Thriving Cat

Cat Food Puzzle Feeder

Cat Food Puzzle Feeders

Grey cat with gold eyes being petted

Keep Your Cat Healthy and Mentally Challenged With a Puzzle Feeder.

 Puzzle Feeders Offer Great Benefits For Your Cat:

 

  • A cat food puzzle feeder is a great way to give your cat an intellectual challenge and add interest to their day. It is a new toy! It gets them thinking and problem solving.
  • Puzzle feeders can also help keep your cat from overeating if used in place of a regular food bowl. With a puzzle feeder, food is not available to gulp down by the mouthful! Cats need to get each piece of food out of the feeder first which takes a bit more time and slows down their eating.   My cats still have wet food so they don’t need full servings of dry food as well.
  • Puzzle feeders can also help if a cat is prone to eat too fast and throw their food back up. With a puzzle feeder they will have to slow down and eat smaller portions.

Popular Puzzle Feeders Reviewed

Catit Senses 2.0 Food Tree

I first tried the Catit Senses Puzzle Feeder. This is a very popular model. It looks interesting and is a conversation piece! The real question for me was if it worked however.

How Does it Work?

The Catit Senses Puzzle Feeder is a large plastic feeder that takes up a good deal of space. If you are tight on space I might not recommend it. The dimensions are about 12 inches wide and a little over 13 inches tall.

It has three levels from which cats can retrieve dry cat food or treats. Food is placed at the top and can be knocked down through the levels to the tray at the bottom which circles around the entire feeder, The levels can be adjusted to make it easier or harder to get the food out. If the holes in the different levels are lined up, the food can fall through multiple levels at once. If the holes are offset, the food has to be manipulated through all the levels if it is starting at the top.

There are also holes in the side and some cats may reach in and pick up dry food with their paws and simply pull it out.

Do Cat’s Understand It and Use It?

This depends entirely on your individual cat.  I did not keep this feeder since it was too easy for my smart girl and the boys never figured it out (or refused to use it). Therefore, my porky princess could still get food out quickly and it was not slowing her down much. This was the whole point, to slow her down and make her work for her food. Meanwhile my boys were not using it at all and I had to keep moving the food down for them so they could eat it out of the tray. I was not mean and didn’t just let them go hungry until they figured it out. I thought this is supposed to be fun for them!

So, if you have an intelligent and curious cat they may figure it out the first day and then chow down. If you have a timid, introverted cat they might not “get” it. If you just want to try it out for fun, it is a neat addition for a kitty home!

To be fair I dumped a ton of food in, so if there were only a few pieces of food it would take longer to get them out. I wanted this to take the place of their food bowl however and I have three cats so I put a lot of food in.

Bottom line, this is more like a toy for my smart girl and not so much a puzzle.

Downsides of Catit Senses 2.0 Food Tree:

  • It takes up a lot of space
  • It may be too easy for smart cats
  • It may not make sense for some cats and they won’t “get” it.
  • Food can bounce out of the tray onto the floor.

Why I like Catit Senses 2.0 Food Tree:

  • It looks neat and is like a pretty green modern sculpture in your home.
  • It has adjustable levels for difficulty that I did not fully use so it might work better than I realize.
  • It is hard plastic and comes apart so it is easy to clean.
  • Large food capacity in case you need to feed multiple cats but that makes it too easy for some.
  • Large base makes it stable.

Cat Amazing – Food Maze

 

The Cat Amazing is another food/treat puzzle that can also be used with catnip or toys. While the Catit puzzle has three vertical levels, Cat Amazing has three levels going horizontally across the box. The outer box is divided into three difficulty levels by dividers inside. You can drop food or treats in through the holes on top and your cat has to get the food out by reaching in through the top or the sides to slide the food out.

Do Cats Understand it and Use it?

Yes! My smarty girl was once again the first to figure it out and that happened almost instantly on the beginner level. She reached in and pulled the food right out. She would have to work a bit harder on the other levels but they would simply take more time, she would not be stopped.

My shy boy even figured this out quickly on the beginner level. That was encouraging after the struggle to teach him how to use the Catit Senses tower.

The dividers are even colored in the shades that cats can see best and the booklet that comes with it shows the colors cats see compared to what humans see.

I think this puzzle feeder is the better choice for my kitties.

Downside of the Cat Amazing Food Maze:

  • The Cat Amazing works but it is not as attractive as the Catit Senses tower. It is a fancy, sturdy and interesting cardboard box with special dividers and holes.
  • It is cardboard and not something you want to have to take apart to clean.
  • It can slide around the floor and not stay in place. I could put some non-slide matting underneath.
  • There is nothing to keep food off the floor when they pull it out.

