The 10 Best Cat Slow Feeders & Puzzle Feeders

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Our Review Process

Our reviews are based on extensive research and, when possible, hands-on testing. Each time you make a purchase through one of our independently-chosen links, we’ll receive a percentage of the proceeds. Read more about how we’re supported here.

When a cat eats too quickly, it can lead to regurgitation – the expulsion of food from the esophagus before it enters the stomach for digestion. Eating too fast can also cause your cat to eat more than he needs to.

You’ve probably done it yourself – eaten so fast that your stomach can’t keep up. The fullness response becomes delayed, and you wind up feeling over-full later, having consumed far too much food. In cats, this can lead to obesity which may increase your cat’s risk for other serious health problems like diabetes and osteoarthritis.

Feeding your cat small meals can help curb speed eating behavior, but it could also leave your cat hungry and meowing for more. An alternative solution is to feed your cat using a slow feeder or puzzle feeder. These products can be used for meals or snacks, and they’re designed to make it just a little more difficult for your cat to get the food, forcing him to slow down as he eats.

We researched the options on the market, scoured customer reviews, then purchased and tested ten of the best cat slow feeders and puzzle feeders on the market to bring you this assessment.

At A Glance: Our Top Picks For Best Cat Slow Feeders & Puzzle Feeders

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We highly recommend looking at the comparison table we have below where we highlighted the features of each product. You’ll also find more detailed information about each product later in the article.

Overall Best
10.0
Picked by 31 people today!

DDMOMMY Raised Slow Feeder Ceramic Cat Bowl

  • Made from hygienic ceramic materials
  • Includes a stand to elevate the bowl by 3 inches
  • Fish-shaped obstructions spread the food out
Runner Up
9.8
Picked by 31 people today!

Trixie Cat Activity Feeder

  • Engages your cat’s inquisitive nature and hunting instincts
  • Food storage hopper can hold a full day’s worth of food
  • Easy to customize the speed of food distribution
Budget Pick
9.8
Picked by 25 people today!

Frisco Fish Shaped Ridges Slow Feed Bowl

  • Affordably priced under $5
  • Simple but functional slow feed design
  • Obstacles are lower than the rim for access
Premium Pick
9.7
Picked by 21 people today!

Frisco Silicone Slow Feeder Mat with Stainless Steel Bowl

  • Two-in-one design for food and water
  • Silicone materials are non-slip and easy to clean
  • Comes with a stainless-steel bowl
Best Interactive Feeder
9.7
Picked by 18 people today!

Doc & Phoebe’s Indoor Hunting Cat Feeder

  • Encourages active play and hunting behavior
  • Includes a scoop to easily fill the mice
  • Textured fabric materials appeal to your cat’s senses
Best Puzzle Feeder
9.6
Picked by 31 people today!

Catit Senses 2.0 Digger

  • Encourages your cat to be active during mealtime
  • Made from easy-to-clean silicone and BPA-free plastic
  • Cups vary in width and length for adjustable difficulty
Best Treat Dispenser
9.6
Picked by 31 people today!

PetSafe Slimcat Feeder Ball

  • Affordably priced under $10
  • Encourages your cat to bat and chase during mealtime
  • Generous 2/3 cup capacity
Best for Wet Food
9.5
Picked by 25 people today!

LickiMat Casper Fish-Shaped Slow Feeder Lick Mat

  • Affordably priced under $10
  • Made from nonslip silicone materials
  • Varying textures keep your cat interested
Best for Dry Food
9.5
Picked by 21 people today!

Petstages Kitty Slow Feeder

  • Separates food to slow down eating
  • Dishwasher friendly for easy cleaning
  • Affordably priced under $10
Best Combo Feeder
9.4
Picked by 18 people today!

Hyper Pet IQ Slow Feeder and Lick Mat

  • Accommodates both dry and wet food
  • Whisker-friendly design with low ridges
  • Keeps your cat engaged during mealtime

Why Should You Trust Us?

Over the last three years, we’ve spent a lot of time figuring out what makes a product safe, effective, and cat-friendly. We’ve researched and tested dozens of different cat bowls to learn what features to look for and which to avoid.

We spent hours researching how slow feeders and puzzle feeders work and the situations in which they might be necessary before making our selections.

