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I have three cats who were four and three years old when I purchased it for them. It is a yellow plastic mouse on a base with extending support on to which is attached a wand with a black fluffy mouse with tail attached. You switch it on by twisting the yellow mouse's nose and you can adjust the speed of the wand by twisting the nose further round. The wand moves erratically and thus it is quite challenging for the cats as it simulates 'real' prey. More recent models have a sturdier base and a timer switch and there is also a Garfield version.
Initially they simply loved it - the boys were very agressive with it chasing it around and catching the wand with the fluffy ball on the end. My girl was much more clever, she studied it for a while and then waited until the erratic movement brought it in her direction and then she caught it.
It kept them entranced for about a week before they tired of it. Now I put it out of use for a week or two and then reintroduce it which seems to keep their interest a bit but it is like many cat toys - fun for a while and then the fascination fades.
I would say a great toy for kittens but I wouldn't let them play with it unsupervised. It is very robust and can take quite a lot of bashing about by adult cats. It is powered by four AA batteries which last for ages and you can buy replacement wands and fluffy balls which is ideal if your cats take their hunting seriously. Good entertainment value watching the cats play with it and if you want to see a video of my three playing with it go to http://www.laramax.co.uk/Videos/panicmouse.wmv