The Birth of Feather-Light Cat cone
Cat cone jointly developed with cats
In 2008, we were still running our business as a select store, selling cat goods that we had purchased. At that time, my cat (Naruto-san) developed anal cystitis and started licking his post-operative wound.
The wound worsened and spread, so we quickly prepared an Cat cone to stop him from licking the affected area and began a life of care. Licking wounds seems to be a natural healing process for cats, but in fact, in many cases, a rough tongue can make the wounds worse.
However, living with a hard and heavy Cat cone made of plastic seemed to be very burdensome for (Naruto-san). Because the material, which is 0.75 mm thick, was hard and could not be bent, he sometimes bumped into the toilet or scooped up cat litter like a bulldozer.
Furthermore, the Cat cone weighed about 90 grams, the same as 1.5 AA batteries, and the cat had to eat and do its business with its head down, which made life inconvenient for two weeks.
The Cat cone became a hindrance and he was unable to eat or drink water on his own, and his activity level decreased rapidly.
We were more worried about the cat's loss of energy due to the Cat cone than his recovery from the anal cystitis.
Searching for an Cat cone that would be easy on the cat
Photo: Naruto-san, the cat whose activity level decreased and became weak due to the hard and heavy Cat cone
We were worried that if we didn't do something, Naruto-san might become even more seriously ill!
However, in 2009, it was common for cats to use small dog-sized Cat cones instead. As far as I could find, I could not find an Cat cone specifically for cats.
Dogs have longer noses than cats, so the Cat cones for dogs were too high and the shape of the collar was too much for cats. The entire product, like a carpet pad, is made of hard plastic, and when it hits the neck, the impact of the collision is startling and painful, and it is impossible to move the neck.
If you don't have one, let's make an Cat cone for Cats
At that time, my company only purchased and sold other companies' products, and I had never thought of developing our own, but when my cat was in this situation, I thought that there must be other cats and owners who were in the same trouble as I was. That was in 2009
Thinking about the Cat cone we wanted to solve Naruto-san’s problem and use a comfortable one.
We wanted something that would protect the affected area, yet be soft, and preferably lightweight.
What is the best material? Plastic is hard, so I want to use a material that is gentle to cats. The area around the neck should be soft, otherwise the owner would feel sorry for his pet, so cloth would be good. But if it gets dirty, it will be hard to clean. Nylon that repels water might be good, but it might be too stiff and the cat might not like it.
Is an oval shape really the best shape for an Cat cone? We started by questioning common sense in order to remove preconceived notions.
Perhaps a floating collar or something like a supporter that is worn around the neck when a cat has a whiplash injury would be less burdensome for a cat? Or a petal-shaped one, with the petal part detachable and adjustable according to the size of the cat?
We came up with a number of ideas. The concept of developing a product exclusively for cats as a goal of development was as follows.
An Cat cone that is so easy on cats that they forget they are wearing it.
The image we had in mind was something as soft and light as a bird's feather. We want cats to be free to live their lives as usual and even take naps. It is designed to fit the feline frame.
We aimed for a stress-free Cat cone for cats without compromise.
First prototype Cat cone with felt and metal buttons
Development of the Cat cone for cats, endless prototypes
After much brainstorming and trial and error, we finally produced our first prototype in July 2010. It was a felt collar with a metal button closure, which we thought would be less stressful on the neck.
It was heavy and painful around the neck, and the cat was not happy.
The first prototype Cat cone with felt and metal buttons that Naruto-san tried ou was quite difficult to fasten with metal buttons, and it took a long time, and the cat didn't like it and ran away, or caught hair in the buttons, or was surprised by the clunking and clanging sounds.
When we checked the usability of the product, Naruto-san was also stressed because it was heavy and seemed to hurt around the neck, and the he was not happy.
The concept was far from what was intended, and the amount of activity did not improve, but it was a burden on the cat. The use of metal fittings made it heavy and stiff, limiting the range of motion around the neck.
As we found out after prototyping, we had incorporated various functions into a single product, which led to complicated specifications, more parts, and heavier weight. The more parts there were, the heavier it became, and the more difficult it became to keep it clean.
Floatation rings, a supporter-like device worn around the neck, and petal-shaped devices could protect the affected area, but they could not reduce the weight of the device to overcome hygiene and weight.
Therefore, we aimed to reduce the weight by thinking in the opposite direction, making the structure as simple as possible and avoiding the use of unnecessary parts. As a result, we went back to the drawing board and decided that an oval shape was best.
