Some cats just love to gobble their food. This feeding behavior to finish-off the food within seconds of it being served is not necessarily a healthy habit. After all, the nature intended for the cat to hunt for its food and feed in small units. Excessively fast feeding can lead to “scarf and barf” – vomiting by the feline soon after a meal.
One of the ways by which you can slow down the feeding time is to use a cat slow feeder. Just like slow feed dog bowls, these smartly designed feed bowls help in managing the feeding speed, resulting in healthier, happier cats.
In this article, we will look at some of the best cat slow feeders and slow feed cat bowls available in the market. We will look at how these feed bowls help in improving your feline’s eating habits and make them work for their food. We will also list out the factors to consider before picking the best cat slow feeder for your kitty and share our top picks.
Do not forget to check out our article on the best cats toys for indoor cats for some additional interactive cat feeder options.
And if you are looking for some slow feeders for your dog then check out our detailed article on the best slow feed dog bowls for additional slow feeder options, some of which would also work well for cats.
Best cat slow feeders listSome of the best cat slow feeders and slow feed cat bowls available in the market are listed below:
|Simply Pets Slow Feed Cat Bowl||Bamboo Resin Bowl|
12” x 10” x 1.6”
|Northmate Catch Interactive Cat Slow Feeder||PP Plastic mat|
10.8” x 9.2” x 2.8”
|Pioneer Pet Tiger Diner Ceramic Cat Slow Feeder||Ceramic Bowl|
8.2” x 8.2” x 3”
|DotPet Ceramic Slow Feed Cat Bowl||Ceramic Bowl|
8.7” x 8.7” x 1.6”
|Aïkiou Thin Kat Cat Slow Feeder||Plastic Bowl with Rubber Flowers|
11.6” x 9.3” x 3.5”
|Petmate Jackson Galaxy Go Fish Cat Slow Feeder||Plastic Bowl with silicone fish|
11” x 8.8” x 3.5”
|Doc & Phoebe's Indoor Hunting Cat Feeder||3 Plastic Feeders with Rayon Skins|
1.6 tablespoon each.
|Trixie Pets Tunnel Interactive Cat Feeder||Plastic Bowl|
11” x 11” x 6”
|Catit Senses 2.0 Digger for Cats||Plastic Bowl|
14.6″ x 14.6″ x 3.3″
|Hyper Pet Lickimat Feeding Plate||Thermoplastic Rubber Mat|
8” x 8” x 0.9”
|AmazonBasics Pet Activity Center and Slow Feeder||Polypropylene Plastic Puzzle Mat|
14.7” x 13.4” x 2.4”
What are cat slow feeders and how they are different from slow feed dog bowls?
Cats are habitual hunters. By their very nature, felines spend about 80% of their active time hunting or foraging for food. Moreover, their behavioral instinct is to play with their food before eating it.
As discussed above, some cats have a problem of gulping their food excessively fast. With a stomach of the size of a ping-pong ball and average diet of around 0.5 – 1.0 cup of food per day (for 10-15 lbs. cat), this is a major headache for cat owners. And it becomes a bigger challenge if you have multiple cats, because competitive feeding and push the cats to consume their food even faster.
Some of the major concerns associated with fast feeding in felines are as follows:
- Suppressing of behavioral instincts while feeding can make the cat groggy and stressed.
- Fast feeding can lead to choking, gagging or vomiting among cats, commonly known as “scarf and barf”.
- Gulping food without chewing can lead to gas and stomach discomfort.
- Excessively fast feeding can lead to obesity and overweight.
Cat slow feeders can address most of the fore-mentioned problems of fast feeding. Such feeders are specially designed feeding solutions – bowls and mats, which cater to the natural foraging and hunting skills of felines and prevent them from quickly gulping large servings in one go. Most cat slow feeders can increase the feeding time by anywhere between 3-5 times.
These slow feeders are cats are known by many names in the market, often because of the various designs they are available in – “cat puzzle feeders”, “slow feed cat bowls”, “foraging cat feeders”, “interactive cat feeders” and so on. Just remember, irrespective of what the product is called, as long as it is helping in increasing the feeding time and minimizing scarf-and-barf, it is the best slow feeder for your kitty.
Cat slow feeders offer a bunch of distinctive benefits, as summarized below:
- Cat slow feeders help in reducing throwing up after feeding and “scarf and barf” in cats.
