Posted on 1 Comment

Why You Should Ditch Your Cat’s Food Bowl

Why You Should Ditch Your Cat's Food Bowl

Our cats are lucky.

As skilled hunters, they once risked their lives going after live prey. Now, all they have to do is meow loudly and persistently to make sure their meals are always on time, delivered from pet store, to bag, to food bowl.

This pampered lifestyle is not optimal for our cats, though they’d happily protest otherwise. About 58.3% of US cats are overweight. Many are in danger of being given up to shelters because of stress and boredom-related behavioral issues such as scratching and relieving themselves outside the litter box.

Making your cat work for their food can help them lose weight. Ditching your cat food bowl is also a great way to provide mental stimulation to reduce stress and boredom.

Think Outside The Bowl

You can use store-bought or homemade puzzle toys to serve up dry cat food. Your food puzzle can be as simple as placing a few pieces of kibble in cardboard boxes, plastic bottles and cans around the house.

Kong toys are not just for dogs – you can fill a puppy-sized Kong with canned food to keep your cat busy.

Try using an old egg container as a serving dish. Or, punch holes on one side of a cereal box and seal the openings, then drop food through the holes. Your cat will use their paws to reach their meal. Be sure to check Pinterest for more cat food puzzle ideas.

Meal Time Is Training Time

Cats can be trained using positive reinforcement, just like dogs. While they’re not as eager to please, they’re just as capable of learning tricks, tasks and commands that will make them smarter and more fun to live with.

The easiest and most important trick to teach your cat is to follow a target stick. Your cat can learn to follow a target with their nose, which in turn will make it easy for you to lead your cat off the furniture or into a kennel when it’s time to go to the vet.

You can teach target stick training with or without a clicker. If you don’t have a target stick, you can use a wooden spoon or a dowel with a ping pong ball glued to the end. Hold the target close to your cat’s nose, and praise/click when they move towards it. You may want to smear the target with food to get your cat interested, at first.

Praise, click and reward your cat with a piece of kibble or a bite of wet food when they touch the target. Start by leading your cat a few inches, then slowly up your requirements – eventually, you’ll have your cat follow the target for a few feet before they get their reward.

Try Raw Snacks

You’ve probably heard by now that some cat owners are ditching kibble and canned food for fresh food options. If you try a homemade raw diet, make sure to do your research to ensure it’s balanced. Otherwise, stick with premade raw brands. Regardless of your cat’s current diet, you can introduce them to raw snacks to stimulate their need to bite into real flesh. Raw bones (never cooked – cooked bones become brittle and dangerously splintery) are excellent for your cat’s dental health.

Some examples of raw snacks for cats include:

  • Chicken wings
  • Chicken necks
  • Chicken feet
  • Duck parts
  • Whole mice (frozen, not live)
  • Whole chicks (frozen, not live)

Go On A Kitty Picnic

Take your cat out on a leash and harness, then head to your favorite park. You can scatter bits of food in the grass so your cat can “hunt.” You can also allow your cat to eat raw snacks outdoors without worrying about finding pieces of chicken bones in your bed the next day.

Do you have your cat work for their food at mealtimes? How do you keep them guessing?

1 thought on “Why You Should Ditch Your Cat’s Food Bowl

  1. Such good ideas. We actually feed all of our cats with toys. I’m a huge fan of that!
    Johnny recently posted…How to Spot & Prevent a Feline UTIMy Profile

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge