Our pampered, indoor cats two linked problems: obesity and boredom. The little tigers that are our housecats are biologically adapted to hunt for their small meals. Yet they’re living lives of luxury where they can nap on the sofa all day and then wander over to their bowl of all-you-can-eat kibble without making any more effort than walking across the room.
Is there any wonder over half of housecats today are overweight or obese?
A great way to stimulate your cat’s need to hunt and to also give your cat a little exercise while hunting their treats or kibble is using a puzzle feeder. It provides your cat both mental stimulation and exercise while doing something they have to do everyday: eat.
We don’t feed kibble at our house, but there are no kitties around here who will pass up treats. So when our I talked to our friends at Kruuse at Global Pet Expo about cat enrichment, I realized they got how enrichment and treat time could be put together. They offered to let us try some of their treat enrichment toys.
Catrine Catmosphere Ball
One things that really impressed me at Global Pet Expo was the Kruuse Catrine Catmosphere treat dispensing ball.
One thing you can’t tell from photos is how sturdy the ball is. My cats have actually split treat toys open in the past, so having one that is durable is a must. It’s also easy to adjust, with a little chrome collar that turns around the pink core insert that dispenses the treats. You can turn it so that it is wide open, allowing treats to fall out easily, or you can turn it to make the hole smaller so that your cat has to work harder to get the tasty stuff out. More work means more exercise, so it’s great that you can gradually build up to your cat playing for longer and longer lengths of time with it.
The unique design of the Catmosphere means that the pink core is actually open all the way down to the opening. Ashton could tell that the treats came out that way, and she tried digging them out with her paw at first. She’s the kind of cat who will try to get at the treats with the least effort necessary.
When the paw thing didn’t work out as well as she had hoped, she started to really bat it around. It’s hard to say whether being able to see the treats flying around inside the Catmosphere treat ball was an added attraction for her since she isn’t a very visual cat. She relies a lot on her other senses since her single eye tends to make her less interested in watching prey. But regular cats who are visual hunters can see the treats in there and that is an added incentive to bat it around.
One of the other great things about the Catmosphere is that Ashton will continue to play with it for a while after it is empty. This may be tied into her not actually looking through the clear side of the ball to see if it still has any goodies inside, but that’s five minutes of play and exercise she got that she wouldn’t have any other way. She seemed to really like the wobbling, uneven way it rolled around on the floor, so maybe that was what kept her attention so long once it wasn’t dispensing anything to eat. Either way, seeing a toy stimulate her to exercise when she is so difficult to get to play with so many other toys was great.
Buster Mini Dog Maze
When I was talking to the folks from Kruuse at Global Pet Expo, they showed me the Catmosphere treat ball, then they said, “That’s really all we have for cats.” But I spotted something else in their booth that I thought would make a good enrichment toy for cats: a dog food puzzle.
I know there aren’t as many products out there for cats as there are for dogs, especially not as many engaging enrichment toys for food. So thinking outside the box helps a little bit. The mini dog maze is meant for small dogs who are roughly the size of cats to have to work to get their dog food or treats out of the maze. It doesn’t have any moving parts, and it’s made of a sturdy plastic that’s even dishwasher safe.
What happens when you toss some cat treats into a maze intended for dogs to chase their treats? Pierre thought it was fascinating. He spent a long time pushing the treats around in the grooves of the maze.
The maze loops back on itself several times, making it fairly long, in cat maze length. Eventually, he got impatient and figured out he could fish the treats out mid-maze and flip them onto the floor for consumption. This process, of course, made his paws dirty.
Newton watched the whole process with interest.
When it was his turn, he dug around inside the maze with enthusiasm, dragging it around the floor while he fished out treats one by one. The maze has rubber feet, but they weren’t enough to keep it in place on the smooth tile of our floor when he started digging with both feet. It would probably stay in place better on carpet, but there wasn’t any harm in his moving it around as he played.
Both Newton and Pierre spent a long time with the maze, and I felt better about letting them have treats, knowing they were working some of the extra calories back off again and having fun at it.
When it comes down to it, exercise and activity are the best way to keep the extra weight off your cat, so having active cats who work for their treats (or kibble, if you feed it) is a great way to keep your cat healthy and happy.
FTC Disclosure: We received the Catrine Catmosphere and the Buster Mini Dog Maze from Kruuse in exchange for our honest review. The opinions in this review are my own and not influenced by any outsider. I receive no additional benefits for talking about the product or company.