Products to Combat Feline Obesity
In observance of National Pet Obesity Awareness Day on October 10, AdoptAShelter.com reviewers Dusty Rainbolt, ACCBC and Jacqueline Munera BA, CCBC, PCBC, CAP 2 evaluate products that help fight feline obesity.
SmartCat™ Peek-A-Prize Toy Box / Peek-and-Play
Food puzzles are neat little devices that slow the dining process while stimulating the cat’s mind. Usually small openings allow treats or kibble to pass through a few pieces at a time. As long as you don’t leave food out for him, it will give your cat something to do during the day. Most kitties quickly learn they can either eat by pushing the toy around with a nose or removing it with a paw. This is another way to keep their minds occupied and their bodies doing something that doesn’t damage the furniture. If your cat lived in the wild, he’d have to spend a great deal of time and energy hunting for his dinner. These puzzles are the next best thing.
Da Bird has been a long-time favorite cat toy among the Rainbolt Test Kitties. They will actually ask for it, and will hang out by the closet where it is stored until my husband gives in and plays with them. Da Bird engages all of their senses. This toy gets even our oldest, fattest and laziest guys up off of their tails. Some of the cats actually do back flips to get to the lure. Da Bird is hard to get away from them and if you let them grip for more than a few seconds, they break the feather. I’m going to start ordering replacement lures by the case. It is American made.
Expect to pay between $6.95 and $9.95 for Da Bird, and $3.95 to $4.95 for the additional lures. Go to your favorite shelter’s shopping page to before purchasing it from AdoptAShelter.com’s merchants including Allpetsconsidered.com, Entirelypets.com, Healthypets.com, Petco.com, or Amazon.com. Just Shop to Donate!
Aikiou (pronounced “IQ”) is another wonderful food puzzle that makes cats think and work for their food. Place the kibble or treats in the human food-grade polypropylene tubes and kitty must manipulate his paw to retrieve his dinner. Feeding tubes in three different lengths provide increasing levels of difficulty. The easy tube, which lies flush with the surface, holds 1/5 cup of goodies. The medium tube extends one-inch above base and holds 1/3 cup. The most challenging optional tube, rising four-inches above base, holds ¾ cup.
I introduced the Rainbolt Test Kitties to the product by placing deli turkey in the cylinders. Later I poured kibble inside. The kittens caught on right away. Even Peg, my six-year old front leg amputee, retrieved the food without a problem and appeared to enjoy the challenge. Some cats even bypassed the full bowl to eat from the Stimulo. The textured base assures the cat must continue to work to retrieve kibble that spills in the crevices. None of the Test Kitties had long enough legs to successfully work the long tubes.
You can wash both the base and tubes in the dishwasher top rack. This product is made in China.
It sells for $24.95. Click on your favorite animal charity’s shopping page to before purchasing it from Amazon.com. Just Shop to Donate!
This pressed board box functions as a cat toy and a treat puzzle. Measuring 13.5 inches x 13.5 inches x 3 inches, it has 38 holes, just large enough for a standard cat ball to pass through. The unit comes with two balls. It was made in China.
I crammed Peek-a-Prize full of toys, and sprinkled in a few kitty treats. In order to find the treat, the cats first had to remove the toys with their paws.
I had fun buying different kinds of toys to see which ones they preferred: crinkle balls, sparkle balls, balls that glow, blinking balls, as well as real and fake fur mice, catnip mice and other small toys. Each cat had his favorites.
Two or three times a day, I had to retrieve the toys and drop them back into the box. Each Test Kitty would insert their paws through the holes and remove items until they found the kibble or just the right plaything, whichever seemed most important at the moment. He would be rewarded with a snack for his persistence just as he would on a successful hunt—the perfect outcome from a feline mental health perspective.
This toy is a popular keep busy toy with both the mature cats and the kittens, but it was ignored by my elderly kits. It cannot be cleaned.
The Peek-and-Play Toy Box is a smaller (2.5-inch x 10-inch x 2.5-inch) version with 17 openings. This scaled-down box is an excellent environmental enhancement for any confined cat, and would be a welcome distraction for cats who are stuck in adoption cages.
