It might not replace the catnip mouse in terms of popularity, but the PetSafe FroliCat Cheese Automatic Cat Teaser offers a decent alternative for pet parents out of the home.
Feels like a robust, long-lasting toy
Very easy to operate
Can be set up to work when you're away
It'd be nice to have more mice and holes
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The PetSafe FroliCat Cheese Automatic Cat Teaser is a simple pounce toy that aims to arouse your cat's curiosity by having two mice pop out of a couple of holes in a casing resembling a block of cheese. It's a plaything that can be enjoyed while you engage with your moggy but it can be safely activated when you're away as well. To that end, it's a fine example of the best automated cat toys but how well does it stand up to testing by our feline reviewer?
PetSafe FroliCat Cheese Automatic Cat Teaser: Features
On the face of it, this toy appears to offer value for money. It's suitably large, ensuring your cat can't help but notice it, and it's also made out of a robust, shiny plastic which certainly feels as if it would stand up to any rigorous swiping and grabbing from some over-eager paws.
It comes lightly packed too. Although it's wrapped within a protective plastic bag, it's placed within a firm cardboard box. You also get a 36-page instruction booklet but don't worry – this is split across 11 languages and you only need to read two of those pages to understand what you have to do.
First of all, you need to insert three AA batteries which, frustratingly, are not included. From that point on, however, it's just a case of pressing the power button which is easily accessible on top of the device. Since this has to be firmly pushed, it can't be accidentally activated. Similarly, you need to press for three seconds in order to turn it off.
As a nice touch, the underside of the device has a set of three rubber feet which means it's less likely to slip and slide when it's being pawed. We're also impressed that there are no sharp edges. Having run a finger all around the toy, we didn't feel any point that could cut through the skin.
PetSafe FroliCat Cheese Automatic Cat Teaser: How does it fare?
So how well did our cat Nova take to the product? When we placed the toy on the carpet, he barely batted an eyelid – until we turned it on. Suddenly, his ears pricked up, his eyes widened and he quickly got on his feet and began to slowly stalk towards the plastic cheese, assessing what on earth the movement could be.
Eventually, he got very close but veered mainly to one side where the mouse was popping out a hole closer to the ground. He watched with great interest yet seemed to slightly jump back at times when the mouse came further out (it has a couple of lengths which adds some variety). Sadly, he didn't paw at the toy or make any attempt to grab it.
Not to be deterred, we turned the device off (left alone it will continue for between 10 and 15 minutes before powering down itself – a good battery saver as well as a way to prevent your cat from getting used to the movement). We then waited an hour and powered it back on. This time, Nova was presented with the cheese at an angle so that the mouse higher up on the other side was more visible. Again, our reviewer got close but simply watched with interest.
Maybe Nova was being put off by us taking photographs of his endeavor so we tried the Play-While-You-Are-Away Mode. This is easy to set up – it's a matter of holding the power button until it beeps three times. Oddly, the toy begins immediately (we're not away yet!), but after 10 to 15 minutes it turns off, coming back on two hours later. When that play session ends, it resumes once more in two hours.
How do we know? Well, aside from saying so in the instructions, we set up a Blink home security camera to spy on our furry friend and, left to his own devices, Nova eventually engaged and seemed to have great fun trying to get at the mouse. We couldn't help but feel that the toy could be more varied, though: the mice only appear through two holes and a few more could perhaps make it a tad less predictable, although we're seeing this through a human mind.
PetSafe FroliCat Cheese Automatic Cat Teaser: User reviews
There's no doubt that many cats are having a great time with this toy. According to one reviewer who has five rescue cats, “every one of them has spent time today playing with it, watching it, pouncing on it, you name it and they have interacted with it.”
Another pointed out that it's “well made” adding, “the mice pop in and out randomly from each side which amuses her immensely”.
It would also appear that the younger the cat is, the more curious they are likely to be. “Our three young cats absolutely love this toy,” a reviewer said. “In fact, they like it so much that we have to hide it when not in use or they get it out themselves and try to work out how to switch it on!”.
Should you buy the PetSafe FroliCat Cheese Automatic Cat Teaser?
Cats are curious creatures by nature and seeing our feline reviewer immediately head towards this toy and spend a good while trying to work out what was happening, certainly shows that it piques a moggy's interest. When left to explore the toy alone – which is one of the key features of the product – this interest then turned into greater interactivity and it was a joy to see a toy giving pleasure.
Given how inexpensive the PetSafe FroliCat Cheese Automatic Cat Teaser is, it therefore comes recommended, more so if you have kittens. Not only is it well-built and sturdy, the batteries last for a good while (it's just a shame there's no plug option). It's also very easy to operate regardless of how you're looking to use it. Oh, and there's a two-years manufacturer's warranty as well.
David Crookes has been a journalist for more than 20 years and he has written for a host of magazines, newspapers, websites and books including World of Animals, BBC Earth, Dogs and Canines, Gadget and The Independent. Born in England, he lives in a household with two cats but he’s also keenly interested in the differences between the huge number of dog breeds — in fact, you can read many of his breed guides here on PetsRadar. With a lifelong passion for technology, too, he’s always on the lookout for useful devices that will allow people to spend more time with their pets.