A recent study suggests that cats, especially indoor cats, can greatly benefit from food puzzles that force them to play with their grub before eating it. Here are a few ways you can make your own puzzle feeders on the cheap. Photo by Ian Ivesey.
The folks at the Purina One cat blog have six different puzzle feeders you can easily build yourself with things around the house. You can make them out of an empty sour cream or cottage cheese container, an empty plastic water bottle, a plastic Easter egg, a shoe box, an egg carton or just some card-stock paper. The empty sour cream container feeder, called the "wheel", just needs an extra plastic lid, some non-toxic glue and a sharp tool like a utility knife to assemble:
- Make sure your container is completely clean and sanitised.
- Use an X-ACTO or utility knife to cut a few small holes in the sides of the container that are large enough for a piece of kibble to pass through.
- Next, glue an additional lid to the bottom of the container that is slightly larger in diameter. This will alter the way that the feeder rolls and adds variety to the experience for your cat.
As the study published in the Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery explains, puzzle feeders like these engage the feline hunting instinct and force the cats to work for their food. This "foraging" behaviour makes the cat more physically active and helps reduce their stress level, which in turn makes them less demanding of you. You can get complete instructions of all six DIY puzzle feeders at the link below.
Enrich Feeding Time for Your Cat. Make a Puzzle Feeder [Purina One Cat Blog]