A new study shows that making cats work for food helps keep them mentally stimulated. One of the best ways to get cats thinking at meal time is with food puzzles, and a great thing about cat food puzzle toys is that they’re fairly easy to make yourself if you don’t want to spend the money on a new toy or if you haven’t seen a toy on the market that you’re looking for. Maybe the ones you’ve tried haven’t worked for your cat, or maybe you just like a do-it-yourself project. Whatever your reason, here are 7 cat food puzzle toys that are easy to make at home.
1. The Paper Towel Roll Ball
Here’s a very easy toy to make, and the only items you’ll need are a paper towel roll, some scissors, and some tape. Follow the instructions in the video to make a fun little treat-dispensing ball that your kitty can bat around. This one will allow your cat to use her hunting instincts and challenge her to play for her food, reducing boredom.
2. The Hole-y Container
The video might make this puzzle seem more complicated than it is, but basically it calls for you to take a simple plastic container, cut paw-sized holes in the lid, and add a bell if you’d like to give your kitty something extra to bat at. One of the advantages of this toy is that it will probably last longer than the paper towel roll, and it will encourage your kitty to use problem-solving skills to get at the treats.
3. The Puzzle Board
The video doesn’t provide instructions for making this one, but as you can see, it’s fairly easy to make. All it requires is a flat piece of cardboard that you can glue paper towel rolls and plastic containers to. You can arrange them in any way you like, then put some food in the openings. It will challenge your cat to figure out how to get at the food, and it will slow your kitty down if she eats too fast.
4. The Foraging Cups And Box
This toy is kind of two toys in one. You’ll need a cutting utensil, a shallow cardboard box, and a few plastic, paw-sized cups. Cut holes in the top of the box for the cups, and put food in the cups. Your kitty will have to use some foraging instincts to scoop the food out. Then, you can remove the cups and place food and toys in the box, allowing your cat to bat things around and use her senses to detect the food.
5. The Water Bottle
The water bottle toy is extremely simple. All it requires is a water bottle with some holes cut into it. Place food in the bottle and let your cat move it around to release the food. Eventually you can decrease the size or number of holes to make it a bit more challenging. This will encourage your cat to use hunting, pouncing, and play skills.
6. Bat The Bottle Feeder
If a regular old water bottle seems too simple, you can try this toy that requires a bottle, a rubber band, a skewer, and a plastic ball. Follow the instructions and your cat will have a puzzle toy feeder at meal time. This is another toy that will slow your cat down from eating too fast while challenging her to use some problem-solving skills.
7. The Egg Carton
This may be the easiest food puzzle toy you can make. All you need is an egg carton. That’s it. Put food in the carton and let your cats have at it. You can cut some larger holes if you wish to give your cat a better chance of scooping out the food, or you can simply leave the box open and let your kitty use her paws to bat the food out.
WARNING: You should always keep an eye on your cats when they are playing with any of these toys so they don’t start chewing them to bits. Not only does this make a mess, but it’s a choking hazard. Just be cautious and your kitty will have a blast with these brain busters.
What kinds of puzzle toys does your cat like? Have you tried any of these? Let us know in the comments below!