Do Slow Feed Cat Bowls Work?

Want to check out the best slow feed cat bowl option? Take a look at the Petsafe 5 Meal Pet Feeder

Ever seen your cat wolfing down its food? It is not that uncommon and that is because they are instinctively programmed to eat quick and get out of dodge. The reasoning is obvious when you think about it. The quicker they are out of there the less likely they are to become someone else’s dinner, the less likely they are to have to share and the less likely they are to be robbed of their food. Good, old fashioned common sense. 

The problem with eating at high speed is that it gives rise to a few problems of its own. The biggest problem is that your little friend has a small stomach and their food pipe is parallel to the floor meaning any volume misjudgment becomes a messy vomit problem. 

The other problem, which is slightly more modern world, is that eating fast doesn’t give anybody the chance to respond to their true hunger level meaning it is easy to overeat and put on weight when you eat too fast. With so many cats leading less active indoor lives in the modern world this can result in obesity issues. 

So if you have a cat that eats quick and then vomits or a cat that might be on the portly side a good strategy for improving the situation might be to invest in a slow feed cat bowl. (If they are overweight you could try one of these feeders with some weight loss cat food) Additionally, if you have a less active indoor cat that you want to stimulate then such a feeding bowl might offer an opportunity to stimulate them more. 

Here we look at the various types of slow feed bowls that are available, how they work, what to look for, whether they actually work and review five of the best on the market now.  

Our Top Pick Slow Feed Cat Bowls :


These are our favorite slow feed bowls. There is a decent choice between restriction, timed and puzzle feeders that ensure at least one should be good for your circumstances.

Types of slow feeder cat bowls


If you decide that such a food bowl might be the answer for your cat then you should be aware of the various options you have. 

Often such bowls are marketed as dog/cat/pet bowls – generally it doesn’t matter if you use a dog bowl for a cat when it comes to slow feed bowls – they all seem to work the same way and do the same job. 

Here is a brief insight into the general types of feed slow bowls available. 

Timed portion delivery bowl 


These are simply bowls that deposit an amount of food at intervals during the day. They are the type of the bowl where you can program the unit to deposit or make available a small amount of food at various intervals throughout the day. 

Kitty can wolf down, but only in small quantities or quantities that you decide are right.

Usually such bowls are complex feeders at the expensive end of the range but effective at limiting/control food availability. They require no brain power from the cat so dumbass or impatient cats can use with ease. 

Cat Puzzle Feeders


Is your cat bright enough not to starve! Puzzle feeder cat bowls are like a mini mensa and coordination test for your cat where the reward for such fine intellectual ability is a pitiful morsel of food delivered at a pedestrian pace after a period of mental mind bending for kitty.

Obviously, there are a selection of these types of puzzle bowls that range from requiring the cat to have rocket scientist intellect to merely a passing interest – it is for you to decide which would best suit your cat!  

Beware, only for use with cats that are not stupid or lacking in patience otherwise they give up and irritate you for food instead – money wasted…

Restriction Feeders


I made the name of this group up. Basically they are slow feeders that restrict greedy kitty from getting the snout in the trough and gobbling down. 

Usually these slow eating bowls require paw work or restrict mouth access – slowing the eating action right down by making it a little more complicated. 

Unlike puzzle feeders, these slow feeding bowls present food without fuss, no serious brain power is required – it just can’t be eaten quickly due to obstacles in the bowl.

Often cheap and effective but can’t be loaded up with a full days supply like a timed portion delivery system. 

Can you use with all food types?


Here is the thing. These slow eating cat bowls work well with dry food but not many are really suitable for wet food – the exception is some of the timed feeder bowls that can be suitable for wet or dry food. Once you see them you will understand. Some manufacturers claim they can be used with wet food – but come on, be honest, they are going to make a mess….

If your cat does eat a wet food diet then you might be better slowing them down by limiting portion size and increasing meal frequency. Or, you could try patting the food down into the bowl forcing the cat to break the food up to eat and thereby slowing them down. Or you could add a couple of golf balls to the bowl to make wolfing down food harder….

What to look for in a slow feed bowl


Ok, so you decided a slow feeding cat bowl could be a viable solution for your cat – you want to cut out the weight gain or the voming and dry food is what they usually eat. What should you look for in a bowl, what characteristics? Here are some general characteristics to consider when you are appraising which bowl might be a good solution for your cat :

Weight/robustness – Does the bowl you favour have some weight to it? At some point kitty might get impatient or alternatively they might just cheat and tip the bowl over to get access to the largest quantity of food possible. A weighty bowl will make this harder and the bowl will probably be of a more robust construction if it has more weight to it.

