Most readers know that I have five cats and a crazy dog who thinks he’s a cat. As you can image with so many pets meal time is like feeding time at the zoo.
We keep a big bowl of dry food available to the cats all day long. That way they can nibble when they are hungry. We only feed them canned food as a “treat” rather than a meal. A couple of our cats have weight issues so I prefer keeping them to a healthy diet, preferably grain free, limited ingredient dry foods.
I prefer to feed our dog grain free, limited ingredient dry food too but he rather have canned food. I hate giving him canned food. Not only is it smelly and messy but he INHALES it. He can down a whole can of food in about a minute. I’m not exaggerating either. I guess he’s afraid the cats might eat it. They have no interest in his food at all.
Eating food too quickly is also not very healthy for your pet. It can cause indigestion or other tummy troubles. Not only that, it’s hard for them to realize they are full, or even enjoyed their meal, if they eat it so quickly.
When we feed our cats canned food they tend to eat it quickly too, but they have a good reason. They have four other cats waiting to eat their food if they don’t eat it fast enough. That is another reason why we don’t feed the cats canned food too often.
I often thing that meal time is boring for my pets. I try to mix things up a bit and serve them different flavors of food and different types of food (except my dog – he has a sensitive stomach).
Why can’t meal time be fun for your pet? Even better, why not an interactive meal time?
Aikiou is a company that makes interactive pet feeders for both dogs and cats. These are intended for dry food, not canned foods. Think of Aikiou feeders as puzzles for your pet. They have to figure out how to get to their food, making it part challenge, part fun.
Aikiou sent me their cat feeder called Stimulo. It looks like some kind of a toy for children, or even the base to a game. Inside the base are several holes. Stimulo comes with tubes that fit inside the holes. The tubes come in various sizes (other sizes also sold separately). When it’s set up it looks like a futuristic game.
To use simply drop you cats food (dry food would work best) inside the various tubes. In order to eat your cat will need to figure out a way to retrieve the food from the tubes. It sounds like a cruel thing to do (make them work for their food) but I think the cats actually enjoy it.
I have been using the Stimulo with my cats, although I mix it up as far as what I drop into the tubes. Sometimes it’s a few pieces of dry food, other times it’s treats (dry). I’ve even sprinkled a little cat nip into them. Some days I put something in some of the tubes, other days I put something (either the same thing, or different things) into all of the tubes. Since the tubes are easily removed I try and change their position whenever I think about it too so that it’s not the same layout all the time.
The short tubes make it easy for your cat to retrieve the food or treat. The longer tubes require a bit more effort since they have to be able to grab it with their claws and pull it out.
Two of our cats, Anakin and Bella, loved the Stimulo. They saw it as a play toy. I even moved it from the kitchen to the living room. I think they liked the challenge of finding where I put it just as much as they did playing with it.
One of my cats, Velcro, played with it from time to time to pull out some treats and catnip (it wasn’t worth the effort for him to retrieve dry food – LOL). My other two cats, Kitty and Padmé had no interest in it at all for some reason. I guess it all depends on the cat.
Our dog tried to retrieve some of the goodies I had in the tubes too (even though this is the cat feeder). He was able to lick the treats out of the smaller tubes (the ones that were more flush with the base) but not the taller ones.
Aikiou sells two different dog feeders – the Aikiou Dog Activity Food Center and the Junior Slow Dog Feeder. They look to be a little more complicated then the cat feeder, but I have not personally tried it with my dog. Knowing him he wouldn’t want to use it. He just wants to gobble up his food as quickly as possible.
Overall I think it’s a cool idea. I don’t know about it as a feeder (a hungry animal just wants to eat) but for treats I think it’s a great idea. It’s interactive so it keeps your pet busy and they are rewarded for their efforts with a tasty treat.
*I received a free product sample in order to do this review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and were not influenced in any way.