If your cat is anything like ours, they probably have pretty picky eating habits compared to other pets. It’s not their fault! Reports are showing that it’s in their DNA. Cats are hunters, meaning they prefer to stalk, attack, and “kill” their prey. Simply leaving their dinner in a bowl on your kitchen counter might not be enticing enough to them. While we humans might not like the idea of working for our food, it turns out that some cats may prefer just that!
“Hunting is cognitive for cats,” said Mikel Delgado of the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of California, Davis. “Cats are all about sneaking up, a slow approach, anticipating the movement of their prey, and choosing the perfect time to pounce and kill.”
Experts are suggesting an easy way to help stimulate your furry friend’s eating habits – food puzzles. Not only can these make meal times more fun and interesting for your cats, but they provide exercise in the form of mental stimulation which most indoor cats may be craving. As an extra bonus, this report also found that food puzzles have shown to help cats with slower eating (aiding in weight management), troubles with anxiety, and issues with not using their litter box properly.
Now that we have your attention, you’re probably wondering, “What types of food puzzles are out there? How do I choose one for my cat?” The good news is that there all sorts of food puzzles out there for all different types of personalities! Here are our recommendations:
- For the Hunter: Indoor Hunting Feeders are fun because you can fill multiple vessels with food and hide them around the house. This allows your little hunter to
- For the Forager: Maze Interactive Feeder Bowls allow your cat to focus on foraging for each piece of food on their own. This fun puzzle helps stimulate their mind while you can keep an eye on them.
- For the Playful Cat: Rolling Slow Dispenser Balls can be filled with dry food or treats that slowly drop single pieces as your cat plays and rolls it around. As a bonus, it will help slow down any fast eaters!
- For the Hygienic Cat: Catnip Chew Toy. While this one is primarily for treating, it helps stimulate your cat’s mind while cleaning their teeth and freshening their breath!
But what if you have multiple pets, you ask? Good news – food puzzles can still be used under supervision! Try using one under your watchful eye to minimize any interference with other pets. If this doesn’t do the trick, consider setting one up in a separate room with the door closed so your cat can have some undisturbed time interacting with it.
Whether your kitty has troubles eating or just wants to have some fun, we think these are great ways to stimulate meal times and keep their minds sharp!