Tomahawk Quick Draw Net seemed like a good idea at the time
I very seldom write negative reviews, but I’m mad as heck that a lightweight fishing net is being marketed by reputable animal control outlets as a viable cat rescue tool.
Several years ago I bought a Quick Draw Collapsible Net (QN101) from a Tomahawk vendor at Texas Unites for Animals. The guy manning the booth assured me this product worked great for cats.
As a rescuer, it looked like the perfect, yet affordable, answer to emergency cat captures. The description of the product on Tomahawk and other animal control merchandise websites says it’s designed to handle cats, birds and other small animals. I highly recommend it for arthritic gerbils, elderly hamsters and parakeets who have had their beaks removed, otherwise forget it.
A few years ago I used it to cat my elderly mother’s admittedly under-socialized cat so we could move Lucky with my mom to assisted living. The net folded up small enough to pack in my suitcase or I could keep it handy in the backseat of my car ready for cat rescue emergencies.
The device worked like a charm until we actually caught Lucky with it. After sliding the net atop the 10-pound tabby, Lucky managed to rip two (count them) 8” long holes in the mesh as easily as warm butter. We finally caught the frightened feline when she darted into the cat carrier and we closed the door behind her.
Once again, we have to move Mom and Lucky to a memory care facility. *sigh and trepidation* I pulled out the unusable “cat net” and called Tomahawk hoping for a replacement. I was even willing to buy a replacement mesh, but they don’t sell them. The customer service rep said because I didn’t call right away they won’t replace the device, but I can buy a new device.
Customer service revelation
The customer service rep told me, this net isn’t designed to be used on feral cats. Really? Why did Tomahawk sell it at an animal control convention? Nowhere does Tomahawk discuss the product’s limitations. Until my phone call Tomahawk’s own website read, “Quick Draw Collapsible Nets have a telescopic handle and gentle but strong knotless ¼” mesh net. Durable aluminum construction means it is lightweight and capable of handling cats, birds, and other small animals. Triangular net opening is ideal for corners and walls.”
Did it say, “Not designed for feral cats”? No, but the customer service rep informed after the fact. Did it say, “Use only on quadriplegic, defanged cats”? No. Did it say, “Use only on declawed cats”? No. Net’s real manufacturer, Frabill, sells the same unit on Amazon for fishing, not for animal capture. It also set a weight limit of 5.5 pounds. So, buy this product for cat rescue at your own risk. The product simply can’t handle cats; it picks up five-pound catfish. By all means, buy one of these, but DO NOT use it for emergency capture of a frightened or fractious cat. You will lose the cat, leaving both of you worse off.
I called Tomahawk again and spoke with a supervisor. To her credit she asked me if I wanted a replacement net. But while I was on hold I read Frabill’s own description of the product and I changed my mind. I think it is more important to let fellow rescuers and animal control officers know that this net will not be helpful in a rescue situation.
Immediately following our conversation, Tomahawk deleted the word “cat” from the description on their website. For that they get a yea. But search the internet and you’ll find distributors’ websites that contain the original wording as quoted above.
Tomahawk has a very good reputation and I can’t tell you how disappointed I am that they were marketing this product as an acceptable animal rescue solution. Shame on you, Tomahawk! Thank you for correcting your website. Now it’s time to encourage your distributors to follow your lead.
If you’ve purchased one of these nets for cat rescue, I encourage you to contact Tomahawk (or the distributor you bought it from) about a replacement. Please don’t use it to catch a cat.
Have you had an epic fails in rescue equipment? Tell me about it in the comments section below my bio.
About Dusty Rainbolt
Author Dusty Rainbolt is an award-winning veterinary journalist according to her answering machine. She is an associate certified cat behavior consultant and member of International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants, as well as past president of the Cat Writers’ Association. Her books, columns, reviews and articles have been honored with more than 50 writing awards including three-time recipient of Friskies Writer of the Year. Her just-released award-winning cat behavior book, Cat Scene Investigator: Solve Your Cat’s Litter Box Mystery, is the consummate guide for dealing with a cat who sidesteps his/her appointed toilet. CSI, which provides science-based methods for determining the medical or behavioral causes of feline inappropriate elimination, teaches cat parents to view their cat’s litter box avoidance through the eyes of a detective to determine the cause and, ultimately, the remedy.