Cats Who Have To Work For Their Food – Does It Make Them Happier and Healthier?

Many cats are kept indoors for a variety of reasons, but because they’re natural foragers, this may lead to a host of behavioral and health problems.

New, recent research shows that food puzzles are effective at staving off many of these problems.

Cats aren’t far removed at all from their wild cat ancestors, thus making indoor life a serious challenge. This can oftentimes lead to health concerns including chronic lower urinary tract issues, obesity, diabetes, and troublesome behaviors such as aggression, house-soiling, and even attention seeking.

In a nutshell, cabin fever and boredom can actually take a huge toll on your cat. That’s precisely why we advocate to keep your cat indoors but provide plenty of cat trees, boxes, and fun things for them to play, climb and explore. Letting your cat outside can be risky to say the least unless you take safety precautions such as having a catio in place!

That being said, food – food drives everyone. And so, just how do we make that more fun for our feline friends?

In a brand new study published in the Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery, a research team from the University of California at Berkeley tout the benefits of food puzzles—gadgets that force cats to work for their food. These puzzles take full advantage of the feline hunting instinct, fulfilling their ingrained desires. By “foraging” for food in precisely this way, cats are more physically active, they experience reduced levels of stress, and they become much less demanding of their owners.

There are actually a large number of food puzzles on the market right now.

The puzzle pictured above is on Amazon for $36.71.

Some of these games require cats to push or roll a mobile device with their nose (like a plastic ball with holes in it), while others are a bit more stationary, requiring cats to navigate a board. Typically, these puzzles can be used with wet or dry cat food. And many work well with cat treats!