Make Your Own Food Puzzles for Cats


As I told you last week, I would share the five different ways of making food puzzles that I found. These are pretty simple; you can buy more complicated ones on Amazon.

1. Take a shoe box and cut random shapes for your cat to discover

Take a small cardboard box and cut holes that are larger than the size of your cat’s paws. Cut these holes in random places and use random shapes like circles, squares, triangles, etc. Tape the flaps of the box closed and then toss some dry kibble in there. Shoe boxes make good puzzle feeder boxes.


2. Toilet paper rolls can make a fun alternative cat food puzzle

What cat doesn’t love to bat around a roll of toilet paper? Take the cardboard center from the toilet paper roll and cut holes in it that are a little bigger than the size of the kibble. Fold the ends in to close them and you have an easy and cheap puzzle feeder.


3. A plastic water bottle makes a durable long lasting food puzzle

You can also make one out of a small plastic water bottle.  All you need to do is cut holes in the plastic bottle and then pour some dry kibble in. Replace the cap and you have a feeder that’s simple for the cat to roll around, plus it makes an alluring sound.


4. A plastic holiday egg (if you have that around) is a very durable and fun food puzzle

Cut a couple of holes in the top and bottom section of the holiday egg using the X-ACTO or utility knife.  Trim away any remnant plastic so the opening is as free as can be.  Place some kibble inside the holiday egg, reassemble it and give it a test before rolling it out for play. Widen the holes as needed to ensure kibble can pass through.


5. An egg carton is a ready assembled food puzzle

All you need to do is take an egg carton and put some dry food in the cups! Cut the carton in two so you can have two puzzles.  The carton will slow down your cat’s eating, and if they are nimble with their paws, they can fish food out of the cups!  Easy breezy.


When you make homemade puzzle feeders, you should be around to supervise the playing.  Most of the above puzzles are safe enough but it’s always a good idea to watch your kitties when trying something new.

Our cats do get bored, so shake it up and try a new puzzle every week.  And, for those who aren’t as handy or if your kitty needs more of a challenge, Amazon has some sturdier cat food puzzles.

I’m making some puzzles from small containers of cottage cheese. Will let you know how things turn out! If you have used food puzzles for your cat(s), please let us know about your experiences.

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.

Food Puzzles For Cats!


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.


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


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.”


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.


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.


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.


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.