Although the product was designed exclusively for cats, the size of the skeleton differs between male and female cats, so we worked with our cat employees to find a size around the neck and face that would fit the free size for cats.
After one year and three months of continuous development, the product was finally completed! Cat cone soft as a bird's feather, for cats only
After a year and three months of repeated prototyping and testing on cats, we finally completed our first Cat cone exclusively for cats.
We named the product "Feather-Light Cat cone" in order to explain the initial concept in an easy-to-understand manner.
After repeated improvements to the prototype, we adopted cotton around the neck, which is the most stressful part of the collar, to ensure a full range of motion. The weight was also reduced by our original manufacturing method that does not use metal fittings, resulting in a weight reduction of 30 grams.
Since metal fittings are difficult to fasten and cause stress to cats, we decided to use Velcro.
Comparison of the tangling of hairs with ordinary Velcro and special Velcro
Conventional Velcro tape cannot be used if cat hair gets entangled, so we adopted special Velcro tape with no bumps to eliminate hair entanglement.
The width of the Velcro itself was also an issue: the wider the Velcro, the heavier it would be, and the stiffer and more uncomfortable it would be for the cat. If the Velcro tape was too narrow, the adhesive surface would be reduced, and the tape could come off if the cat moved too much.
Various tests were conducted to select materials for the entire body. After repeated tests on cats and prototypes, we found just the right width, and the shape was completed.
We wanted the collar to be water-repellent to prevent stains, but a stiff fabric would be a burden on the cat. Is this the right shape? Is this the best shape? We made many prototypes and tested them on the cats.
Feather-Light Cat cones Necessary for Cats' Life
Feather-Light Cat cones were intended to be used temporarily for spay/neuter surgeries, injuries, and illnesses, but after sales began, we learned that many cats need Cat cones for life due to allergies, cancer, and other problems.
We had never had the experience of making a product from scratch before, so we almost gave up on the product development many times, but we kept on developing the product as we had originally intended, and it took about two years and 15 prototypes and improvements before we finally completed the light and soft Cat cone exclusively for cats!
We began selling it as a Feather-Light Cat cone in October 2011. As a result, we have received support from many customers and have received many comments of appreciation.
The development of the Feather-Light Cat cone became the starting point for our current brand concept of "solving cats' problems through 'cat-oriented manufacturing,'" and at the same time, it became an opportunity for us to become aware of our company's role in society.
“My cat is male, estimated to be 7 years old, who was rescued this year from a collapsed multi-cat breeding site (he was kept by a terrible breeder), and he is constantly leaking urine (I don't know if he was born with it or if his muscles were not properly built up due to his severely undernourished environment). He had a severe urine burn on his crotch area, and he repeatedly licked his crotch too much, causing it to fester and become infected with bacteria, and then licked his crotch even more. I was told that there was no cure for urine leakage, and I was forced to wear a collar for the rest of my life.
I was looking for a better collar, and that's when I came across this one. I was surprised at how lightweight it was, and when I tried it on, I was impressed at how well it did its job despite its softness
I will never forget how happy he looked when I put it on him! I was so happy that I almost cried. I am going to brag about it to the doctor next time I go to the hospital.
I am sure there are many other cats who will be saved by this collar, including this one who will not be able to live without it for the rest of her life.
Thank you so much. It has saved my life.”
Even after the product is launched, we continue to listen to customers' voices and requests and make improvements. This leads to the evolution of products that are easier for cats to use. The number of times we have directly listened to our customers' voices and made improvements has finally reached 30 times. Feather-Light Cat cone is truly a product that we continue to create together with our customers.
NOT THE END
Nekozuki's Cat cones are forever unfinished because it will continue to be nurtured by customers' voices and become a better product.
For those who are troubled by inconvenient life with a hard Cat cone, we have identified the perfect solution to your problem!
Now you don’t have to worry about a hard Cat cone hitting furniture in the room and preventing your cats from moving or napping.
How the cat's life with Cat cone has changed comfortably
Because it is soft, the cat can eat, sharpen its nails, do his business, and take naps as usual.
Three ingenious points of the Feather-Light Cat cone
So soft that it can be bent 180 degrees Feeding, toileting, and clawing are all normal NO BUMPING! No pain even if you bump into it.
We have solved the problem of wearing a regular Elizabethan collar that reduces the cat's activity.
We have developed the softest Feather-Light Cat cone in the world!