- These feeders help in making feeding fun and reduce boredom for indoor cats.
- Cat slow feeders can help in weight management and prevent obesity.
- These interactive feeders provide the required exercise to indoor cats and help them sleep better and longer.
It is also worthwhile to mention that just as not all cats are the same, not all cat slow feeders would work equally well for your feline.
Moreover, because of certain differences in the feeding habits of cats and dogs, the best cat slow feeders may be different from the best dog slow feeders. These key differences are in terms of feeding habits of cats and dogs are:
- Unlike the dogs who like to lick through the kibble, cats prefer scooping and foraging food with their claws and paws.
- Most dogs have longer snouts and tongues, allowing them to access the kibble more easily through the puzzles and obstructions. Cats, on the other hand, have to also worry about their whiskers while feeding.
- Cats love to play with their food before eating it. They are not so prone to greed-driven feeding unless not properly fed. What this means is that cats do not mind their feeding time to be over 30 minutes as long as they are getting the proper nutrition.
- Cats generally need a bigger concentration of wet food in their daily diets when compared to dogs. A completely dry food diet can cause the cat to gain weight quickly.
- Finally, cats are smaller and require less food per meal (around 0.25 – 0.5 cups per meal) when compared to dogs.
In the next sections, we list out some of the best cat slow feeders and best slow feed cat bowls available in the market. We will also discuss the major considerations to keep in mind before picking the best slow feeders for cats.
For some additional options, make sure you check out our popular article on the best slow feed dog bowls. Some stainless-steel slow feed bowls such as the Mr. Peanut’s Stainless Steel Slow Feed Pet Bowl and Outward Hound Fun Feeder work equally well with cats.
And for some more entertaining interactive cat feeders, check out the article on the best cat toys for indoor cats.
Which are the best cat slow feeders and slow feed cat bowls?
Material: Eco-friendly Bamboo Resin/Fiber. Non-toxic and 100% recyclable.
Size: 12” x 10” x 1.6”
Type of Food: Works best with dry food, though advertised to support wet cat food as well.
- Best-selling slow feed cat bowl made of eco-friendly bamboo fiber and rice husk. Made in the USA.
- A unique cat-face design makes it more enticing to felines.
- Elevated sides prevent the food from spilling. Advertised to work with dry and wet food.
- Dishwasher-safe in the top rack.
- Available in three colors – Purple, Blue and Ivory.
The Simply Pets Slow Feed Cat Bowl is the best-selling cat puzzle feeder out in the market. Designed by vets and made in the US of eco-friendly bamboo resin, this slow feed cat bowl can help you slow down the feeding time by about 4-6 times.
At 12” x 10”, this slow feed bowl is huge (may be too big for small cat breeds) and has elevated sides to prevent spilling of food. Though advertised to work with wet cat food as well, we feel it is most suitable for dry kibbles (you could add some wet food along the rim). The bowl is dishwasher-safe in the top rack, helping you in keeping the feeding bowl clean with minimal effort. This cat slow feed bowl is available in three vibrant colors – blue, purple and beige/ivory and is backed by a 100% money back guarantee commitment by the manufacturer.
If you are looking for a slow feed cat bowl for a medium to large adult cat or even a small dog, then consider getting the best-selling Simply Pets Slow Feed Cat Bowl.
Material: BPA, BPS and Phthalate-free Polypropylene (PP) plastic.
Size: 10.8” x 9.2” x 2.8”
Type of Food: Primarily for Dry kibbles/treats only. Wet food or water can be added near the rim.
- Popular mat-shaped cat slow feeder made of durable, BPA, Phthalate-free PP Plastic.
- Extra-large surface designed as a patch of grass, making feeding fun and challenge for one or two cats.
- Has an elevated side rims to prevent food from spilling. A weight of 1.1 lbs. means the feeder stay stable during feeding.
- Dishwasher-safe in the top rack.
- Available in two colors – Purple and Green.
The Northmate Catch Cat Slow Feeder in an interesting mat-type, cat puzzle feeder. Designed in Denmark and made in China, this puzzle feeder has a soft PP plastic construction.
The feeder is modeled on a grass patch and has smartly-sized spikes that challenge the feline to forage for its feed. The feeder has a rim on the sides that prevent the kibble from spilling, though if your cat likes to scoop and toss, you might want to consider getting a food mat.
