There’s not much a slow feeder cat bowl can’t do. Also known as puzzle feeders, these unconventional bowls make mealtime a thrilling mental challenge for cats of all ages and physical abilities.
Slow feeder cat bowls have been found to reduce overeating, aggression, and feline boredom. They’ve been linked to lowered rates of stress and anxiety in cats and can be invaluable in weight management.
And here’s the thing, although slow feeder cat bowls are also known as puzzle feeders your kitty doesn’t need to be Sherlock to figure out how to get to their food or to reap their benefits. Our favorite slow feeder cat bowl is the Lorde slow feeder cat bowl.
Slow Feeder Cat Bowl Top 5 Picks
- Lorde Slow Feeder Cat Bowl
- Lickimat Fish-Shaped Slow Cat Feeder
- Royal Care Raised Slow Feeder
- Petstages Puzzle Feeder
- Cat Amazing Sliders Puzzle Feeder
Slow feeder cat bowl reviews
1. Lorde Slow Feeder Cat Bowl – Best overall
Rating: 4 and a half paws
This slow feeder cat bowl from Lorde is a sight to behold. Fashioned from heavy-duty, pristinely white ceramic, this bowl uses smooth, fish-shaped ridges to create maze cats need to navigate around to eat their food. Unlike smaller plastic slow feeder cat bowls, the spacing and depth of the maze-like barriers make Lorde’s slow feeder cat bowl appropriate for holding both wet canned food and dry kibble. We love that this is just the right amount of a challenge for cats to solve!
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- It’s not made from plastic
- It’s challenging but still solvable
- It’s good for canned wet food and dry kibble
- It’s dishwasher safe
- It’s too sturdy for cats to flip over or break
- It’s labor-intensive to hand wash than most cat dishes
- Cats with flat faces (like Persians) may be unable to eat from this dish
- Some cats “solve” the puzzle too quickly and go back to eating too fast
Rating: 3 paws
Lickimat’s Casper & Felix slow feeder cat bowl takes the form of a cheery bright orange fish. This flexible rubber mat-like bowl features a fanciful maze of swirls, dots, and thick squares and stripes to slow your kitty down. And it works! Some cat parents have reported it takes their kitties as long as fifteen minutes to eat their way through a serving of wet food in this slow feeder cat bowl. However, the rubber crevices and ridges are a bit too effective at trapping food and aren’t the most durable. Cat parents have reported that this is tricky to completely clean and that their cats have been known to break or wear out this slow feeder bowl. If left unsupervised, some cats will become frustrated at the way the bowl traps their food and chew through the material, breaking off chunks of the bowl!
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- It’s made from non-toxic, BPA-free, food-grade rubber
- It’s good for holding wet cat food
- It doesn’t irritate cats sensitive whiskers
- It’s very affordable
- It’s dishwasher safe
- It’s best for wet food and treats, not meal-sized portions of dry kibble
- It’s not very durable
- The crevices trap a lot of food
- It’s very hard to wash and clean
- Some cats get frustrated when the maze traps their food and chew through the bowl
3. Best value: Royal Care Raised Slow Cat Feeder
Rating: 4 paws
The elegant design of these bowls isn’t just for aesthetics. This elevated slow feeder cat bowl duo from Royal Care uses an understanding of feline biology to eliminate overeating, bloating, and vomiting. The raised height of these bowls and the slightly tilted angle enables your kitty to eat in a more natural position. This is gentle on kitty’s necks and makes the distance between their mouths and stomachs less drastic, making it easier for them to chew and swallow their food, and to keep from regurgitating their food. These highly durable slow feeder cat bowls can hold both wet and dry cat food, and use a series of mediumly-spaced wedge-like obstacles to gently encourage cats to eat more slowly.
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- It’s designed to help with digestion and to reduce vomiting as well as slow eating
- It’s good for wet and dry cat food
- It’s made from sturdy melamine
- It’s easy to wash and clean
- It’s great for cats with flat faces (like Persians)
- The silicone mat it comes with doesn’t work well and only tacks on a higher price, many cat parents end up throwing it out
Rating: 3 paws
Petstage’s Kitty Slow Feeder promises to extend meal times and mentally engage your kitty. This interactive slow feeder bowl is made up of bold, electric green rubber and features dramatic zigzag ridges to slow down your kitty’s eating pace. The depth and size of this slow feeder cat bowl allow it to hold up to ¾ cup of dry kibble, making this more mealtime appropriate than some of the more “toy like” slow feeders. This bowl encourages cats to use their paws, nose, and mouth in order to get to their food and isn’t overly complicated to “solve”. However, it’s very effective at trapping food, which can be frustrating for cats. It’s also not very durable or easy to clean. It does significantly slow cats down though, so some cat parents are willing to smooth out any hiccups (or, repurchase destroyed bowls!)
