Need a cat slow feeder to help your cat lose weight?
A cat slow feeder is a great option as it helps to prevent a cat from overeating, whilst also giving a chance to play and act out their foraging instincts.
There are many choices on the market which makes it hard to find the right choice.
Check out our top cat slow feeder choices below.
In this article, I’ll discuss what is the best cat slow feeders are for a range of budget and cat needs.
I’ll also give you a buying guide to help you find what you want to look for and answer some frequently asked questions about this type of feeder.
My name is Derrick, and I write for Simply Cat Care. Our goal with this website is to help cat owners find the best products for their cat’s health.
I am not a veterinarian and I recommend seeking the advice of a vet before continuing.
Let’s get into the article.
Product Review: Best Cat Slow Feeders For Weight Loss
Best Cat Slow Feeder Overall
A slow feeder is a great option to help with weight loss.
This option is simple and slows down your cat eating with a ridged design. This product uses melamine which is easier on the mouth than a ceramic slow feeder.
The main downside is this isn’t microwave safe and can’t adjust for height. It also lacks an anti-slip mat which may lead to the bowl dragging around whilst your cat tries to get at food.
Best Cat Slow Feeder Ceramic
Ceramic bowls are dishwasher safe and hygienic compared to melamine bowls.
This design of this bowl slows down eating as cats aren’t able to eat a lot of food at a time. The bowl also provides a little physical stimulation having to try to get to the food.
Ceramic may be harder on the mouth but I haven’t seen any negative reviews compared to other ceramic bowls from customers.
I think the design of the patterns isn’t as harsh as some of the other designs for this type of bowl.
Best Cat Slow Feeder Feeding Mat
The LickiMat is a great option to reduce whisker fatigue.
The design is flat to make eating easy whilst slowing down eating to help overweight cats with weight loss. It’s also suitable for wet and dry food.
Some customers find this mat a little harder than they would like.
Best Cat Slow Feeder Interactive
This choice is a good puzzle feeder to help increase mental stimulation whilst also slowing down eating.
The main way this product works is via panels that allow your cat to scoop and push down food into the shaft below.
Although this is great for overweight adult cats, it’s too complex for kittens (and not needed at this age due to food needs) and too much work for senior cats.
Best Cat Slow Feeder Automatic
This is a great option for cat owners that spend a lot of time out of the house.
The other main advantages of this product are the large 4L storage capacity and timing customization features.
Unfortunately, this type of feeder is only for dry kibble and costs a bit more than other types of slow feeders for cats.
Buying Guide: How To Choose The Best Cat Slow Feeder
Not sure what the best cat slow feeder is?
In this buying guide, I’ll share some tips about what to look for including types of feeders, size needs, materials, and budget considerations.
You’ll be able to know what to choose and what to avoid depending on your situation.
Click the link below if you want to head back to my review of the best cat slow feeder choices.
Types of Slow Feeders
There are a few types of slow feeders for cats.
They all help to prevent your cat from overeating whilst improving mental and physical stimulation.
This may reduce behavioral problems such as excessive grooming.
Slow Feed Bowls
This is a bowl designed to slow down your cat’s eating with ridges.
Although I recommend ceramic bowls for standard cat food bowls, a melamine bowl is a better choice for a slow-feed bowl.
Some cats may hurt their mouth when biting into a ceramic bowl due to the hard surfaces.
The main downside of a melamine bowl is being more prone to damage, which may result in bacterial growth (in the damaged parts of the bowl that can’t be cleaned properly).
However, if used with care, a melamine bowl is a good choice as a slow feeder.
Basic designs work fine although some designs may allow more mental stimulation.
This type of slow feeder is compatible with both dry and wet cat food.
Bottom Line: A slow feed bowl has ridges to physically prevent your cat from eating too much at once. A melamine bowl is softer on the mouth and is recommended for this bowl type
Slow Feed Lick Mats
As the name suggests, this is a mat that cats lick food off.
I haven’t found any scientific data supporting the use of lick mats, but one benefit is they may reduce whisker fatigue.
This is because there aren’t any raised surfaces to cause discomfort with whiskers.
As with slow feed bowls, melamine is the best choice (and the only choice in this category of slow feeder).
This type of feeder is compatible with wet cat food.
Bottom Line: A lick mat slows down your cat’s eating and helps to reduce whisker fatigue
As you may have guessed, an automatic feeder drops food for your cat automatically.
There are a variety of designs but most operate by dropping portions of dry cat food at set time intervals.
Fill up the feeder with dry cat food, set, and forget.
This type of feeder works well for people on short trips or cats that get hungry in the middle of the night.
The downsides of an automatic feeder are setting it up and programming the device to your custom needs.
For many people, this is a challenge. Another downside is the increase in price over a standard bowl.
Finally, if you have multiple cats it might be hard to prevent one cat from eating all the food from the other.
