A Puzzle for Cats: Fun with Food
Cats are animals of mystery. They love to knock things over. They love to spy on you and hide around corners. Let’s not even try to understand the fascination with boxes. A lot of our house cats get bored. We can give them toys and try to captivate their attention, but they are naturally curious and natural hunters. Just as a puzzle exercises the human brain, it too exercises the feline brain.
Cat puzzles are food puzzles for your cat. It is an object that requires your cat to try to figure it out to get their food. There are lots of different kinds of food puzzles from batting food around to be able to put it in their bowl, or hiding food inside a ball. No matter what the puzzle is, the point of it is to force your cat to use their body and their mind to get their food. A study by the University of California, Davis, says that it brings out their domestic foraging behavior.
Cats use to have to forage for their food. Humans made it too easy by putting their food in a bowl. We took their jobs away.
There is some link to increase weight loss, and a decrease in anxiety, in cats that used food puzzles.
Just like with anything, if your cat has been eating out of a bowl its whole life, it will not want to jump right into foraging with a food puzzle. You need to start them off with something easy and let them work their way up to more complex ones. A lot of cat owners say their cat is too lazy to do it. If the puzzle engages their mind, they will not be too lazy and they will do it, especially because they will want to eat.
You do not need to feed every meal in a food puzzle, but a few times a week to change things up could be a nice break from routine for our feline friends. Food puzzles can be purchased or created. There are a lot of great food puzzle videos on youtube.