Good points of Cat Amazing Food Maze:

  • It is compact and takes up just about 1.5 square feet. It is only a few inches tall so it could fit under a table to be out of the way.
  • It works and my cats “get” it.
  • It should be challenging enough to slow my greedy girl down.
  • It is affordable on Amazon.com.
  • Cats always like cardboard so it has built in appeal. Catnip can be added for extra love.

An Amazing Cat Food and Final Thoughts

If you want to see the cat food I feed my kitties which is natural, full of superfoods and the one brand that works for all my cat’s needs, please check out my review of this awesome food here. I used to feed it from a regular bowl but now put it in the puzzle feeder.

 

There are many puzzle feeders available but these two options are very unique and should give your cat a real challenge that is more than just fishing food out of a groove like some puzzle feeders. If you have any questions of comments about cat food puzzle feeders please leave me a comment below and I will get back to you soon! Do you have a favorite puzzle feeder? Let me know!

Jessica

Thriving Cat only offers honest reviews and never recommends a product we wouldn’t use ourselves everyday.  Thriving Cat makes use of affiliate relationships with merchants such as Amazon Associates for monetization. This means when you click on links to various merchants on this site and make a purchase, this can result in a small commission that is credited to this site.

 

 

 

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20 Comments

  1. Sue

    Hi Jessica, I had no idea items like these even existed. These are so clever. Your article will help me decide between the two.

    Excellent post.

    All the best.

    Reply
    1. Jessica (Post author)

      Thanks Sue! I was just going to go back into the post and add that both of these can result in dry food getting on the floor. Also the tower stayed in place pretty well while the cardboard model slides around a little on the hard floor. I guess if the cats are actually hungry and getting a little at a time they should end up eating whatever goes on the floor though!

      I am pleased that they can’t just inhale all the food at once now!

      If you are in an RV there are smaller options for food puzzle bowls also. When in Amazon you can look around for those too. They will take up less floor space.

      Jessica

      Reply
  2. Steve

    Wow, puzzle feeders are a great way to monitor how much food your cat eats. Our cat is about 2 years old and he really likes to hunt and he is really active. He spends probably more than half the day outside. I really think the Cat Amazing would be a great option for him to use, he is pretty smart. I think he would really enjoy the challenge of the puzzle, and it would occupy is ever racing brain. He is still pretty young and has a ton of energy, so this would not only keep him occupied for a little while, but I think it would be really fun for the kids to watch him too. Ha, there, I can more bang for the buck. These cat feeders are really interesting. Would this be okay either indoors or outdoors?

    Reply
    1. Jessica (Post author)

      Hi Steve,

      They would work outdoors as long as they were under cover and didn’t get any rain or moisture in them. They would also have to be out of the wind since they are not heavy enough to stay in place. The Cat Amazing puzzle is heavy cardboard. The Catit tower is hard plastic but has a hole in the top to add food.

      Your smart boy would probably do great with these! A young, active, curious cat would probably just view it as a toy/challenge rather than an annoyance.

      I am proud to announce my sweetest boy whom we adore but just couldn’t get the hang of the tower has now figured out how to get food out of the Cat Amazing…on the easy side. He is a conundrum. He is the top cat in the house and dominant over the other two but he always defers to them when it comes to food and lets them eat first. He is also the sweetest, most affectionate and cuddly with us and likes to cuddle his “sister’ every day but also bites her occasionally…truly interesting. The “sister”, my brilliant princess cat can go straight to the advanced side and get food no problem. She seems to look at it just like a person would and figures it out instantly.

      I am very pleased and I can already tell they are going through less food since I don’t fill it up as much as I did the food bowl!
      Jessica

      Reply
  3. Marty

    Hi Jessica,

    I really like the Catit Senses Food Tree you talked about.

    I have 2 tuxedo girls. The senior one, Angel, is smart and slim. The middle age one, Yodaline is not so smart and she is a little fatty.

    So, I have been looking for a way to feed them both and, hopefully, cut down on Yodaline’s calorie intake without Angel losing weight and this looks like it may work!

    I like that it is plastic and washable. I don’t think I would want a cardboard one like the Food Maze. Once it got wet, it wouldn’t be much use anymore!

    Thanks, for reviewing these unique cat puzzles. I learned something today.

