Many cats inhale their food so fast it causes them to regurgitate it right back up. Speed eating can also lead to weight gain and obesity if you’re not meticulous about your cat’s daily caloric intake.
Sure, feeding your kitty smaller meals several times a day might help. But this can backfire on you big-time when your furball isn’t feeling full and the incessant meowing starts long before the next mealtime.
A better solution is to use a slow feeder for cats. These special bowls, lick mats, and puzzles are designed to make it a bit harder for cats to devour each meal like there’s no tomorrow. We’ve researched dozens of cat slow feeders on the market and give you our top picks.
At A Glance: Our Favorite Slow Feeders For Cats
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Why Do Some Cats Eat Too Fast?
If you’re wondering why your fuzzy feline scarfs down her food within minutes, you’re certainly not alone. Although cats are known to be finicky eaters, many devour their food so fast their bowl is empty nearly immediatly. If this sounds like your kitty, here are some of the reasons cats eat too fast.
- Territorial behavior: If you have multiple pets in your home, your kitty could be scarfing down her food from an instinctual reaction to eat as much as she can before others.
- Boredom: Some cats that don’t get adequate mental or physical stimulation during their day resort to food to fill their humdrum lives.
- Insufficient diet: If your current cat food isn’t giving your kitty the required nutrients she needs, she could be gorging her food to satisfy her body’s craving for sufficient nutrition.
- Underlying disease: There are several health conditions that can make your kitty ravenous. For example, intestinal worms rob your kitty of essential nutrients. Diabetes and hyperthyroidism can also cause increased hunger.
- Loves food: As with people, some kitties just adore food, especially if your cat food has a lot of artificial flavoring. This doesn’t mean she has a health or behavioral problem. But it could be that you need to look for a higher-quality cat food.
Why Are Slow Feeders Good For Cats?
Obesity is a growing epidemic among our companion pets. Recent statistics show that, in the U.S., an estimated 60% of cats are overweight or obese. Even a few extra pounds can shorten a cat’s life and cause such health problems as heart disease, cancer, diabetes mellitus, arthritis, and bladder stones.
Of course, the best way to control your cat’s weight is to ensure she’s eating the recommended calories for her specific needs. Your veterinarian is the best resource to determine your cat’s ideal daily caloric count. Still, it can be challenging to strictly limit your cat’s meals when you have a speed eater who’s always begging for more food. Slowing down your kitty’s food intake using a special feeder can help avoid overeating and provide other benefits:
- Prevents regurgitating after meals from eating too fast
- Helps with weight control and weight loss
- Eating slowly makes cats feel more satisfied with each meal
- Promotes better food digestion and nutrition absorption
- Reduces bloating
- Provides mental stimulation, depending on the design
If your cat vomits frequently, be sure to seek veterinary attention. Many serious illnesses can cause a cat to vomit, so it’s important to have your vet do a thorough physical examination and test for these diseases. Your vet can also make sure your kitty isn’t showing signs of being malnourished or dehydrated from frequent vomiting.
Best Slow Feeder Cat Bowls
We’ve chosen several different slow feeder bowls for your preference of material, your budget, and your kitty’s needs. You can use all of these bowls with both kibble and wet food.
Petstages Slow Feeder
- Toxic-free, food-safe plastic.
- Mentally stimulating.
- Dishwasher safe.
- Non-slip base.
This Petstages slow feeder cat bowl is a budget-friendly and effective way to make your kitty work a bit for her food. The design is also mentally stimulating for cats, forcing them to dig into the tight-fitting maze to access their chow. It’s made with BPA, PVC, and phthalate-free plastic and is sturdier than it appears.
Another bonus is a slip-resistant base to keep it in place when your kitty’s foraging for her food. It’s top-rack dishwasher safe at a low heat setting and holds up to 3/4 cups of dry or wet food. This best-selling bowl gets excellent customer reviews.
Lorde Slow Feeder
- High-quality ceramic.
- Excellent design to slow down eating.
- Dishwasher and microwafe safe.
- 100% satisfaction money-back guarantee.
- Lacks a no-slip base.
If you prefer ceramic over plastic, this slow-feeder cat bowl is an excellent choice. It comes in two designs, and both are effective against extreme gobblers. Made with smooth, high-quality, lead-free ceramic, it’s easy on your kitty’s tongue and mouth as she maneuvers to get to her food.
This bowl is dishwasher and microwave safe, and the manufacturer offers a money-back guarantee if you’re not satisfied with its ability to slow down your furball’s eating. Most customers love this bowl; however, there are some complaints that it slips around on the floor.
Cilkus Fish Pool Slow Feeder
- Food-grade melamine material.
- Optional raised-bowl attachment.
- Comes in 2 sizes and 4 colors.
This Cilkus Fish Pool Slow Feeder Bowl is a popular option among feline parents. It’s made of food-grade melamine material, which is often used for human tableware. And it has a smooth surface for kitties’ sensitive tongues. The distance between the ridges and valleys helps slow down your speed-eater.
This cute dishwasher-safe bowl comes in four pale colors: green, pink, blue, and white. You also have the option of purchasing the bowl with an attachable bottom bracket to convert it into a raised bowl. Some customers said the sides are too shallow so food spills over onto the floor.
Y YHY Elevated Slow Feeder
- Heavy-duty ceramic.
- Raised and slightly tilted.
- Good for cats with mobility issues.
- Sturdy anti-slip base.