The rim also allows for a small amount of wet food or water (about half a cup) along the periphery. But make sure you place the feeder on a food mat to avoid any accidental spilling of cat chow.
Its large size means that one feeder can be used to feed two cats at one time. The Northmate Catch Feeder is available in two colors – purple and green. Cleaning is easy and the feeder is top-rack dishwasher safe.
Overall the Northmate Catch Slow Feeder is an excellent cat puzzle feeder in single and multi-cat homes. And it works specifically great for cats with long face.
Material: Lead-free and non-toxic Ceramic Bowl
Size: 8.2” x 8.2” x 3”
Type of Food: Dry kibble only.
- Heavy-duty ceramic cat slow feed bowl with a unique cat-only design. Designed and quality-tested in the US and made in China.
- Heavier weight and unique design keep the feeder bowl stable. Designed to keep dogs away from cat’s meals.
- Dry cat kibbles can be added to the top bowl which funnels the feed evenly to the bottom. Cats need to scoop the feed through the holes in the bottom bowl. So a food mat is needed to avoid spills to the floor.
- Dishwasher safe.
- Available in two colors – White and Black. A plastic version with anti-skid base is also available.
The Pioneer Pet Tiger Diner Cat Slow Feeder is an elegant-looking, high-quality ceramic slow feed cat bowl. The bowl is designed and quality tested in the US and manufactured in China.
Its heavy-duty ceramic construction and intelligent design prevent this bowl to be tipped over by an over-sized or aggressive cat, while slowing down the feeding time of your beloved feline.
The Tiger Diner Feeder features a top bowl which can be filled with the dry cat food. The top bowl has an opening which allows the food to progressively fall inside the bottom and get evenly distributed by gravity.
The bottom bowl has asymmetric openings for the cat to forage the food from. Rounded holes make it comfortable to scoop the kibble and the feeder works well for both clawed and declawed felines. The bowl is designed to keep the feed safe from the greedy dog, a big bonus if you have multiple pets. However, because of its design, you would need a non-skid food mat under the bowl to prevent the treats from spilling onto your floor or carpet.
The Tiger Diner Cat Slow Feeder can store up to 3.25 cups of dry cat food so it can work well with more than one cats. And it is fully dishwasher safe.
The Pioneer Pet Tiger Diner Cat Slow Feeder is available in two colors – White and Black. And there is a plastic version also available if you are interested.
So if you are looking for a ceramic cat slow feeder or have a multi-pet home with a dog and one or more cats, then this slow feed cat bowl is a perfect fit for you.
Material: Lead-free and non-toxic Ceramic Bowl
Size: 8.7” x 8.7” x 1.6”
Type of Food: Dry kibble. Some wet food can be added by the rims.
- Another ceramic cat slow feeder made with non-toxic, lead-free porcelain. Made in China.
- Wide diameter with lot of ridges – high ridges in the middle and small on the sides. Suitable for all cats.
- Recessed design with elevated rim prevents spilling
- Easy to clean and dishwasher safe.
- Available in a single white color.
The newly released DotPet Ceramic Slow Feed Cat Bowl is a simpler alternative to the Pioneer Pet Tiger Diner Cat Slow Feeder. Like the Tiger Diner, the DotPet Ceramic Cat Slow Feeder is made with non-toxic and odor-free porcelain (ceramic). The feeder is made in China.
The DotPet Ceramic Cat Slow feeder has a wide diameter, low rise design. With a diameter of 8.7 inches and a weight of 28 oz. this bowl offers a stable feeding surface to even the most aggressive kitty. With a 1.6-inches height and slightly recessed design with raised rim, the feeding bowl offers a spill-free feeding plate to the pet. We still recommend using a non-skid food mat with this bowl. The feeding bowl is suitable for most adult cats, though we feel kittens may have hard time with this feeder.
The DotPet cat feeder has plenty of ridges – small on the sides and bigger in the middle, to slow down the feeding time. It is primarily designed for dry kibble, though you can always add some semi-moist or wet food around the rim.
The DotPet Ceramic Slow Feed Cat Bowl can store up to 2.5 cups of dry cat food so it can work well with more than one cats. And it is fully dishwasher safe.
