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The 11 Best Cat Slow Feeders & Puzzle Feeders

When a cat feeds too rapidly, regurgitation can occur, which is the evacuation of food from the esophagus before it enters the stomach for digestion. Eating too quickly might sometimes lead your cat to consume more food than necessary.

You've undoubtedly done this before—eaten so quickly that your stomach couldn't keep up. When you eat too much, your body takes longer to tell you that it's full, so you end up feeling bloated.

This can make cats fat, which can make them more likely to get other serious health problems like diabetes and osteoarthritis.

Feeding your cat tiny portions will help slow down its eating, but it may also leave it hungry and meowing for more food. An alternate method is to use a slow feeder or puzzle feeder to feed your cat.

These things can be used for both meals and snacks. They are meant to make it harder for your cat to get to his food, so he will eat more slowly.

BestForPets (bestforpets.org) looked at what was available on the market, read user reviews, and then bought and tested the best cat slow feeders & puzzle feeders on the market to give you this review.

Reviews

Overall Winner: DDMOMMY Raised Slow Feeder Ceramic Cat Bowl

 

 

Product Specifics

  • Type: raised bowl
  • Material: ceramic and timber
  • 10 ounces’ capacity
  • Type of Food: Dry or Wet
  • Cats with a tendency to regurgitate after eating
  • Price: $22.99

The best cat bowl has an acceptable size, is broad but shallow, and is clean. In addition to being raised, ceramic, and slow-feeding, this cat bowl meets all of these criteria.

This circular cat bowl has a diameter of 8.5 inches and a depth of approximately one inch. The interior of the bowl is dotted with fish skeleton-shaped impediments that disperse the food around the whole bowl rather than allowing it to concentrate in the centre.

The bowl is sufficiently broad and shallow for your cat to eat from it without disturbing his sensitive whiskers.

This bowl is better to other slow feeders since it is constructed of ceramic rather than plastic. Scratched plastic can trap bacteria, but ceramic produces a nonporous surface that is simple to clean. It was simple to wash by hand or in the dishwasher.

This slow feeder for cats includes a wooden stand that lifts the top edge of the bowl 3 inches off the ground as an extra benefit. The stand features little rubberized feet to prevent movement, but the ceramic bowl is hefty enough to remain in place if you choose not to raise it.

This bowl was favored by my kitties over the two regular slow-feed bowls we tried. The design effectively distributed the food without making it so difficult that my cats quit up.

I did believe that the size of the bowl was a touch excessive, but the depth and height of the impediments were about right. It operated for both dry and wet food, however the shallow edges made it more difficult to hold kibble.

Pros

  • Made with sanitary ceramic materials
  • Contains a stand that raises the bowl by 3 inches
  • Fish-shaped obstacles disperse the food
  • Compatible with both dry and wet food

Cons

  • Having shallow edges reduces its effectiveness for dry food
  • Costlier than certain alternatives on the list
  • Ceramic is more delicate than plastic or steel

 

Second-placed: Trixie Cat Activity Feeder

 

 

Product Specifics

  • Type: Puzzle feeder
  • Material: Plastic
  • Numerous cups’ worth
  • Only dry foods are permitted
  • Beneficial For: curious cats and kittens and cats in need of activity
  • Price: $18.43

The secret to a good slow-feed dish is dispersing the food across a wider area, preventing your cat from consuming it all at once. Puzzle feeders achieve this objective, but need a bit more activity from your cat to obtain food.

The Trixie activity feeder is comprised of six miniature tunnels and tubes that stretch from a transparent plastic hopper, all of which are centered on a strong spherical base.

When food is poured into the hopper, it falls into the tubes and tunnels through holes at the bottom. While some food will flow onto the top of the base, your cat will need to use his paws to remove the majority of it.

One advantage of this puzzle feeder over conventional slow-feed bowls is the ability to customize the rate of food flow (at least, somewhat). By turning the plastic hopper, the size of the holes through which the food tumbles may be altered.

Because this feeder features a food storage hopper, everyday feeding is simple. Wide base with nonskid bottom; dishwasher safe for simple cleanup.

However, it is quite difficult to fit into the dishwasher, so I ended up hand-washing it using a bottle brush to get inside the tubes and hopper holes.

My cats started to like this activity feeder immensely. I had to pull some of the food out into the tray at first since they weren’t sure what to do with it, but they caught on soon. I liked that the tubes are situated at an angle, making it more difficult to scoop out the food than in the tunnels.

