Food Puzzles For Cats!

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One of the New Year’s resolutions that people make, including me, is to get into better shape physically and lose some of those pounds we put on over the holidays. We need to think about our pets too, not only at this time of year, but all year long. My vet told me that neutered male cats have a real tendency to put on weight. Once that starts, it’s hard to control. Had heard about food puzzles so decided to check it out. Here’s what I found.

Cats love to play with toys and chase fake mice around the house and this sometimes extends to their food. And when bored, our cats tend to eat more especially when dry food is let out all day long.  Food Puzzles can help make cats work for their food while stimulating them at the same time.

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What are food puzzles?

Food puzzles are contraptions or home-made puzzles that make cats work for their food. The puzzles can be as simple as putting dry food in a closed and empty cottage cheese container and cutting a hole in the side, so that the cat has to bat around the container to get the food to fall out

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Food Puzzles can help our cats from over-eating and behave better according to a new study

 

Cats given food puzzles thrive as they tend to be more physically fit and happier. It seems there are also fewer behavioral problems, such as aggression and over-grooming, than cats with regular food bowls.

“Food puzzles provide cats with exercise and mental stimulation,” said review co-author Mikel Delgado, a doctoral candidate of psychology at the University of California, Berkeley. Delgado is also a certified cat behavior consultant with the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants.  “It gives them an outlet to let cats be their natural predatory selves.”

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Indoor cats tend to be overweight since they don’t have to work for food and get less exercise 

Indoor kitties are often given unlimited food, and don’t have to work for their dinner.  “It’s no wonder that indoor felines have a high risk of obesity, Type 2 diabetes, joint problems and chronic lower urinary tract signs,” she said. Indoor cats can also have behavioral problems, including attention-seeking and stress-related behaviors, such as house soiling.

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In the review, cats that used food puzzles were thinner and behaved better

Food puzzles can alleviate those health and behavior problems. In the review, Delgado and her colleagues assessed about 30 cases that they had personally observed when food puzzles helped kitties. For instance, an obese 8-year-old male cat lost 20 percent of its body weight after using food puzzles for a year. Another case was a pair of sibling cats. They were constantly meowing for food, wanting the owner’s attention and stealing leftover food from dirty plates on the counter. The owner stopped leaving out leftover food, and gave the cats food puzzles, which slowed down both cats’ eating. Afterward, the cats stopped meowing for food so much, and they left the owner alone while they were distracted with the food puzzle.

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Food puzzles have worked on kittens and even senior cats

Food puzzles have worked on kittens, senior cats, three-legged cats and blind cats.  Delgado did caution  that young, old and disabled cats should be given easy puzzles as a way to ensure that they’re getting enough food.  And, for the cats who love them, keep them challenged by changing the puzzle.

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I think I’d better get started on making some food puzzles! Found some directions for making five different ones which I will share with you next week.

Marion Lovato is the author of Sam, the Superkitty.  Her book describes an ordinary cat changing into a superhero to protect his family from things that go bump in the night.  Available on Amazon as a paperback or Kindle edition.  http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1604588667

How Are the Cats Doing on Their 2017 Resolutions?

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We’re two weeks into the new year. How are you doing with the resolutions you made? Doing pretty good on mine, but let’s check in with some cats to see how they’re doing.

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He wanted to remain adorable and handsome. I think he’ll keep that resolution!

Resourcefulness is the name of the game here. I think this cat is doing a very good job of that.

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One cat wanted to be helpful by sitting on whatever I was going to pick up, but I think this cat is doing a much better job.

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Another cat was going to forgive his enemies. I highly doubt that! Don’t think this cat will forgive anytime soon either.

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The next resolution was exercising to stay in shape. A bit destructive, but definitely exercise!

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One cat resolved to be kind to the dog. Looks like that’s going well.

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Another cat was going to “learn him a book”. Doesn’t look like he’s being very patient about the whole thing.

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Along that same line, one was going to learn or study a new art form. I think he’s nailed it!

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All of the cats resolved to spend more time with their friends.

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As if 15 hours isn’t enough, they also all resolved to get more sleep.

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So far, I think the group has done pretty well with their resolutions. What do you think?

Marion Lovato is the author of Sam, the Superkitty.  Her book describes an ordinary cat changing into a superhero to protect his family from things that go bump in the night.  Available on Amazon as a paperback or Kindle edition.  http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1604588667

Cat Resolutions for 2017

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Did you make your resolutions for the new year? If so, how long will you be able to stick to them? I used to make a big list when I was younger, but not so much anymore. At my age, it will get done when I get around to it. :>) My cats probably made theirs, but a lot depends on whether I cooperate or not. Let’s see……….

I will remain adorable and handsome. (That’s a given)

I will be resourceful when Mom doesn’t give me enough food. (Going to have to watch what I leave on the counter)

I will always be helpful. (Yeah, right!)

I will forgive my enemies. (Didn’t know you had any)

I will exercise to stay in shape. (Me too)

I will attempt to be kind to the dog. (This will last about five minutes!)

I will learn something new. (No comment)

I will study an art form. (You do that every day when you sleep)

I will spend time with friends. (Me too)

I will get sufficient rest. (15 hours isn’t enough?)

If my human doesn’t cooperate with me in 2017, this is what will happen.

Hummm, kitty cats, as your human, I’m not really worried about that. You guys are so spoiled and pampered that you’d never want to leave. Nice try though. What are your cat’s resolutions?

Marion Lovato is the author of Sam, the Superkitty.  Her book describes an ordinary cat changing into a superhero to protect his family from things that go bump in the night.  Available on Amazon as a paperback or Kindle edition.  http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1604588667