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4Feb07 019

Food Puzzles are wonderful for all manner of pets. They are one of the best ways we can enrich our pets' environment. Food puzzles require use of mental and physical energy. Food puzzles are fantastic boredom busters too! When pets are busy, they are prone to be less destructive.

Some people feed their cats exclusively via feeders. Others feed canned food or kibble on a regimen, but leave kibble or treats in puzzles for kitty to find. Importantly, remember when using feeders that meal time amounts should be adjusted accordingly.   Doing so ensures kitty will not take in too many calories. Puzzle feeders can also be used to help cats lose weight and slow down feeding if kitty quickly devours food.

20180504 181954Cats are natural hunters, so why not let them hunt? Foraging for food exercises these skills wonderfully. There are all manner of food puzzles you can buy or make (Enrichment page). "Kibble hunts" are also a fabulous way to get kitty hunting. Simply place kibble around the house for kitty to find. Place it on the stretchers of tables and chairs, on tables, on their cat tree, in small bowls, etc.. Place them high and low so kitty truly hunts for the food. Having kitty watch you initially will help provide realization as to what's going on. As kitty's skills grow, the puzzles can become more complicated for further enrichment. Not all cats are naturals at food puzzles. They are a game for which the cat needs to learn the rules. It may be necessary to teach kitty how to use the puzzle, particularly if it is a complicated one.

20180504 182356Start small and try different variations. Some cats are naturally good at using their noses to find food. Their drive can be strong and they'll continue to work and figure it out. Many can watch other cats and learn quickly. Keep in mind that cats may not use a non-translucent feeder. Some cats don't hunt via scent and if the kibble/treats aren't visible, kitty may not realize there is something enticing inside!! Trial and error are often necessary so don't give up. Kitty will ultimately stay busy morning and evening working to get their "prey" from the puzzles. Busy kitties are happy kitties and are less likely to find their own amusements.