How We Tested

After thoroughly researching cat slow feeders and puzzle feeders, I read customer reviews to narrow down the options to the 10 picks featured here. When making my selections, I looked for products that were appropriately sized for cats and designed with features to slow down a fast eater.

I chose slow feed bowls with obstacles of various shapes and sizes, both standard cat bowls and elevated cat bowls. I also selected products that incorporated a puzzle or toy element to encourage exercise during mealtime.

I spent 7 days testing the 10 products featured in this review with the help of my three cats Bagel, Biscuit, and Munchkin. I tested the slow feed bowls and mats with both dry food and wet food, where possible, and the puzzle feeders with both dry cat food and treats. I also tested how easy they were to assemble (where necessary) and disassemble for cleaning.

Our Top Picks For The Best Cat Slow Feeders & Puzzle Feeders

After hours of research and hands-on testing, the following are our top 10 recommendations for the best slow feeders and puzzle feeders you can buy.

#1 Overall Best: DDMOMMY Raised Slow Feeder Ceramic Cat Bowl

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Product Information

  • Type: Elevated bowl
  • Material: Ceramic, wood
  • Capacity: 10 ounces
  • Food Type: Dry or wet
  • Good For: Cats who tend to regurgitate after eating.
  • Price: $19.99

The best cat bowl is appropriately sized, wide but shallow, and hygienic. This elevated ceramic cat bowl checks all three of these boxes in addition to being a slow feed bowl.

This round cat bowl measures 8.5 inches in diameter and it’s about an inch deep. The inside of the bowl is interspersed with obstructions shaped like fish skeletons which spread the food across the entire bowl instead of allowing it to concentrate in the middle. The bowl is wide and shallow enough that your cat can eat from it easily and comfortably without irritating his sensitive whiskers.

What makes this bowl superior to many slow feeders is that it’s made from ceramic rather than plastic. Plastic can harbor bacteria when it becomes scratched, but ceramic creates a non-porous surface that’s easy to keep clean. I had no trouble washing it by hand or in the dishwasher.

As an added bonus, this slow feeder for cats comes with a wooden stand that raises the top edge of the bowl to 3 inches off the ground. The stand has small, rubberized feet to keep the entire thing from sliding, but the ceramic bowl itself is heavy enough to say in place if you prefer not to elevate it.

My cats preferred this bowl to the other two traditional slow feed bowls we tested. The design did a good job of distributing the food without making it so hard to access that my cats gave up. I did feel like the size of the bowl is a little excessive, but I thought the depth of the bowl and the height of the obstructions was perfect. It worked for both dry and wet food, though because the sides are shallow it had a harder time containing kibble.

What We Liked:

  • Made from hygienic ceramic materials
  • Includes a stand to elevate the bowl by 3 inches
  • Fish-shaped obstructions spread the food out
  • Can be used with either dry or wet food

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Shallow sides make it less effective for dry food
  • Pricier than some options on the list
  • Ceramic is more fragile than plastic or stainless steel

#2 Runner Up: Trixie Cat Activity Feeder

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Product Information

  • Type: Puzzle feeder
  • Material: Plastic
  • Capacity: Several cups
  • Food Type: Dry food only
  • Good For: Inquisitive cats and kittens, cats who need exercise.
  • Price: $18.43

The key to an effective slow feed bowl is spreading the food out over a larger surface so your cat can’t get to it all at once. Puzzle feeders accomplish this goal but require your cat to be a little more active in order to get the food.

The Trixie activity feeder features six small tunnels and tubes that extend from a clear plastic hopper, all centered on a sturdy round base. When you pour food into the hopper, it falls through slots in the bottom and into the tubes and tunnels. While some of the food spills out onto the top of the base, your cat will have to use his paws to scoop most of it out.

One benefit this puzzle feeder has over traditional slow feed bowls is that you can control how much food is released at once (at least, somewhat). By rotating the plastic hopper, you can change the size of the holes the food tumbles through.

Because this feeder has a food storage hopper, it’s easy to use for daily feeding. The wide base has a nonskid bottom, and the entire thing is dishwasher safe for easy cleaning. It is a little awkward to get into the dishwasher, however, so I ended up washing it by hand with a bottle brush to reach into the tubes and through the openings in the hopper.