Bottom Line: An automatic feeder is useful for owners that are out of the house, but is pricier and involves some time setting up for best results
This type of feeder gives cats mental and physical stimulation whilst slowing down eating.
Puzzle feeders range in complexity and opportunity for play.
There’s no right or wrong answer as to what’s best however a history of good reviews is important to give you an idea that the product is cat friendly.
If you’re not sure whether the puzzle feeder will work for your cat, try using something simple first.
Bottom Line: A puzzle feeder gives your cat a chance to play whilst also slowing down eating
What Size Do I Need?
Always give your cat a wide and shallow bowl.
If there are too many parts to the slow feeder interfering with your cat’s whiskers, it will result in fatigue.
Your cat may choose to stop eating from the bowl due to the discomfort.
A cat lick mat gets around this problem by design, so a small mat may work as well as a large lick mat.
Bottom Line: Always give your cat a wide and shallow bowl to reduce whisker fatigue
What Material Should I Look For In A Cat Slow Feeder?
The best cat food bowl material for a slow feeder is melamine.
In every other cat food bowl, the better options are:
- Stainless steel
Plastic bowls are the least preferable as scratched plastic may harbor bacteria.
However, they are good options for slow feeders, lick mats, and puzzle feeders as they aren’t rough on the mouth.
The main benefit of ceramic bowls is microwave compatibility. Check with the individual product for further information.
Stainless steel bowls are dishwasher safe but aren’t microwave friendly. They are also durable to wear and tear.
Fortunately, there are a wide variety of great cat food bowl choices so you won’t have to rely on plastic.
Bottom Line: Stainless steel and ceramic bowls are the best choices due to reducing bacteria, durability, and dishwasher safety. However, melamine is softer on the mouth for puzzle and slow feeders
Frequently Asked Questions
Do Slow Feeders Help With Weight Loss?
A slow feeder or a puzzle feeder helps to reduce your cat’s food intake.
This type of feeder makes it harder to eat a lot at a time.
They also increase your cat’s energy expenditure which helps with weight management.
The total amount of calories your cat eats is the main factor in weight control.
Read my article on how to help your cat lose weight for more.
Bottom Line: Slow feeders help slow your cat’s eating down which may reduce their caloric intake
What Is The Best Slow Feeder For A Lethargic Cat?
The best bowl for a cat with mobility issues is an elevated bowl in an easy-to-reach location (e.g. near to their resting spot).
An elevated bowl helps cats reach their food without having to bend down.
Encouraging your cat to become more active is important for health and helps reduce boredom.
Bottom Line: An elevated slow feeder helps give a cat with mobility issues an easier time accessing their food
Can I Use A Cat Slow Feeder For Dogs?
Cat’s enjoy feeding alone and having their own space for feeding.
Sharing bowls and feeding areas with cats and dogs may result in stress.
It’s best to give your cat its own space to enjoy its food to reduce conflict and aggression.
I recommend looking at a separate bowl for other cats or dogs in the house.
Bottom Line: Give a separate bowl for every pet in the house
Why Does My Cat Vomit After Eating?
There are many reasons a cat vomits.
Eating too fast may be one reason, but your cat may also have other health issues that lead to vomiting including:
- Intestinal obstruction
- Change in diet
If you notice your cat continues to vomit, speak with a vet for more help.
Bottom Line: Vomiting may be a sign of eating too fast or a serious health problem that requires vet assistance
Are There Alternatives To Slow Feeders?
You can help your cat increase activity by placing food in a location they have to ‘work’ for the food.
There are other ways of slowing food intake that include:
- Homemade DIY feeders
- Feeding mats
- Food puzzles
- Automatic feeders
- Portion control
Bottom Line: There are many ways to help slow down your cats eating to help with weight control
Can Kittens Use A Slow Feeder?
You can but I don’t recommend it.
Kittens have a high calorie and protein need for growth.
It’s important to let kittens eat as much as they need to assist with development.
Bottom Line: A slow feeder is better suited to an adult cat
Can Senior Cats Use A Slow Feeder?
Many senior cats lose, rather than gain weight.
This is due to decreased protein and fat digestion.
As such, most senior cats need help eating more food rather than preventing intake.
The exception is when a senior cat is overweight or obese.
Check out my article on how much to feed a cat to learn more about dietary needs for senior cats.
Bottom Line: Senior cats tend to lose weight and need a high-calorie and protein diet. They don’t benefit from slow feeders unless overweight
Conclusion: Best Cat Slow Feeders For Weight Loss
In this article, I talked about the best cat slow feeders.
This type of bowl is a great option for adult cats needing more mental stimulation to reduce boredom. Slow feeders also help with weight loss for overweight cats by slowing down eating.
The best type of slow feeder will vary from owner to owner, but a simple shallow and wide design works best to reduce whisker fatigue.
Interactive designs help to increase play and are best suited to adult cats.