So if you are looking for a simple ceramic cat slow feeder or have a multi-cat home, then the DotPet Ceramic Slow Feed Cat Bowl is an option worth checking out. The DotPet Ceramic Cat Slow Feeder is also available in black color.
Material: BPA, BPS and Phthalate-free PP Plastic Bowl with two soft thermoplastic rubber flowers.
Size: 11.6” x 9.3” x 3.5”
Type of Food: Dry kibble only. Some wet food can be added by the rim.
- Beginner interactive cat slow feed bowl designed by famous cat behaviorist Kathleen Desrosiers.
- Made of high-quality, food-grade PP plastic, with thermoplastic rubber (TPR) flowers. Rubberized anti-slip feet to prevent sliding.
- Two-ways to add dry cat food. Add in the flower and on the side tray, as the cat scoops and claws to find its food.
- Top-rack dishwasher safe.
- Available in two colors – blue and green.
The Aïkiou Thin Kat Slow Feeder is another interesting, beginner slow feeding cat bowl to check out. Designed by cat behaviorist and trainer Kathleen Desrosiers, this slow feeder features a food-grade plastic bowl with two large silicone/rubber flowers. The bowl has rims on the side to prevent kibble from spilling. The bowl has four anti-slip rubber feet to prevent it from sliding when the cat eats from it.
The kibble can be added into the flowers, which can naturally flow out of it as the cat forages with its claws through the kibble. Additional Kibble can be added in the food bowl on the sides for the cat to hunt through.
The Aïkiou Thin Kat Cat Slow Feeder is designed primarily for clawed cats, though it would work reasonably well for declawed felines as well. Another slight limitation is that if your cat chews through natural leaves then it may try to chew the flower petals in the feeder as well.
Cleaning is easy and the bowl is top-rack dishwasher safe. The Thin Kat Slow Feeder is available in two colors – Blue and Green. This interactive cat slow feeder works well with a single cat, though two-friendly cats of the same pack may not might sharing the food hunt.
Material: BPA-free, food-grade Melamine Plastic bowl with silicone fish-tails and anti-slip rubber bottom.
Size: 11” x 8.8” x 3.5”
Type of Food: Dry or wet food.
- Uniquely-designed, interactive cat slow feeder designed by renowned cat behaviorist Jackson Galaxy.
- Made of high-quality Melamine plastic with an anti-slip rubber bottom. Manufactured in China.
- Fish-tails can be readjusted or removed altogether to create an elevated food bowl.
- Works well with both dry and wet cat food by removing the top portion.
- Outer trough prevents any spilling of cat chow.
The Petmate Go Fish Cat Slow Feeder is truly a unique cat slow feeder and puzzle toy. Designed by famous cat behaviorist and TV personality Jackson Galaxy, the cat slow feeder offers a range of different designs in a single item.
The Petmate Go Fish Feeder is made of BPA, Phthalate-free melamine plastic with seven soft-silicone fish-tails attached on the top portion to act as obstacles. The fish-tails can be re-arranged, twisted or removed altogether to create different feeding configurations.
The feeder has an outer trough to catch any kibbles dropped in by the pet. The feeder works with both dry and wet cat food. Moreover, because of its generous size, it can be used to feed a couple of cats at one time.
Cleaning is easy and the fish-tails and plugs are removable. The plastic base is dishwasher safe in top-shelf.
Overall, the Petmate Jackson Galaxy Go Fish Cat Slow Feeder is an excellent 2-in-1 cat toy and feeding bowl to make the cat feeding time a lot more interesting.
Material: BPA, BPS and Phthalate-free plastic feeders with Rayon fiber skins.
Size: 3 individual mouse-shaped, each with 1/5 cup of feed. One additional trainer.
Type of Food: Dry kibble/food only.
- Interesting cat slow feeder which allows the cat to hunt its food through 3-individual mouse feeders. Designed in the US and made in China.
- Scoop, trainer and each feeder are made of food-grade plastic with Nylon/Rayon fiber skins on feeders.
- Use the scoop to fill the trainer first. As the cat learns to toss and turn to get the kibble out, use it on the three feeders, distribute them across the house and let the cat hunt for its meal.
- Top rack dishwasher safe plastic; Machine washable fabric.
The Doc & Phoebe’s Indoor Hunting Cat Feeder is one of the most interesting cat slow feeder for beginner cats, provided the kitty gets a hang of it.
