Move over, humans. Pets get their due in today’s round of Does It Work? product reviews.



Our testing team — food writer Lisa Abraham, consumer reporter Betty Lin-Fisher and I — tried out five products used around the house, two of them for four-legged consumers.



Here’s what we thought, and what we’re guessing our pets’ opinions were.



Cat’s Meow



All four cats we introduced to the Cat’s Meow toy loved it — so much so that when Betty’s cat Alfalfa got the toy stuck under a chair, he pestered her with plaintive meows until she freed it.



What a great toy, we all thought.



And then it broke.



The $19.99 toy has a motorized wand that’s powered by three C batteries and spins beneath a yellow nylon covering, only its flexible plastic “tail” peeking out. The wand stops and changes direction frequently, apparently fooling a cat’s teeny brain into thinking a mouse is running around beneath that yellow cover.



This proved to be great entertainment for Alfalfa and even Betty’s geriatric cat, Coconut, “which was impressive,” she said.



The toy worked fine for them for a couple of days, but by the time it got to me, it was starting to make some odd groaning noises.



My cats, Scout and Nelle, regarded it warily at first, because as all cats know, anything new could kill you. Eventually, though, they pounced. And then they didn’t want to stop.



Unfortunately, the wand kept stopping without restarting, and I’d have to nudge it to get it to move again. By the next day, it wouldn’t move at all without my prompting. I turned the unit off.



My cats were bereft. Scout pawed at the wand in a vain attempt to get it to move. Nelle spent a good bit of the next two days just lying on the yellow nylon covering in a feline funk.



I felt like a parent whose kid’s favorite toy just broke on Christmas morning.



Betty and Lisa were willing to cut the product a little slack. After all, the cats loved it, and maybe we did get a bum unit.



I wasn’t so charitable.



Not only did the toy break, but I was bothered by the manufacturer’s claim that it helps stop destructive clawing and scratching.



Not so, said Dr. Steven Hicks of Akron-Medina Veterinary Hospital & Pet Resort.



Scratching is an instinctive behavior, Hicks said. You can train a cat to scratch only in a specific place, he said, but “I’ve never seen a product that will replace that desire.”



Especially if it doesn’t work.



Verdicts:



Betty: It depends



Lisa: It depends



Mary Beth: Skip it



Zoomies



One thing I’ll say for Zoomies: They’re great comic fodder.



Zoomies are wearable binoculars that are supposed to free your hands to do other things — say, covering your face so no one sees you in them.



But we might have been willing to put up with looking ridiculous if these were good binoculars. They’re not.



Zoomies claim to magnify objects to four times their size, a lower level of magnification than most binoculars. We found they helped us read words on posters across the room that we couldn’t read with our naked eyes, but they made objects close up blurry, even though a picture on the package shows a woman wearing Zoomies for hand sewing.



Lisa pointed out they might be useful for a hunter carrying a gun, but then conceded, “The deer would laugh you out of the woods.”



Brave Betty put aside her pride to wear them during a high school soccer game and discovered they weren’t even sharp enough to let her recognize someone on the sidelines on the opposite side of the field. Even though she tried to focus them, she felt like she was watching through a blurry, distorted tunnel.



We also discovered that it’s hard to walk while you’re wearing them.



The cheaply made binocular glasses might make a fun toy for $9.99, but don’t buy them if you have a serious need for magnification.



Verdicts:



Betty: Skip it



Lisa: Skip it



Mary Beth: Skip it



Chillow



The Chillow is a cooling pad that you can place over your regular bed pillow to keep you cool at night.



You don’t have to refrigerate it ahead of time. The idea is that the gel inside stays at room temperature, making the Chillow feel cool compared to your warmer body temperature.



We each tried the $12.99 product at home, with varying results.



Lisa found it to be cooling, but I noticed a temperature difference for only about 15 minutes. Betty didn’t find any benefit from it at all.



