For having spent some more time with it, I now regard mine as worth the investment.
Were you focusing on the cats eyes here?
Not by design, cat under one arm, trigger in the other.
I'm not sure if it's me but the image looks almost like it's very soft or not in focus.
You tell me. Dialing the shutter speed up might have helped, but given the choice between 1/250 and a happy cat versus HSS and claws, I'll take the happy cat.