Recently, I purchased a Squeaker 3000 Robotic Toy Mouse for my cats, Holly and Thunder. They’re big fans of other items in your product line, especially the Squeaker Catnip Toy Mouse, the Squeaker Laser Toy Mouse, and of course the classic Squeaker Squeaky Mouse, so I decided they might also like the robotic version. For the most part, they’ve enjoyed playing with the Squeaker 3000; however, the product has some serious flaws. The following is my evaluation of some of its key high and low points.
Ambulation. This is fantastic! It moves just like a real mouse. I was amazed to find that it can even climb stairs. Judging by their reaction — they started stalking it the moment I took it out of the box — Holly and Thunder were impressed too.
Chewing. Chewing on the bits of cheese that I give it is adorably mouselike; however, the toy’s autonomous chewing behavior (chewing holes in walls, chewing holes in bags of cat food — really, chewing anything it encounters while moving through the house) can be a bit annoying. I tried to reduce the amount of inappropriate chewing by placing the robot mouse inside a box when not actively in use, but it just chewed through the box.
Hiding. Every so often, the Squeaker 3000 will chew a hole in one of my walls, squeeze through it, and spend a few days moving around inside the walls. Because the holes are tiny, Holly and Thunder can’t fit through, so all they can do during this time is claw ineffectually at the walls whenever they hear the robot mouse moving around. Both cats find this extremely frustrating.
Ease of Use. The absence of controls makes the Squeaker 3000 simple to use — just take it out of the box, and it starts acting like a mouse. However, an on/off switch would eliminate some of the undesirable chewing behavior I mentioned above and would also improve battery life. A remote control with a “recall” button that would cause the toy to return (e.g., when hiding) would also be extremely useful.
Pellets: The little black pellets it leaves behind are, frankly, disgusting. Cleaning up robotic rodent droppings is a real inconvenience, especially because of the face mask, bleach, and other precautions mandated by the owner’s manual. I can’t understand how you could possibly have thought this was a good idea. The droppings themselves are bad enough, but the addition of Hantavirus makes no sense at all. I know it’s written on the box, so in theory I should have known what I was getting into — but when I bought mine, the “Now with REAL Hantavirus” text was partially obscured by a large “ON SALE! 20% OFF!” sticker.
As it stands, I really can’t recommend the Squeaker 3000 Robotic Toy Mouse to my cat-owning friends, primarily because of the Hantavirus and the inappropriate chewing behavior. However, if you made a few simple modifications — providing a few basic controls and getting rid of the rodent droppings — then this could be a truly fantastic product. If you don’t address some of these issues, however, then I’m concerned that you might wind up facing backlash similar to what happened with the Squeaker Sport Utility Internal Combustion Toy Mouse.