Even the most well-fed cat will act like it’s never been fed. A litany of meows greets you at the bedroom door every morning and the cat immediately runs to the food bowl as soon as you get home from work. The fact that the food bowl is still half full means nothing – your cat has been starving for hours.
For some cats, there’s nothing more exciting than mealtime. It’s that time of day when your cat is the center of attention and it doesn’t hurt that he gets something tasty to eat. Many cats get overexcited about mealtime, scarfing down their food as soon as it hits the bowl. In some cases, it’s a cute and quirky habit but it often doesn’t end well. The food comes right back up, all over the carpet.
In this article, we’ll talk about why some cats tend to eat too fast and the potential problems it could cause. You’ll also learn some tips for slowing down your speedy eater and what to look for in a slow feeder. Finally, you’ll see our top picks for the best slow feed cat bowl.
Why Do Some Cats Eat Too Fast?
Cat behavior can be mysterious at times. Why do cats have an affinity for knocking things off tables or darting in front of your feet at the worst possible time? The world may never know. When it comes to certain behaviors like eating too fast, however, there are some theories.
Some cats simply love to eat. They can’t wait to chow down on a bowl of kibble or tasty wet food. If you live in a multi-cat household, there may be an element of competition involved – your cat wants to eat his food quickly before another cat steals it. This can also be the case in households with both dogs and cats. Stick around at mealtime to see whether this might be the problem.
Another possibility is that your cat is feeling stressed, bored, or sick. Stress can lead to changes in behavior and who doesn’t like to eat when they’re bored? It’s also possible that your cat has an underlying condition like diabetes or hyperthyroidism that’s affecting his appetite. You may also want to consider that you’re not feeding your cat enough or the calorie content of his diet is too low, leaving him hungry after a meal.
Tips for Slowing Down a Speedy Eater
There’s nothing wrong with a healthy appetite – you’d be worried if your cat lost interest in his food. That being said, eating too fast isn’t a good thing either. If you don’t moderate your cat’s portions, he could easily end up eating too much which could lead to unhealthy weight gain. Eating too quickly may also cause your cat to swallow air as he eats, upsetting the digestive tract and causing him to vomit.
Here are some tips to keep your cat from eating too fast:
- Make your cat work for his meals – hide small piles of food around the room or incorporate some training into mealtime to break the meal up.
- Switch to a larger bowl – dry food will move around more in a large, wide bowl so your cat won’t be able to gobble it up so quickly.
- Use an interactive food-dispensing toy or cat puzzle feeder at mealtime to slow things down – bonus, your cat will get some mental stimulation too.
- Spread out wet food on a large plate or tray so your cat has to move around to eat it – you can also put small portions on multiple dishes and place them throughout the room.
- Try using an automatic cat feeder and program it to dispense only small amounts of food – you may need to increase the number of meals to meet your cat’s daily needs.
The key to slowing down your speedy eater is to make it more difficult for your cat to eat large amounts of food at once. A cat puzzle feeder or treat-dispensing toy works well, but you may need to stay close by to make sure it works. These options may work better for independent play time.
For daily meals, what you really want is a slow feed cat bowl or cat slow feeder mat.
There are plenty of options to choose from, so take a look at our picks later in this article to choose the one that’s right for your cat. In the meantime, however, you can make a diy slow feed cat bowl to get by until you have a chance to get to the pet store. All you have to do is place something inside your cat’s bowl, so he has to work around it – this works best with a larger bowl. To make your own ceramic slow feed cat bowl, take a small ceramic bowl and place it upside down inside a larger bowl.
What to Look for in a Slow Feed Cat Bowl
Like any cat bowl, slow feed bowls come in a variety of designs. When shopping for one, you’ll need to consider factors like the size, shape, and materials as well as additional factors like how easy the bowl is to clean. Here are some things to look for in a slow feed cat bowl:
- Quality materials. Look for safe, non-toxic materials like stainless steel and ceramic. Plastic bowls are fine, but they are more prone to scratches which can harbor bacteria if you’re not careful about cleaning the bowl.
- Durable design. Some cats get frustrated with slow feed bowls, so look for one that can stand up to a little action. A non-slip bottom is always a bonus and the bowl should be designed not to tip over easily.
- Easy to clean. Certain materials like ceramic and plastic are dishwasher-safe, but you may still want to handwash your bowl to extend its life. Keep the design in mind when it comes to cleaning – bowls with deep pockets may be harder to clean.
- Appropriately sized. A large bowl will spread your cat’s food out so it takes him longer to eat it, but you should still be mindful of size. The lip of the bowl shouldn’t be so high that your cat has trouble reaching into it.