This smart cat feeder features a set of 3 mouse-shaped interactive cat feeders, each of which can be filled with 1.6 tablespoons of dry cat feed, which is 1/6 of daily food requirement of a 10 lbs. cat. A trainer is also included to help train your cat to use this slow feeder. The trainer, scoop spoon and feeders are all made of high-quality food-grade plastic. The feeders have a Rayon/Nylon fabric skin that can take some abuse by the cat, but not by big animals like dogs.
In order to use the slow feeder, you need to fill each of the interactive feeders with 1/5 of cat’s meal and hide them around the house. Let your cat hunt for the feeder, scoop the food out of it and look for the next one. A 3-mouse set can provide a full one-time meal to a 10-12 lbs. cat. A trainer skin-free feeder is also included to help you train the cat if required.
The Doc & Phoebe’s Indoor Hunting Cat Feeders are dishwasher-safe in the top rack and the skins can be removed and machine-washed as well.
Overall the Doc & Phoebe’s Indoor Hunting Cat Feeder is an entertaining cat feeder to get for a single-pet home, though you can very well use it with multiple cats by hiding their meals in different locations and training them accordingly.
Material: BPA, BPS and Phthalate-free plastic.
Size: 11” x 11” x 6”
Type of Food: Dry kibble only.
- Interactive cat slow feeder with an elevated food-grade plastic construction.
- Rubberized anti-slip base to prevent sliding when in use.
- Small kibbles can be added to the top bowl with lid, which then flow evenly through the tubes for cats to scoop and poke through. Adjustable treat dispensing rate.
- Top-rack dishwasher safe.
- Other interactive cat slow feeders are also available from the same manufacturer. Backed by a one-year manufacturer warranty.
Trixie Pets is one of our favorite manufacturer for interactive pet feeders and toys with some really interesting designs. The Tunnel Cat Feeder, developed by cat expert Helena Dbalý, is probably their most popular interactive cat feeder.
The Trixie Pets Tunnel Interactive Cat Feeder features an elevated plastic bowl with six evenly spaced tunnels around it. The feeder has a rubberized anti-slip bottom which can be removed before tossing the toy in the dishwasher.
In order to use it, you can put in small-sized dry cat treats in the top bowl and adjust the dispensing rate. The kibbles are distributed evenly through the six tubes connected to the tunnels in the outer bowl. You are better-off placing a food mat below the feeder to prevent spilling of kibbles by an over-enthusiastic cat.
The feeder can be used by multiple cats at one time. And Trixie Pets offers a couple of additional treat-dispensing interactive cat feeders as well.
The Trixie Pets Tunnel Interactive Cat Feeder is backed by a one-year manufacturer warranty, so you can use it without worrying about its durability and reliability (Even leave your cat home alone with it.). It also works well with puppies and small-breed dogs.
Material: BPA-free plastic with rubber mat.
Size: 14.6″ x 14.6″ x 3.3″
Type of Food: Dry kibble and treats. Some wet food can be added in between the tubes.
- A unique cat feeder designed to stimulate the sense of hunting in cats in a fun and natural manner. Made of BPA-free plastic
- Features 3 short, narrow tubes and 2 long, wide tubes pushing the cats to sniff and paw out small portions of food. Rounded edges make interacting the tubes safe.
- Has a stable base with a sloped surface to collect the stray pellets. A rubber mat is also included for preventing spillage.
- Available in standard green color and compatible with other Catit Senses 2.0 toys.
- Easy to disassemble and clean. Hand-wash only.
The Catit Senses series of toys are a hugely popular collection of interactive cat feeders and toys and the Catit Senses 2.0 Digger is a popular product of the series. This cat slow feeder is designed to cater to the feline’s natural hunting traits and provide a fun-filled way to slow down feeding. It primarily works with dry kibbles and treats, though you can also add some wet food between the tubes. The Digger is suitable for all cats – preferably ones that are NOT declawed.
The Catit Senses 2.0 Digger Interactive feeder features a BPA-free plastic feeding station with 5 tubes to add dry kibble. 3 tubes are short and narrow, while the two tubes are long and wide. The tube edges are rounded to prevent any injuries. Once the dry treats or kibble is added to the base and tubes, the kitty is encouraged to sniff the tubes and paw out small portions of food. The feeder base is sloped, and it comes with a rubber mat to collect any stray kibble and prevent spillage.
