Happy Wednesday! I’m back home and trying to get back into my routine but we are moving in about 3 weeks and let’s be real, life, in general, is just hectic! Plus Kim has an inflamed ear. I took her to the vet this morning and there’s no infection, which is good, but basically, I have to figure it out. That will be another post.
I did manage to get a video up this week (YAY!) and I wanted to give y’all a breakdown.
So, let’s get right into it!
Feeding your cats may seem like a pretty simple task, but there’s more to consider and I’m not even talking about the type of food you feeding (been there, done that, but let me know if you want more!).
Cats are natural predators
Cats in the wild spend most of their day stalking and hunting prey, so anything we can do to help mimic this behavior for our cats is wonderful!
One of the best ways I’ve found is by using the Doc & Phoebe’s hunting feeders ( https://amzn.to/3xlBjlF ). These feeders allow you to use dry or freeze-dried foods and treat in them, placing them around your home for your cat to “hunt” and find their food.
Doc & Phoebe’s also has wet feeders that I love! ( https://amzn.to/3gt65lS ) But more importantly, my cats use them!
I know I’ve talked about scatter feeding in the past in the context of dogs, but I started doing it with my cats too, especially with my blind cat Riley. It provides him an enrichment that is more difficult than with a seeing cat which I love because it has been more difficult to engage in play with him since he lost his sight.
Scatter feeding is pretty much just as it sounds, we take dry or freeze-dried foods and treats, and instead of giving them a handful on the ground or on a plate, we scatter it around.
I also have a video with a modification for raw-fed dogs using silicone cupcake liners: https://youtu.be/eQwwezwlwB4
Consider posture for proper digestion
When we feed our cats on the floor, the posture that they take to reach the food is not a very natural one for them. That posture can inhibit digestion as well as put strain on their neck and spine.
For years I have used small cardboard boxes, the half boxes that canned food comes in work great, to lift my cats’ plates off of the ground.
The PetNF store on Amazon sent me these ceramic raised cat bowls: https://amzn.to/2TxYzOU
What I like about these bowls
– They are raised off of the ground to help improve digestion and neck strain
– They are incredibly cute!
– They are ceramic (not plastic!)
What I don’t like about these bowls:
– They are bowls, so they have a lip on them and my cat’s whiskers touch the sides
And that leads us to the next tip…
Have you ever had a cat beg for more food and go over to the bowl to find that the center is empty and there’s plenty of food pushed to the sides? Yeah, me too. Now I know this is due to whisker stress!
Also called whisker fatigue, whisker stress occurs because your cats’ whiskers are very sensitive! According to Conscious Cat, “The proprioceptors at the end of each whisker send signals to the brain and nervous system to help the cat detect and interpret changes to their surroundings.
Whiskers are so sensitive that they can detect even the slightest change in an air current. They also help the cat determine whether she will fit into a small, close space; if the whiskers brush up against the sides, the cat will determine that the space is too small.”
Because of this, I feed my cats off of small plates. I find ceramic appetizer plates at stores like Home Goods but they can also be found on Amazon. I found a cute set here: https://amzn.to/3xrxETz
Choose Material Wisely
I never use plastics for feeding my pets anymore. Sure, when I was 18 I did, but it’s been years since I have used plastic bowls for food or water. I learned this one pretty early on because my cat Sasha was getting chin acne and the vet told me it could be due to the plastic bowls.
Plastic is porous and can hold in germs and bacteria, so I’ve switched over all of my pet’s food and water bowls as well as all of the food containers in our house.
I prefer glazed ceramics, though they too have their drawbacks. Any chip that may occur in a ceramic piece also is porous and will harbor bacteria, so if any of my pieces chip I have to replace them.
Glass is another great option, but if it cracks or chips, I’d replace it as well. Not because of bacteria, but because if it continues to crack or chip, I don’t want any glass to get in my pet’s food or water.
High-quality food-grade stainless is another great option. It’s nearly indestructible in the context of it’s intended use. Lower quality stainless isn’t a good option because it can give off a metallic taste to the food or water. I know I’m very sensitive to this, and so are most cats and many dogs.
I hope you take a moment to watch the video, I put a lot of work into this one with lots of clips of my cats eating! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MWqVil0Wcho
I hope this helps you with your cats. Let me know in the comments if you’re going to try any of this or if you have additional tips to add!