    Marty

    Reply
    1. Jessica (Post author)

      Hello Marty,

      My problem was similar. It is very hard if you have different cats to feed them in a way that meets both their needs! Even if you try to put one on a diet, they could just steal the food from the others!

      This seems to even the playing field and the food consumption a bit.

      I agree it is nice to have the feeder in a washable material. So far the cardboard is working fine since it is a very heavy cardboard but it hasn’t gotten wet yet. 

      Thanks!

      Jessica

      Reply
  4. Meliza

    Hi, i didnt know there’s a product for cat puzzles or mazes. Well, i saw some videos about mazes and puzzles for the cat to get their treats but usually the owner of the cat build those mazes and puzzles. Thanks for the article. I will definitely buy one for my cat. It will keep her busy. Thanks

    Reply
    1. Jessica (Post author)

      Hi Meliza,

      I really like them and think they are a great idea! At first two of my cats (the more active boys) really wished I would just give them their food bowl back! My very lazy girl was the one to embrace it. Of course I don’t know if that is because she would do anything to get her food. She is also the fat one! She is very smart though so it is great since she needs to slow down on the food anyway but she is so smart she figured it out right away. Even the boys seem to have fun with it now. 

      Thanks!

      Jessica

      Reply
  5. Steve T

    Great info, Jessica! With two cats in the house, feeding them properly is a challenge, as is exercise, especially in the winter when outside time must be short. While both of these puzzle feeders are interesting, I’m particularly interested in the “Cat Amazing” maze. I do have questions about it:
    1 Do the paws get any paper cuts from the edges of the holes?
    2 Can two cats work this maze at the same time (preferably without fighting)?
    3 Any thoughts on how long it will last if used daily indoors?

    I really appreciate the reviews. Thanks,
    Steve

    Reply
    1. Jessica (Post author)

      Hello Steve,
      No, they don’t seem to have problems with their paws in the holes. They tend to use the larger holes though so they kind of ignore the smaller ones. There are large cut outs on the “beginner” end where they can just pull food out and on the top where they scoop it out (only my smart girl has figured this out so far but we have only had it a week). So, there is no need to use the small holes if they don’t want to.

      Yes, two cats can (and mine do) use it at once. There is access from all 4 sides of the box though at different difficulty levels. The boys tend to wait and just use the “beginner” easy end but their sister (who is not related) can dive right into the harder sides and get food from all of them.

      I think it will last a year or more as long as it doesn’t get too wet. We have it in our bathroom since that is where we always fed them dry food anyway. It sits on the floor and it seems fine. It is very heavy cardboard. Now, you can put catnip or toys in it instead of food but it would not last as long that way since they would be chewing and tearing at it. With just dry food, they barely touch it since they just reach in to slide the food out.

      It is definitely slowing them down as I am not filling it up as often as I did the food bowl! It is a bit of a pain to fill however since I am trying to get food in the easy end for the boys so I want food in it but not falling out on the floor. Hopefully they figure out the harder levels so they can eat food from anywhere in it and I won’t have to fill it up so often.

      Thanks!
      Let me know if you try a puzzle feeder, which one and how you like it!
      Jessica

      Reply
      1. Steve T

        That sounds great, Jessica – I think we will try the Cat Amazing Food Maze, as it seems to be the most practical solution for our cats issues – they need the exercise, and we need to slow them down, hopefully reducing the vomiting that happens all too often these days.

        My inclination is to secure it to a heavy, rubber-backed board to stabilize it and keep it in one place, rather than cope with the feeder and spilled food all over our kitchen and family room. I would like your thoughts about that, however, as I don’t want to make changes that make it more difficult, less fun or unlikely to be used. The fact that a stable, stationary feeder makes more sense to me, doesn’t mean it will make any sense to the fuzzy users it is there to serve…

        I will be sure to report back when we’ve had a chance to purchase and evaluate it.
        Thanks,
        Steve

        Reply
        1. Jessica (Post author)

          Hi Steve,

          I addressed the idea of anchoring the food Maze in my last reply but I forgot to mention I don’t think the cats will mind if it is anchored. Mine just pulled it out because he was trying to pull it away from his brother…just being a brat. I caught him doing that so now I know why it kept moving!!

          I look forward to hearing what you get and how it works.

          Thanks!
          Jessica

          Reply
  6. Alex Chong

    How interesting! To be frank I did not know that there’s a more interesting way to feed your cats until I read this. I think this is really a brilliant idea as cats are very curious by nature, and problem-solving is one of the traits in their natural hunting instinct. So I can see why these puzzle feeders can make feeding time more exciting for our feline friends (well, to some anyway).