[amazon box=”B08732YLMH” title=”Petstages Puzzle Feeder” template=”horizontal”image_size=”large” image_alt=”Petstages Puzzle Feeder” description=”
- It’s affordable
- It really slows down kitty’s eating paces
- It’s made from BPA-free food-grade rubber
- It’s very hard to clean
- It traps too much food
- It’s not durable, cats can chew through the plastic and break apart the bowl
- It’s not dishwasher safe
5. Best extra features: Cat Amazing Sliders Puzzle Feeder
Rating: 4 and ½ paws
Billed as “dynamic” and interactive, this award-winning puzzle feeder from Cat Amazing is crafted from ultra-strong corrugated cardboard. This large cube is riddled with various cut out shapes on the top and sides for hours of play. Perfectly sized for prodding paws and sturdy enough to not topple over or be torn to shreds, this exciting and engaging puzzle feeder is ideal to use to encourage cats to “hunt” for treats and to expend energy that might otherwise be spent more destructively (or anxiously). This puzzle feeder is a snap to put together, ridiculously affordable for its exceptional entertainment value, and because of its unique multi-layered box within a box structure and sliding panels, it never stops posing an exciting challenge for kitties to solve.
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- It poses an exciting and engaging challenge for cats
- It’s very easy to assemble and is sturdy enough to not be tipped over or ripped
- The puzzle consistently changes and keeps cats actively involved
- It’s crafted from recycled cardboard, a material that appeals to cats
- It’s very affordable for all its extra features
- It’s only good for treats, not meal feeding
Are puzzle feeders good for cats? Do they work?
Playing with our food may be looked down upon at the human dinner table, but for cats, it’s a way for them to express their hunting instincts! Slow feeder cat bowls, also known as puzzle feeders, are becoming increasingly popular. And with good reason. These interactive bowls are gaining traction as a way to spice up mealtimes for our cats, and to improve their mental and emotional health.
Crafted from various materials like ceramic, plastic, and metal, and sold in a variety of shapes like rectangles or cylinders, puzzle feeders hold small bits of food in various little components. In order to get to the food, cats need to prod at, push, or nose around the feeder. They need to actively manipulate it to get to the wet or dry cat food enclosed in the various hidden components or sections of the puzzle.
These puzzle feeders are designed to be physically and mentally engaging. They began as “enrichment” tools for animals held in zoos, as a way to meet their needs for “capturing” their prey.
The AAHA reports that cats who use puzzle feeders to get their meals are less likely to have behavioral problems like aggression or overgrooming, and appear to be more physically fit and happier. The Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery adds that puzzle feeders are notably beneficial for indoor cats, especially if they live in households without much to engage or stimulate them.
Puzzle feeders are linked to reducing anxiety, helping with weight loss, and curbing troublesome and stress-related behavior like inappropriate elimination outside of the litter box.
In short, puzzle feeders are excellent for cats. They fully engage cats, slow down their eating process, and have tremendous physical and emotional benefits.
Can cats use slow feeders?
For cats who are used to free-feeding, having to dodge through barriers in their bowl when mealtime rolls around can be frustrating and challenging at first. This is why experts suggest starting with less complex slow feeders, or puzzles, and not waiting until your cat is desperately hungry to get them to “work” for their food.
While slow feeders may pose a bit of a challenge at first, studies have found that cats across life stages and physical abilities can adapt to using slow feeders. This includes senior cats, kittens, blind cats, and cats with other disabilities, like missing limbs.
How do you get a cat to slow down eating?
One issue cat parents face is the “scarf and barf” phenomenon. This is when cats rapidly chow down on their food only to throw it right back up again. This is especially the case with kibble because the dry cat food absorbs moisture and expands in your kitty’s stomach.
One of the best ways to get a cat to slow down eating is to use unconventional bowls, like a puzzle or slow feeder cat bowl! Because cats actually need to work for their food (or solve the puzzle as it were) it keeps them from downing an entire bowl of food in one gulp.
There are a few other ways to slow down cats who eat too quickly. Adding nonedible “obstacles” like golf or ping pong balls to their bowls of food is one option. Another is to use automatic feeders. These are great for portion control as they can be timed to open at specific times throughout the day, successfully avoiding overfeeding or overindulgence.
The value of using a slow feeder cat bowl is tremendous. Not only do these unconventional bowls reduce the likelihood of overeating and the “scarf and barf” dilemma, but they also combat feline boredom, provide mental and physical stimulation, reduce anxiety, and curb aggressive and destructive behavior. Available in a variety of different materials, shapes, and difficulty levels slow feeder cat bowls are appropriate for cats of all ages and abilities. Mealtime will never be the same!