3 DIY Cat Puzzle Feeders For The DIY-Challenged

My cat and I have a number of things in common: a tendency to unhealthily gobble our food; a perpetual weakness for high-fat dairy products; a talent for napping in unlikely places; and a slightly overinflated confidence in our own ability to bend cardboard to our iron will. My goal for today seemed simple: use some ordinary cardboard, some basic tools, and my own two (left) hands to make a collection of puzzle-style feeders for my cat. Puzzle feeders will engage his brain, satisfy his prey drive, and keep him from gobbling his entire dinner in thirty seconds flat and then starting in on the dog's. A little marking here, a little gluing there, and voilà! What could possibly go wrong?



Material & Tools:

• Glue gun
• Utility knife (uh-oh)
• Tape
• Pen
• Ruler
• Small cardboard box
• Cardboard tube
• Flat piece of cardboard about 12" x 8"
• Cat treats
• Cat

Feeder #1: The Box


Step 1 - Take a small-ish box. Tape it shut, and mark squares along the bottom edge of three sides. The squares should be big enough for your cat to stick his paw through, but not big enough for his entire face. For my large-ish cat, this was about 1.5 inches.

Step 2 - Cut out your squares, without — this is the tricky part — cutting yourself.


Step 3 - Go get a band-aid. While you're at it, grab a handful. Now cut a hole in the top. This hole should be big enough to pour a handful of kitty kibble into without dumping too much on the floor/yourself/the cat.


And… OMG, you're already done with this one! That wasn't so bad! You're rocking this so far!


Step 4 - Drop some treats in the top and enjoy your cat's delight.

… Unless his face gets stuck.

Oh well. Two feeders to go!

Feeder #2: The Pyramid


Step 1 - Take a cardboard tube. Mark out six equal sections. Look at you with your ruler and your measuring! Next step, custom cat cabinetry! (That's a thing, right?)

Step 2 - Cut the sections. Again, try not to bleed. You may want to go get more band-aids at this point.

Step 3 - Now FIRE UP THE HOT GLUE GUN. Bask in the glow from the red-hot tip. Now start gluing your six tubes into a pyramid — three together in a row on the bottom, then two together on top of those, then one on top of those as a crowning glory.


Pause to wonder if perhaps your mother wasn't right about glue guns being instruments of torture and mayhem. Go run your burns under some cold water. Better? Okay...

Step 4 - Glue your whole pyramid to a larger sheet of cardboard.


ISN'T IT BEAUTIFUL?? Eat your heart out, Tutankhamun.

Except somehow it's maybe a little less majestic when your Sphinx is so large by comparison. I dunno, it's just a question of scale, really.


Feeder #3: The Tube


Step 1 - Take whatever remains of your cardboard tube from the previous project. Or use an empty roll of toilet paper. (If you need help unspooling the toilet paper from the roll, your cat will be probably happy to oblige.)


Image: Youtube user Jun Tee


Step 2 - On a larger sheet of cardboard, trace two circles the diameter of your piece of tube.


Step 3 - Evaluate your work. Conclude that the value of a quality preschool education was utterly wasted on you. Try again.


Better? … No, not really. Give up and cut them out. So much for the Montessori method, right?

Step 4 - Glue the circles to the ends of your tube. Try, REALLY TRY, not to burn yourself this time.

Go run your burns under water again.


Step 5 - When you come back, cut lots of little squares in the sides of your tube.

Acknowledge that the result is faintly reminiscent of that tower from the snowy "Ends of the Earth" scene in Disney's Aladdin. You know, this one?

Step 6 - Stick some very small treats into the holes. The idea is that your cat is supposed to roll the Not-A-Banishment-Tower around on the floor and the treats will fall out.

Realize that you may have cut the holes too small.

Realize the your cat is fed up with your nonsense and has retreated to the other end of the deck.

Realize that even his very favorite catnip-flavored Greenies® are not tempting him to play with this toy you have so lovingly crafted.


Realize that you are burned, bleeding, tired, and defeated. Realize that just this once, the cardboard may have won.
Look at it, sitting there smirking at you! Are you going to take that lying down?

No. By the power of the glue gun, NO.
Tomorrow is another day. Carpe DIYem.