Have you ever watched your cat wolf down their food and wanted to tell them to breathe or at least chew before the next mouthful?
If so, you’re not alone. Cats can eat fast – really fast – and it isn’t always good for them.
Many pet owners are pretty used to their kittens eating quickly and acting as if they haven’t been fed in weeks, rather than hours, but it isn’t good for them. And once your kitten becomes an adult cat, they should naturally slow down their eating…only not all of them do. That’s what slow feed cat bowls are designed to help with!
But are they any good? Do slow feed cat bowls work? Are there alternatives to slow down your cat’s habits at dinnertime? Let’s find out!
What are slow feed cat bowls?
A slow feed cat bowl turns a bowl full of food into a game or puzzle. The idea behind them is to make it harder to devour all their food at once or make your cat have to think to get their food.
Rather than letting them dive right into their dinner and demolish their food within seconds, a slow eating cat bowl really does slow them down at mealtimes.
Instead of a nice big bowl to tuck into, these slow eating cat bowls use obstacles that get in the way to force your cat to slow down and work out how to get the food. So of course they can still eat their meals, but at a much slower pace.
It’s a great way to prevent gulping and extend the time between mouthfuls to slow down the whole eating process.
What’s wrong with eating fast?
If your cat is a fast eater, you might be wondering whether or not it’s a real problem. After all, it all goes down the same hole, right?
Sadly, fast eating is an unhealthy habit that you should try to break. When your cat eats too quickly, a lot of the food is undigested and can lead to an upset stomach. In many cases, this results in vomiting – usually on your carpet or bed!
But the other issue of fast eating is the risk of obesity. The excessive intake of food on a regular basis can lead to overeating, which causes physical problems down the line.
These are two problems that aren’t going to make for a happy household!
Should you get a slow feed bowl for your cat?
Slow feed bowls can be helpful if your cat tends to eat their meals too fast. If their dinner is gone in seconds, it’s certainly worth considering a slow feed cat bowl to turn down the tempo at mealtime.
Not only can they slow down your cat’s eating habits, but they also offer a bit of fun and mental stimulation to keep your cat entertained.
However, we recommend shopping carefully for your slow feed cat bowls. Not all are made equal and not all of them make dinnertime fun.
We’ve seen some slow feeders that are so complicated that cats just give up and walk away, usually to meow loudly for their real dinner!
Plus, some slow feed bowls out there are designed more for small dogs than cats. While the differences are minimal, they could be enough to put your cat off dinner altogether.
Do slow feed cat bowls work?
Slow feed bowls for cats can work wonders, but only if you’re home to fill them!
If you’re at work or away from home and aren’t around to set up a slow feed bowl for your cat, there are other solutions you can try that make mealtimes slower and easier. For example, digital feeders are a great option for portioning food and feeding your cat at scheduled times throughout the day.
And as we all know, cats are very particular creatures and have their own preferences for things like food, cuddles and games.
The same goes for these slow feed bowls. Some cats will enjoy the puzzle and having to work for their next mouthful. Others will try it, get bored or fed up and look at you with that ‘really?’ expression that they’ve perfected so well.
So, if your pet is fussy, remember that these slow feed cat bowls aren’t the only option…
Smart alternatives for slow feed cat bowls
If your cat doesn’t take to a slow feed bowl, you could try an automatic cat feeder instead. These are especially useful if you’re out at work or have multiple cats to feed.
If you’re away during the day, you can break up your cat’s meals into smaller portions and have the smart feeder make them available at specific times throughout the day. This means your cat can have smaller, more frequent meals to avoid digestive problems and you can avoid the hassle of a stubborn or impatient pet at mealtimes!
If you have multiple cats and one finishes their dinner quickly before helping themselves to everyone else’s, a microchip cat feeder might work better. This way, only the cat with the correct microchip can eat, slowing everyone down and ensuring every cat in the household gets their fair share.
These smart devices avoid annoying your cat and give you the freedom to feed your feline, no matter where you are.
Slowing down mealtimes
Balance is everything with cats. We want to feed them the food they love in quantities they need, while keeping their habits as healthy as possible.
If your cat has a tendency to eat too quickly, there are ways to address the problem without getting in their bad books!
While you can try a slow feed cat bowl, automatic cat feeders are hassle-free alternatives that can achieve the same goal with added benefits.
And if you’re not sure, don’t forget, your cat will soon make their preferences known!