My cats really came to enjoy this activity feeder. They weren’t quite sure what to do with it at first, so I had to pull some of the food out into the tray, but they caught on quickly. I appreciated that the tubes are set at an angle which makes the food a little harder to scoop out than the tunnels.

What We Liked:

  • Encourages healthy activity during mealtime
  • Engages your cat’s inquisitive nature and hunting instincts
  • Food storage hopper can hold a full day’s worth of food
  • Easy to customize the speed of food distribution

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Can be a little tricky to wash by hand
  • Top comes off fairly easily

#3 Budget Pick: Frisco Fish Shaped Ridges Slow Feed Bowl

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Product Information

  • Type: Slow feed bowl
  • Material: Plastic
  • Capacity: 1.25 cups
  • Food Type: Dry or wet
  • Good For: Cats who eat too quickly or too much at once.
  • Price: $4.97

While a slow feeder might seem like the ideal solution to you, your cat may disagree. If you’re not sure your cat will tolerate a slow feed bowl, it doesn’t hurt to start with something inexpensive like this slow feed bowl from Frisco.

This round plastic bowl holds 1.25 cups of food and can be used for either dry or wet food. It measures just under 6 inches across and is a little over 1 inch deep. Evenly spaced around the middle of the bowl you’ll find three raised fish-shaped obstacles.

What my cats and I appreciated about this bowl (other than the price, of course) is that the interior obstacles were lower than the rim of the bowl. This enabled my cats to reach into the bowl, but the obstacles still did their job. I tested this bowl with both dry food and wet food. I found that my cats could access some of the dry food by mouth but had to resort to scooping it out at times. My cats were able to access the wet food more easily with their tongues.

The main drawback of this bowl is that it is very lightweight and doesn’t have a non-slip bottom. My cats slid it easily across the floor and I can see how a more rambunctious cat might tip it over entirely. The plastic materials are easy to clean, but less hygienic than ceramic or stainless steel. Because there are only three obstacles, this bowl is a little easier to wash by hand than some slow feed bowls but using the dishwasher is the simplest option.

What We Liked:

  • Affordably priced under $5
  • Simple but functional slow feed design
  • Obstacles are lower than the rim for access
  • Dishwasher friendly for easy cleaning

What We Didn’t Like:

  • No non-slip bottom, could tip over
  • Plastic is less hygienic than ceramic or stainless steel

#4 Premium Pick: Frisco Silicone Slow Feeder Mat With Stainless Steel Bowl

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Product Information

  • Type: Slow feed bowl
  • Material: Silicone
  • Capacity: 3 cups
  • Food Type: Dry food only
  • Good For: Voracious eaters and very determined cats.
  • Price: $20.82

If you’re willing to spend a little more but still want to get the best bang for your buck, this slow feeder bowl set from Frisco is a great choice. It’s modestly priced around $20 and includes a silicone slow feed bowl as well as a standard stainless-steel bowl.

This bowl is pricier than the previous pick, but you get two bowls instead of one. This two-piece set consists of a silicone mat shaped into a slow feed bowl on one side and a holder for the included stainless-steel bowl on the other. The silicone materials are naturally resistant to slipping and both pieces of the set are dishwasher safe for easy cleaning.

While the stainless-steel bowl could be used for any type of food, the silicone slow feed bowl is specifically designed for dry food, though I tested it with wet food as well. The depth of the ridges made it a little tricky for my cats to get the wet food out.

What I noticed is that the ridges of this bowl were deeper than other slow feed bowls I tested. Because the ridges are concentric circles, there’s no space to push food into for easier access. My cats didn’t seem interested in expending the effort to completely empty the bowl, so it might be a more appropriate pick for voracious eaters for whom a standard slow feed bowl simply isn’t enough.

I did, however, appreciate the convenience this bowl set offered and the fact that it’s so easy to clean. Both parts can be cleaned in the dishwasher but handwashing is equally easy. The silicone ridges on the bowl are flexible enough that you can get a narrow dishwashing brush into the crevices fairly easily.

