What Is The Best Cat Puzzle Feeder?
You have probably heard of puzzle feeders or “slow feed bowls” for dogs and cats but might have wondered what they are and if they are any good. I wondered the same things. I needed a way to keep my cats from stuffing themselves and tried several puzzle feeders to slow them down. So what is a puzzle feeder and what is the best cat puzzle feeder?
The Best Cat Puzzle Feeder I Have Found
I have tried some very unique models and this is the best cat puzzle feeder I have found.
- It does not make a mess with dry food going all over the floor!
- It holds a large amount of food making it practical for multi-cat households or outdoor feeding of cat colonies.
- It looks attractive
- It is very sturdy and won’t break.
- It will not be damaged by moisture like cardboard box style puzzle feeders.
- It is not confusing for the cat to use but still takes time and slows them down.
- It could be used for kittens, adult cats and seniors.
Don’t be confused. This puzzle feeder is made for dogs but I have found it is a superior feeder for cats.
It is the Outward Hound brand Fun Feeder.
Why Use a Cat Puzzle Feeder?
1. Control food intake and prevent weight gain.
The reason I use a cat puzzle feeder is to prevent overeating and weight gain. You can time meals throughout the day in small portions if you are home and have one cat but that gets very difficult if you have multiple cats and you are not there to monitor their meals. If you have a larger, stronger or more aggressive cat, they may get the lion’s share of the food you put down. Some cats are just polite and will let others eat first. Some are pushy and take all they can cram in their face. With different cat personalities, sizes, nutritional needs and feeding times it can be very hard to know how much food each cat is eating. Portions don’t mean much in a multi cat household.
My cats are getting fat and I know they need portion control. My husband and I are at work all day however and there is no way to figure out exactly how much each of 4 cats are eating throughout the day. It is not healthy for cats to eat only 1 time per day and many also believe they should eat more than 2 times per day. In the wild they are used to eating many small meals, not one large meal at a time. They may have an insect at one point, some leaves later on and a mouse in the afternoon, then another mouse in the evening. Or a bird or numerous other small meals. Their metabolism is designed to have these smaller and more frequent meals.
2. Slow down food intake, prevent vomiting.
Some cats eat too fast and then throw up the food. A puzzle feeder prevents this since they can’t just stick their face in the dish and chow down until it is all gone. They will have to eat more slowly and may decide they are done with less food then if they could gobble it down quickly. This can help reduce vomiting the food back up right after they eat it. For other causes and treatments of for cat vomiting please take a look at my posts on Cat Food Sensitivity and Intolerance and an over the counter remedy for acid indigestion in cats.
3. Give indoor cats a more interesting way to get their food.
Cats are supposed to work for their food. Prey doesn’t usually just sit there on a platter in the wild. Cats may actually enjoy working a bit for their food and solving puzzles to get to it. This may feel rewarding for them. My French Chartreux cat is very intelligent and she seems to really enjoy all the puzzle feeders we have tried. If you have a highly intelligent cat you may be interested in one of these cat feeders I previously reviewed. They make a bit of a mess with some dry food going on the floor but if you don’t mind that give them a try.
4. Efficiently put out a large amount of food for cats over while you are away.
A puzzle feeder allows working pet parents to put out enough food for multiple cats for multiple meals without having a huge bowl full where one greedy kitty and stuff himself. This particular feeder and the others I have tried, all hold larger amounts of food than many of the cat food puzzle bowls and feeders on the market that are made for just one cat.
How Does This Feeder Compare to Others?
This Outward Hound Slow Feed Bowl is my favorite puzzle feeder for the following reasons:
- It does not leave a mess with dry food all over the floor. This was the biggest drawback of other large feeders I tried.
- It holds enough food to feed multiple cats over multiple meals. The other large feeders I tried held plenty of food but most cat puzzle feeders are too small for multiple cats and multiple meals.
- It stays in place and doesn’t get pulled all over the floor like the cardboard box style feeder.
- It looks attractive and comes in a variety of colors and patterns to suit your taste and feeding needs.
- It is actually made to be a dog feeder so you could use it for a dog as well.
- It is deep enough that a cat can’t stick his face in to get to all the food but large enough to hold plenty of food. Most dog feeders are too large and a cat could just chow down, while most cat feeders are too small to hold enough food.
- It is affordable! Some cat puzzle feeders are expensive.
- It will not be damaged by water/cat saliva like the cardboard feeder I tried.
How Do Cats Use This Puzzle Feeder?
My cats all try to eat the food straight out of the feeder. They can do this if I fill it all the way up so that I won’t have to touch it for a few days. When it gets lower they can only eat straight from the bowl in certain parts of it where there is a wide enough gap. Then they will eventually have to use their paws to move the food from the narrow areas to the wider areas where they can fit their mouth in to eat. My smarty pants girl will just reach her paws in anyway and pull a piece out at a time for the fun of it when eating but the others prefer to do that only after all other options have been exhausted. They don’t like the extra work, but she thinks it is fun.
With the other puzzle feeders I tried such as this one below, my smart girl figured it out right away and the boys took longer to get the hang of it. The Catit Senses Food Tree was an interesting option and if you have neat cats that don’t leave food on the floor and you don’t mind the large footprint, this one is a nice option as well.
If you have any questions or thoughts on this cat puzzle feeder, please leave a comment below!
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