Pros

  • Encourages wholesome behavior during lunchtime
  • Engages your cat’s natural curiosity and hunting instincts
  • The food storage hopper can contain enough food for a whole day
  • Simple to adjust the rate of food distribution

Cons

  • Can be difficult to wash by hand
  • Top can be removed pretty simply

 

Best Interactive Feeder: Doc & Phoebe’s Indoor Hunting Cat Feeder

 

 

Product Specifics

  • Food-dispensing plaything
  • Microfiber-reinforced plastic
  • Capacity: 14 cup per
  • Only dry foods are permitted
  • Beneficial for cats with strong hunting and play tendencies
  • Price: $18.00

Some cats enjoy digging their paws into objects such as the Trixie Activity Feeder, while others prefer to chase or bat objects around.

This hunting cat feeder set from Doc & Phoebe’s is a terrific choice for cats with strong hunting instincts and surplus energy that they need to dissipate.

This set includes three mouse-shaped food-dispensing toys. Each toy features a solid plastic body covered in a fabric shell in the shape of a mouse. To encourage your cat to play with the toy, the plastic body may be filled with dry cat food or treats.

Although the three mice may be able to contain a full day’s worth of food, I would only advocate using it for a single meal or rewards.

When mice were batted around, they occasionally became lodged beneath furniture. This might prevent your cat from receiving all of the food he requires unless you have an additional feeding bowl.

It is also important to note that because the mice have fabric bodies, they are susceptible to staining and ripping. Also projecting are the mice’s soft ears and lengthy tail.

They may not be suitable for cats who like to chew on toys since they may ingest the little pieces. My cat Munchkin in particular enjoys removing the eyes and ears from toy mice.

I will add that the mice I received differ from those depicted on the Amazon and Chewy product pages.

On each plastic component of the set I received was an adjustable slide that allowed me to alter the size of the opening to accommodate the size of the meal. The modernized set also appears to make it simpler to separate the cloth and plastic pieces for washing.

Pros

  • Encourages physical activity and hunting
  • Includes a scoop for filling the mice quickly
  • Textured fabric materials appeal to the senses of your cat
  • Plastic components are safe for the dishwasher

Cons

  • Fabrics are susceptible to stains and ripping
  • May become trapped beneath furniture if rough play occurs

 

Best Puzzle Feeder: Catit Senses 2.0 Digger

 

 

Product Specifics

  • Type: Puzzle feeder
  • Material: Plastic, silicone
  • 1.75 fluid ounces
  • Only dry foods are permitted
  • Beneficial For: Highly inquisitive cats and kittens
  • Price: $17.82

The Catit Senses 2.0 Digger is a puzzle feeder with a solid plastic base that contains five little cups. By placing your cat’s food in the cups as opposed to a traditional cat dish, you may extend the time it takes for him to eat his meal. He will also receive some exercise while performing the task.

Not only is this puzzle feeder effective for slowing down a fast eater, but it’s also an excellent interactive toy for keeping your cat occupied while you’re away. The cups vary in size and form, which modifies the level of difficulty. Very simple to construct and dismantle for cleaning.

The concept of this puzzle feeder was admirable, but it wasn’t quite suitable for my cats. My cats like to throw toys about rather than dig, but I can understand how an inquisitive kitten or an energetic adult cat might love this item.

My cats are occasionally more driven by moist food, but the shape of this toy does not permit anything but dry food.

Except for the silicone pad, all components of this feeder are constructed of BPA-free plastic and are dishwasher safe. Handwashing might be more difficult without a bottle brush that fits into the cups.

The silicone mat produces a nonslip surface that helps hold the feeder in place, however an enthusiastic cat may be able to remove and topple it. The mat may also need to be unfolded before to use because it arrives in the packaging folded.

Pros

  • Encourages your cat’s activity during feeding time
  • Made from BPA-free silicone and polycarbonate that is simple to clean
  • Cups vary in breadth and length to allow for difficulty adjustment
  • Arrives constructed but is simple to disassemble and clean

Cons

  • Not recommended for cats with large paws
  • Certain cats do not comprehend the notion
  • The folded silicone mat requires time to unfold

 

Best Treat Dispenser: PetSafe Slimcat Feeder Ball

 

 

Product Specifics

  • Toy that dispenses food
  • Material: Plastic
  • Approximately 2/3 cup
  • Only dry foods are permitted.
  • Beneficial For: Highly active cats and kittens
  • Price: $7.95

If your cat prefers not to dig, this PetSafe feeder ball may be just what he needs. It’s a plastic ball that can hold up to two-thirds of a cup of dry cat food or a few delectable treats. As your cat hits the ball, food is released, ensuring that he remains active at mealtime.

