WHEN DESIGN, ARCHITECTURE AND SUSTAINABILITY ENTER THE FELINE WORLD.
ABOUT MEOW MEWS
The source of the name comes from “Meow”, of course, combined with “Mews” which is an architectural term relating to old stables that were converted for human residency.
Meow Mews was started with a mission to reinvent cats' environment in a way that complements current home design. The company applies architectural design principles and structures in creating their cat furniture system, based on more than three years of studying cats' behavior – their playing, scratching, climbing habits and how they engage with their surroundings. “Tree” is the first product they developed based on their research and love of cats. It is the foundation of a series of modular cat furniture, featuring numerous patent-pending technical innovations.
Rethinking The Cat Condo.
Most of us are familiar with the fluffy tower made of synthetic carpet and ropes in the corner of the room, or worse – blocking the window, that allows our feline friends to perch and get some sun while we are on our daily run to provide for them. These towers are difficult to clean, wear out or break quickly and need to be replaced constantly. They also often need to be moved to another room when guests arrive. In short, these structures leave much to be desired in terms of appearance and functionality.
But why are these towers so ubiquitous?
Cats are natural climbers. They climb to high spots for safety and, if there is more than one cat in the house, for dominance – the dominant cat sits on top. They are also territorial animals and need to own their space, not just be a part of the family. This lead to the development of the indoor “cat tree” (or cat condo, or cat tower) . The indoor cat tree is usually a structure that allows cats to be comfortable, safe and secure in a position above their immediate environment, in our case – above the humans and other animals in the room. Most importantly, it allows them to climb, which is way more important for cats' health and contentment than most of us are aware. Cats' intelligence, physique, space perception and mental state are tightly related to their ability to “be cats” - to behave as their ancestors did for millions of years.
In many cases, if there is no structured solution provided for them, cats will find indoor climbing alternatives - furniture, curtains, walls etc. Cats need to be able to lift their body weight by the grip of their claws. When owners are not aware of this need or don't allow this behavior, cats may lose their ability to climb, jump, be sharp and well oriented in all three dimensions. In nature or other outdoor environments they stay active by catching their meals or playing, but indoors - those “Garfields'' only jump when they hear a food can pop open. Cats not using their claws is like humans not using their legs. Unfortunately, this is where weight and blood circulation issues might appear and vet bills start adding up. Owners often resort to tweaking cats' diets, neglecting their activity. A better solution would be to create an environment where we let cats be cats, while co-existing with their humans.
So, what is the problem with the existing tree/condo solutions?
The industry standard around cats somehow settled on the lowest quality possible with cat owners unaware that they deserve better. While in other industries, innovators like Steve Jobs or James Dyson introduced great design and intuitive user interface to the mundane products around us, the feline world, which has been a part of our house for centuries, remained dormant.
When it comes to our phones, our cars, our children's strollers etc., there is a huge range of choices. We can choose between “Hondas” and “Rolls-Royces” in each category. When it comes to our cat condos, there are neither “Hondas”, nor “Rolls-Royces”. There is a horse and carriage, and the horse is old and sick, and the carriage is broken. The product we call “cat condo” does not serve its users well by any means.
Those cat condos are made of synthetic materials, pallet boards, MDF or plywood covered with carpets and dyed rope. They may seem fluffy and cozy at first, but they don't do justice to our cats, their humans and their homes. These structures are bulky, waste a lot of space and, depending on the size, may or may not allow the vertical climbing mentioned before. They are hard to clean, which may cause allergies in humans and even cats. They are not durable at all. They are wiggly, unstable and loosen up quickly after assembly, especially when used by heavier cats. This means that, when used by regular cats (not mentioning such demolishers as Savannahs and Bengals), they usually wear out in less than one year, requiring a replacement or frequent fixing up. They block the view and light with their bulkiness, and, to top it all off, they are usually quite ugly. Even if your space is not furnished with brands such as Roche Bobois, Ligne Roset or B&B Italia, any Ikea coffee table will have a better aesthetic contribution to your space than any cat condo currently on the market.
Meow Mews commissioned independent market research with an external agency, asking potential customers about their thoughts and experiences, in order to assess the problems identified with the current market and products, and to validate the company’s vision of the market. Christie & Co. (https://christieand.co) was asked to approach Meow Mews’ potential audience. The results of a three-month long process and the 130-page report were astonishing. Not only did they validate the information about cat condos described above, it seemed the entire reference group exclaimed: “OMG, Finally...!”
This is what Gillian Christie, the CEO of Christie & Co, and her team concluded:
“In general product concept testing, to get a 50+1% acceptance of a new idea is phenomenal. Meow Mews far exceeded this.”
According to Christie, 100% of the target audiences researched had purchased enrichment devices for their cats in the last 5 years and were very dissatisfied with their current purchases, describing them as being cheap, ugly, lacking innovation and flimsy. 100% were positive to buy one or even two pieces of Meow Mews furniture. They described Meow Mews as museum quality, fancy, attractive, gorgeous, beautiful and fitting in their homes.
As cat owners, the Meow Mews team understands and shares the sentiment(frustration) of these cat owners and we are on a mission to build beautiful modern cat furniture that is durable, functional and friendly to the environment. We invite you to join the Meow Mews world!
About Netta Dor Shalgi, Founder & CEO.
Award winning entrepreneur and industrial designer Netta Dor Shalgi has developed and designed a series of wooden modules with a patent pending joint at the core of the system, that allows configuring and re-configuring modern functional furniture.
Born in a Kibbutz in Israel in the 1980’s, Netta spent his childhood with animals being part of his daily life. However, moving in with a cat to a New York City apartment prompted him to recognize the lack of good, well designed and sustainable cat furniture as an opportunity for products and services for cats and their humans.
Before Meow Mews, in 2010 he developed and founded “G-RO” - an innovative luggage company. The Covid-19 pandemic put a hard stop to travel and his venture in 2020.
He is a creative director with over 15 years of experience in founding companies, product development, execution of vision, and introducing innovative products and technologies to the market.
Throughout the course of his career, Netta founded three companies and built a brand based on product performance and a solid user engagement strategy. Netta’s designs and solutions yielded multiple defendable utility and design patents registered under his name. His work was featured in financial and design media publications such as: Forbes, TechCrunch, Digital Trends, Daily Mail, Yanko Design, Lonely Planet, Carryology, Condé Nast, and books such as SIX FIGURE CROWDFUNDING by Derek Miller. He displayed and marketed in trade shows such CES, TGA, IPPA, and others.
Netta received multiple design and innovation awards including the A’ Design Award and the Edison Innovation Award.