spooked cat, you need to bear this in mind. There are two d-rings on the top to attach a shoulder strap to, but as I haven't used one, I don't know how well this works.

Both doors have strong catches. The top has two which slide across to clip a section of the wire against the thick plastic frame. The front door is a single-handed, spring-loaded catch. You place a finger and thumb against two pieces of plastic and squeeze them together. This retracts a metal pole which goes from top to bottom and inserts into two purpose-built niches in the frame. When I first saw this, I was very dubious about whether it would hold if a cat really wanted to get out, but after trying it with three different wriggling furballs, I can attest to its strength. The front door can be altered so that it opens on the left or the right, so it doesn't matter if you have a dominant hand.

The carrier itself is made of very thick plastic. The top half is vented at sides and back to facilitate good airflow, but with its open top and front, I thinkk this was a bit of over-kill. It lets the cat peep out of the sides though, so it does have its good points. Although the plastic is thick, it is quite slick on the inside, so if you're going in a car or moving vehicle, you will need to put a blanket inside to prevent your pet from slipping from one side to the other. There are seatbelt slots in the top which will stop the carrier slipping around on the seat of the car, and I've read somewhere that it's airline approved, although as requirements vary so much, it's well worth checking before you travel.

There are four snap clips plus two twist clips holding the top half of the carrier to the bottom. Pull this apart and it is very, very easily cleaned. Due to the plastic being slick inside, if you have a cat with the unfortunate habit of going to the toilet or puking during journeys, wiping is absolutely not going to become a chore for you. Again, I know this from painful personal experience. The carrier is very slightly fiddly to put together, but as this feature wasn't designed to be used when the cat is still in it, it doesn't pose any real problems. You can change the hinge side of the door when the carrier is broken in half.

The only size which comes in this open top variety is the size 1. Bigger carriers are avaliable, but they're all closed at the top. I was disappointed in this, for if it had been larger, I would have simply bought another when my cat outgrew the first. If you have a fairly small cat, or want a really good carrier for a kitten, this is good enough that you won't be disappointed if you buy it. However, if you're wanting something which will last as your fluff-ball grows larger, this is probably not the one for you. The carrier comes in a choice of colours, none of which are displeasing to the eye, or so I'm told.

In summary, this is an all-round good carrier. Pros: Good, thick doors, excellent closing mechanisms, stands up to the test of time, thick, easy-wipe plastic, easy visibility for occupant, seat-belt slots, opening top. Cons: bad handle design, size issue, paws can fit through front door, slippery inner floor, no collection gutter for urine or spilled water, danger of losing two twist clips at the front as they totally detach. In spite of these, i would still recommend the carrier. Rosewood, please make the larger two with an opening top!

End of Review!

Now that the human bit is done, here's my thoughts on it. It is too, too, too small! It's also too well made. When I try and get out, the door doesn't even open! On the way to the show I pulled at it with my paws, even mashed my face against the bars of that horrible jail cell. Ok, the face mashing was mainly to get a head rub, but if the door had given I'd have climbed out for one, so it still counts as an escape effort, right? If I bump my head off the top to try and make it open, all I get is hard wire. It's not going anywhere! The wires are too close together for me to get a paw out to undo the clips. I hate you, Rosewood!

I do like the way I can see out all round though. I can keep an eye on that pesky human of mine, make sure she's safe. It's hard owning a people sometimes. It's definitely not a responsibility you take on lightly, let me tell you that. Even though the carrier is small, there's still room for some food and a ping pong ball in there with me, so it's not an absolutely awful jail.

That's enough from us for now. We are going to see the skin lady vet today. I wonder if she'll be nice? We'll post about that today or tomorrow, I'm not sure which. Depends on whether I'm too tired after eating all the fish I'm going to get her to give me tonight. I want to know something though. Some of you others manage to get asked to review all kinds of things, from cat trees to carriers, to foods. How did you do it? I want to find a roomier jail! The human says she has some more coming in the post, whatever that is. I don't know if I'm looking forward to it or not. She tells me there'll be cardboard boxes though, so it's not all bad.