This feeder ball performed precisely as anticipated. Unscrewing the cap made it simple to fill. I found the form of the food-dispensing apertures to be quite uncomfortable, as they open from the side rather than the top.

Rotating the base enlarges the apertures, but because they are elongated rather than round, they may not be as efficient at restricting the flow of extremely small treats and food.

The major problem with this feeder, in my view, is that it cannot be separated into two parts for cleaning. The plastic components are dishwasher-safe, but I’m afraid that the aperture in the ball’s top is too small for thorough cleaning.

It was difficult to get a dishwashing brush into the ball, and the aperture was too small for a sponge or my hand. After every two or three usage, I would recommend running this ball through the dishwasher to maintain it clean and sanitary.

Pros

  • Priced affordably under $10
  • Encourages your cat’s hunting behavior at meals
  • Generous capacity of 2/3 cup
  • Adjustable apertures to accept various food sizes

Cons

  • Does not disassemble for cleaning
  • Ovular apertures may be too big for some foods to function well

 

Best For Soggy Food: Lickimat Casper Fish-shaped Slow Feeder Lick Mat

 

 

Product Specifics

  • Slow feed mat type
  • Rubber of food-grade quality
  • Approximately 2 to 3 ounces
  • Type of Food: Wet food
  • Beneficial for cats who consume moist food or soft treats
  • Price: $8.99

The majority of the slow feeders and puzzle toys on this list are made for dry food, but lick mats are an excellent alternative for cats who consume wet food. The LickiMat is shaped like an amusing fish and is covered with shallow ridges that produce a variety of textures.

This mat is meant for soft treats such as peanut butter and yogurt, but it may also be used with wet cat food. I tested it with my cat’s canned pate-style food, and it performed well.

The ridges were shallow enough not to bother my cat’s whiskers, but the textures kept the food in place and pushed my cat to eat more slowly.

The LickiMat is constructed of food-grade rubber as opposed to silicone and is microwave and freezer safe. Freezing a mat with water, yogurt, or soft treats might help your cat chill down during the heat.

Unfortunately, the mat is not dishwasher-safe, therefore it must be washed by hand. However, handwashing is by no means difficult. The ridges are shallow enough for a coarse sponge or dishwashing brush to reach into the crevices.

LickiMat even indicates that the product may support healthy teeth and gums and fresh breath. The assumption is that your cat’s licking makes saliva that helps preserve its teeth and gums, although it is difficult to provide evidence for this.

Pros

  • Priced affordably under $10
  • Made with nonslip silicone materials
  • Diverse textures maintain your cat’s attention
  • Low ridges do not bother the whiskers of your cat

Cons

  • Dishwasher incompatible
  • Some cats may gnaw on the carpet

 

Best Dry Food Feeder: Petstages Kitty Slow Feeder

 

 

Product Specifics

  • Slow feed bowl type
  • Material: Plastic
  • Capacity: 0.375 cup
  • Recommended food type is dry foods
  • Beneficial For: Cats who like using their paws
  • Price: $10.99

The Petstages Kitty Slow Feeder resembles normal slow feed bowls, however it features five rows of wave-like ridges to divide the food rather than mounds.

This bowl is constructed of BPA-free plastic and can accommodate up to three-quarters of a cup of food.

The product description indicates that it can be used for both dry and moist food, but I guess that it was concerned that moist food may be difficult to remove from between the ridges. Surprisingly, my cats seemed to prefer wet food over dry since they could use their tongues to scoop it out.

Regarding the use of dry food, I felt that the bowl’s angled ridges were too high; I would have preferred that they be somewhat lower than the bowl’s rim. My cats had to use their noses or tongues to pry food from the center of the dish and eat from the sides.

Obviously, this meets the slow-feeding objective, but some cats may not find it worthwhile. It may work for cats that enjoy scooping food with their paws.

I recognize that this dish has the classic form of most slow-feed dog bowls, but merely lowering the bowl’s size is not sufficient to make it suitable for cats.

Pros

  • Separates food to encourage slower eating
  • Dishwasher-safe for simple cleaning
  • Priced affordably under $10

Cons

  • Internal ridges are the same height as the rim and are angled
  • Lightweight, prone to slipping and turning easily

 

Best Combo Feeder: Hyper Pet IQ Slow Feeder And Lick Mat

 

 

Product Specifics

  • Slow feed mat type
  • Material: TPE
  • Availability: Varies
  • Type of Food: Wet or Dry
  • Beneficial For: Cats who consume both dry and wet food
  • Price: $10.95

The majority of slow feed bowls are built for dry food, while some of the smaller bowls may also take wet food. However, lick mats are virtually exclusively meant for wet food.

