Kinder Surprise For Your Kitty? - Two Environmental Enrichment Ideas for Cats

hunting cat

We’ve all seen big cats on the TV hunting large prey, feasting on it, and then going for a day or so without food. But the domestic cat that we all know and love is not programmed to hunt and eat in this way. Our cats are domesticated versions of the smaller African Wildcat (Felis silvestris libyca), and so hunt in a different way from their large cousins.  Rather than one big meal, our cats naturally want to hunt and eat many small meals throughout the day and night.

The problem is that our cats get a bowl of easy food plonked down once or twice a day. This can result in a couple of potential problems for indoor cats. Either the cat chomps down the food then spends the rest of the day frustrated because it cannot do anything functional to get more, or if left with lots of food, it eats throughout the day and gets fat.

As caring cat owners, what can we do to provide a bit of mental stimulation for our cats, and prevent them from growing a gut? Well, I’ve got two ideas for you (there are lots more). One’s cheap, effective, but needs a little more work from you, the other is pricier, but allows you to spread out your cat’s daily food allowance easily and effectively.


The Cheap Option: The Kinder Surprise Container
Take the plastic inner of a Kinder Surprise, and cut a big hole in it. Fill it with dry food. Put it on the ground when your cat is peckish, and shake it so a few biscuits come out. Once your cat figures out that the container is a food dispenser, and is getting out all the food quickly, provide another version with a smaller hole. Repeat until the hole is small enough that it takes your cat quite some time to get out all the food. Use a few of these to supplement your cat’s main meals while you are out, or overnight. Sure, it’s not exactly like hunting a mouse, but it gets your cat thinking, and does trigger predatory-type behaviour due to its small size and tendency to roll.


The Luxury Option: The Pipolino
This thing is a monster. It looks like a dog toy. But the beauty is that you can fill it up when leaving for the day, or overnight, and your cat can “work” for his daily food rather than chomping it down and then getting bored. The graduation from easy to hard is done for you, so you do not need to bother with getting the holes right like with the Kinder Surprise. Plus, it looks weird and interesting, so you can impress your friends with your cutting-edge feline environmental enrichment device!


APBC Full Member

Mat has a first class Masters degree in Animal Behaviour, is a Certified Clinical Animal Behaviourist, and has trained animals for feature films and commercials.