Release Your Indoor Cat’s Inner Hunter

A Cat named Meatball

At Halo®, we spend a lot of time thinking about what cats should eat—real whole meat that’s ethically sourced and non-GMO fruits and vegetables—but not as much time thinking about how they eat it. Now some veterinarians and animal behaviorists suggest feeding alternatives that provide indoor cats with enrichment and satisfy their natural instinct to hunt, like giving them opportunities to search for their food.

While you can purchase food puzzles, puzzle feeders, foraging toys, and treat dispensers, it’s also easy and inexpensive to come up with your own simple ways to provide enrichment while feeding. 

Mix it up

Instead of plopping the bowl of kibble in the same spot every time, choose a new dining spot every day. Let your cat find the food each day, then move it the next.

Little bites in little bowls

Did you know cats’ stomachs are roughly the size of a ping pong ball? Maybe you’ve mistaking them being fussy for full. Rather than one big bowl of food twice a day, measure multiple snack-sized portions and put them in different bowls around the house.

Scatter feeding

Yep, when it’s time to eat, literally scatter their kibble across the floor and let them snarf it up. Make small little piles of dry cat food or get fancy and create a kibble trail around your house cat treats, letting your cat sniff out each piece.

Of course you’ll want to consider the makeup of your household first — if you’ve got human crawlers or toddlers, dogs, or other animals on the loose, you may want to keep food out of their reach. Be sure to think through your own threshold for finding cat kibble or treats all around your home.

9 thoughts on “Release Your Indoor Cat’s Inner Hunter

  • catmama
    January 22, 2019 at 9:57 am

    My cat loves these Halo chicken treats. He also helps himself to his treats and sticks his foot in the jar for more. Yum!

  • Kat
    January 22, 2019 at 10:33 am

    I thought cats are creatures of habit/routine and would be made anxious by having their food placement changed.

    • Brook
      January 26, 2019 at 5:09 am

      I was wondering the same thing. Would someone who knows more than I please respond?

  • GraceAnn Jankowski
    January 22, 2019 at 1:32 pm

    My daughter took a roll from toilet tissue folded the ends and cut a little hole in the middle just big enough for a treat to come out. Our cat throws the roll in the air/holds it while on her back like a hug – I throw it and she chases. She loves it and it is a cheap toy that she plays with for minutes on end. When she gets the treat, I pick the roll up and don’t give it to her for a couple of days (with treats of course) so it is a “new” toy again.

    Thank you for idea of changing bowl places – She will love that

  • Judi
    January 22, 2019 at 4:22 pm

    This might be a good idea. I have a cat that I have nicknamed HT for Holy Terror, because she is that. She is into everything and it doesn’t matter what I do to try and change her it doesn’t happen.

    • Warren
      February 5, 2019 at 3:52 pm

      Judi – Stories like yours make us SO thankful for our pair of Ocicat girls! Not only are they loyal, playful and loving like most Ocis, but they are the best behaved felines ever to own us, going back to 1974. They hardly ever do anything seriously naughty – rarely jump on kitchen counters or scratch furniture, always sleep in bed with us but never wake us up and perfect about using their litter box. Our older girl Saphira was a surprise Christmas gift from our daughters in 2011. She was two at the time and being retired from breeding, and knowing that she was a surprise the breeder had told them that if she did not work out with us he would take her back. While we were surprised we decided to give her a try. What actually happened was that she settled in very quickly, within a few days she was following us around the house, coming when called, and sleeping in bed with us. A few days later she taught me how to play fetch and that settled it, she had found her forever home.

      Eleven months later the same breeder had another adult kitty available. Viola was a little fireball just 18 months old, described by the breeder as “the sweetest kitty I ever met.” What could we do but add her to our family? She shares most of Saphira’s wonderful behaviors, but of course is her own individual. She used to play fetch, but over time it has morphed into a game of catch. She sits near the foot of the bed in her “ready to pounce” crouch, and when I toss a fuzzy mousie toy her way she leaps up and grabs it in midair, or else knocks it down. If I get the mousie within range she nails it about 90% of the time. She quickly decided she was “daddy’s girl”, sleeping in bed with me and under the covers on chilly nights

      Both are just absolute joys to live with, brightening our lives every day.

  • Carrie Thompson
    January 22, 2019 at 10:36 pm

    Ok, so how much should a cat be fed?

    • Brook
      January 26, 2019 at 5:17 am

      it depends on what the healthy weight for you cat is. A large cat who is at a healthy 16 lbs would eat more than my little guy who is only 9lb. Generally the food container tells you the daily ration and if you have questions you need to ask your Vet. It is best for a cat to be fed small meals throughout the day rather than one or even two meals so you would divide the daily ration into portions.

  • Chris
    January 23, 2019 at 12:02 am

    Good information.

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