Now that you know the benefits of using a slow feeder bowl and what to look for, you’re ready to start shopping! Read on to see our top picks for the best slow feed cat bowls.
The 6 Best Slow Feed Cat Bowls
Keeping your cat safe and healthy is your top priority. In addition to choosing a high-quality diet for your cat, you also need to feed him properly. If your cat tends to eat too quickly, a slow feed bowl might be the ideal solution and, lucky for you, there are plenty of options to choose from.
Here are our top picks for the best slow feed cat bowls:
Best Overall Slow Feed Cat Bowl: If you want to give slow feed cat bowls a try but you don’t want to make a significant investment in something your cat might not even use, this UPSKY Slow Feeder Cat Bowl is a great option. Affordably priced and thoughtfully designed, this bowl is lightweight, easy to clean, and ideally sized. This bowl is made from food-safe, non-toxic, and recyclable materials that are dishwasher safe for easy cleaning. The bowl features raised parts throughout the interior to distribute your cat’s food and it comes with four non-slip feet to keep the bowl from sliding across the floor.
- Pros: Made from non-toxic food-safe materials, lightweight and space-saving design, easy to clean
- Cons: Non-slip feet may come off with washing, light enough some cats might tip it over
Most Popular Slow Feed Cat Bowl: When you’re not sure which product to choose for your cat, it’s usually a good idea to trust other cat owners. This Simply Pets Online Slow Feed Cat Bowl is one of the most popular models on Amazon and for good reason. It features a cute cat face shape complete with pointy ears, eyes, and a mouth. The bowl itself is oblong in shape with numerous raised shapes inside to distribute your cat’s food, keeping him from eating too much at once. This feeder is made from eco-friendly, highly durable bamboo fiber which is FDA-approved and non-toxic. Choose from three difference colors and watch your cat go to town. It may even be big enough to feed two cats at once.
- Pros: Cute cat-shaped design, made from eco-friendly bamboo fiber, distributes food well
- Cons: Large size takes up a significant amount of space, pockets may be too deep for some cats
Most Affordable Slow Feed Cat Bowl: You don’t necessarily need to spend a fortune on a good slow feed bowl for cats. This NOYAL Anti-Slip Slow Feeder Bowl costs under $10 and comes in five different colors and patterns. This bowl is made from durable materials and comes with four anti-slip mats you can attach to the bottom. In addition to slowing your cat’s feeding, it also gives him a boost of mental stimulation as he chases the food around the bowl. It’s ideally sized for cats and can be used for wet as well as dry food. To wash it, simply rinse well and pop it in the dishwasher.
- Pros: Promotes healthy eating habits, several patterns and colors, affordable price tag
- Cons: Non-slip mats may come off with washing
Best Ceramic Slow Feed Cat Bowl: When shopping for a slow feed cat bowl, it’s important to consider the materials carefully. Plastic tends to scratch and stainless steel may not be heavy enough to keep your cat from pushing it around. This Lorde Ceramic Slow Feed Cat Bowl is a great option because it is heavy enough not to slide but also very safe and non-toxic. It is generously sized, designed with a raised lip to help contain food with smooth-edged spikes your cat has to work around. For easy cleaning, it’s also dishwasher safe.
- Pros: Non-toxic ceramic materials, maze shape makes cat work for food, generously sized
- Cons: May be a little heavy, prone to cracking or breaking if dropped, food may spill over edges
Best Stainless Steel Slow Feed Bowl: Washing your cat’s bowl after each feeding is important to keep him safe and healthy. Plastic bowls can scratch, making them a breeding ground for bacteria but stainless steel is much safer. If you’re looking for stainless steel cat bowls and a slow feed bowl is on your list, give this Indipets model a try. It comes in three sizes ranging from 18 to 45 ounces and is designed with a raised dome in the center to prevent your cat from eating too much at once. It has a stylish matte finish on the outside with a high-gloss interior for easy cleaning, plus it is scratch-resistant. You’ll also be glad to know it comes with a non-skid silicone base so it won’t slide across the floor.
- Pros: Stainless steel materials won’t scratch, non-skid base, available in three different sizes
- Cons: Rubber base may come off, measurements may be deceiving (they’re for the bottom of the bowl)
Best Interactive Cat Puzzle Feeder: Cats require plenty of mental stimulation to keep them from getting bored – especially indoor cats. An interactive cat puzzle feeder is the perfect way to give your cat some mental stimulation while also slowing down the speed with which he eats. This Catit Senses 2.0 Cat Digger Slow Feeder makes your cat work for his meal and he’ll love doing it. Simply divide your cat’s kibble amongst the five cups at set the tray in front of him. The non-slip base will keep the tray from sliding across the floor and it’s the perfect height for your cat to dig his paws into. This interactive feeder stimulates your cat’s natural desire to hunt and dig while providing a little exercise at the same time.
