Natural cat feeding behavior includes predatory activities like stalking and pouncing. We need to provide cats with activities and toys that stimulate their natural instincts and prey drive.
Although we recommend cats eat primarily canned food diets, a portion of the diet can include some dry kibble for use in food toys. Just bear in mind portion control when using dry!
We can simulate natural feeding behaviors by hiding small amounts of food around the house. Try using a sissel floor mat and drop and hide dry food kibbles into the weave. Or buy or grow some cat grass (make sure the pot is heavy enough or weighted so that she doesn't drag it everywhere) and sprinkle food or treats among the grass. Leave small amounts of dry kibble around the house or on the steps of a staircase to encourage your cat to exercise and hunt for his snacks.
Make every meal a game that is fun, challenging, and interactive! Don't put your cat on the unemployment line, give him a job of capturing his own food! Stimulate his mind!
IMPORTANT TIP--Which is the best food toy?? We actually recommend you get one of each, or at least several! Cats love variety. They will tire of the same toy over and over, so have many, use them interchangeably to prevent boredom.
or try the FunKitty Doorway DangliBring out the gymnast in your cat! This toy hangs from any interior door frame. It is suspended by a stretchy bungee cord. Cats can bat, grab and leap after the toy and its fluffy tail, all while being randomly rewarded with treats. The bungee has a breakaway connector, assuring safe play.
Another homemade food toy can be made from a shoebox with holes cut out about the size of a ping pong ball and then fill with treats and a few ping pongballs as an “obstacle”. Be sure to tape the lid on!
A fun way to feed your cat recommended by the Karen Pryor Clicker Training Academy. Hide dry and canned food in the tubes and let kitty hunt and work to capture his meal the way he might hunt for burrowing prey in the wild.
Play the Muffin Tin Game! A home made version of the food toy! A muffin tin can be a great food toy for both dry and canned food. Try smearing canned food in each muffin slot, put some plastic cat balls (those too big to swallow) in each slot, let kitty enjoy popping out the balls to get his tasty meal.
Or Use a cardboard egg carton or ice cube tray as a low cost toy for environmental enrichment for your cat. Drop in a couple pieces of kibble and your cat will spend time trying to figure out how to get it out.
We usually think of using dry food in Kitty Food Toys, but check out this Video of Canned Food in Homemade Food Puzzle Toys! one minor change recommended for safety, we suggest using unbreakable plastic mugs and cups, instead of using those made of glass.
Frolicat Laser Light Toys are also great for stimulating hunting and chasing behavior. IMPORTANT TIP--When using any laser toy with cats, be sure to end the play session by allowing the cat to catch a toy mouse or stuffed animal. Try having a few treats on the floor and end the session by having the light land on some treats. This prevents frustration and satisfies the prey drive.
ALSO Take a look at examples of food puzzles at the bottom of our Dog Food Toy Page, Cats can play with these too to keep them happy and occupied!
Veterinary Behavior Consultations
New Horizons Veterinary Behavior Solutions Serving the Chicagoland Area with Mobile Consultations
Serving Northwest Indiana at 310 E. US Route 30 (Next door to Deer Run Animal Hospital) Schererville, IN 46375 (219)781-6868