A lot of cats struggle to pace themselves with eating, so if this is a problem you’re currently trying to tackle with your pet, know that you’re definitely not alone. I’ve written about a number of different ways you can get a cat to slow down quick eating before, but by far the easiest and most effective method is to invest in a slow feeder cat bowl, or even a puzzle feeder toy (which I’ll be discussing in another article in case, like me, you prefer to go that route).
Slow feed pet bowls all work basically the same way. They have elevated bumps, lines, and other shapes that act as physical barriers between your cat and his or her food. In order to eat everything in a slow feeder bowl, your cat will have to slowly work his or her way around these barriers to continue eating up kibble or canned food.
The form the barrier takes comes in a lot of different varieties, and in my opinion, each cat is likely to find some more challenging than others, so if you find one doesn’t work out, you may want to try out a different style until there’s one that gets your cat just slow enough at eating without being exasperated at how difficult it is to get at food.
You may also want to rotate through different styles of pet bowls if you’re trying to use a slow feeder bowl to help an indoor cat stay mentally stimulated. While puzzle food dispenser toys are undoubtedly better at this, there aren’t many puzzle feeder toy options for pet owners who feed wet, and there are other benefits to slow feeder bowls over puzzle feeders – such as the fact that they’re a lot easier to clean and throw in the dishwasher. Slow feed bowls still do engage a cat mentally, as it makes eating a trickier process than simply slurping up wet food and guzzling down kibble in a few minutes flat, and they help cats stay mentally fixated on something incredibly engaging (food) for a reasonably lengthy period of time, which can also work toward minimizing overall feline boredom.
Most slow feeder bowls work quite well whether you’re feeding kibble or wet food, though some work better for kibbles, and others, much better for wet/canned. I’ve done my best to identify when there’s a pet feeder that’s clearly better suited for one type over the other in the comments I’ve written up about each feeder type.
Slow feeder bowls also come in a variety of different materials, so if you prefer feeding your cat with a plastic, ceramic, or metal food dishes, you should definitely be able to find at least a few options in your preferred material to choose from.
The vast majority of slow feeder bowls are actually made for and marketed toward dogs, but I’ve seen one heck of a lot of reviews by cat owners who buy slow feeder bowls created for dogs vouch that they work just as well for their cats. If you’re concerned, do take a moment to look through the reviews of a pet feeder you’re interested in to double check whether other cat owners have also bought what you’re interested in for their pet, and how their cats received the product. More or less all of the feeders I’ve showcased, I’ve also done my best to showcase reviews from other cat owners, and the vast majority of what I’ve seen in terms of using slow feeder dog bowls as slow feeder bowls for cats have been positive.
As a heads up, if you ever do feed canned and are trying to slow your cat down as much as possible while eating, a lot of pet parents have vouched for the simple act of patting down wet food to make it more compact. Apparently, this makes it a lot more difficult for cats to simply lap up and swallow the food they’re trying to eat, and makes them have to work a little harder to pick it apart before swallowing it. So you may want to combine this trick with a slow feed pet bowl if your cat is still eating a little too quickly for your liking.
Without further ado..
Slow Feed Pet Bowls for Cats Who Eat Too Quickly
One of the most basic and popular types of slow feeder pet bowls are ones that have spiral or circular patterns, encouraging your cat to eat around the bowl very carefully, one line at a time, or – if your cat’s eating kibble – to dig food out almost like with a puzzle digger snack toy – and eat one small bite at a time. There seem to be a lot of happy cat owners discovering, while these are typically branded and initially created for pet owners with dogs, they really do work for cats, too. Cats have to slow down their eating considerably, and work quite hard to get at their meals. Based on reviews, it seems it can take cats up to half an hour of work to get their food out of these things and into their bellies. Based on my experience, cats do tend to speed up eating a little over time as they grow to “master” their puzzle feeders, but starting at half an hour is almost a guarantee that they’ll never get their time down to a minute or two to complete an entire meal. One happy pet parent stated these bowls actually resolved his cat’s bowl issues – so great!
Other spiral & circular pattern pet bowls in case you’re curious to see a few more:
- Outward Hound Circular Teal Fun Feeder Interactive Dog Bowl
- 2PET Slowly Bowly Fast Eater Bloating Prevention Dog Bowl
Spirals aren’t the only shapes slow feeder bowls take. Actually, there are a lot of bowls that integrate flower, heart, even just interesting random patterns, meaning if you’re looking for a number of slow feeders with unique designs to switch things up, you’re almost certain to find plenty up your alley.
I shared this one in particular because it seems to have quite a large number of cat owners vouching for it. One cat owner even stated this food bowl helped his 20 pound cat lose around 2 pounds of weight – really great news for those looking for help with overweight kitties who chow down super fast, especially if there are a lot of cats in the same household making it pretty tricky to watch for scavenger diet cheating.
Other funky pattern food bowls you may want to look into:
- Outward Hound Flower Pattern Purple Slow Feed Pet Bowl
- JASGOOD Heart Pattern Dog Feeder Slow Eating Pet Bowl
- Simply Pets Online Slow Feed Dog Bowl
- wangstar Funky Pattern Slow Feed Dog Bowl
- JASGOOD Flower Pattern Dog Feeder Slow Eating Pet Bowl
There are two types of LickiMat, and both look really good for pet parents who feed wet. It seems to be less of a challenge for pets who struggle to eat their way around grooves traditional slow feeders have, and many reviews say it helps that it’s pretty large as it lets you spread out the wet food to make it take a little longer to eat as well.
