Unlike lazy humans, cats actually like having to work for their food, a new study says
It’s universally agreed upon that while food is great and wonderful and, some weekends, the only thing you drag your lazy ass out of bed for, eating it is pretty much the only good part. It certainly beats having to leave your apartment to pick up an order of takeout, or get out of bed to pay the pizza delivery guy, and I would imagine it certainly beats cooking. Ubereats has literally made a business out of humanity’s intermixed laziness and passion for eating. And given the famous inclination of cats toward energy conservation (aka being just as lazy as their owners), you’d think they’d share our sentiments regarding food. But, according to a surprising new study, oddly enough, cats enjoy working for their food. Yes, really.
Published in the Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery, the study, carried out by a University of California, Berkeley research team, found that as natural foragers, cats greatly enjoy “food puzzles,” or tricky feeding set-ups that require them to work for their food.
The natural feline hunting instinct can be difficult for indoor cats — and their owners — to manage, and can manifest in cats sometimes making a mess of things, or, worse yet, picking up all kinds of health problems ranging from chronic lower urinary tract issues, to obesity and diabetes, to “aggression, house-soiling, and attention seeking,” Gizmodo notes.
Food puzzles offer a solution to all of these issues.
First of all, they satiate felines’ most innate, primordial desire to outsmart and hunt their prey, while also providing indoor cats with the physical activity they need to lead healthy lives. Additionally, they lower cats’ levels of stress and, as a result, make them less moody and aggressive. In other words, if your cat is giving you ‘tude, you now know what to do. Food puzzles for cats are quite frankly the closest thing to the feline equivalent of humans hitting the gym just to reward themselves with a tasty acai bowl afterwards.
The study looked at roughly 30 different cats and found that different cats preferred different kinds of food puzzles, but overall seemed to particularly enjoy variety. You can take a look at one example of a foraging food puzzle in the video above. In an extreme case, one obese, 8-year-old cat involved in the study lost 20 percent of its body weight over the course of one year of eating with food puzzles.
I would imagine all cat owners who are too lazy to prepare food or go out and sit in a restaurant are probably too lazy to clean up their cats’ accidents or deal with their hissy fits. So, maybe holding off on Ubereats and investing in some food puzzles might just be the more energy efficient route. Or, of course, you could always scrape together the energy to go the DIY route, and should you go that route, The Daily Mail’s got your back with all kinds of ideas.