What We Liked:

  • Two-in-one design for food and water
  • Silicone materials are non-slip and easy to clean
  • Comes with a stainless-steel bowl
  • Both pieces are dishwasher safe for easy cleaning

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Ridges may be too deep for some cats
  • Slow feed bowl can’t be removed from the base

#5 Best Interactive Feeder: Doc & Phoebe’s Indoor Hunting Cat Feeder

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Product Information

  • Type: Food dispensing toy
  • Material: Plastic, microfiber
  • Capacity: ¼ cup each
  • Food Type: Dry food only
  • Good For: Cats with strong instincts for hunting and playing.
  • Price: $17.00

Some cats love to dig their paws into things like the Trixie Activity Feeder, but others prefer to chase or bat something around. For cats with strong instincts for hunting and excess energy they need to expend, this hunting cat feeder set from Doc & Phoebe’s is a great pick.

This kit consists of three food-dispensing toys shaped like mice. Each toy has a solid plastic body that is encased in a fabric shell shaped to look like a mouse. The plastic body can be filled with dry cat food or treats to entice your cat to play with the toy.

While the three mice may be big enough to hold a full day’s worth of food, I’d recommend using it for one meal or only for treats. In batting the mice around, they sometimes got stuck under furniture. This could prevent your cat from getting all the food he needs unless you have another food bowl elsewhere.

It’s also worth mentioning that because the bodies of the mice are made from fabric, they are prone to staining and tearing. The mice also have protruding parts – the soft ears and long tail. They may not be appropriate for cats who chew on toys because they may swallow the small parts. My cat Munchkin in particular is fond of chewing the eyes and ears off mouse toys.

I will note that the set of mice I received is different from what’s pictured on both the Amazon and Chewy listing. The set I received had an adjustable slide on each plastic part so I could change the size of the opening to fit the size of the food. The updated set also looks like it might be easier to separate the fabric and plastic parts for cleaning.

What We Liked:

  • Encourages active play and hunting behavior
  • Includes a scoop to easily fill the mice
  • Textured fabric materials appeal to your cat’s senses
  • Plastic parts are dishwasher safe

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Fabric materials are prone to staining and tearing
  • May get stuck under furniture with rough play

#6 Best Puzzle Feeder: Catit Senses 2.0 Digger

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Product Information

  • Type: Puzzle feeder
  • Material: Plastic, silicone
  • Capacity: 1 ½ cups
  • Food Type: Dry food only
  • Good For: Highly inquisitive cats and curious kittens.
  • Price: $14.99

The Catit Senses 2.0 Digger is a puzzle feeder that consists of a sturdy plastic base into which five small cups are set. By putting your cat’s food in the cups instead of a standard cat bowl, you can increase the length of time it takes him to finish his meal. He’ll also get some exercise while he does it.

Not only does this puzzle feeder work well for slowing down a speedy eater, but it’s a great interactive toy to keep your cat busy when you’re not at home. The cups vary in shape and height which changes the difficulty level. It’s very easy to set up and disassemble for cleaning.

I appreciated the design of this puzzle feeder, but it wasn’t quite right for my cats. My cats tend to prefer batting toys around to digging into things, but I can see how a curious kitten or an active cat might really enjoy this toy. My cats are more sometimes motivated by wet food and the design of this toy simply doesn’t accommodate anything other than dry food.

All parts of this feeder except the silicone mat are made from BPA-free plastic and are dishwasher safe. Handwashing can be a little trickier unless you have a bottle brush that fits into the cups.

The silicone mat creates a nonskid surface that helps keep the feeder in place, though an exuberant cat might be able to dislodge it and knock it over. The mat may also need to be flattened prior to use because it comes folded up in the box.

What We Liked:

  • Encourages your cat to be active during mealtime
  • Made from easy-to-clean silicone and BPA-free plastic
  • Cups vary in width and length for adjustable difficulty
  • Arrives fully assembled but is easy to take apart and clean

What We Didn’t Like:

  • May not be suitable for cats with big paws
  • Some cats don’t understand the concept
  • Silicone mat comes folded, needs time to flatten

#7 Best Treat Dispenser: PetSafe Slimcat Feeder Ball

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Product Information

  • Type: Food-dispensing toy
  • Material: Plastic
  • Capacity: 2/3 cup
  • Food Type: Dry food only
  • Good For: Very active cats or rambunctious kittens.
  • Price: $7.95

If digging isn’t your cat’s style, this feeder ball from PetSafe might be what he needs. It’s a plastic ball that can be filled with up to 2/3 cup of your cat’s dry food or a few tasty treats. The ball dispenses the food as your cat bats it around, ensuring that he stays active during mealtime.

