Help your cat slow down and eat safely with these top slow feed bowls
Does your cat gulp and gobble down every bit of food in her bowl in what seems to be just a matter of seconds? If your cat is eating faster than you can say, “it’s chow time,” then she may be in for a whole bunch of unpleasant problems. Eating too fast can lead to intestinal discomfort, potential choking, and of course, the very undesirable action known as “scarf and barf.” Basically, your cat eats so fast, or scarfs down her food and her stomach can’t keep up, so she barfs it back up, right onto your floors.
You don’t want to clean up vomit every time your kitty eats, and you definitely don’t want your precious feline friend to get sick or choke, so finding ways to help her eat slowly are super important. Since you probably would prefer to not hand-feed your cat, there’s a great solution to get your cat to slow down while she eats -- slow feed bowls.
What Is a Slow Feed Cat Bowl?
Definitely not your run of the mill cat dishes, slow feed bowls feature a variety of innovative designs that are specifically geared toward making your cat eat more slowly. Instead of just one cavernous space for your kitty’s kibble, these unique bowls include raised areas in a number of patterns that are designed to encourage your cat to work a little harder for her chow.
The fact that these slow feed bowls provide various obstacles for your cat to eat around not only make your pet eat slower, but they also provide necessary mental stimulation and a more engaging way for your cat to enjoy her meal.
Why Should You Use a Slow Feed Cat Bowl?
Remember that unappetizing term from earlier, “scarf and barf?” The idea of cat puke all over your floors is probably enough for you to shout a resounding yes to slow feed bowls, but vomit isn’t the only reason that your kitty should eat slowly.
First, it’s important to point out that your feisty feline has a stomach roughly the size of a ping pong ball. In other words, your precious pet can only handle so much food at once, which is fine if she ate as cats do in nature -- small portions throughout the day. However, if you place a whopping pile of kibble down in front of her, she’s likely to inhale it, giving in to another instinct -- fear of another animal taking her food. When your cat eats too fast, she can suffer from several issues that are uncomfortable and potentially dangerous, so promoting slow eating helps keep your cat safe and healthy.
Why Should Cats Eat Slowly
When your cat eats slowly, she minimizes her risk for several issues, including:
- Regurgitating her food
- Overeating, which can lead to obesity
- Aspirating her food
- Intestinal discomfort
- Feeling sluggish
In addition to reducing her risk for these issues, eating slowly also comes with advantages, including:
- Helping your cat feel full and satisfied with her meal
- Making your cat feel more energized
- Healthy digestion
Plus, using slow feed cat bowls can also provide mental stimulation for your kitty and keep her from getting bored
Now, are you convinced that a slow feed cat bowl is an important component of your pet’s meals? There are a variety of styles of these dishes on the market, and you might get overwhelmed if you try to look at all of them. Instead, just check out this list of the top five picks for slow feed bowls and decide which one of them is the perfect fit for you and your furry pal.
Check Out These Five Picks for the Best Slow Feed Cat Bowl
Features: Designed with a multi-cup style that separates food into smaller portions
Available in a variety of colors
Features and optional base and legs for elevation; the base can double as a water bowl
Size: 15.5" x 10.25" x 2.75"
Holds up to 6 cups of food
Each cup is 3 inches wide
Optional base raises height to 5”
The optional base and legs together raise the height to 7.5”
Material: ABS plastic - BPA, PVC, and Phthalate free
Non-skid feet to prevent slippage
- DotPet Ceramic Slow Feed Plate
Features: Multiple ridges help your cat eat slowly
Provides a maze-like pattern that promotes agility
Easy to wash
Size: Approximately 8.7” round and 1.6” in height
Material: Non-toxic, High-quality ceramic
- Pioneer Pet Ceramic Portion Control Food Dish
Features: Provides mental stimulation while encouraging slower eating
Satisfies your cat’s natural desire to hunt for her food
Unique funnel shape distributes food as necessary
Easy to clean
Available in black or white
Size: 8.2” round and 3” in height
Material: Durable ceramic
Features: Raised piece in the center encourages slower eating
Easy to clean
Available in multiple sizes
Size: Medium - 10” at the base, 2” height, holds 2 cups of food
Large - 11.5” at the base, 2” height, holds 3 cups of food
Material: High-quality stainless steel
Non-skid rubber ring to prevent tipping and slipping
- Northmate Catch Interactive Cat Feeder
Features: 37 smooth, rounded spikes scatter food to encourage your cat to “catch” it
Provides mental stimulation while encouraging slow eating
Size: 10.6” by 9”, 3” in height
Material: Hard, phthalate-free plastic
Are There Other Ways To Get A Cat To Eat Slowly?
In addition to using a slow feed cat bowl, there are a couple of other ways you can encourage your fast feline to eat more slowly. Since your kitty has a natural impulse to gobble up her chow, these practices can help her adapt her habits to become a more slow-paced eater:
- Serve Small Portions Throughout the day -- While you might want to just give your cat all of her food at once because it’s easier, you can’t rely on your kitty to pace herself when she eats. Therefore, it’s best to serve your cat small portions, even if you are using a slow feed bowl. Calculate the amount of food that your cat should eat in one day and divide it into several meals that are roughly two tablespoons each. Your pet’s small stomach can handle these smaller portions better than a full bowl of food, which means a more pleasant experience for everyone.
- Make Her Work for It -- Cats are natural-born hunters; let your cat work for her food. Her natural instincts will be satisfied and she’ll get some much needed mental stimulation. Many slow feed bowls are designed to help your cat hunt for her food or catch it, but you can also go a step further by hiding her cat bowl and leaving her a few kibble clues to encourage the hunt.