Foraging Toys (a.k.a. Food Puzzles)
Implementing Foraging As A Feeding Protocol
This video shows how to feed a multi-cat household via canned food and foraging and explains the importance of feeding cats this way. It also discusses how to stage the difficulty level, making your own toys and more!
How Do I get My Cat Started???
At first, foraging toys should be easy. Select clear toys, that roll easily with more than one hole so that the kibble spills out freely.
As your kitty learns this new behavior the toys can become more challenging:
- Fewer holes for the food to fall out.
- Opaque objects so they cannot see the food.
- Unique shapes that do not roll easily.
Beginner-clear, rolls easily, multiple holes.
Intermediate-clear, erratic motion, one hole.
Kitty Einstein-opaque, difficult to roll, could also be a large and heavy object, one hole.
For more information visit Ingrid's companion website foodpuzzlesforcats.com
Cats are great observational learners! If you get one of your cats foraging, the others will often follow!
Use a unique kibble and spike the toy with a few treats to get them started. Cats will rarely work for the same food you have been putting in their bowl.
Sprinkle some kibble around the toy so that they eat a few pieces to get them started!
Below are videos of cats using the foraging toys available above so you can see them in action!
Soren demonstrating the Foraging Cup
Some cats "nose" food puzzles while others use their paws to manipulate the toy. Here Soren is nosing the toy. Notice how he is only able to acquire one piece of food at a time. This limits the amount of food most cats would eat in one sitting which is why foraging can be useful to achieve weight loss in some cats.
Willow demonstrates the Foraging Mini Egg
Foraging eggs are an awesome and versatile toy. They are opaque and provide erratic movement, keeping kitty entertained and on the move. The eggs can be filled and placed inside other foraging toys to increase the difficulty level for your master forager!
Peaches foraging from Long Gear toy
This video illustrates once again that even senior cats with medical problems and disabilities can be capable of the foraging behavior. Peaches is blind in this clip and in between splint changes for an injury she sustained to her hind legs. Foraging can be a great way to limit the amount of carbohydrates your cat takes in because they only get one piece of kibble at a time.
Foraging Wiffle Ball
This object is great for beginners and intermediate foragers. The many holes appeal to their sense of smell and they can even hook their nails into the holes and pick up the ball and shake it!
This ball can also be placed inside a larger object such as the Busy Buddy Kibble Nibble for an increased challenge.
Foraging Cubes in action!
Foraging cubes are one of the most difficult food puzzles you can offer your cat. Most cats are initially pretty stumped by cubes but once they do get the hang of it they are unstoppable! Our foraging ping-pong balls can also be combined with these cubes to further increase the challenge. Simply fill ping-pong with dry food, place inside the cube and offer that to your cat. This way they have to accomplish acquiring food from two objects at once! A puzzle for the Kitty Einstein/Master Forager for sure!