This feeder ball worked exactly how I thought it would. It was easy to fill by unscrewing the top. I did find the shape of the food-dispensing openings a little awkward because they open from the side, not the top. Rotating the base widens the openings but because they are elongated and not circular, they may not be as effective in limiting the release of very small food and treats.

The biggest issue with this feeder, in my opinion, is the fact that it doesn’t split into two halves for cleaning purposes. The plastic materials are dishwasher-safe, but I’m concerned that the small opening in the top of the ball isn’t big enough to fully clean the ball. I had a hard time getting a dishwashing brush into the ball and the opening wasn’t big enough to get my hand in with a sponge either. I’d recommend running this ball through the dishwasher after every two or three uses to keep it clean and hygienic.

What We Liked:

  • Affordably priced under $10
  • Encourages your cat to bat and chase during mealtime
  • Generous 2/3 cup capacity
  • Adjustable openings to accommodate food of different sizes

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Does not come apart for cleaning
  • Ovular openings may be too large to work effectively for some food

#8 Best For Wet Food: Lickimat Casper Fish-shaped Slow Feeder Lick Mat

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Product Information

  • Type: Slow feed mat
  • Material: Food-grade rubber
  • Capacity: 2 to 3 ounces
  • Food Type: Wet food
  • Good For: Cats who eat wet food or soft treats.
  • Price: $8.99

Most of the slow feeders and puzzle toys on this list are designed for dry food but lick mats are a great option for cats who eat wet food. The LickiMat comes in a fun fish shape and it’s covered with shallow ridges that create a variety of different textures.

This slow feed mat is designed for soft treats like peanut butter or yogurt but can be used with wet cat food as well. I tested it with my cat’s pate-style canned food and it worked perfectly. The ridges were shallow enough that they didn’t irritate my cat’s whiskers, but the textures held the food in place and forced my cat to slow her eating.

The LickiMat is made from food-grade rubber rather than silicone and it is both microwave- and freezer-safe. Freezing the mat filled with water, yogurt, or soft treats might be a good way to help your cat cool down in the summer. The mat is, unfortunately, not dishwasher-safe so you’ll have to wash it by hand. Handwashing is by no means difficult, however. The ridges are shallow enough that you can get into the crevices with a rough sponge or dishwashing brush.

LickiMat even suggests that the product may help promote fresh breath and healthy teeth and gums. It’s difficult to substantiate these claims, but the theory is that licking generates saliva which helps protect your cat’s teeth and gums.

What We Liked:

  • Affordably priced under $10
  • Made from nonslip silicone materials
  • Varying textures keep your cat interested
  • Low ridges don’t irritate your cat’s whiskers

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Not dishwasher safe
  • Some cats might chew on the mat

#9 Best For Dry Food: Petstages Kitty Slow Feeder

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Product Information

  • Type: Slow feed bowl
  • Material: Plastic
  • Capacity: ¾ cup
  • Food Type: Dry food recommended
  • Good For: Cats who like to use their paws.
  • Price: $8.99

The Petstages Kitty Slow Feeder looks similar to standard slow feed bowls but instead of mounded obstacles inside the bowl it has five rows of wave-like ridges to separate the food.

This slow feed bowl is made from BPA-free plastic and holds up to ¾ cup of food. The product description suggests it can be used for both dry and wet food, but I imagine it was concerned it might be difficult to reach wet food stuck between the ridges. Surprisingly, wet food seemed to work better than dry food because my cats could use their tongues to scoop it out.

When it came to using dry food, I thought the angled ridges inside the bowl were too high – I would have preferred they be slightly lower than the rim of the bowl. My cats had to nudge the food out of the middle of the bowl with their noses or tongues and eat from the edges. This accomplishes the slow feed goal, of course, but some cats simply might not think it’s worth the effort. It might work for cats who like to scoop food out with their paws.

I appreciate the fact that this bowl features the traditional design you see in most slow feed dog bowls, but simply reducing the size of the bowl isn’t quite enough to make it cat-friendly.