I also was bothered by the strong vinyl smell — so much so that I threw the thing off the bed after a time.



All of us took issue with the feel of the thing. Although we slipped the Chillow inside our pillowcases, the plastic felt a little stiff and crackly on top of our fluffier pillows. I’m a pillow scruncher, and I couldn’t do that with the Chillow.



Lisa also ran into problems right from the start. She followed the directions for filling the Chillow with water, but when she tried to squeeze the air out as instructed, she ended up with water all over her counter. The Chillow worked fine after she refilled it, but we thought the instructions left something to be desired.



Verdicts:



Betty: Skip it



Lisa: It depends



Mary Beth: It depends



GoGo Pillow



Sometimes good ideas come in unimpressive packages.



That’s the case of the GoGo Pillow.



When Betty and I first saw it, we both thought it seemed like a silly product. A pillow to hold your tablet computer? Why?



Because it works surprisingly well, that’s why.



The pillow, which costs $19.99, has slots that hold the corners of the tablet in place. My only gripe is that if you keep your iPad in a case, you need to remove it before it will fit into the slots.



The pillow is filled with polystyrene beads that make it squishy, so you can mold it into various positions. Betty often watches TV shows on her iPad, so she liked being able to set the pillow and iPad on her knees while she reclined on the couch. She also used the pillow to stand her tablet up on a counter, although she’d be more likely to use the easel that’s built into her iPad’s cover.



We also liked the elastic straps that can be used to attach the GoGo Pillow to the back of a car head rest, so kids can watch videos on the road. Lisa used those same straps to hold a book open on the pillow, but I thought having to keep tucking the pages under the elastic was too much fuss.



And voila! The GoGo Pillow even turns into a travel neck pillow.



Lisa described the product as “one of those things you didn’t know you needed until you had it.”



Verdicts:



Betty: Snap it up



Lisa: Snap it up



Mary Beth: Snap it up



Catch-a-Poop



When a media-relations person asked us several months ago if we’d like to test this product, the name alone was enough to make us say yes.



Catch-a-Poop is a descriptively named dog-doo cleanup tool. It’s a telescoping pole that lets you hold a disposable bag beneath the dog’s nether regions while it’s relieving itself, so you can catch the unpleasant results before they reach the ground.



Why? Your guess is as good as ours.



We puzzled over why it would be more advisable to catch a load midair than shovel it off the ground or pick it up with a hand shielded by a plastic bag. Still, we put our questions aside while we took our Does It Work? canine tester, Bonnie, for a walk.



Actually, we made Bonnie’s human, Feature Editor Lynne Sherwin, do the walking and the poop catching. We figured for most people, dog-walking is a solitary act rather than a team pursuit, so we wanted to see how easily she could manage dog, leash and Catch-a-Poop all at the same time.



Besides, she’s Lisa’s and my editor. Who else gets to order their boss to wrangle dog dirt?



We thought Bonnie might feel threatened by the device, but she performed like a champ. She didn’t even seem to notice Lynne deftly performing a lacrosse-type catch under her behind.



The Catch-a-Poop’s performance, on the other hand, was disappointing.



Lynne quickly discovered that even though the handle can be shortened to make it easier to carry, she needed to keep it extended while she walked so the device would be ready the instant she needed it. She also found the device awkward and somewhat heavy to carry.



The bag has tape at the upper edges so it can be sealed closed, but she couldn’t remove the paper coverings from the tape before we set off for our walk. That’s because the bag closes when the device is being carried, and the edges would have stuck together immediately. Instead, she had to wait till Bonnie had done her business, which left her wrestling with the tape with her one free hand and a bag full of feces.



“Yeah, this is gross,” she said.



To top it off, the bag came partway off the frame in the process, leaving it hanging open and perilously close to falling off during the walk home.



At $24.95, the Catch-a-Poop isn’t worth the price.



Verdicts:



Betty: Skip it



Lisa: Skip it



Mary Beth: Skip it