The Digger is extremely easy to clean by removing the tubes and washing it with soap and water. In fact, you can use the Digger even without the tubes for cats who have difficulty figuring out the arrangement with the feeding tubes.
So, if you have a fast feeding adult cat that gulps food like a vacuum, then the Catit Senses 2.0 Digger is another option to help in slowing down the feeding time and making it a lot more fun for your furry friend!
Material: Non-toxic, food-grade Thermoplastic Rubber (TPR) mat.
Size: 8” x 8” x 0.9”
Type of Food: Dry or wet food.
- Interactive feeding mat that works well as cat slow feeder.
- Rubberized TPR construction with an anti-slip base.
- Freezer safe and suitable for hand or spray wash.
- Available in two colors and designs – green soother and orange buddy. The buddy is best suited as a slow feeder.
The Lickimat by Hyper Pet is a unique slow feeding mat for cats. Designed originally as an anxiety and stress buster for dogs, it also works well as a slow feeder for cats.
The Lickimat features a non-toxic, food-grade Thermoplastic Rubber (TPR) construction. The mat has obstructions that can be filled with dry or wet cat food across the mat. The cat can scrape through the surface of the mat to get access to the kibble.
The mat is freezer safe and can be filled with treats and frozen for extended times. This is something you would probably use more frequently with dogs who can lick through the frozen peanut butter or other goodies.
The Hyper Pet Lickimat is available in multiple designs and shapes and you can pick the most appropriate shape and size for your pet. In our view, the Orange Buddy design is the one best suited to be used as a cat slow feeder.
Material: BPA, BPS and Phthalate-free plastic top with non-skid rubber feet.
Size: 14.7” x 13.4” x 2.7”, 1 lbs.
Type of Food: Dry kibble only.
- Interactive cat slow feeder and activity center with a BPA-free, food-grade plastic construction.
- Rubberized anti-slip feet to prevent sliding when in use.
- Features a combination of movable compartments and puzzle feeding surface that work best with all types of dry treats and kibble
- Wipe with damp cloth for cleaning or wash with hand. Avoid cleaning in dishwasher.
- Other interactive cat slow feeders are also available from the same manufacturer. Backed by a one-year manufacturer warranty.
AmazonBasics, Amazon’s in-house brand, offers a wide range of products that offer decent value-for-money and quality. The AmazonBasics Pet Activity Center and Slow Feeder is no different – it is designed by considering the best features of a bunch of other cat slow feeders.
Each cat puzzle feeders stimulates a feline’s sense of curiosity and offers an entertaining way to slow down feeding.
It features a combination of movable compartments and puzzle feeding surface that work best with all types of dry treats and kibble. The feeder is made of food-grade polypropylene plastic and features non-slip rubber feet. At over 14″ x 13″ and weighing over 1 lbs. the feeder offers a stable eating surface.
Cleaning is easy and you can simply wipe the feeder with a damp cloth or clean it in running water with mild soap and water.
Though the feeder can be used by multiple cats at one time, we recommend that you use a single feeder with a single cat (except for the tunnel feeder design that can be easily used by multiple pets at a given time.
The AmazonBasics Pet Activity Center and Slow Feeder is backed by a one-year AmazonBasics warranty, so you can use it without worrying about its durability and reliability (Even leave your cat home alone with it.). It also works well with puppies and small-breed dogs. Moreover, it is also available in a couple of additional designs, colors and also as a tunnel feeder.
Overall, the newly released AmazonBasics Pet Activity Center and Slow Feeder is another decent cat slow feeder that is most suitable for felines who are a little playful with their chow.
In addition to the best cat slow feeder bowls listed above, there are some popular slow feed dog bowls that also work very well with cats, especially for feeding dry kibble. This includes the low-profile, stainless-steel Mr. Peanut’s Stainless Steel Interactive Slow Feed Dog Bowl, or the non-toxic bamboo-resin Siensync Puzzle Feeder Bowl or the best-selling Outward Hound Fun Feeder Slow Feed Bowl.
For a detail review of the fore-mentioned slow feed cat bowls and some additional options, check out our detailed article on best slow feed dog bowls.
How to pick the best cat slow feeders and bowls?