What We Liked:

  • Separates food to slow down eating
  • Dishwasher friendly for easy cleaning
  • Affordably priced under $10

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Angled interior ridges are the same height as the rim
  • Lightweight, tends to slip and flip over easily

#10 Best Combo Feeder: Hyper Pet IQ Slow Feeder And Lick Mat

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Product Information

  • Type: Slow feed mat
  • Material: TPE
  • Capacity: Varies
  • Food Type: Wet or dry food
  • Good For: Cats who eat both dry and wet food.
  • Price: $8.95

Most slow feed bowls are designed to accommodate dry food, though some of the shallower bowls work with wet food as well. Lick mats, however, are almost always just designed for wet food. The Hyper Pet lick mat is different – it is divided into four sections, two of which are for wet food and two which can accommodate dry food.

I found that this lick mat worked very well for wet food but its application for dry food is limited. The two sections for dry food have small square indentations that are just deep enough to hold a piece of kibble or two. It works just fine if you’re simply throwing in some dry food for variety, but it may not slow down your cat’s consumption of dry food as much as a standard slow feed bowl.

When it comes to wet food, however, this mat worked very well. The wide surface and low ridges are very whisker-friendly, and the mat is just textured enough to hold the wet food without making it impossible to eat.

While this product is marketed as being dishwasher friendly, some customers report that it holds up better when washed by hand. Fortunately, I didn’t have any trouble washing it by soaking it in hot water and scrubbing it with a stiff-bristled dishwashing brush.

What We Liked:

  • Accommodates both dry and wet food
  • Whisker-friendly design with low ridges
  • Keeps your cat engaged during mealtime

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Not nonskid, may slide across the floor
  • May need to be washed by hand
  • Less effective for slow feeding dry food

5 Reasons Some Cats Eat Too Fast

Bagel slowly, and carefully eats from the LickiMat.

Cats have learned to communicate with humans through various meows and yowls. You can probably replicate several of your cat’s favorite vocalizations off the top of your head – especially the one he uses in the morning when he’s hungry.

Some cats will beg for food even if the bowl isn’t empty while others inhale the entire meal within a matter of seconds. But why do some cats eat faster than others?

Here are the five most common reasons your cat might be eating too quickly:

1. He feels like he’s competing for resources with other household pets.

Though your cat may look very different from his wild ancestors, he still retains some of their natural instincts. Protection of resources is in your cat’s nature and this instinct might kick into high gear if your cat feels like he has to compete with other cats (or even the family dog) for his food.

Making sure each of your pets has their own bowl and separate feeding location can help reduce territorial eating. It may also generally help to ease tension in multi-cat households.

2. He has an underlying condition that affects his appetite.

As a species, cats are pretty good at regulating their own food intake. They tend to eat when they’re hungry and then only as much as needed to feel satiated. Certain health problems like hyperthyroidism and diabetes mellitus can impact your cat’s metabolism, causing him to burn through calories more quickly. Because he’s feeling hungrier than usual, he may be more prone to scarfing down his food.

If your cat starts to eat more quickly than usual or seems to have a stronger appetite, it’s wise to consult your veterinarian. A physical exam combined with blood panels or other testing can help diagnose (or rule out) underlying conditions that might be affecting your cat’s appetite.

3. He’s not getting enough calories or the right balance of nutrients.

Though he may not be conscious of it, your cat’s body knows what it needs. If your cat isn’t getting enough calories or essential nutrients, he may start eating more to compensate.

In the case of calorie deficiency, your cat may eat faster simply because he’s very hungry. If it’s a matter of nutrient deficiency, your cat might feel like he needs to consume food more quickly to obtain the necessary nutrition.

Also Read: The Complete Guide to Feline Nutrition

4. He isn’t getting enough exercise or mental stimulation.

When they aren’t a symptom of underlying disease, behavioral changes are often an indication that your cat isn’t getting enough physical or mental exercise. Your cat needs a stimulating environment that enables him to act out his natural instincts. He needs vertical spaces to climb, appropriate surfaces to scratch, and interactive toys to keep his mind sharp. Ten to fifteen minutes of active play per day is usually sufficient for a healthy adult cat.

5. He just loves to eat.

Sometimes speed eating isn’t an indication of a problem at all. It could, in fact, simply mean that your cat loves to eat. In the same way humans can become addicted to eating, some cats really enjoy their food and can’t wait to scarf it down.

