Due to the fact that our cat horde has always included cats of varying temperaments and levels of bravery, we free feed, which means the more portly cats (cough cough Nutmeg) have the same access to kibble as the thinner, more active cats. We’ve tried to do set meals in the past, but it’s always ended up with the skinny cats losing weight and the fat cats gaining weight, and in general it’s been pretty stressful for everyone involved, so now we just free feed and do our best to get the more sedentary cats (there is a reason we refer to Nutmeg as the potato cat, after all) to move a little bit more than they might otherwise be inclined, and also do our best to keep the more active cats busily distracted so they don’t destroy the house.
Rupert is a VERY smart cat and adores food puzzles. Years ago we got a dog puzzle toy that has flaps to lift up and sliders to move, and we regularly fill it with kibble – the exact same stuff that is in the food bowls. He *adores* it though – he will happily extract the kibble and eat it as if he was getting a marvelous treat.
Over the past few years, more companies have started to bring out more puzzle toys, and we’ve tried a lot of them. Some of them were completely ignored (and then passed on to someone else to try), but a few have been successes. Now we’ve got a selection of various puzzle toys that we rotate out, and fill with food (sometimes we also throw treats in there, but usually just regular kibble is sufficient), to try to keep Rupert busy – and if Rupert is distracted, often times Sherman (and now Ruby) will be right there with him, which is a bonus because see above re. keeping him from destroying the house and they are his very faithful minions.
Anyway. I stumbled across this site today and it made me laugh because these people didn’t just try to deal with a Rupert-like cat, they wrote an actual research paper on it.
Yes, yes, you say, that’s nice, but I’m here for the snowflakes. Fine, here you go.
(also is it just me or does it look like this snowflake is flipping everyone off?)
Making a snowflake a day for Thingadailies.