Easy clean – Is this bowl going to be easy to clean or does it need disassembly and washing by hand? Can you just throw it in the dishwasher and have done? Some of these puzzle feeders and restriction feeders by their nature come in awkward shapes – can they be cleaned easily? 

Made from safe materials – In this day and age you really want a bowl that will last the test of time and can be recycled at a later date. You also want something made from safe materials that won’t break or degrade easily and that kitty can’t smash by over robust play. Stainless steel and ceramic options are often the best as you get durability, safety and recyclability……

Do Slow Feed Cat Bowls Work? 


If your cat eats dry food then these bowls potentially offer a great way to slow them down and potentially help them lose weight and stop vomiting. If your cat eats wet food then your choices are more limited, but you can still use a few of these bowls to slow up your voracious kitty!

When selecting a bowl don’t just go for the brightest, biggest or most expensive – put some thought into it and consider your cats personality – the idea is to slow them down not stop them eating!

If your cat isn’t a real smarty pants don’t try to force the issue by getting a feeder that is really difficult to use – they will just walk away and make your life hell instead! If your cat is daft just get a timed feeder or a restriction feeder so they can still get fed easily but slowly.

If you are out all day then consider getting a timed feeder that present a days worth of food – many of the other options are ideal for slowing down one meal but might not be so good at loading up with a days worth of food.

All the feeders discussed below are proven to work – you can often check out user videos on amazon that actually show cats eating from the bowls so you can get a clear idea how they work and just how much they slow cats down. It is not uncommon to hear how cats have lost weight or cured vomiting problems from using these slow down cat bowls. 

5 Best Slow Feed Cat Bowls 

We like this bowl. It is a well thought out offering. It is made from ceramic so is nice and weighty and easy to wipe clean. The bowl features restricting “fins” that make life just a little more difficult for kitty when trying to munch down and wolf food. 

Here is the thing, your cat can still eat directly by lowering their face into the bowl, it is just that they need to maneuver around the bowl and can’t munch up massive mouthfuls like they might with a standard bowl. The less food you put out the harder it is to eat quick. 

Because of the lip around the bowl and the fact that the cat doesn’t have to pick food out with a paw you can use either dry or wet food.

All in all, this is a well-designed bowl and as many owners will confirm this will slow down your cat. 

Pros

  • Ceramic easy to clean
  • Hard Wearing
  • Allows but restricts mouth access to slow down eating.
  • Can be used with wet food as bowl has a lip
  • Very affordable price point – you can try without investing to much.
  • Lots of reports from owners of success slowing down their speed eating cat!

Negatives

  • Only allows for one or two feeds to be left out.
  • If loaded up becomes too easy to eat off.

heavy, hard wearing, easy to clean but most of all effective – this will slow down the fastest of cats!

Catit Senses 2.0 Puzzle Feeder Cat Bowl 

This is a clever little puzzle feeder from Catit. The name of the game is for your cat to forage with their paw to retrieve food items from the tubes.

Tubes vary in depth and diameter so they can pose an interesting little puzzle to your cat. Dry food items are loaded into the lower end of the tubes and the cat retrieves individual items of food if they forage successfully!

This is a well thought out puzzle feeder that will definitely slow down and stimulate your cat! Beware, not all cats are sharp enough or patient enough for this puzzle! Numerous owners confirm their cat struggles and needs to be taught how to retrieve food from the tubes.

Tubes can  be removed from the base for washing. The whole bowl is made from plastic which is a bit of a shame, but the feeder can be used in conjunction with other Catit products to create a whole system of puzzles and interactive activities to keep your cat stimulated.

Pros

  • Best all round puzzle feeder
  • Stimuates and slows – cats have to reach into tubes and dig out food with paws
  • Can be mixed with other feed/puzzle/play items from the catit range.
  • Affordable price point
  • Owners report good results – effect at slowing down speed eaters

Negatives

  • Only for use with dry food
  • Not all cats get it or are confident enough to use.
  • If your cat is impatient or can’t figure it out this item could be a waste of money

A real test that will either occupy and slow down your cat or leave them stumped…

Mogoko Interactive Feeder

At first glance the Mogoko Interactive Feeder looks like a cheap version of the Lorde Ceramic Healthy Eating Bowl, but it is a different set up.

