OK, so this natural organic fiber thing is good. No toxins and no dyes-- only lovely sweet organic cottons and wools. But.... and this is a biggie... how durable is organic fiber compared to synthetics and plastics? This is a complex question that keeps buzzing around and, quite frankly, bugs us.
Our wool balls will stand up to most synthetic materials with confidence, out performing tennis balls and sometimes even those amazing plastic-like balls. They self heal when chewed on and can be re-felted. They outlast most other dog toys but, while balls are great, they represent only one kind of play. And this is where things get a bit dicey.
One of the main reason most pet toy makers use plastics in their toys is that they are cheap and hard to destroy. At Purrfectplay, we don't think pets should chew and suck on plastic-- eco or otherwise. Shoot, if simply drinking from a plastic bottle is in question how would it be to chew on the bottle? The main issue being that dogs have teeth. Hello?!
We care about durability mainly because natural organic fabrics cost more and we want our toys to be a good value. We increase durability with extra fabric layers, double and triple stitching, and through design. Even given these efforts some dogs destroy our plush toys. This toy destruction is actually quite common with dogs, no matter what the toy is made of. None the less-- we are constantly looking for that perfect, or nearly perfect, dog toy!
Recently we have been field testing a new toy made with hemp canvas. Designed to have as few seams as possible, this toy has 4 layers of canvas. The journey to develop a new toy is quite an adventure. The next few posts will follow this adventure and we will meet some amazing dogs who will be our guides. Stick around to meet them all!
This is our first blog post so a bit of history might be helpful.
Purrfectplay has been around as a whisper inside my head for many years. I love to work with my hands and I love cats. Eventually, after many years of dabbling I finally put two and two together and.. here we are!
I have been a "tree hugger" in some form or other most of my life so it seemed pretty obvious that making an earth friendly toy was the best way to go. Organic fibers were a natural first choice. Less obvious was how to make our toys pet friendly.
Early on I was generously guided by Kayleen Hanna at Sew Ecological and Sally Fox of FoxFiber to consider dye free and naturally colored cotton. After researching fabric dyes I had an Ah Hah! moment and from that point forward, fabric dyes were not part of our pet friendly agenda. Dogs and cats hardly see color and most fabric dyes are totally not earth or pet friendly.
But... pets don't buy toys, people do! Thankfully, Sally Fox had started a mini revolution by her genetic "unearthing" of cotton that bloomed in lovely natural earth tones. One fantastic roll of mouse brown organic cotton fabric later and we were in business!
That was about 5 years ago. Then we only made two toys: a white mouse and a brown mouse. It was just me in my spare bedroom. (So typical, but so true). Now we make cat and dog toys-- all dye free and all organic. Now I work with five wonderful people, we still produce the best toys we know how, and... we still have a lot to learn.
***If you are interested in learning a lot more about Colorgrown and FoxFiber organic cottons see our very first newsletter-- in short this article expands on why dyed conventional cotton is toxic and a total no go for your pet's mouth. I wrote it almost 5 years ago but some things have not changed.