Not only do animals identify food with their sense of taste, but they also use this sense to explore their world. Although cats may recognize food primarily by the aroma, the taste and feel in their mouth is also an important tool for food identification. Offering food to cats in non-traditional ways (not using food bowls) can act as an important piece of enrichment in their daily routine.
The following has been adapted from material on the ASPCApro website
Puzzle feeders, toys or devices that contain food encourage your cats to engage in predatory behaviour. Manipulating the device provides stimulation and exercise.
A variety of such puzzles can be found at most pet supply stores. They can also be made easily from cardboard tubes, egg cartons, or anything else that will contain food. Ensure that food cannot be dislodged or acquired without some effort on the cat’s part.
For cats that have special dietary needs, use the appropriate kibble in the puzzles.
Find instructions on how to build food puzzles
Treat Balls/Treat Toys
Treat balls can be filled with dried liver bits or other highly desirable cat treats. Use of these ball/toys requires monitoring by staff to ensure special dietary needs are not compromised.
The following has been adapted from material on the ASPCApro website. Some cats respond favourably to catnip. Catnip can promote play and activity in some cats while it can promote a calming, quiet response in others. Because catnip can also make some cats aggressive and unpredictable, it should be used under close supervision.
Find instructions on how to make a catnip pillow.
Catnip can also be offered in the form of catnip scented bubbles.