    I noticed that the Catit Senses 2.0 Food Tree is taller and more verticle. I am wondering whether it is less stable and can easily be knocked down by the cats?

    As for the Cat Amazing Food Maze, do you need to replace it often as it is a cardboard box and I assume it’s easily torn when the cats are done with it?

    Reply
    1. Jessica (Post author)

      Hello Alex,

      Yes, cats like to “play” with their food anyway so it is a natural fit for many. The Catit Senses food tree is tall and I wondered about the stability before I tried it as well. It is very stable however. The base is huge and does a great job of keeping it in check. I read a review of someone whose cat learned how to pull the top of the feeder back a bit and let it go so it shook the food out. They even posted a video so you can see it is sturdy and does not tip over. I haven’t heard of any other cats doing this, but even this extreme tactic didn’t topple it.

      The Cat Amazing Food Maze is made from a very heavy cardboard. It is not regular weight cardboard and seems to hold up very well. I have not seen any deterioration so far. Of course if someone put catnip in it instead of food and the cats were clawing at it, it would probably get beat up. With just dry food inside however, the cats carefully reach in to get the food in their usual delicate way and pull it out. This concept would not work well with dogs that are more inclined to slobber on things but cats are so clean it seems to work. I suppose a very rough cat who liked to tear up cardboard would be a different story but mine are all very calm and calculated when using it.

      Thanks for your questions!
      Jessica

      Reply
      1. Alex Chong

        Hi Jessica,
        Thanks for your detailed reply. I am glad these manufacturers did take into account how cats will rough up these products and ensure all the use scenarios are covered. I hate to buy something thinking that they are brilliant, only to find out that they don’t last.

        Reply
        1. Jessica (Post author)

          These both seem pretty sturdy. I think they are a great value for the price. Thanks Alex!
          Jessica

          Reply
  7. Christina

    Hi Jessica –

    You know I’m a crazy cat lady with my three fur babies, but I didn’t know there was such a thing as a puzzle cat feeder! Do you think this is something that’s good for all cats? Are they more for keeping the cats busy and entertained, or keeping their weight down?

    Does any kind of dry cat food work in them?

    This is super interesting and something I’ll want to look into more for sure!

    Christina

    Reply
    1. Jessica (Post author)

      Hello Christina,

      I think it would be good for most all cats. You wouldn’t want them to have to work for their food if they were ill or needed to put on weight of course, but most cats have the opposite problem and gain too much weight. I think any kind of dry food would work. Some people also use treats instead of food. That is a great idea but I have not tried it.

      They are totally dual purpose as a toy/entertainment (especially if you used them for treats) and as a way to slow down eating and therefore prevent overeating and weight gain. Some claim they help with keeping pets from eating too fast and throwing up. I think this is generally more applicable to dogs than cats but I can see the logic and I am sure it does work that way for some cats too.

      They are a bit messy and food ends up going on the floor but if they are working for their food, they tend to clean that up right away since it is “free” food. There are still little food bits on the floor however and I am not mean enough to limit their food enough that they are inspired to clean it up! I will take the mess (just sweep it up) if it helps keep them healthy however. I have not had mine long enough to see a dramatic difference but I do think it is helping.

      Thanks for your comment and stopping by!
      Jessica

      Reply
  8. Jaime

    I have seen both of these items numerous times and thought about getting them, but wasn’t sure how they would work. I really hadn’t thought about it as a remedy for my fat kitty baby who likes to eat to much, or my super fast eater who throws it right back up. It makes me think someone has to design one of these for wet food, but I think I may have to try this at least for the dry food. Thanks again for your cat wisdom and great advice, Jessica!

    Reply
    1. Jessica (Post author)

      Thanks Jaime.It certainly seems to be helping by kids. I need to bring the scale up (I didn’t get around to that since we moved) and try to determine for sure that it is helping! If nothing else it slows them down and makes them be a tiny bit more active rather than just sticking their face in the bowl and scaring food!

      I have to say they are both a bit messy but it is dry food so easy to pick up or sweep up. It isn’t too bad but definitely an issue for some people that want a spotless floor. However, if it was just my girl who is the smart one, there wouldn’t be a mess. She can work out how to get food out of either one just fine. With the boys I have been babying them (they act so pathetic) and really filling the feeders up so it is easier for them to get the food out. They are obviously spoiled judging by the food on the floor! They are not lacking for food! So most of the mess can probably be avoided as their skill level increases and my need to fill up the feeder decreases!

      Thanks,
      Jessica

      Reply

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