Whether they're super hungry after a long day of playing and napping, they've formed some bad habits, or they simply like their food, learning how to keep your cat from eating too quickly is very important. Rapid eating can lead to vomiting, which, in turn, leads to increased hunger. I mean... if your entire day's worth of food comes right back up, you're simply not getting all, if any, of the nutrients you need! This can be a tricky habit to break, but it is definitely possible.
Feeding Methods to Keep Your Cat from Eating too Quickly
What you feed your cat, be it dry or wet food, makes little difference when it comes to fast eating. How you feed your cat, though, can greatly slow down their quick-fire eating patterns.
To begin, try spreading his meals throughout the day. Although this may not slow him down, exactly, it may help to reduce the sickly feeling that comes after gulping up an entire serving all at once.
Next, to slow the whole process down, consider switching out his regular food bowl. Some cats get a little nervous when they see you messing with their dish. If that's the case, slow feeders may be a good idea. This type of bowl will release smaller portions over a period of time, all while ensuring your finicky kitty doesn't see you manhandling it.
You can also try a feeder toy or puzzle. Many are made up of small holes that require your cat to reach in or move around obstacles in order for him to get to his food. This requires some thought, and more importantly, some time, which will definitely slow down the process. If your cat is a little too clever for these contraptions, food dispensing balls may be a better option. These work by releasing small portions of kibble when the cat actively plays with it. The upside of a ball is that it not only slows down eating, but also introduces a bit of exercise into his daily routine.
In the same vein, other forms of play can be used to keep your cat from eating too quickly. For example, if you have a lot of perches set up, or just several cat-friendly high spots, you can leave pinches of his food sitting at the very top. Next, you will entice him to jump up and down to each location by dragging around his favorite toy. In this manner, you may either feed him his entire meal, or simply use it as a way to make him less anxious for the main course.
Although contraptions and toys may be beneficial in slowing down mealtimes, there are also several household items that can be useful. For example, placing your cat's food into smaller containers, such as muffin tins and ice cube trays, may help, as it forces him to gradually move from space to space. A few medium-sized balls, like ping pong or golf balls, strategically placed around a food bowl may also work, as they create something of an obstacle. The downside of this, of course, is that your clever kitty may figure out how to knock the balls out! To avoid this, depending on the size of the bowl, you might try using a larger tennis ball with the food poured around it.
Other Tips for Slowing Down Your Rapid Eater
If you use wet food, you can try compressing it with a paper towel. Sopping up some of the liquid and creating a denser serving may make it more difficult for your cat to simply down the meat. Instead, he will be forced to lick away at it, thus slowing the whole process.
Interestingly, if you use dry food, you may want to add warm water. This helps in two ways: first, it creates a bulkier meal. As the liquid pulls out some of the food's flavor, it turns into something like a light gravy. The result of which being that he will likely feel fuller earlier on. Second, the water helps to expand the individual pieces of kibble before it even enters the stomach. In many cases, this will help reduce stomach upset.
No matter their reasons, some cats just can't help themselves – they see food, they just have to indulge. But by knowing how to keep your cat from eating too quickly, you will save him a nasty bellyache and you a lot of cleanup!
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