20th Century Nostalgia

My Kit-Cat clock stopped swinging two years ago


I only have the Kit-Cat Klock company to blame, but I won’t even do that.

I’ve held onto my Kit-Cat clock for long enough. I’m giving up. I won’t throw it away, mind you, but I’ll relegate it to the back of a shelf in the laundry room.

In 2014, my daughter  gave me the clock as a birthday present. It operated beautifully for about two years and then stopped. After consulting the trouble-shooting website, none of the possible remedies for the malfunction fit. The only one that seemed plausible was to replace the batteries, so I did. Still no success.

So I put the dang thing away for another day. That day came and after piddling around a little more, I figured out that I had earlier replaced the batteries incorrectly. After correcting that, my Kit-Cat Clock swung again and it was just peachy… until it wasn’t. About a year later, those eyes and that tail stopped again. The clock still worked, but the eyes and the tail—the reasons one purchases a Kit-Cat Clock in the first place— didn’t.

So I replaced the batteries again. Nothing. Dorked around with the eyes again. Zilch. I took the batteries out again, and then put in different batteries. Nada. Tapped and moved a few internal parts and still no go. Then I looked a little closer at the clock. No, it wasn’t working after all.

This was more serious than I thought. The Kit-Cat clock might actually be finally dead, I thought, ready now more than ever to just chuck the whole thing in the trash.

But I didn’t. I left it, still and silent, on the wall.

About a year later, we moved. And since I’m never one to give up, I packed the clock (all the while asking myself why am I doing this?!) and moved it into our new home, where I eventually tried yet again about a month ago to revive the pile of plastic. Still no luck.

By this time, my devotion to the clock began to wane. I had lost patience and chucked the poor, cute little clock into the trash. (Okay, it’s not as cute as it used to be. Could that grin actually be a smirk?!)

However, half an hour later, I knew I couldn’t leave it there. So I went back, lifted the cat from the garbage can, dug around for the tail, and found it. And then I placed the clock and its accompanying tail in the laundry room. It’s sitting there at this very minute.

And there you have how much I like Kit-Cat clocks. Even when they don’t work, I still keep them for two possible reasons: 1) I like old things; hence my collection of twenty-four vintage metal recipe boxes that looked really awesome alongside my Kit-Cat clock… when it worked, and 2) the clocks remind me a little of my childhood and a board game we kept in the hall closet based on Felix the Cat. I remember looking at the game, but not really knowing how to play it. Or maybe I did know how to play, but didn’t have someone to play it with. (Who knows?! This was a very long time ago and I couldn’t have been more than six years old.)

It doesn’t matter. My Kit-Cat clock is now officially dead. I tried to save it. Several times, in fact.

I can’t even blame the malfunction on Chinese manufacturing. The Kit-Cat Klock Company (yes, they spell clock with a K) is based near Los Angeles in Fountain Valley, California and makes every clock right there as it has since 1932.

I only have the Kit-Cat Klock company to blame, but I won’t even do that. Even though it doesn’t work, I still like my crazy clock, and even though it makes me a little sad to see it staring lifelessly back at me in the laundry room, I probably won’t get rid of it anytime soon. Call me sentimental.

Thanks for reading! If you can believe it, this post about my Kit-Cat clock is my highest-performing post of all time on this blog. Go figure. I wrote it at the last minute just before we ventured over to my in-laws in 2016 for Christmas Eve. Today, I thought it was time for an update on my clock, even if there’s nothing really to tell except that it is now officially dead.

By Marilyn Yung

Writes | Teaches | Not sure where one ends and the other begins.

17 replies on “My Kit-Cat clock stopped swinging two years ago”

Good point. The company does not offer repair services, but does supply a list of clock repair shops. The nearest one to me is in Tulsa. They are not associated with Kit Cat Klock, but they still might be able to fix it. Thanks for commenting!

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I have had SEVERAL of the battery KCK over they years, and they are a nightmare. the balance has to be JUST RIGHT, the wall has to be perfectly level, and you have to find a wall with no electrical or magnetic materials in it… pretty hard when every house is filled with wires, screws and nails! They had to over-complicate the animation while switching from the electric to battery movement and imho, it has been to the detriment of the product. Electric models are so simple when you look at how they animate but are pricey! Due to the fact that they have a constantly running electric motor in them, plus they were often in warm kitchens, the old plastic is so britlle now.

I wish I was smart with electronics, I would just pop in an electric motor and clock movement into a new body and be done with it!

