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Keep your cat out of trouble: Build a DIY cat-powered feeder


As many pet parents know, keeping cats entertained and out of trouble can be a full-time job. House cats don’t spend their days doing what they’d do in the wild — hunting for food, searching for mates and protecting their territory — and often end up bored and looking for trouble.

A great way to keep your cat from getting bored is to have her work for her food. has a cheap and easy DIY cat-powered automatic cat feeder that does just that. Here’s a condensed version of the simple instructions from contributor LabelReader (get the full version, with pictures, here):


An 8-oz. round plastic tub, a cat-food dispenser with a circular, flexible pop top that snaps down over the tub, about one day’s worth of cat food and a pair of scissors.


  1. Cut loopholes in the tub: Cut the bottom corner of the tub to create a slit. A second cut should be made about two cat food pellets’ length
    away from the first one. Insert the point of the scissors and expand each slit until it’s about four times as long as your cat food pellets. Each cut should be equally long on the bottom and side of the tub.

cat enrichment feeder, environmental enrichment

LabelReader’s cat Yoshi works for his food. (Photo)
  1. Push the loopholes through: Push in the part between the two
    slits to make a loophole (as seen here). Repeat to make about three loopholes
    in the bottom of the tub.
  2. Put tub in cat feeder:
    Place the tub into the
    top of the feeder and add food. The pellets should be loose enough to
    spill through the loopholes when your cat bumps the feeder, so
    don’t pack it too tight! Close the lid to the feeder.
  3. Get your cat interested: Place a few food
    pellets (or treats) in the tub so your cat must
    use her paw to reach them. Put it out around meal time and let
    your cat explore it. If, after some time, your cat doesn’t seem to be
    getting it, try bumping the feeder to make some pellets fall out. If
    your cat is hungry at the time, it can help this process along, but make
    sure she gets enough to eat throughout the day.
  4. Don’t give in: If
    your cat has you trained to feed her on demand, then this process might
    take a while. Eventually
    your cat will associate the movement of the feeder with getting food
    and start doing it on her own.

Do you have a great cure for pet boredom? Tell us here!

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