We cat owners know that there's no surefire way to know whether our finicky furballs are going to take to a new toy, or eschew it in favor of the box it came in. Which leads me to one of the reasons I was drawn to the Peek-A-Prize Toy Box: not only does it come equipped with two multi-colored foam balls, but you can use it with toys that are already tried, tested, and beloved. The concept is simple. Peek-A-Prize is a swiss cheese-esque box that challenges cats to liberate objects from within its hole-y walls.
I live in a three-cat household. Two out of the three, Riley (8) and Molly (7), expressed interest in Peek-A-Prize from the moment I set it down. However, Murphy (9) our eldest and a card-carrying member of the "meh, just give me a cardboard box" club, was uninterested. (To be fair, though, we suspected Murph to have been feeling a little under the weather that day. Poor guy.) I decided to initially present the Peek-A-Prize to my cats as is—out of the box with no additional toys, catnip, nor treats. It was slow going at first. I had to roll the little balls around to create some movement to catch their eyes, which worked. However, once they got going, it proved very easy for them to bat the balls right out of the box—which had me constantly on the floor, reaching for balls under tables, chairs, and the sofa. To see if I could extend playtime, I introduced some furry toy mice (always winners!), a few treats, and a sprinkle of catnip into the mix. The cats reached in and pulled out the mice in no time (anything that can be easily snagged with claws will be out in seconds flat), but it took slightly longer for them to whack out and gobble up the small treats.
The verdict? As an activity that will hold their prolonged interest (without requiring your involvement), it's ok—but I wish it presented more of a challenge to them. I imagine that younger felines still working on their paw-eye coordination would get more play time out of it than adult cats. In the end, though, I found the Peek-A-Prize Toy Box to be a great way to give your cats their toys and treats by posing the initial challenge of having to remove them from the box first. This, no doubt, is more stimulating (and perhaps rewarding?) for them than simply being handed goodies over on a silver platter. Also, as it's made of wood, it's not too shabby looking, so it won't be an eyesore if left out on the living room floor. That said, if your cats' favorite toys and treats fit inside the Peek-A-Prize, you should find this attractive, sturdy, and reasonably-priced toy box a worthwhile buy.