Since I blogged about feline obesity earlier this week, it only seemed fitting that I follow this up with an interesting solution to the chubby kitty epidemic: puzzle feeders.
But, back up a minute … what on earth is a puzzle feeder? Blimey good question, my fellow philosopher.
What is a puzzle feeder?
A puzzle feeder is a device that you pop food (usually kibble) into that both controls your kitty’s kibble intake and also provides them with a little mental stimulation. It’s like putting chocolate in a strange contraption that makes you figure out a puzzle before you gain access to the chocolate. Now exchange the chocolate for kibble, the human for a cat, and you have a puzzle feeder.
I’d talked about getting a puzzle feeder for ages because both of our cats are omnom’s, i.e. as a result of food competition (which I’m working on), they frantically inhale their meals within seconds. I hoped that by making them work for their food (one frustrating piece at a time), I’d be able to get them to slow down their gobbling at least a little.
Thankfully, I found a puzzle feeder to suit my needs. The Catit Food Maze is both fairly nice to look at and has adjustable ‘levels’ of difficulty. It also looked, well, kind of fun.
Here’s a video to show you how it went.
Did my cats like the Catit Food Maze?
Okay, so I’ll be honest: At first they weren’t really impressed. You’ll probably see that in the video.
“Why bother sticking our paws in this weird as heck contraption and then waste time figuring out how to get to the kibble when we can just wait for you to feed us?” was pretty much the general consensus.
Which was fairly accurate given that dry food is only a small component of their daily intake.
Also, they had no idea why I was being a Really Horrible Human by putting yummy food within reaching distance … that they couldn’t get to. Cue the death glares and paw swipes while I was sleeping.
To begin with, I put a few pieces of kibble in the top (harder to get to) tiers, and the rest in the bottom, where they’d just scoop it out with their paws. Once they cottoned on to the scoop-and-eat scenario, I changed their ratio around so more kibble was up the top and less at the bottom.
And – and here’s the good part – after a while, the Catit Food Maze began to grow on them.
Why? Because they soon realised that unless they could figure out how to get the kibble out of the food maze, they weren’t getting any dry food action. And they. Love. Kibble.
The first one to clue up was Tank, my older cat. It took him about a week to cotton on to my evil plan and then he, admittedly reluctantly, began playing with the Catit Food Maze in order to lure some kibble out.
It’s taken around a month for Bear, who is three years old, to figure out how to get to the kibble from the top tiers, but now that he has, it’s pretty much game on.
Now, they sit next to the Catit Food Maze and meow until I top it up … which, okay, isn’t helping with their weight problem but it DOES make them work for it! Mental stimulation, one piece of kibble at a time (which means they can’t omnom a bunch) and a bit of play? We’re getting there, folks.
The hole in my plan
One puzzle feeder.
You see where I’m going with this?
Tank ‘owns’ the Catit Food Maze at the moment so Bear has to sneak in when Tank is sleeping and steal his kibble pieces.
Also, it’s fairly hard to track their individual kibble intake. I’m guessing that Tank is getting more than his fair share of kibble at the moment so I’ll need to tweak it so they’re not going over their RDI (recommended daily intake).
I guess the only solution is that I’ll need to buy a new – and different – puzzle feeder … and review that one too!
Stay tuned my kitty loving comrades.
For now, why not check out this review of the Catit Senses Play Circuit?
Please note: I am not an affiliate for Catit and have no connection with the brand or business whatsoever. I paid for this item, in full, and am reviewing it because I think quality, trustworthy reviews on pet items are a valuable tool for pet owners. If you have any questions or comments about this review, you can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org