The Hyper Pet lick mat is distinct in that it is separated into four portions, two of which are designated for wet food and two for dry food.

This lick pad functioned exceptionally well for moist food, but its use for dry food was restricted.

The two portions for dry food contain little square depressions that are just deep enough to accommodate one or two pieces of kibble. It may not slow down your cat’s consumption of dry food as much as a traditional slow-feed bowl would.

With regard to moist meals, however, this mat performed admirably. The broad surface and low ridges are highly whisker-friendly, and the texture of the mat is just right for holding wet food without making it hard to chew.

While this item is advertised as dishwasher-safe, several consumers have reported that it holds up better when hand-washed. I had little issue cleaning it by soaking it in hot water and scrubbing it with a dishwashing brush with firm bristles.

Pros

  • Accepts both dry and moist meals
  • Whisker-friendly style with few ridges
  • Maintains your cat’s interest at meals

Cons

  • Not slip-resistant; may slide on the floor
  • May need to be hand-washed
  • Dry food is less effective for slow feeding

Buyer's Guide for the Best Cat Slow Feeders and Puzzle Feeders

5 Reasons Why Some Cats Eat So Quickly

A variety of meows and yowls are used by cats to communicate with people. You can likely reproduce a number of your cat’s favorite vocalizations from memory, especially the one he employs in the morning when he’s hungry.

Some cats may ask for food even though the bowl is still full, but others will devour their entire meal within seconds. Why do some cats consume food quicker than others?

Here are the five most prevalent causes of your cat’s rapid eating:

He feels as though he is competing with other family pets for resources.

Although your cat’s appearance differs greatly from that of his predecessors in the wild, he retains some of their innate instincts.

It is in your cat’s nature to protect resources, and he may become aggressive if he believes he must compete with other cats (or even the family dog) for his food.

Assuring that each pet has its own dish and a separate feeding area can help decrease territorial eating. Additionally, it may reduce stress in multi-cat families.

He suffers from an underlying ailment that impairs his appetite.

Cats as a species are quite adept at self-regulating their food intake. They typically eat when they are hungry and barely enough to feel satisfied.

Certain health conditions, such as hyperthyroidism and diabetes, might affect your cat’s metabolism, leading him to consume calories faster. Because he is feeling hungrier than normal, he may be more likely to devour his food quickly.

Consult your veterinarian if your cat begins to eat more fast or seems to have a higher appetite than normal. A physical examination in conjunction with blood panels or other tests can help detect (or rule out) underlying illnesses that may be impacting your cat’s appetite.

He is not consuming enough calories or the proper ratio of nutrients.

Even though he is unaware of it, your cat’s body understands what it need. If your cat is not receiving sufficient calories or critical nutrients, he may compensate by eating more.

In cases of calorie deprivation, your cat may eat more quickly due to his extreme hunger. If there is a nutritional deficit, your cat may feel compelled to consume food more rapidly in order to receive the required nutrients.

He lacks sufficient physical activity and mental stimulation.

Behavioral changes are sometimes a sign that your cat isn’t receiving enough physical or mental activity when they aren’t caused by a sickness. Your cat need a stimulating environment in which he may express his innate impulses.

To keep his intellect sharp, he need tall platforms to climb, suitable surfaces to scratch, and engaging toys. Generally, ten to fifteen minutes of daily vigorous play is sufficient for a healthy adult cat.

He simply likes to eat.

Occasionally, rapid eating might not indicate a problem. It may just indicate that your cat enjoys eating. In the same way that people might develop an eating addiction, some cats genuinely like their food and cannot wait to devour it.

If you feel this is the case with your cat, you should examine his nutrition more closely. Cheap cat food is sometimes flavored artificially, which is what makes it so enticing to cats. In addition, they typically contain harmful components such as animal byproducts and plant-based fillers.

Even if your cat doesn’t devour it like Friskies, a high-quality and species-appropriate cat food is optimal for his long-term health and wellbeing.

How We Evaluated

After conducting extensive research on slow feeders and puzzle feeders for cats, I studied customer reviews to reduce the selections down to those shown here.

When making my picks, I prioritized goods that were sized suitably for cats and created with characteristics to slow down a rapid eater.

Standard cat bowls and raised cat bowls with obstacles of various shapes and sizes were selected. I also chose goods that have a puzzle or toy component to encourage physical activity around meals.

With the aid of my three cats, Bagel, Biscuit, and Munchkin, I spent seven days evaluating the goods included in this review.