If you suspect this to be the case with your cat, it’s worth taking a closer look at his diet. Cheap cat foods are often artificially flavored which is what makes them highly appealing to cats. They also tend to be loaded with unhealthy ingredients like meat by-products and plant-based fillers.

Even if your cat doesn’t scarf it down like that bowl of Friskies, a high-quality and species-appropriate cat food is best for his long-term health and wellness.

A Slow Feeder or Puzzle Feeder Extends The Length Of Your Cat’s Mealtime.

Munchkin paws at the slow feeder, fishing for a treat.

Slow feeders and puzzle feeders vary by size, material, design, and capacity. Some are designed for wet food or soft treats while others work exclusively for dry food and treats. Puzzle feeders turn mealtime into a game while still fulfilling the purpose of a slow feeder.

Slow feed bowls and puzzle feeders utilize different technologies and design elements to accomplish the goal of slowing your cat’s eating.

Many slow feed bowls have ridges or shaped pieces inside the bowl that distribute the food over a wider area. By simply making the food harder to get to, these bowls keep your cat from eating too fast. Some slow feed bowls are designed such that your cat can’t stick his face in the bowl to get the food – he has to use his paws to scoop it out.

Puzzle feeders and food-dispensing toys incorporate exercise and play into mealtime. Your cat still has to work to get the food but, depending on the product, he gets to exercise his natural predatorial instincts as he does it.

When choosing a slow feeder or puzzle toy for your cat, consider the goal you’re trying to achieve.

If you simply want to prevent your cat from eating too fast, a standard slow feed bowl might do the trick. To keep your cat from eating too much at once, a puzzle feeder or food-dispensing toy might be more appropriate.

Also Read: The 8 Best Cat Bowls (Purchased And Tested)

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it dangerous for cats to eat too fast?

Dogs who eat too quickly are at-risk for gastric dilation volvulus or bloat. This is a potentially life-threatening condition in which the stomach fills with food, gas, or fluid and then twists, reducing or cutting off blood flow. The problem is less common in cats but still possible.

Even if your cat doesn’t develop bloat from eating too quickly, he might end up regurgitating the food. This happens before the food enters the stomach for digestion, so your cat won’t get the calories and nutrients he needs unless the food he regurgitated is replaced. An elevated or anti-vomit cat bowl can help prevent regurgitation, though it won’t slow down your cat’s eating like a slow feeder will.

Cats who eat too quickly also tend to eat larger volumes of food than necessary which can put them at risk for obesity. Obesity is linked to a number of chronic diseases that can impact your cat’s overall health and reduce his lifespan.

Are automatic feeders good for cats who eat too fast?

If your cat has a habit of overeating or eating too quickly, you’ll want to avoid gravity feeders – the type of feeder that continuously refills the bowl from a hopper of food. Automatic cat feeders that enable you to customize your cat’s meal size are a better option. The options vary from feeder to feeder, but some models enable you to schedule up to 10 meals a day so you can space your cat’s food consumption out to keep him from eating too much at once.

Depending on the type of automatic feeder you choose, you might be able to use it in conjunction with one of the slow feed bowls recommended above. Some models like the Petlibro automatic feeder and the Feeder-Robot by Whisker have built-in bowls but if you can find a slow feed bowl similar in size and shape to the included bowl, you may be able to make the swap.

How do you clean a slow feed cat bowl?

Your cat’s food bowl should be washed at least once a day to prevent the accumulation of biofilm and the growth of bacteria. Washing a slow feed bowl can be tricky if the ridges inside the bowl are deep or irregularly shaped. Many slow feed bowls are dishwasher safe, but others need to be washed by hand. When hand washing a slow feed bowl, it helps to use a long-bristled dishwashing brush to get into all the crevices – a bottle brush might work as well.

You can soak the bowl in hot soapy water first to loosen any dried-on food and, as an added degree of caution, you can sanitize your cat’s bowl after washing. Soak the bowl in a solution of 2 teaspoons bleach in one gallon of water for 10 minutes then rinse well and air dry completely before using again.

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About Kate Barrington

Kate Barrington holds a Bachelor’s degree in English and is the published author of several self-help books and nutrition guides. Also an avid dog lover and adoring owner of three cats, Kate’s love for animals has led her to a successful career as a freelance writer specializing in pet care and nutrition. Kate is also a blogger for a number of organic and natural food companies as well as a columnist for several pet magazines.

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