This is supposed to be a way or 'enriching your cat's environment', providing stimulation through mental and physical exercise and rewards for appropriate scratching behaviour. I bought it to give the cats something to play with and as a way to make them work for their dry food throughout the day so that Magic, in particular, wouldn't keep 'inhaling' the bowls of dry food. This was at the time when Red was going through his size zero phase and Magic was snarfing up his high calorie foods so much her back legs were buckling.
Basically, the cats scratch the post and this pulls down the tube which releases the little trap at the bottom. I reckoned Red would love it and Magic would ignore it as she doesn't do working for food....WRONG....! Ah, the sweet stupidity of a human who thinks they can outsmart their cats.
Magic did her usual inspection, discovered whiskas kitten food crunchies came out and made very free and easy with it. Red was interested but just couldn't capture the concept. I tried showing him with Magic as he mimics her every move but not this time when I wanted him to learn. I tried holding his paws under my hand while I scratched it to prodce the treats, let him eat them then tried again, thinking repetition might make it click....nope!
I tried over 6weeks to no avail. Magic was in her element and had access to treats 24/7 while Red remained none the wiser and waited on me bouncing the top of it when I was passing to liberate the sweeties for him. He did try waiting for Magic to activate it then attempt to 'muscle in' on the spoils. Magic took significant exception to and made it clear that communal dining would not be occurring and only injury could ensue if he didn't scarper. In fact the only thing Red learned in relation to this toy was that if he sat beside it with his concerned face on and saying 'wow' plaintively to me then I'd relent and make the magic sweeties appear.
The thing is made stable by filling the paw shaped base with cat litter and I'd specially bought some heavy stuff so it was too much of a hassle to empty. So until the sweets were finished I put the spring in the high setting so that at least Magic would have to put some effort into releasing the trap.This meant poor Red, who weighed less than a puff of air, was unable to work it but as he refused to use it it was rather pointless anyway. I stopped putting food in it as Magic was the only one getting the food and supplementing her diet uncontrollably.
It still sits in the bedroom as a scratch post and Magic still uses it in the hope sweets will magically drop from it while Red is oblivious.
It just goes to show you that any plans you have to outsmart your cat are generally doomed.