The Best Cat Puzzles Toys to Unleash Your Cat’s Inner Einstein · The Wildest

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The Best Puzzles to Unleash Your Cat’s Inner Einstein

Genius takes many forms. Could your cat be one?

by Katherine Tolford
31 October 2023
Three cat puzzles on a colorful pink, burgundy, and green color-block background
The Wildest

You’ve probably heard of dogs that can sniff out cancer and learn the alphabet. To which your cat might shrug and resume self-preening with an air of general aloofness. But, according to certified cat behaviourist Ingrid Johnson, your cat is constantly strategising and could be bored. “It’s hard to take the hunt out of them, she says. “It’s an innate need. They don’t even have to be hungry to hunt and we give them a big bowl of food, which provides no mental stimulation and no problem solving.”

Benefits of cat puzzle toys

Don’t feel bad – you’re about to splurge on a bunch of interactive cat toys and engaging cat food puzzles that even the softest-skilled cat can master. In a research paper published in the Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery, Johnson writes that foraging for food tames cat aggression and other roguish behaviour. Cat food puzzles in particular can resolve litter box avoidance issues, cut down on over-grooming, curb anxiety and keep their diet in check. “Their stomach is the size of a ping-pong ball,” she says. “Puzzle feeders are a happy medium between strict feeding and allowing your cat to gorge: they can turn a three-minute meal into a 30-minute meal.”

Choosing the best puzzles for your cat

“People tend to buy what’s cute,” says Johnson. “But it’s important to pay attention to the challenge level. Start with an easy toy and drive behaviour by using novel food.” Some will pick it up faster than others, so if that means your cat needs a demo, don’t judge them. You probably didn’t set your Sudoku record on the first attempt. Luckily, there are a variety of cat-treat puzzles for each skill level. Heres a round-up of the nine best cat puzzle toys.

Btw, our editors (and their pets) picked out these products. They’re always in stock at the time we publish, but there’s a chance they’ll sell out. If you do buy through our links, we may earn a commission. (We’ve got a lot of toys to buy over here, you know?)

Katherine Tolford

Katherine Tolford writes about the pet industry and veterinary medicine. Her work, which has appeared on PetMD, Chewy, and Floof, has helped pet parents better understand their pets’ health. She’s also a pet parent to Milo, a loud-mouthed tuxedo cat, who likes to attempt backwards somersaults on the couch.

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