This elevated and tilted cat bowl doubles as a slow feeder, making it a fantastic choice if your fast eater has arthritis or joint problems (or is used to a higher bowl). It’s made of heavy-duty ceramic and features a lot of nooks and crannies to make it harder for your kitty to scarf down meals.
It has a sturdy, large base, making it more difficult for cats to tip it over. Some owners say it’s too shallow, but most have found it quite effective in slowing down their food gulpers.
Best Lick-Mat Slow Feeders For Cats
Lick mats are ideal for wet food gobblers. Not only can they slow down scarfers, but they’re also used to help reduce anxiety, boredom, and destructive behavior in both cats and dogs. Here are our top picks for kitty lick mats.
- Non-toxic, food-grade rubber.
- Ideal for wet food.
- Easy to clean.
- Comes in 2 designs and 3 colors.
This adorable fish-shaped lick mat is an extremely popular product with feline parents. The food settles into the mat’s grooves, prolonging eating time. And many cats find licking the textures on the mat a pleasurable experience. LickiMats are made of environmentally-friendly food-grade rubber with no silicone, BPA, PVC, or phthalates.
This mat comes in two fish designs, which have different ribs and ridges. Each design is available in bright blue, green, or orange. Although it’s not dishwasher-safe, customers say it’s super easy to rinse off once you let it soak for a few minutes.
YUKITO Licking Mat
- Food-grade silicone.
- Ideal for wet food.
- Suction cups to keep it in place.
- For cats and dogs.
The LUKITO Licking Mat combo is made for both cats and dogs, so it’s equipped with 70+ suction cups on the base to hold it in place for aggressive eaters. It works the same way as the LickiMat above to slow down your kitty’s intake of wet food, with multiple ridges and grooves.
These mats are made of silicone, but the manufacturer says it uses food-grade material. They’re dishwasher-safe and come in a two-pack, so you don’t have to clean one after every feeding. However, some users said it’s hard to thoroughly clean out all the crevices.
Best Slow Feeder Cat Puzzles
Slow-feeder cat puzzles are designed for kibble only, so if your kitty is a wet food fan, check out our lick mat recommendations. The puzzles we’ve chosen vary based on your kitty’s patience and ability to solve how to get the food. But they’re all excellent at majorly slowing down your cat’s eating.
Catit Senses 2.0 Cat Digger
- BPA-free plastic tubes.
- Mentally stimulating.
- Easy to clean.
- Comes with a rubber mat.
- Excellent customer reviews.
The Catit Senses 2.0 Cat Digger is a fun way to force your furball to paw for each morsel of food. It features multiple tubes of different shapes and difficulty levels to give your kitty a mental workout at every mealtime. It’s made of BPA-free materials and comes with a rubber mat to keep it from sliding around.
This interactive slow feeder is also easy to clean; you simply remove the green tubes from the base and handwash them. And it gets overall rave reviews from speed-eater parents. Although a few said their brainiac kitties figured out that they could just remove the tubes out of the base and tip them over to scarf away.
PetSafe SlimCat Meal-Dispensing Cat Toy
- BPA-free hard plastic.
- Promotes physical and mental exercise.
- Adjustable opening to control speed of food dispensing.
- Dishwasher-safe (top rack only).
Many owners find the PetSafe SlimCat slow food dispenser is an excellent solution to slow down their furry friends at mealtime. It also promotes physical exercise as cats chase the ball around, so it’s ideal for tubby kitties. The opening measures 0.4 inches wide and works with most kibble and treat sizes.
And the opening is adjustable so you can control how quickly the food dispenses. This ball is made of hard BPA-free plastic that’s top-rack dishwasher-safe. It holds up to 2/3 cup of kibble and comes in four colors.
Catit Senses 2.0 Food Tree
- BPA-free plastic.
- 3 difficulty levels for a mental challenge.
- Improved design for more stability.
- Easy to disassemble and clean.
- Narrow top opening prevents cheating.
Another fantastic slow feeder puzzle by Catit Senses 2.0, this food tree is a bit more challenging than their digger feeder. The unique design makes your furball work for her food by pawing through the side openings to move the kibble from the top of the tree down through the holes to the dish at the bottom.
Made of BPA-free materials, it has a sturdy construction and base to prevent it from tipping over. And it has three difficulty levels to keep your kitty mentally stimulated. Users say it’s easy to disassemble and clean and is very effective at slowing down food consumption.
Amazon Basics Pet Activity Center & Feeder
- Made of durable polypropylene rubber.
- Multiple puzzles in one.
- Mentally stimulating.
- Non-slip rubber feet.
- 1-year limited warranty.
We love the design of this Amazon Basics cat activity board, which gives you multiple ways to slow down your champion chomper. It combines tubes, crannies, ridges, and sliders to hide the food to make every mealtime a fun experience. And it’s large enough that you can feed two cats at once.
Made of durable polypropylene rubber, it has non-slip rubber feet to keep the base in place. And it comes with a one-year limited warranty. The only downside is that it’s not dishwasher-safe, but it’s easier to handwash than it looks.
If you’re dealing with a feline binger, we highly recommend getting a slow feeder. Whether you’re trying to solve frequent puking after meals or weight loss for your pudgy furball, these bowls, lick mats, and puzzles can help your food fanatic. Also, make sure you’re giving her high-quality cat food and not overfeeding. Low-quality cat food can also lead to digestive problems and weight gain.