Looking through reviews, it seems the orange LickiMat is the most popular of the two options. Like the Pinjum Dog Bowls, the LickiMats also have a slew of excellent reviews from cat owners, some stating their cats had issues with vomiting after super-fast eating that this lick mat resolved, others insisting the mat went so far as to help with boredom related grouchiness because it was so stimulating. One pet parent grabbed this LickiMat to help out with issues related to farting/gas and mentioned how easy the LickiMat is to clean and dry. A lot of really happy pet owners with this one from what I’ve seen.
The Cat Catch Interactive Feeder is a slow feed bowl that I think really almost comes close to being a feeder puzzle toy. Its got long soft spikes that make it look a bit like blades of grass sticking out of it – a while most cats will pick out their food, digging it out with their paws one piece at a time and eating the food that’s fallen to the floor, or if it’s wet food, placing their paw in then licking their paw clean to eat – some cats will actually try to put their faces into it, reaching with their tongue for the food.
Note, this may be a little tricky to clean if you don’t have a dishwasher. That said, if you see no issue with cleaning, there are a lot of positive cat owner reviews on this one. So it does look to be a great option. A couple more soft spike style slow feeder bowls:
- JASGOOD Dog Feeder Slow Eating Pet Bowl Eco-friendly
- PETBABA Dog Bowl Slow Feeder, Interactive Puzzle
If you really want something straightforward, easy to clean, and available in a lot of different material options, you may want to limit your search to these bump-style anti-gulping slow feeder bowls. They’re almost the equivalent of taking a golf ball and placing it in your cat’s food bowl so he or she has to eat around the ball (which, by the way, is a trick that works).
Again, while these are typically made for dogs, there are plenty of happy cat owners chiming in about how well they work for cats who eat super fast and for those that have issues like vomiting after eating as a result. This is probably the top option (in my opinion) that’s equally good for both wet and dry.
Other popular bump-style anti-gulping bowls include:
- Indipets Extra Heavy Stainless Steel Non Tip – Anti Skid Health Care Slow Feeding Dish
- Dogit Go Slow Anti-Gulping Dog Bowl
- HDP JW Skid Stop Food Water Bowl Slow Feed
- Mr. Peanut Stainless Steel Interactive Slow Feed Dog Bowl
This slow feeder bowl from the Amazon Basics like is similar in some ways to the LickiMat, but definitely different enough that it deserved its own unique mention. One cat owner spoke about how he/she’d been through a lot of these slow feeder bowls, but kept being dissatisfied with them until he found this one. In this pet owner’s own words: “My cats are challenged linking wet food out of here, without it being so difficult as to be sadistic (like with other small bowls made for cats).”
Another spoke about how this food bowl seems to make his or her cat think this is nine little food bowls, and only ends up eating from one section at a time. Again, in his/her words: “When their tongue touches one of the raised section dividers their mouth centers back on one of the smaller sections. I don’t think it limits the total amount they eat, which is good; they end up eating as much as they need. But to eat that same amount they spend more time at the food dish, hence eating slower.”
Amazon also makes a Honeycomb version of this slow feeder pet bowl, so you may want to check that out as well.
I’ve been meaning to give elevated water bowls a go for a while, so this elevated slow feeder and water bowl combo drew my attention when I saw it. I do think cats prefer to eat and drink when their bowls are elevated, though I haven’t yet done research on this topic, and so can’t say for certain. Either way, a lot of happy cat owners with this set – some digging the fact that it’s dishwasher safe others claiming it helped them out with kitties who like to splash and play in water bowls. Another combination water and slow feeder bowls, in case you’re looking: the OrderMore Slow Feeder Bowl for Small Dogs & Cats.
Super interesting looking feeder bowl, and in my opinion, looks a lot like the stacked swoop section of the Trixie 5-in-1 Fun Board (which is a puzzle feeder toy that I reviewed here). Avery found that section of the board really easy to get food out of and eat, so if you’re looking for a slow feeder that doesn’t make cats too slow when they eat, and is a little bit mentally stimulating as well, that’s what I feel this slow feed bowl would excel at.
I definitely think this one’s more for the kibble eaters, though. I feel most cats will get their paw in and drag food out of it to eat. It does seem to be well liked by cat owners as well, so again, not just for dogs here either.
Practically a digger toy again, so if you like that theme, but are looking for something ceramic, and large enough to feed multiple cats, I think this is probably the best bet. You may think looking at this thing that it’s way too easy for cats, but apparently nope – it works very well at slowing them down and is actually tricky to use, though as another reviewer mentioned, you may have to train your cat to understand how to use it.
The Pioneer Pet Tiger Diner Ceramic Feeder also comes in white if that’s more up your alley. I’m quite frankly thinking of trying this one out myself, as it looks like a really great, long-living product, and is one of the few unique slow feeders I’ve managed to find that look like they do the job of entertaining and engaging bored cats as well as puzzle food toys. Also, it’s made of ceramic, which is very good for preventing cat acne/blackheads, and is heavy, which is a bonus as it shouldn’t move around as much. Ceramic is also nice because it shouldn’t need to be replaced as often as plastic.
Looking for another ceramic slow feeder bowl to use instead of or alongside this one? Check out the DotPet Slow Feeder Bowl, Ceramic Fun Interactive Feeder.
Love slow feeder bowls and are totally sold on the concept, but really want something you can take over to your pet sitter’s house for the week so your cat doesn’t over-indulge just because they’re at someone else’s place. This collapsible slow feeder travel bowl would definitely come in handy for that.
Your Thoughts on Slow Feeder Bowls for Cats?
How quickly do your cats eat? Have you ever had issues with a cat eating way too quickly before? Did your cat have any other type of symptom (vomiting after eating, issues with gas, weight gain, etc.) that resulted from eating too quickly?
Have you ever tried a slow feeder pet bowl before? What did your cat think? Would you recommend the one you tried or advise other cat owners to stay away from it?
Would love to hear about any and all experiences you have related to this topic – please share them in the comments below. Your thoughts could really help another pet owner out!