- Pros: Stimulates activity during feeding, divides meals into smaller portions, non-slip base
- Cons: Requires a significant amount of cleaning (5 tubes), not recommended for wet food
Other Recommended Products
Cats are clever and some cats don’t take long to find a work around for a slow feed bowl. If you’re not careful about which model you choose, your cat might learn he can simply turn it over and eat the food off the floor. If that’s a concern, you might try a different option – an interactive food-dispensing toy or a cat puzzle feeder. Here are a few suggestions:
In the wild, a cat has to work for his meal and that’s what this Catit Senses 2.0 Food Tree is trying to simulate. This product features a no-spill base that doubles as a food dish with three tiers you can fill with food. Each tear has slots and openings of different dimensions for your cat to reach into, fishing for food. To change the size settings, simply rotate the piece and disassemble to wash the parts separately. This food tree makes mealtime fun and the round, stabilizing base keeps it from tipping over.
Activate your cat’s mind with this Trixie activity station. Made with a challenging design featuring multiple tunnels, your cat will have to hunt for his food. Simply open the top and pour his kibble into the center compartment where it will trickle down into the tunnels below. Your cat will have to reach into the tunnels, digging out the kibble, but the raised edges on the base will prevent spillage. Plus, the base is covered in non-slip rubber to keep the unit in place.
If your cat is highly active and you’re looking for a way to tire him out, why not make mealtime do double duty? This interactive toy can be filled with your cat’s kibble, making it the ideal solution to slow down his eating while also giving him some added exercise. This ball holds up to 2/3 cup dry food and it is made from dishwasher safe, BPA-free plastic. Your cat will love chasing and batting the ball around and you’ll love how well it works. Choose from four different colors, all affordably priced under $10.
Frequently Asked Questions
- How much should I feed my cat? The amount you feed your cat depends on a number of factors but most importantly his calorie requirements. Your cat’s daily calorie needs are determined by his age, sex, and activity level. The thing to remember is that all cat food recipes have different calorie content, so the actual amount you feed will vary depending on your cat’s needs. Refer to the feeding recommendations on the package according to your cat’s age and weight then monitor his body condition while following the directions. If your cat gains too much weight, scale back or, if he loses weight, increase his portion.
- How often should I feed my cat? Most cats do well with two meals per day, though kittens and very active younger cats may require more frequent feeding. If your cat tends to eat too quickly, you might consider breaking his meals up into smaller portions. Feed your cat half of his meal then wait 15 minutes before feeding him the second half. If you’re at home during the day, you could divide his daily ration into three meals and feed him in the morning, afternoon, and at night.
- What happens when a cat eats too fast? When your cat eats too fast, he tends to swallow a lot of air along with the food. This can upset your cat’s stomach and cause him to regurgitate the food. In some cases, your cat’s digestive tract may not be able to handle such a large volume of food all at once, leading to the same result.
- How do I stop my cat from eating wet food too fast? Many slow feed cat bowls are designed for dry food so, if your cat eats primarily wet food, you may be wondering what to look for in a slow eating cat bowl. Wet food makes more mess than dry food, so you’ll want a bowl that keeps the mess fairly well contained. Another option is to simply divide your cat’s wet food into multiple smaller portions and place them on different dishes around the room.
- Should I feed my cat after he throws up? As a cat owner, you’ve gotten used to gross things coming out of your cat’s body. It’s no surprise to find the occasional hairball and you’ve scooped your fair share of poop from the litter box. If your cat frequently vomits after eating too fast, even that may not be a surprise. As long as the food looks largely undigested, it’s probably nothing to worry about – throwing up undigested food is known as regurgitation. If your cat vomits not in conjunction with a meal, however, you may want to contact your veterinarian as it could be a sign of a health problem. For regurgitation, you can decide whether you want to give your cat a little bit of food but if your cat is vomiting you should withhold food for 12 to 24 hours to wait for the problem to resolve.
Cats are funny creatures and some of their odd little habits can be quite endearing. As amusing as it might be to watch your cat scarf down an entire bowl of food in a matter of seconds, it really isn’t good for him. Slowing down your cat’s eating will improve his digestion and contribute to better overall health. Consider trying one of the slow feed cat bowls we’ve reviewed above.