Cats seem to love tunnels, and we have some strong opinions on what makes a good tunnel.
Tunnels have a wire that gives them their tubular shape, and there are two designs:
Type A: Separate, circular wire rings
Avoid these. In these tunnels, the only thing keeping the rings standing vertical is the tension on the tunnel fabric. If the tunnel isn’t held taught somehow, then the rings will fall over and your tunnel will collapse.
Type B: Single, helical (spiral) wire
This is the kind to buy. The tunnel keeps its shape because the wire is shaped like a big spring.
How to tell them apart
Even when the tunnel is compressed and hanging on a hook in your favourite pet supply store, you can still spot the good kind. Those tunnels will probably be well-bound with several wire or plastic ties to keep them from extending. As soon as those ties are cut, stand back, because the tunnel will spring into shape!
You can also use your fingers to feel along the wire. Mark a spot on the wire with one hand and use your other hand to trace the wire around the circumference of the tunnel back to where you started. If your two hands meet on the same wire, then keep looking because you’ve got the kind that will collapse. Your hands should pass each other.
We recently found the tunnel pictured above at Animates, and the cats love it. It came with a little ball on an elastic in the middle of the tunnel. The cats detached that in minutes, but the rest of the design seems good.
It’s made for MasterPet, but the link to this product on their website no longer works, so I’ve posting a photo of the packaging above.