Boots & Barkley Knocks-off Moderncat Studio Scratch Tower

Fri, Jul 29, 2011

Scratching

knock-off  \ˈnäk-ˌȯf\ noun
a copy that sells for less than the original; broadly : a copy or imitation of someone or something popular

Merriam-Webster

. . .

Well, we’ve been knocked off. Boots & Barkley, the store brand of pet products at Target, just released their new corrugated cardboard scratching post. Look familiar? It’s a direct copy of the original Scratch Tower created by my company, Moderncat Studio. They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but I’m not feeling the love.

Target did a nice job, I have to say. They copied our original concept, created by the design team at Juggernaut Design and sold exclusively through Moderncat Studio, which uses compressed pieces of die-cut cardboard to make a vertical, freestanding scratching tower. They use essentially the same structure with a base, inner rod, and knob on top to hold the pieces in place. The Target knock-off is a bit taller and it disassembles to fit in a nice little box. And it’s just $19.99 with $9.99 refills, a far cry from the Scratch Tower at $95 and refills at $20.

Still, I’m not crying my eyes out. The reason I created Moderncat Studio was to experiment with new designs for cat products that would encourage the mass product manufacturers to step it up in the design department, knowing that they will always be cheaper. That said, there’s a big difference between inspiring the mass market and being knocked off by one of its major players! Come on people!

For those of you unfamiliar with product manufacturing, I’d like to point out a few things. At Moderncat Studio, everything is handcrafted in small batches — we only make a few at a time and we CARE about each item that goes out the door. Yes, I could sell the Scratch Tower for $19.99, if I had it made in China, used a low-quality cardboard, paid less attention to details — had it made in China. Did I mention CHINA?

Something else I noticed. As you can see above, some of the cardboard pieces on the knock-off are smashed. While I’m constructing every Scratch Tower if I come across a smashed piece of cardboard, it goes in the project bin to become something else. I suppose the Target team figures “Who cares? Your cat is just going to claw it up!” Well, I care!

To be quite honest, if I couldn’t afford the original Scratch Tower, I’d go right out to Target and buy this one. And why not? It’s important for the kitties to have something they like — and if it’s a cool design, too, well even better. HOWEVER, if you can afford the real thing, and/or if ethical manufacturing is important to you, then that’s a different story.

As always, we here at Moderncat thank you for your support.

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52 Responses to “Boots & Barkley Knocks-off Moderncat Studio Scratch Tower”

  1. 51
    Jessica M.

    I just found one of the knock-off scratch towers at my local animal rescue thrift store. The laminate, which I’m sure looked more impressive when new, is peeling off and I am not sure about its stability, but I think I can work with it to make something useful and eco-friendly. While searching for a source of high quality cardboard for replacements, I found this page. If the majority of people would just save their money instead of buying cheap, often unsafe junk from China for instant gratification, they could afford quality products like your original Scratch Tower. If only one of the knock-offs ended up in a thrift store and was lucky enough to be picked up by a person who saw a way to fix it, how many are sitting in a landfill right now?

  2. 52
    dina

    just wanted to leave a note and say, i got the boots & barkley version because i’m not really in a place to spend $100 on a scratcher. plus, i wasn’t sure if the cats would use it, as i’ve brought home other things that go untouched. so, the knock-off was my trial run. my sam, who loves to reach up to scratch, adores the tower style. their cardboard is so low quality that there are shreds everywhere, so i’m going to buy refills from your etsy shop. when i’m in a place to invest more money in scratchers and other accessories, i’ll shop moderncat. thanks for coming up with a great design.


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