When it comes to cat slow feeders, there are a lot of options available in the market – different materials, sizes and designs. With so many different models, picking the best cat slow feeder bowl can be a challenging task. Some of the major factors to consider before picking the best slow feed cat bowls and feeders are summarized below:
- Manufacturing material
- Design of the slow feeder
- Size and capacity of the slow feeder
- Type of food
- Additional factors and considerations
Considering the fact that you may not get the desired outcome from one slow feed cat bowl and these bowls are not very costly (well, most of them), it is advisable to get more than one type of cat slow feeder for your kitty. Also make sure that you get one feeding bowl per pet.
The first thing you should consider before picking a cat slow feeder is its construction material – stainless steel or non-metallic.
Stainless steel slow feeders have relatively simple designs – a bowl with an edge-free dome or a few pillars as obstacles. Moreover, to provide some stability, the bottom is fitted with a removable rubber ring. This rubber gasket is removable and should be removed before putting the bowl in the dishwasher.
Non-metallic slow feeders are made either from plastic, silicone or bamboo fiber resin. Plastic cat slow feeders are made from high-quality food grade BPA, PVC, Phthalate free plastic material and have interesting designs – mazes, puzzles, grass tufts etc. These designs can slow down the feeding time by as much as five to eight times. They are also dishwasher safe (top shelf) and generally more durable than the silicone or resin feeding bowls. While some people may have reservations about plastics, our take is that PTA approved, lead-free plastic is a safe material to use for your pets as long as you are careful about accidental ingestion.
Silicone or Resin slow feeders and bowls are pretty safe as silicone is one of the most chemically inert compound out there. Such bowls are pretty portable too. You can simply fold them, put them in your dog’s kit and then take it anywhere.
Finally, some manufacturers even have ceramic slow feeding bowls Ceramic slow feed cat bowls are durable, safe and more stable because of their heavier weight. Moreover, they are elegant looking, keep the contents relatively cool, and are dishwasher and microwave safe. They are, however, costlier than stainless steel or plastic slow feeders
Keep these considerations in mind before picking the best cat slow feeder bowl for your beloved feline.
Design of the slow feeder
The design of the feeder is also a factor to consider before picking the best cat slow feeder for your kitty, as it governs the difficulty level and the type of food the slow feeder can support.
Stainless-steel and ceramic slow feeders are available in relatively simple bowl-type designs which can be used by the cat to scoop its food from. Because of their simple design, such feeders are best suited for dry food only.
Non-metallic slow feeders and mats are available in a lot more interesting shapes and designs, including puzzle or maze design with a low profile and anti-skid bottom. Then there is a mat-shape with natural-looking obstacles against which the cat has to work to access the food. Many of such feeders also support wet feed, though you would have to clean up the bowl after use to remove any leftovers. The only drawback of mat-shaped slow feeders is that the side rims may not be able to prevent some kibble from spilling onto the floor.
Check out the designs available and read the reviews to determine if a particular cat slow feeder will be fit for your furry friend.
Certain cat slow feeders are designed to be more suitable for clawed cats and declawed cats would have difficulty using them, so this is something to be kept in mind before picking the best design. Furthermore, some slow feeder designs allow multiple pets to use them at the same time, making them more suitable for multi-cat homes.
If your cat is an Einstein, pick a slow feeder with a high difficulty level. You can even consider getting a treat-dispensing toy as well instead of the feeding bowl. Pick a simple slow feed cat bowl for kittens and normal adult cats.
Size and Capacity
The capacity of the slow feeding cat bowl and its overall size is also something to consider before picking the best slow feeder for your cat. Getting a feeder with suitable size would make feeding for you and your pet more convenient as you would not have to replenish the food multiple times.
A 10 lbs. cat needs about 0.25 – 0.3 cups of food per meal, so depending upon your feline’s breed, weight and age you can pick the best slow feeder for your cat. (Check here for some more information on the dietary requirements by the weight of the cat.).
Many manufacturers that we listed offer same models in multiple sizes, especially for slow feed cat bowls, so you can pick the most appropriate size for the best cat slow feeder bowl.
Type of food
Closely related with the design and size of the cat slow feeder is the type of food it can support. Most cat diets include at least some wet food and hence you may need to look at a cat slow feeder that can work with wet food as well.
Some of the options that we listed above work well with wet cat food as well (we have indicated it in the detail review of the best cat slow feeders above), while others are suitable for dry kibble only. Keep this factor also in mind before picking the best cat slow feeder for your feline.
