Last Updated on August 16, 2023 by Fumipets
Let’s face it: It seems like a dream to laze about all day anticipating someone to serve your favorite dish to you on a silver platter. But after a time, it would get monotonous, just like cats do. Many veterinarians and specialists in feline behavior advise utilizing cat puzzle feeders as a means to make cats work hard for their food. This is an alternative to having your cat sit about and wait for every meal.
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These simpler puzzles are an excellent introduction to enrichment toys for cats and kittens who are just beginning to think critically. You can stop them from becoming discouraged and quitting straight away by easing them in with one of these easier toys.
You must advance her puzzle game as your cat learns more. “You’re probably ready to increase the skill level if your cat gets all the food out in a very short period of time,” Johnson-Bennett advises. Along with picking a toy that is more challenging, you can keep the task fresh and interesting for your cat by changing the sort of puzzle.
These more complex alternatives will keep your cat challenged even after she has mastered all of her previous puzzle toys.
Beginner Cat Puzzle Feeders
PetSafe Funkitty Egg-Cersizer Treat Dispenser Cat Toy
This toy is suggested by Johnson-Bennett as a simple way to introduce puzzle feeding. Your cat will exercise both her mind and body as she bats the egg-shaped ball around to release her dry food or treats. The puzzle can be adjusted, which makes it a fantastic tool for moving from a beginning to an advanced toy.
Pet Zone Boredom Busters Relax Slow Feeder Licking Cat Mat
A licking mat is a terrific slow feeder alternative for your cat if they love wet food since it will keep them entertained and stimulate their brain. Cats need to work harder to acquire every last morsel of food once you shove their wet food into the narrow gaps.
The Company of Animals CATCH Interactive Feeder
Those new to puzzles who like digging and foraging may do so with this mat, which tests cats with big, grass-like spikes. This is a simpler—but still rewarding—feat since it keeps all of your cat’s food in plain sight, unlike more challenging toys.
Petstages Hunt N Snack Mat Slow Feeder Cat Bowl
The three distinct obstacles presented by this puzzle mat for novices include scooping out their food, moving it around, and hitting the mat out of the way. When purchasing more challenging puzzle toys, it might be helpful to see which obstacle your cat favors!
Intermediate Cat Puzzle Feeders
TRIXIE Activity Fun Board
Your cat will have to exercise her intellect in many different ways as a result of the five different obstacles presented by this board. Fortunately, the huge board includes non-slip rubber feet to hold it in place, so your cat may climb, scoop, and play to her heart’s delight.
Catit Senses 2.0 Digger
This intermediate puzzle is ideal if your cat enjoys digging. The transition to this problem is made simpler by the limited location to deposit food and the additional difficulty provided by the various-sized tubes. The big rubber pad that prevents it from tipping over is, however, the finest feature for cat parents.
Doc & Phoebe’s Indoor Hunting Cat Feeder
This is a fantastic choice if you want to use interactive feeders to give your cat extra activity. Your cat will have to search the home for any concealed mice before playing and swatting them to release their meal.
PETSTAGES Buggin’ Out Puzzle & Play Cat Toy
With this lovely puzzle toy, you can watch your cat explore the leaves! The puzzle’s swiveling leaves and sliding ladybugs that reveal 14 concealed food hiding places are guaranteed to keep your cat occupied. Even more, difficulty may be added by putting the sweets inside the ladybugs.
Advanced Cat Puzzle Feeders
Petstages Rainy Day Puzzle & Play by Nina Ottosson Cat Toy
This slider puzzle’s curves and turns aren’t the only things that make it challenging for cats to play with. Finding your cat’s food is made much more challenging by the rotating wheel and swiveling raindrops. There is a lot to look for, and there are 14 treat sections!
Nina Ottosson by Outward Hound Dog Treat Puzzle
In this difficult slider puzzle, savvy cats will enjoy foraging for food. Although this puzzle was designed for dogs, cats may move the sliders with their paws or noses since they are lightweight. If your cat succeeds in solving this puzzle, you may make it harder by leaving some of the compartments vacant.
Cat Amazing Sliders Interactive Treat Maze
Even the smartest kittens may struggle to understand this very challenging toy. The inside compartments of the box move around as your cat forages for food, varying the difficulty as your cat plays. Your cat will feel extremely successful and rewarded for all of her hard work when she successfully conquers and gets her food from this toy.
Benefits of Cat Puzzle Feeders
Cat Behavior Associates owner and author Pam Johnson-Bennett, CCBC, claims that “cats are hunters who must use physical manipulation and mental skill in order to capture prey.” Pam Johnson-Bennett is also a member of the Daily Paws Advisory Board. The puzzle feeder gives the cat the opportunity to employ both of those abilities and offers food as a reward for a job well done.
One easy approach to imitate your cat’s natural inclinations at home is to introduce puzzle feeders. These interactive pets keep your cat interested by presenting them with psychologically and often physically demanding tasks, and they are rewarded with food and treats as form of reinforcement.
“This can provide enrichment for a cat who is bored, lonely, or simply needs more fun in life,” explains Johnson-Bennett. Who can refuse more pleasure, after all?
Puzzle feeders have cerebral advantages, but they may also aid heavier cats in losing weight. Johnson-Bennett claims that cats on diets feel like they are consuming more food when it comes from a puzzle because the puzzles promote movement and excitement while eating. They will also receive some much-needed exercise by using puzzle feeders with high levels of activity.
How to Introduce Your Cat to Puzzle Feeders
Johnson-Bennett advises beginning with a simple puzzle feeder when exposing your cat to them. To ensure that your cat understands and appreciates the procedure, she advises beginning with something simple.
To assist your cat comprehend that the toy contains food in the early stages of training, provide dry food close by. If she still struggles to get going, assist her learning by manipulating the toy’s pieces as you play with it.
Because your cat can have a preference, you should also be aware of the sort of manipulation needed to get at the food, advises Johnson-Bennett. Some cats like using their paw to scoop up food, while others enjoy kicking a ball around. It will be helpful to understand the kinds of cat toys your cat naturally prefers. Don’t quit up if your cat doesn’t like one kind of toy. Attempt another!
Put just a tiny bit of your cat’s supper in the feeder when you first start the training. Serve the remaining food in her usual, comfy dish. Change the quantities as she becomes better at using the puzzle to give her more to work for until she can obtain a whole meal from the toy.
Q&A: 10 Best Cat Puzzle Feeders: Reviews & Top Picks
What are cat puzzle feeders, and why are they important?
Cat puzzle feeders are interactive food dispensing devices that engage your cat’s natural hunting instincts while providing meals. They promote mental stimulation, reduce boredom, and slow down fast eaters, contributing to overall feline well-being.
How do I choose the best cat puzzle feeder for my pet?
Consider your cat’s size, age, and skill level. Opt for feeders with adjustable difficulty levels. Reviews from other cat owners and recommendations from your veterinarian can help guide your choice.
What are some benefits of using cat puzzle feeders?
Cat puzzle feeders stimulate your cat’s mind, alleviating boredom and potentially reducing destructive behavior. They also aid weight management by extending meal times and fostering a healthier eating pace.
Are there different types of cat puzzle feeders available?
Yes, there are various types of puzzle feeders, including ball dispensers, treat mats, and more complex interactive designs. Each type offers a unique challenge and engages different aspects of your cat’s curiosity.
Can cat puzzle feeders be used for both dry and wet food?
While some cat puzzle feeders are designed for dry kibble, others can accommodate wet or moist food as well. Check the product specifications to ensure compatibility with the type of food you provide