Among the great joys I have in writing reviews is the opportunity to help discover and credit a new yo-yo manufacturer. I had caught a few bits of news about Foxland Precision and Alvin’s work, and when he called me up to ask about sending me a Katz Meow review unit (and a few sponsorship units for Cal States) I was thrilled. Here was a new yo-yo that people were interested in by a new company based in the heart of Tennessee. This week I got a chance to play the Katz Meow and talk to Alvin about what is going into the next run of Katz Meows scheduled to come out soon.
Width: 1.64 in (41.6 mm)
Diameter: 1.99 in (50.5 mm)
Gap Width: .140 or .180 (3.5 or 4.5 mm)
Weight: 66 grams
Response: Dif-Size pads
Bearings: 5 x 11 x 4 mm (Narrow D-Size)
and 5 x 11 x 5 mm (D-size)
Like most startups, the focus here is on the yo-yo not the packaging. The Kats Meow is delivered in a plain white box. Installed is a thin (4mm wide) D-Sized bearing and a pair of thin response pads. In the box, there is another bearing, standard D-size (5mm wide) and several pairs of pads, two thick sets and two thin sets. Also included is a note from Alvin. It is obvious that a lot of heart and pride has gone into what is included with the yo-yo. I love that Alvin, right out of the package, has given the yoyoer choice. I feel that giving the customer choices is the most important thing a manufacturer, especially a startup, can make. The name and logo are deeply engraved inside the yo-yo cup, along with “USA” proudly displayed.
Comfort and Tech:
This shape grew on me very quickly. From the gap to the rim, the dramatic sweeping curve flattens out and then pops back up for a little extra rim weight lip. The result is a round and bubbly feel in the palm of your hand. The Katz Meow hits the palm very nicely. The outer rim hits the outer edges of the palm thumb pad, and the flat rims disperse the surface. Some yo-yos you have to hold a certain way for comfort reasons. The Kats Meow can be held without trying to find a comfortable way to hold it.
Inside the response area is a recessed pad setup and a fairly standard bearing seat. The D-Size sits snugly and is free from any wiggle. I am not a machinist but I imagine that this level of precision on a CNC lathe is not easy to accomplish.
Inside the cup is an IRG deep enough to get your thumb in, but the surface is not made with grinds in mind. I have always preferred anodized yo-yos, but for some reason, the Katz Meow feels a little different than other raw yo-yos. It almost feels like it has a finish. I talked to Alvin about this also. He said that the next run of Katz Meows (set to be available this week) will be anodized.
At 50mm diameter, The Katz Meow is definitely an undersized throw. Like most yo-yos its size, it is almost as wide as it is round. What sets the Kats Meow apart is the full body shape and the extra outer rim. The design puts more of the 66 grams onto the outer rims. I would not call this extreme rim weight. I think for a yo-yo this shape extreme rim weight would be a mistake. It strikes me more as an emphasis on rim weight.
The two bearings are setup for two different styles of play. The thin D-Size bearing is set up for responsive play and the standard D-Sized bearing, for unresponsive play. I plan on trying both, but I am going to leave the thin response pads in for the sake of time.
On a Throw:
There is a lot of grease in these bearings. I am sure that you could dig out the grease with a toothpick and re-grease a truck axle (Thanks Mo). The Katz Meow’s thin bearing is very responsive. It took me a few days of play to break it in, but even then I was banging knuckles and fighting back tears. It took me back to the late 90’s when everything was tug responsive, and you had to limit your mounts with that in mind.
The full size D bearing was not as responsive but had to take an acetone bath to make it play the way I wanted it to. Foxland Precision says that the Katz Meow will take any D-Size bearing. Once I degreased the large bearing, the Katz Meow soared around with no unexpected snags or knuckle bites.
Because of the wide body, it took a few attempts to get a throw that did not need to be corrected with a finger touch, but once I had it the Katz Meow spun smooth and vibe free. The shape and design of the Katz Meow give it a really floaty feel. Even at 66 grams, it seemed to float around from transition to hop.
Almost everything I threw at the Katz Meow was met with solid performance. Hops stayed steady and solid, the width makes it a nice target for whips, and the small bearing gap leaves plenty of room for multiple string segments. The pad response was deep enough not to interfere with tricks but still provide a snappy response.
There were a few short comings, though. I found that on fast movements and near the end of the spin, the Katz Meow started tilting. This is easily correctable, but it is something that I found that was discouraging. When throwing horizontal tricks, the Katz Meow had zero interest in participating. The speed needed to pull off the horizontal tricks just does not sit well with the Katz Meow. I did a few grind tricks but I focus on it too much. The surface leads to a hop skip and jump as the raw body hits your arm. In my opinion, the surface needs a finish to make them workable.
The few problems aside, the Katz Meow played very well. I would consider it a great play for smooth and steady trick play, and slow transitions. Alvin has told me that this next run or Katz Meow’s will be anodized and have a silicone groove. The price yet? Probably the most reasonable price I have ever seen from an upstart that only sells direct. For most MicYoBrew models, you can expect to pay 80-90 for a new model. Foxland Precision is only asking $59 (Shipped). At that price, the risk factor is very low. If you are not a yoyoer who focuses on fast movement, and is more of a laid back smooth and slow thrower, then this would be a good match for you.
I hope that Foxland Precision manages to get these in more stores, but in the mean time, they are only available at the Foxland Precision website and store.
Written by Chris “Dr. Yo-Yo” Allen, who has only owned evil cats his entire life…
Edited by Dustin “Splugen” Gunter, who only likes the kind of cats that will pet themselves if you hold your hand out.