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Kibble Predators On The Indoor Prairie

This fun tip can help animals lose weight without changing their diet, give them more exercise even when you’re not around, and help when one animal dominates the food.

Saffron Chillin

Hunting kibble is hard work!
(Saffron rests after kibble hunting.)

One of the little extras I do for my cats (and some clients’ animals) is hiding treats around the house for them to discover throughout the day.

I say treats, but I use pieces of dry kibble more often than treats. Since I do this twice a day with my own cats, I factor this food into their caloric intake. Not many dog and cat treats indicate how many calories are in each one. That makes it difficult for someone like me (with weak math skills) to keep track of their caloric intake. One new exception are Natural Balance’s Perfect Bites, which are 1 calorie each.

I hide the treats around the house in places they’ll discover as they roam around surveying their territory. I’m always looking for new, interesting places to keep them on their toes and to encourage them to explore instead of figuring out a route to take to each predictable spot. Anything is fair game: shelves, chairs, perches, window sills, my desk, table supports, stereo, arm rests on chairs, side tables… The possibilities are endless.

By feeding the same amount of food, but placing it in multiple locations, animals get a lot more exercise while taking in the same number of calories. Pretty cool, eh?!

There is usually at least one overweight cat in most households with multiple cats. That’s because one way cats figure out their social hierarchy is by dominating the food resource. If the heavy cat(s) don’t (or can’t) jump very high, try placing some of the cat food up higher where other cats can reach it but the bigger cat(s) can’t. My favorite places are cat perches, on top of the washing machine, bathroom counters, and tables out on the deck or in the basement. I’ve used this trick successfully for years with many cats in many households.

Placing food up high, as described above, is also an excellent way to manage food in houses with both dogs and cats in which dogs would eat all the cat food if left to their own devices. So put the cat food up higher where the dogs can’t reach it.

My cats go nuts for the extra stimulation of searching for hidden kibble and treats. I love seeing them interact with their food a bit more.

Do you do things like this to keep dogs and cats engaged and interested in the world around them while you’re away from home?

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