When feasible, I tried the slow feed bowls and mats with both dry and wet food, and the puzzle feeders with both dry cat food and treats. I also evaluated their ease of assembly (where applicable) and disassembly for cleaning.

A Slow Feeder or Puzzle Feeder Prolongs The Mealtime Of Your Cat.

Slow feeders and puzzle feeders vary in capacity, size, material, and design. Some are meant for moist or soft foods, while others are made for dry foods and snacks alone. Puzzle feeders transform lunch into a game while still serving as slow feeders.

Slow feed bowls and puzzle feeders use distinct technologies and design aspects to achieve the same objective lowering your cat’s feeding rate.

Inside of many slow-feed bowls are ridges or contoured components that disperse the food across a larger area. By making the food more difficult to access, these dishes prevent your cat from eating too quickly.

Some slow-feed dishes are constructed so that your cat must use his paws to access the food, rather than his face.

Puzzle feeders and food-dispensing toys blend physical activity and entertainment into meals. Your cat must still strive to obtain food, but depending on the product, he might express his natural predatory instincts while doing so.

When selecting a slow feeder or puzzle toy for your cat, you should consider the desired outcome.

If all you want to do is prevent your cat from eating too quickly, a basic slow-feed bowl may suffice. To prevent your cat from overeating, a puzzle feeder or food-dispensing toy may be more suitable.

Conclusion

We have spent much effort over the past three years understanding what makes a product safe, effective, and cat-friendly. We looked into and rated hundreds of cat dishes to find out what features to look for and what to avoid.

Before making a decision, we spent hours understanding how slow loaders and puzzle loaders function and the circumstances in which they may be required.

BestForPets (bestforpets.org) would like to thank our visitors for visiting our site to learn about and research the best cat slow feeders & puzzle feeders. We hope you’ve chosen a suitable slow and puzzle feeder for your cat.

FAQs

Is it harmful for cats to consume food too quickly?

A dog is at risk for stomach dilatation volvulus or bloat if it eats too soon. This potentially fatal illness occurs when the stomach fills with food, gas, or liquids and then twists, decreasing or severing blood supply.

Cats are less susceptible, although the condition is still conceivable.

Even if your cat does not get bloat from eating too rapidly, he may vomit the food. This occurs before the meal enters the stomach for digestion, therefore unless the regurgitated food is replaced, your cat will not receive the necessary calories and nutrients.

A raised or anti-vomit cat dish can help avoid regurgitation, but it will not decrease your cat’s eating as much as a slow feeder would.

In addition to consuming more food than is required, cats who eat too rapidly are at danger for obesity. Obesity is associated with a variety of chronic conditions that can negatively damage your cat’s general health and shorten his lifetime.

Are automated feeders beneficial for fast-eating cats?

If your cat has a tendency to overeat or eat too rapidly, you should avoid gravity feeders, which continually replenish the dish with food from a hopper. Automatic cat feeders that allow you to tailor the portion amount for your cat are preferable.

Some versions allow you to plan up to 10 meals per day, allowing you to prevent your cat from eating too much at once by spreading out his food consumption.

Depending on the sort of automated feeder you select, you may be able to use it in conjunction with one of the previously indicated slow feed bowls.

Some versions, such as the Petlibro automated feeder and the Feeder-Robot by Whisker, have built-in bowls, but if you can locate a slow feed bowl with a comparable size and shape, you may be able to switch it out.

How is a slow feed cat dish cleaned?

The feeding dish of your cat should be rinsed daily to prevent the building of biofilm and the development of germs. Washing a slow feed bowl might be difficult if the inside ridges are deep or uneven in form.

Some slow feed dishes are dishwasher-safe, while others must be hand-washed. When hand-washing a slow feed bowl, it is helpful to use a long-bristled dishwashing brush or a bottle brush to get into all the nooks.

You may soak the bowl in hot, soapy water to dislodge any stuck-on food, and then, as an extra precaution, you can sterilize your cat’s dish.

Before reuse, soak the bowl for 10 minutes in a solution of 2 teaspoons of bleach in one gallon of water, then rinse well and allow it to air dry fully.

Author Image

Dr. Deborah Fletcher

Deborah R. Fletcher, DVM, is a skilled veterinarian with more than 15 years of experience dealing with companion and exotic animals. She has experience caring for a variety of animals, including household cats and dogs, reptiles, birds of prey, and even primates. Dr. Fletcher is a valuable part of the BestForPets team, where she contributes to their aim of providing pets and their owners with the finest possible treatment and services.

Veterinarian (DVM) Dr. Deborah Fletcher

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