cat puzzle
Mikel Delgado’s cat Clarabelle demonstrates how to use a Trixie Activity Fun Board. Food puzzles for cats encourage natural foraging behavior. (Mikel Delgado/UC Davis)

Cat food puzzles are exactly what they sound like. The puzzles can be any object that holds food and requires your feline friend to figure out how to get it. The puzzles come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. Food could be cleverly hidden inside a ball or other mobile device and only by rolling it or pushing it will the cat capture the tasty treat. Other puzzles are stationary with cups or holes that require cats to fish out their wet or dry food with a paw.

Thirty percent of cat owners surveyed use food puzzles, according to a new study led by researchers at the University of California, Davis. The puzzles benefit domestic cats by bringing out their natural foraging behavior.

“Before cats were domesticated, they lived in the wild where they hunted for food,” said lead author Mikel Delgado, a postdoctoral researcher on cat behavior at UC Davis. “Then humans came along and took their jobs away.”

Read more and watch video at UC Davis News