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This Ripple Rug Is the Perfect Activity For Your Easily Bored Kitty

The best toy to keep your cat focused, entertained, and deterred from scratching the furniture.

by Tim Barribeau
August 5, 2022
Tan cat laying in the sunlight on a beige colored Ripple Rug
@ripple_rug / Instagram

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If you walk into a cat parent’s home, you might find some interesting decor that is definitely not for any human being. The No. 1 rule of cat parenthood is that we will do anything for our cats, even if it means installing giant cat towers, condos, and any number of over-the-top toys in inconvenient places in our homes.

An example: The center of my living room is currently occupied by an enormous rectangle of carpet topped with a wild rug topographically shaped into tunnels, alcoves, and openings — a Ripple Rug. It’s a place where a playful cat could spend playing and scratching to their heart’s content. My cat, on the other hand, is on the other side of the room studiously ignoring this incredible gift; she doesn’t know what she’s missing.

Get This Product For Your Little Burrower

The Ripple Rug is ideal for the cat who loves to burrow and claw, serving double-duty as a play tunnel and scratching surface. It sits at a substantial 47x35 inches large, with an impressively carpet-like feel given that it’s made from recycled plastic bottles. Plus, it has a non-stick backing so it won’t go sliding across the wood floor when your cat attempts to dive into it. The rug also feels impressively hardy, so much so that you can rest assured that it can take your cat’s clawing and gnawing. However, it is enormous, so grab a tape measure and make sure you have a space for it in your life. Because if this ends up living in the middle of a hallway, it’s going to be a pretty brutal tripping hazard for the bipedal members of your household.

But the real magic is the top layer, an infinitely customizable crenulation. It shares the same dimensions as the base, but with a smattering of velcro patches on its underside, so you can shape it into any form and then stick it down to the bottom mat. You can anchor the top layer to the base mat in an infinite array of ways, attaching the velcro close together to create mountains, and further apart for valleys, building a fantasy mountain range for your pet to explore. Its surface has Swiss cheese holes for your cat to dig at. It’s a safe place for them to scratch, dig, nose around in, and just generally do cat stuff. If only mine would give a damn about it.

It’s Easy to Adjust For Your Picky Kitty

So much of the Ripple Rug is clearly the product of thoughtful and meticulous design. It comes in five neutral colors, which suit almost any decor — oatmeal white, black, beige, mocha chocolate, and ivory, so neither you or your cat will tire of it. If your cat is prone to getting bored of toys quickly, reconfiguring the top rug into a new shape is a matter of just a few seconds work, either by re-attaching it into a fresh configuration, or by painstakingly laying it out to match your cat’s specific habits. If your cat is on the larger side (or if you have non-cat animals that are likely to try and play in there too), the medium and large holes on the top rugs have small slits on them that easily expand their size to readily allow bigger pets through.

Since this is a toy for cats we’re talking about, and they love to make terrible messes over nice things, the Ripple Rug is thankfully eminently cleanable. It claims to be “stain, mold, and mildew resistant,” you can vacuum and spot-clean it as needed — and in dire situations, you can hose the whole thing down or wash it on cold, and then hang dry. If it’s truly beyond salvaging, you can replace just the top or bottom as needed.

Add to this that the manufacturers of Ripple Rugs have a donation program where they send the rugs to pet shelters and rescues to help with animal enrichment, and it’s clear that the people who made these things really care about cats. For around $45, the Ripple Rug is a hard-wearing, infinitely reconfigurable play space for your cat. It’s perfect for any pet who loves clawing at carpets, digging through blankets, and wriggling themselves through holes.

Important update: our cat finally went inside with the help of snacks. Baby steps.

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tim barribeau

Tim Barribeau

Tim Barribeau is a freelance writer, editor, cat dad, and “help your boyfriend buy a suit that actually fits for once” consultant. He was previously the Style and Pets editor at Wirecutter, and has bylines at a bunch of publications that don't exist anymore (and a couple that still do).