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Thanks for commenting. Yes, I wish I could just have an electric model. Do you know where one could even purchase an electric one? It’s amazing how many people read my KCK posts. Thank you!


eBay seems to be the go to (anyone that knows different, speak up!), though you have to scan through the people with the $350 ones that never sell. I was looking into using the case of a battery one and putting in new works, a dual pendulum motor, rigging the eyes and tail to that… seems like it would be so labor intensive! I just look on eBay or Craigslist and wait until one pops up for a reasonable price!

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Hi Marilyn…
I “feel your pain” on having a motionless kit-cat.
Though I do not have a cure for the timekeeping clock in your Kit-Cat, I *might* have a cure for the lack of tail and eye motion… If you’ve tried everything else at the site, try the magnet trick at
Your investment will only be $8.99 from amazon for some special magnets, and a few minutes of your time. This worked for me on every single one of my eight kit-cats!! Smiles ensued. 8^)
If you try this, I would appreciate your letting me know the results.
Best regartds,


I might have the answer for you. After you take the back off the clock, take a philips head screwdriver- the kind that’s small enough for eyeglasses or a watch- and turn the screw (it’s the only one visible, I am sure you will find it) that is holding the axle counter-clockwise 90 degrees at a time until the clock starts working again. Fresh batteries will eliminate them as a problem. The general idea is that the screw was turned too tight at the Kit Cat factory, creating undue friction. You job is to loosen it just enough to give it more free play. Take care with the screwdriver; it is easy to damage the screw or the plastic piece it is holding down. Let me know how it goes.


We originally bought our Kit-Kat Klock as a birthday gift for my wife’s sister a couple of years ago. Their mother had one in the kitchen of their home in Jersey City in the 1970’s. The clock we bought was tempremental. Every time we visited her sister, the clock wasn’t working.
The sister died of kidney failure last year. I took the clock home with me to hang in my attic where I have my electric trains. It continues to have a mind of its own (like my wife’s sister!). In my efforts to “discipline” it, so far I have broken the pendulum and had to buy a new one, and broken the tiny post that the philips head screw is in and had to re-glue it. I also periodically clean the magnet surfaces with denatured alcohol.
The clock will run for months on end and then stop. And I start the cajoling process all over again. But despite the trouble, it makes me happy to see those eyes moving left and right, and it brings fond memories of my wife’s sister, who had far more trials and tribulations in her short life than anyone deserves to have, and who died bravely and on her own terms.


Thanks, Joe, for reading and leaving a comment. I agree with how temperamental the clocks can be. I have the same one my daughter gave me probably ten years ago, and it’s been off and on since then as I’m sure you have read on my blog. The last time I became frustrated with it, I ended up tossing it in the trash can… literally threw it right on top of some discarded boxes, leftover scraps, and all. But then a few minutes later, I got it back out and set it out of the way on a hard-to-reach window sill in the laundry room. And I left it there for about a year. One day, I finally got tired of seeing it sit there motionless, so I went to work again… that same “cajoling process” you mentioned. What do you know? It worked out of the blue. What the heck?!?! It’s worked ever since and — get this — we’ve even moved to a new house. I was expecting troubles all over again with moving, but no, it has worked just fine ever since. Thanks again for writing me a note! I really appreciate it!


I just bought a battery powered one for my Mom’s sewing room as I am the only one spending any amount of time in there. I’m over there from M-F taking care of them. They’re 93. The clock that was there is now in my bedroom and that clock is now moved to the guest room as my Mom insisted there be a wall clock in there even though there is a desk one right underneath that actually lights up at night.

It was fiddly to get the new battery powered one to work. Yes, you have to put the batteries in correctly and make sure they are held tight. The balance both horizontal, vertical and perpendicular or tilted from the wall. My problem was I didn’t click the tail into place enough. Once I snapped it in the animation worked. I know the batteries for the animation will die faster than for the time so I’m prepared.

I have a corded Kit-Cat in my kitchen I bought in the 80s when I bought my house. I love it. It’s the second one I’ve owned. I have an earlier corded one but I think the motor might be fried. It also has a broken gear but I think the main reason is that it gets too hot. Not sure it can be saved but there is a guy that will rebuild it for under $100. That would be worth it to me as I think anything that plugs into the wall is superior to anything with batteries. I actually bought some winding wristwatches because I was tired of discovering my watch was dead after I left the house and having to always change the batteries.

Best of luck. There are a number of places you can send your clock that repair the battery operated ones. And if it’s too much, you can always buy another. My new one is Ocean Wave green/blue and matches my Mother’s walls. The one in my kitchen is the classic black.


It’s 2023. My sister and I volunteer at a pioneer show. Every year we do a different display of vintage items. We were just discussing cat clocks. Can’t find a used one anywhere for a reasonable price. I noticed they are made in California or at least shipped from there. Maybe I will find one on Craigslist in California.
Enjoyed reading your article.

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