Like the Lorde bowl, this feeder restricts eating speed by blocking access to the food with “fins”, “points” and raised edges. The difference is that with this feeder the restrictive obstacles are far closer together meaning kitty can’t get their face in to eat – they have to use a paw to forage food out of the bowl. Unlike other puzzle feeders, the food is clearly on show so even the daftest cat can work out what is going on!

Now obviously you don’t want kitty pawing for wet food so this isn’t really a feeder that can be used with wet food. But, because of its size and the difficulty with getting access for the mouth it can be loaded up with a considerable amount of food making it useful if you are out all day or have more than one cat in your household.

So, if your cat eats dry food only, this could be a good choice for you. 

Pros

  • Restriction feeder similar to ceramic model but with even more restriction
  • Mentally stimulating as your cat needs to forage with paws as access for mouth is restricted
  • Affordable
  • Easy to clean
  • Owners confirm it is effective at slowing down fast eating cats

Negatives

  • Only for use with dry food as your cat must forage with paws to get a feed.
  • Can only put out several meals worth of food or it all gets too easy…

Restricted to paw foraging only, this feeder slows down the fastest cat whilst being simple to use for the cat that might struggle with a puzzle feeder…

Tdynasty Design 6.5L Timed Pet Feeder

This is what you call a premium timed feeder. We have included it here because it allows you to set the delivered quantity of food in 10g increments. You can deliver four small dry food meals whilst you are out making sure your cat can’t eat like a glutton!

The feeder has an immense storage capacity so you could just leave it on timer all week – but for the purposes of a cat that eats too fast, it is the ability to control portions that make this an attractive option. 

It runs on battery or mains. Can be taken apart for the purposes of washing. It is easy to program and features the ability to record your voice and playback to call your cat to the feeder at the appropriate time! Is well built and designed well as you would expect from an expensive machine.  

The main issue with this feeder, from the point of view of fast eating, is that it limits the user to only selecting four meals per day when you might want to release six or more very small meals over the course of the day – but we have to remember this feeder is not necessarily designed to slow feed. It has been designed to deliver regular meals for potentially days on end. 

Having said that, I tend to leave out one meal for my cat when I go to work and feed her again in the evening. With this machine I could divide the morning meal into three or four smaller portions and then feed as normal in the evening – slowing her right down without reducing her overall intake!   

Pros

  • Deliver small meals at regular intervals
  • Capacity to deliver for weeks
  • Split feeding out into four meals a day, every day.
  • Can reduce portions to as little as 10g
  • No puzzles or complications

Negatives

  • Dry food only
  • Premium price
  • lacks flexibiltility to deliver more than four meals a day

Simply split out the meals into four portions a day on a timer to prevent overeating…

Petsafe 5 Meal Pet Feeder

Another timed feeder but with a slight twist – this one can be used with wet food and offers five meal times if you really want more flexibility.

Unlike the previous timed feeder, this feeder is timed for daily use only – you can’t load five days worth of food up and leave home for a week!

What you can do is load up five meals for the day and make the meals any size you like – the feeder doesn’t dispense – rather it uncovers meals you have already prepared at times programmed by you.

A little cheaper than the other timed feeder but more expensive than standard restrictive bowls this feeder does give you great control and you can use wet food or dry.

It is plastic so it easy to clean, is easy to operate but is not mains powered so you could end up using a lot of batteries. Owners like it – it is simple and effective although some say it is a little noisy initially when it “delivers” a meal.

Pros

  • Wet or dry timed feeder
  • Can program 5 meals on timer
  • You pick portion size
  • Easy to use
  • Cat proof
  • Median price

Negatives

  • Battery operated only, no mains operation
  • Can be noisy at moment of operation
  • Ideal for spreading five meals over a day not for spreading five meals over a week.

Simple wet or dry food timed feeder where you pick the portion sizes…

Conclusion


These feeders all work and are highly rated. If your cat has a problem keeping food down then any one of these feeders will slow them up and hopefully fix the problem if it is the speed of eating that is making them regurgitate. 

If they don’t work you might need to consider that your cat has a sensitive stomach – in that case you should check out some of the sensitive stomach cat food that we have looked at previously.

Personally, we like the 5 meal timed version as you can use wet or dry food at hourly intervals if you want whilst at work, doesn’t require your cat to be too quick on the uptake and is very flexible without being at to high a price point.

If I wasn’t comfortable with buying batteries for the 5 meal timed feeder I would go for the ceramic restriction model as you can use wet or dry food and it is hard wearing and effective – it just can’t be loaded up with multiple meals… 

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