When Feeding Our Cat We Should Make Him Hunt for It

It is in our cat’s DNA to hunt for his food. Hunting is a major part of a cat’s behaviour. Why, therefore, do we simply plonk down on the kitchen floor a bowl of commercially prepared cat food in a thrice daily ritual which plays no part in allowing a domestic cat to express his natural desire to find food by hunting for it?

Dr Liz Bales, a Philadelphia veterinarian argues that hundreds of millions of cat owners are unwise to provide their cat with cat food in a bowl in a routine manner. She believes that this unnatural behaviour for a cat results in obesity, “the stalking of food bowls in hopes of a refill” (I’ve not heard about this) and nightly demands for food.

I do see the argument, however, that cats need to hunt and especially for a full-time indoor cat the only way currently for a cat to express that desire is to play with him. It seems quite neat to devise a process and a product which allows a domestic cat to hunt for his food. This is what Dr Liz bales has come up with.

Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles:- Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

She calls the product the “NoBowl Feeding System”. The system entails the cat’s owner stuffing portions of dry food into five specially designed containers made of hard plastic and wrapped in stretchy grey fabric, and then placing the “mice” containers around the home.

The domestic cat will hunt out these containers, he may well play with the container and in doing so the dry food is released whereupon he eats it. That is as near as you can get to hunting for food other than releasing mice into your home!


The product costs $60. Just to make the point clear, this is an American invention and I presume for sale in America and perhaps not yet for sale in other countries.

It is therefore quite expensive compared to the normal feeding bowls that we are used to using. That said, if the system works then I would say it is money well spent because feline obesity is a major and rising problem in the domestic cat world. It causes lots of health issues which are expensive to treat. $60 may be cheap if you look at it that way.


I’m not sure about the product. One issue I have with the product is that you have to put dry cat food into it and we know by now that dry cat food is not an ideal way to feed your cat permanently. Occasionally dry cat food is all right but on a permanent basis it has being cogently argued that dry cat food itself causes health issues in some cats (diabetes, obesity, dehydration to name three).


Also, will cat owners be sufficiently disciplined and motivated to do this? They should be if it works. Where it has been tested, people and cats have adapted to the process well, it is reported. The product is on a kickstarter program to raise funds to progress it.

Please visit their website for more info.

What you think about this? Would you take the time and the bother to participate in this method of feeding your cat?

1 thought on “When Feeding Our Cat We Should Make Him Hunt for It”

  1. Michael,
    Monty would not go for this– he would just get frustrated and tell me to feed him. He also does not get dry food ever. But he does hunt, though he seldom eats his kills. This morning I let him out into his enclosure and then took care of a few things before coming out myself. When I opened the door he came running excitedly and I noticed just in time he had a mouse in his mouth. He always wants to bring his kills into the house and tries very hard to do this. I’m sure one day I will not be quick enough to prevent him! Not a good thing as I never know if the unfortunate creature in his mouth is alive or dead.

    It is upsetting that he kills, but like you said to me once, it is as natural to him as reading the morning paper is to us. At least he seems to prefer ground prey to birds. His total since this spring is up to four mice, three chipmunks, two bunnies and two birds. Not a huge amount, but pretty good for a cat who only goes out occasionally! Our back garden is a bit wild and overgrown so the little animals like it. But the minute they poke their nose through or under the fence to come in, Monty is there! It is the perfect hunting situation. The cat who meows impatiently for me to feed him can sit for hours perfectly still and quiet waiting for something to come under that fence.


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