How Do We Review, Test, And Rate

Here at Happy Cats Home, we regularly test and rate cat products to help you make informed decisions for your furry family.

We rely on objective, consistent, and repeatable testing to determine product performance. We also use our subjective judgment for aspects of products that cannot be measured objectively.

Our process to discover the best products includes five critical steps:

  1. Research
  2. Receive
  3. Review
  4. Test
  5. Rating

This is the same process we use for most of the products we test. It is thorough, rigorous, and we test products as if they were in a home. We use them in our homes and for our daily needs.

#1 Research the category

  1. We will first learn to identify the topics and products of interest to pet parents.
  2. We search for and research these products and discuss how to select them with pet parents and veterinarians.
  3. Select products from pet parents' online shopping channels (Amazon, Chewy, Walmart, etc.) that meet the criteria and have a user rating of four or more.

#2 Review the product

Here is everything we look for before we feature a cat product on our pages.

Here's what we do:

Look for regulatory approval

We check if the product has been approved by organizations like FDA, AAFCO, USDA, and FTC to ensure it's safe and meets requirements.

Scour user reviews

We read positive and negative reviews online and reach out to customers to understand and reflect on their experiences with our content.

Study product line and brand history

We investigate the brand's recall history, manufacturing plants, FDA warnings or recalls, place of manufacture, brand affiliations, name changes, and recent changes in ownership or manufacturing processes.

Scrutinize data and seek veterinary approval

We have a team of qualified vets who review the manufacturer's al information and independent lab results before recommending a product.

Consider the breed, size, and age of the cat

We ensure our recommendations are appropriate for specific breeds or health issues.

Analyze marketing claims

We review the brand's marketing material and debunk health-related claims to provide accurate information.

Understand pricing and delivery options

We review the product's pricing, delivery time, country coverage, and return policy.

Take feedback into consideration

We regularly review feedback from readers and update articles accordingly.

Here's what we don't do:

Take sponsorship fees

We refuse offers from brands to pay us to feature their products. We prioritize featuring the best product for our readers because we care more about cats than money.

Post Anything Without Thorough Research

All our articles go through a rigorous research process before we make any recommendations.

Go against veterinary and state agencies' advice

#3 Receive the product

Select and purchase eligible products for testing.

#4 Put it to the test

We'll test the products to see how they work in real-life scenarios.

You can discuss the products you want to test in the article's comments section or apply to participate in our product testing.

#5 How We Rating

We are serious about rating products. We continually strive to improve our Rating processes and methodologies to offer the most accurate and helpful reviews possible.

Our Rating system is universal and applies to all HappyCatsHome products. We rate based on five factors that best represent the product’s overall performance.

Our 5 Rating Factors

  1. Design – how do the design, features, and specs impact overall usability and performance?
  2. Performance – how well does the product do what it has been designed to do?
  3. Quality – are the materials, construction, and assembly good? Are there longevity issues?
  4. Usability – how easy is the product to use?
  5. Value – how does the product’s design, performance, quality, and usability compare to its price? Is it worth the cost?

Each above factor is worth 20% of the total rating.

Our 5 factors are rated on a 5 grade.

  • 4-5 stars (exceptional) – This is the top tier. Products that rating here can be considered excellent.
  • 3-4 stars (good) – Products that rating here can be considered good.
  • 2-3 stars (okay) – Products that rating here can be considered okay.
  • 1-2 stars (poor) – Products that rating here can be considered poor.
  • 0-1 star (failing) – Products that rating here can be considered failing.

In rare cases, we need to swap out the Rating categories if they don’t make sense for the product. However, there are only a handful of reviews to date where this was necessary.

Updating Our Rating

We sometimes need to update our previous reviews as we review and evaluate more products.

  • Sometimes we test a product and find out it’s much better than a previous product we tested. So we may have to update that old product’s rating to keep a Rating and recommendation system that is consistent across all of the reviews (especially within that category)
  • On the other hand, sometimes, we test a product that is much worse than a similar product we tested. It may be enough to give that product a lower rating and move on. But sometimes, updating our other reviews and increasing their relative rating makes more sense.

In both cases, our goal is to update and maintain the ratings on our reviews to match our opinions on what products are best.

Pre-Test Reviews

Some of the products we review undergo a pre-test review process. This means we conduct thorough research on these products but do not test them ourselves.

We perform pre-test reviews for products that meet one or more of the following criteria:

  • They are not very popular among our readers
  • They are very similar to other products we have tested
  • We think we can review them based on research alone
  • We want to give our initial impressions and test them more extensively later.

We use our previous tests of comparable products, manufacturer’s information/specs, and other third-party data to review these products.