Additional factors and considerations
In addition to the factors discussed above, there are a couple of other considerations that can make a particular cat slow feeder a more attractive buy than the others.
One such factor is the ease of cleaning the feeder. Most of the options that we listed are all dishwasher-safe, so you can simply toss them up on the top shelf to clean them up. Some of them may actually require some more personal attention to remove the leftover feed from nooks and corners. You can also choose to spray wash the feeding bowl with mild soap and water.
Another factor is the color combinations in which a particular feeder is available in. While it may not have a major impact on the performance of cat slow feeder, but certain colors find more favor with certain felines. Many slow feeding cat bowls and mats are available in multiple color combinations, so you can pick one as per your pet’s personality. Some puzzle feeders and slow feed cat bowls are, however, available in a single standard color and you would have to pick that one only.
Finally, yet another and probably more important factor is the after-sales service and warranty support provided by the manufacturer. Almost all the options that we listed above have standard 30-day return guarantee offered by Amazon. Some of the slow feeders come with a 90-day to one-year manufacturer warranty. Some popular manufacturers such as Outward Hound and Trixie Pets even go well beyond the warranty periods and provide replacement options if your slow feeder gets damaged at any stage due to manufacturing defects.
Keep these other small considerations in mind while picking the best cat slow feeder bowl for your needs.
Things to remember while using cat slow feeders and slow feed cat bowls
Cat slow feeders and slow feed cat bowls are pretty convenient and standard mechanism to use for fast feeding cat. However, in order to ensure proper usage, keep the following things in mind while using such feeders to slow down feeding.
For some more information and tips and tricks, you can check out some additional resources in our article on the best cat training guides.
- Evaluate your options before picking the best manufacturing material. If you are picking up a plastic slow feeder, make sure it is marked as BPA, BPS and Phthalate-free. Similarly, for all painted bowls and mats, make sure the cat slow feeder is marked as lead-free. You can even check with the manufacturer if you are in doubt.
- Always pick the design and size as per your feline’s age, breed and size. Not all cats are equal in terms of intelligence. Pick an easy slow feeder to start with and see if it is improving the feeding time reasonably. Go for more difficult and mentally stimulating feeders only if your cat has figured out a way to gulp the food from those easy slow feeders.
- In addition to the dry food, a cat’s diet often includes some wet seafood. Make sure that the cat slow feeder that you are going to use supports dry as well as wet food, especially if you are going to use it as the primary feeding bowl. Otherwise, it is recommended to use these slow feeders for dry kibble and use a standard feeding plate for wet cat food.
- As discussed above, cats use their claws and paws to scoop the food from a feeder to access it, instead of licking through it like a dog. So if your feline has an injury or any other issue, it may not be able to get the feed from a standard slow feed bowl. Consider getting simpler feeding solutions.
- Always keep the cat slow feeder clean. If you are handwashing, use a separate cleaning sponge for your dog bowls. For plastic, resin and silicone bowls, use a discarded soft toothbrush or a bottle cleaning brush to clean up through the nooks and crannies.
- If you are using a dishwasher for cleaning the bowls, always place the bowl in only the top shelf of the dishwasher. Also, if the bowl has a removable rubber base, remove it before placing the bowl in the dishwasher.
- Before using the plastic slow feeding bowls, inspect that the cat bowl is not damaged and all the obstacles are intact and not leaching plastic. Leaches plastic can be ingested by the pet and lead to discomfort and digestion problems.
- Consult your vet if your kitty shows any signs of discomfort, bloating, vomiting or indigestion even after using a cat slow feeder.
Final thoughts on the best cat slow feeders
Slow feeding is a healthy habit for all pets, especially cats. It helps in preventing cats from the “scarf and barf” syndrome of throwing up after eating too fast, helps them lose weight and keep them mentally stimulated. One of the ways by which a cat owner can manage the feeding time is by getting a slow feeding cat bowl or a cat puzzle feeder.
In this article, we looked at some of the best slow feeders for cats. We also listed out the factors to consider while picking the best cat slow feeder bowl for your pet and shared some things to keep in mind while using these types of cat feeding bowls.
We hope that you found this article useful and it would help you in picking the best cat puzzle feeder or the best slow feed cat bowl for your kitty. Do let us know your feedback and questions by commenting below. Until next time, have a playful time with your furr-ball!