this thing's incredible

This Whack-a-Mouse Toy Is Like a Battery-Operated Catsitter

I’ve started calling it the Cat TV.

After moving in with my cat-person boyfriend, I myself became one of those people who’s obsessed with my cat. And while I love playing with Michel, after dangling cat wands daily, pretend-fishing for my feline’s amusement, my arms were tired (and my eyes hurt from ugly cat toys). I finally decided I needed a cat toy that would keep the cat occupied without requiring my participation. I scoured the internet and found the battery-operated toy to get the job done: it’s called the Cheese.

The first thing you’ll notice about the Cheese versus other cat toys is that it’s not completely hideous. Don’t get me wrong — the simple, white, plastic wedge still looks like a kitschy cat toy, but it’s not the aesthetic nightmare of neon and feathers that’s the norm. It’s like what, say, Maurizio Cattelan would make if he designed a cat toy.

Most importantly, my cat is obsessed with it, even if what it does is pretty basic. Though the wedge of Swiss cheese is riddled with indentations that resemble fake holes, there are only two yellow mice that poke out from actual holes in random order — that’s it. It’s Whack-a-Mouse for Michel, who will slap at the little mice every time they pop out. Once you flick the toy on, each session lasts for about 15 minutes before stopping automatically. The coolest feature, something that turns the toy into an automatic catsitter, is the play-while-away setting, which makes the Cheese turn itself on and off five times throughout the day. I’ve started calling it the Cat TV. My cat will stare at it, entranced, from the minute I turn it on. Have you seen that viral video of the baby whipping her head to “Bodak Yellow”? It’s on that level. What Cardi B is to the human brain, this toy is to my cat’s.

PetSafe Automatic Cheese Cat Toy
Photo: Courtesy of the Retailer
PetSafe Automatic Cheese Cat Toy
$24 at Amazon

More Strat-approved cat toys

Jackson Galaxy Air Wand
$15 at Amazon

This may not be as aesthetically pleasing as the Cheese, but in our guide to the best gifts for cat lovers, several experts singled out the Jackson Galaxy wand teaser for being one of the best options for getting cats to be actively “hunting.”

Yeowww! Catnip Toy
$5 at Amazon

Nora Wood, adoption event coordinator for Anjellicle Cats, calls the Yeowww the “best catnip toy” because it’s the “perfect shape” for cats to sniff, snuggle, and kick, and it’s better than “lots of crap catnip out there.” Strategist writer Karen Iorio Adelson even bought a second so her two cats wouldn’t have to share.

PetSafe SlimCat Interactive Toy and Food Dispenser
$6 at Amazon

To stimulate your cat’s natural hunting instinct, try a puzzle feeder that hides treats so cats have to poke to find them. Heather Henley, a certified feline-training and -behavior specialist at Best Friends Animal Society, loves that the SlimCat makes cats “move with it, so they aren’t sitting still and eating.”

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This Whack-a-Mouse Toy Is Like a Battery-Operated Catsitter