The Peek-a-Prize Toy Box retails for $29.95 and the Peek-and-Play retails for $19.99. Go to your animal charity’s AdoptAShelter.com shopping page to before purchasing it from one of the following AdoptAShelter.com merchants: Cherrybrook.com, Petco.com or Amazon.com. Just Shop to Donate!
This food puzzle functions beautifully as a treat ball and a feeder. It holds about ½ cup of dry cat food, and it can distribute any size of cat kibble. It features four holes, three of them adjustable. You can reduce the hole size for a more challenging “hunt” or increase it to accommodate larger dry food or to make it easier for kitties who have problems catching on. The clear blue plastic shell allows you to monitor the food levels. It easy to fill and dishwasher safe on top rack. The unit was made in China.
I wanted the Test Kitties to be receptive, so I waited until a couple of hours past normal dinnertime to introduce them to it. With the holes opened as wide as possible, I gave the egg a nudge. A few pieces of kibble spilled out. The most food-motivated kitties caught on pretty quickly. Once they understood the game I adjusted the holes to make it more challenging. After they got the hang of it, the kitties seemed to really enjoy the food game. As with the other food puzzles, the most senior cats weren’t interested.
There were only a few downsides were: the kibble they didn’t eat had to be swept up and it did make a little noise when they kicked it around late at night.
It retails for $7.99. It’s available at these AdoptAShelter.com merchants:
Cherrybrook.com, EntirelyPets.com, HealthyPets.com, PetsWarehouse.com and Amazon.com. Simply click on your favor shelter’s shopping page and then choose one of the stores above. Just Shop to Donate!
This 10-inch x 8.2-inch x 3-inch portion control food dish has a funnel shaped bowl that automatically distributes kibble as needed. It is available in both ceramic and dishwasher-safe polypropylene. Tiger Diner is made in China.
If your cat could stand to lose a bit of flab while enjoying physical and mental stimulation, Tiger Diner is a purr-fect place to start. The design allows you to pour dry food into the funnel shaped bowl. Kitty then fishes it out with her paws. Rubber feet keep dish in place.
My observations support the manufacturer’s claims that the Tiger Diner “helps cats eat only as much as they need, so there’s less waste and less overeating”, as well as “promoting a healthier eating speed.” This alone makes the product worth purchasing, particularly if you have a cat that typically vomits after gulping his food down too fast.
I was immediately impressed with the eye appeal of the ceramic Tiger Diner, which resembles an artistic sculpture. Functionally, both the plastic and ceramic versions perform almost equally well. The only difference is the lighter plastic model can sometimes travel when an enthusiastic cat dines. Simply pour some dry food in the center funnel and it falls into the lower chamber for the cats to paw out.
The cats seemed a bit stumped as first, but both caught on quickly when I demonstrated a scooping technique with my hand. Miracle of miracles, they did not finish the entire amount at one time! They visited the bowl multiple times during the day, which is a natural eating pattern for cats. At each visit the cats burned some calories and engaged their brains far more than they would at a regular food bowl.
I am not a fan of dry food only diets for cats and tested the Tiger Diner with wet food. It wasn’t pretty for the cats or my floor. Alternatively, dehydrated meat and jerky style treats worked fantastically so keep this product in mind as a food puzzle toy too.
Hand cleaning the inside of the Tiger Diner was challenging, so wash in the top rack of the dishwasher.
This is a great addition to most cat households, rescues and shelters because it will add physical and mental stimulation during meal time that most indoor-only cats are missing. The Tiger Diner is a useful tool in the arsenal in the war of the waistline.
Expect to pay around $29.95 for the ceramic model and $17.06 for the plastic one. Go to your favorite animal charity’s AdoptAShelter.com shopping page to before purchasing it from AdoptAShelter.com’s merchants including Cherrybrook.com, PetFoodDirect.com, Amazon.com or Petco.com. Just Shop to Donate!
Category: Featured Product
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