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How to Introduce Your Cat to Puzzle Feeders

how to introduce your cat to puzzle feeders

Why Use Puzzle Feeders?

It’s certainly easier to just put food in a bowl but puzzle feeders can provide multiple benefits for your cat. Here are just some of the benefits:

  • They help combat boredom or separation anxiety when your cat is alone
  • Puzzle feeders encourage a cat to eat slowly
  • Stress relief
  • Puzzle feeders can assist in weight management
  • Helpful in multicat households to distract cats from focusing too much on each other
  • Constructive outlet for cats who engage in destructive behavior
  • Puzzle feeders spark the cat’s instinct to forage and hunt
  • Puzzler feeders provide a good brain challenge

Some cats will need absolutely no introduction to the concept of a puzzle feeder and may even manage to master it before you can get your phone out to take a picture of your feline Einstein. However, some cats need guidance on how the puzzle feeder process works. Even though cats are hunters and were born to work for food, mastering a puzzle feeder is different from hunting a mouse in tall grass.

quote from Joe Bonsall


Make it Easy for Your Cat at First

Your cat is used to walking over to her food bowl and seeing a meal conveniently displayed for her and now you’re expecting her to work for her dinner? If you make the introduction easy and avoid frustrating your cat, she’ll very likely find the process to be fun. Cats love to seek, discover and paw at things. They’re attracted to objects that move, especially when the movement is enticing. If your cat has ever knocked an object off the table or batted a toy on the floor, she can work a puzzle feeder. She just may need a little Puzzle Feeder 101.

PVC elbow fitting can be a puzzle feeder

A PVC elbow fitting can be purchased at your local home improvement store. Turn it into a quick and easy puzzle feeder. (Photo: Fotolia)

Try Various Food-Dispensing Toys

Every cat is an individual and you may find you have to try a couple of different types of puzzles. Just as with toy selection, you may find your cat has specific preferences. If you purchase puzzle feeders, some are designed for beginners and others are labeled level 2 or level 3. Cats are very smart but since this is supposed to be fun, start at the easiest level (whether homemade or purchased food-dispensing toy) and then work your way up. Don’t be discouraged if your cat doesn’t show interest in the first one you try. It may be too difficult, not the right size or maybe your cat wasn’t hungry enough.