Admiral Hestorb said...

I have too small a pet carrier as I am a 10 pound floofy girl but mommy only found bigger bulky hard to handle same things for dogs. So, I am being put in a smaller carrier now but it is enough for me to lay down.

Tia said...

Hestorb, the human had the exact same problem. She's found two bigger ones that look like they'll be Ok to carry. The more bulky and heavy it is, the harder it is for her to carry me and work the dog at the same time, so weight is a big issue for her. See? I get carried and stupid dogface has to walk. Now that's the way things should be! Although one of the ones she's ordered is heavy, it does say it's erganomic and easy to carry. When we get them, we're going to review them as soon as I use one for the first time, so maybe you could make your people watch out for those posts.

You mean you actually lie down in your carrier? You don't stand up and face mash and tell your people off all the way because she put you in there? Mine's big enough for me to lie down in too, but I like to move around when we're travelling, so I felt the need to lay down the law. No pun intended, of course. Don't let them make you compromise, Hestorb. It's the first step on a slippery slope to doom and no return and other such worrying concepts!

Brian said...

I thought that was a great review. We have one of the soft ones that opens on the top too, I'm in it before I realize it...not always fun!

Amy and The House of Cats said...

This is a great review! And I agree, the kind that have two openings are great - especially when you have to wrestle with a crazy cat to get them in! We are like Brian and have soft ones, and some of them are also good as little nap dens, so it is less scarry to be put in it for them. Ours are also pretty big - I think 5 of the ones I have are for up to 25 lbs. The other two are strictly for cats, but the bigger ones are good for dogs too - if you need more room that is a way to go (Floyd, who is at the bridge now, was GIANT so he needed a bigger carrier, and I just kept up the trend when I got new ones).

The Lee County Clowder said...

Hey, Tia and human. Nice review of the PTU.

Our Food Source bought a wheeled frame designed to carry suitcases, and he stacks us up on that when he has to take us someplace. Not perfect (he has to tip the PTU's sideways so he can roll the carrier, which usually tips us over, too) but easier than taking two or three trips.

Maybe your human could look around for something like that, or a cart of some kind. Would be easier than carrying the PTU in one hand, and could handle a larger PTU easier.

Ming said...

My people puts me in a carrier that sounds a bit like that but probably isn't the same thing. It's an old carrier because when he locks the door it squeaks.

Speaking of my people, he wants to know what "size 1" means. He doesn't know if this is a universal way to determine carrier sizes or something that only certain companies use for perspective, but he wishes that reviewers and companies would just stick to exact sizes with dimensions in inches or centimeters so he could understand how big a thing is without having to relate it to something specific. Personally, I think he's confusing and whiny, but then it's early and he still seems tired.

Tia said...

Brian, you should fight more. Don't ever let them put you in it without a claw wrestle first!

Amy, me and the human have never seen a soft propper carrier. We have a soft pouch that I get to travel in if I'm really good and we're only going short distances, but the human worries about it as I'm a bit squished in there. Don't the soft ones fall down on your head? Are they held in shape by something? We like the sound of those, actually.

Clowder, I'm sorry, but I have to confess that I don't know what PTU stands for. I'm sure there's the word Prison in there somewhere though. It's a good idea about the wheels, and the human was already thinking about this, particularly for shows as she has to carry a lot of things when we go there. I need my accessories, you know! She says that when the second kitten comes along, this juggling act is only going to get harder, so we need to do something about it sooner or later.

Babycat, size one is just the distinction Rosewood give the carrier. Tell your people that he has seen my carrier before. Tell him he even carried me in it on the way from the old place to this one. I didn't like him much then because I didn't know him. I know he's a good cat person now though.

The Lee County Clowder said...

Sorry, Tia. PTU is Prisoner Transport Unit. Beans sometimes call it a 'cat carrier' (horrible name) because they use them to Transport us around as helpless Prisoners.

Tia said...

Ah. I knew prison would figure somewhere. Excellent. Now that I have the propper feline name for them, no more will they be called carriers! Thank you for educating a young cat, Clowder.