Today we’ve got a very special present… it’s kind of like a real mouse but better!
Nubia: When they first arrived I wasn’t entirely sure what exactly they were. But they were nice and colourful. 😀
Nubia: I decided to ask my brother for help….
Oliver: *Looks perplexed at package*
Nubia: *Whispers* It’s so difficult to find intelligent brothers isn’t it? 😉
Oliver: *Taps box* I think it’s a toy!
Nubia: You might be right… but we won’t know until the humans unpack it properly! 😮
Nubia: Come on servants! Open this for me please. 😀 Sooooooooo difficult to find decent human servants in today’s times…. but eventually they opened it for me. 😉
Nubia: They decided to hide my FAVOURITE treats inside these to begin with… Did they really think I’d need that to learn how to hunt?!? Either way I think the nobowl feeding system is a lot of fun.
Nubia: *Gnaws on mouse* I am the HUNTRESS of this kingdom!
Oliver: *Whispers* Or a bit full of herself. 😉
Oliver: Eventually it was at last my turn to try out the nobowl mouse. 😀 Sister always takes forever with these things…
Nubia: Watch who you are calling slow!
Oliver: So…. How does this work? How am I going to get stuff out of it?
Nubia: My point… I am the huntress you are the lazy one. 😀
Oliver: I am trying hard!
Nubia: Not hard enough muaha! 😉
Oliver: I am trying! 😮
Nubia: That you are. 😉 But more importantly our nobowl mice are exactly what experts say us cats should be having. 😀
Oliver: Indeed according to International Cat Care small potions that mimic our natural hunting instinct are the better than traditional large meals in bowls!
Feeding plan to improve cat health and welfare
Experts at the charity International Cat Care have recently developed a feeding plan, based on scientific evidence, to help mimic the way cats eat in the wild and so provide both physical and mental stimulation for cats. The plan encourages cats to hunt, explore, climb and play – activities which boost cats’ positive behaviour and wellbeing.
Developed by scientists Dr. Sarah Ellis and Dr. Lizzie Rowe at International Cat Care, the plan also helps to prevent overeating and promote a balance between energy intake and energy output, in order to avoid weight gain, as well as encouraging weight loss in overweight cats.
It is estimated that there are 10 million pet cats in the UK1, and current scientific data suggests that 39 – 52% of these cats are overweight or obese2,3. This is a problem because being overweight or obese is a major health and welfare issue4-9, and can ultimately lead to an early death in cats10.
Research shows that current feeding practices are contributing to this obesity epidemic, with a number of factors associated with a cat’s modern lifestyle leading to overeating. For example, most cats need little or no exertion to obtain their food, making it more likely that the calories they take in through eating will outweigh the calories they use up through exercise (leading to weight gain). Furthermore, the way we feed our cats generally does not match the lifestyle they were designed for, resulting in a lack of mental stimulation and reduced opportunity to express natural, instinctive hunting behaviours. This can lead to boredom, apathy, anxiety, frustration and stress in cats, resulting in reduced wellbeing and potentially the development of problem behaviours.
Dr. Sarah Ellis, Feline Behaviour Specialist, said: ‘By making a few simple changes to the way we feed our cats, we can help them to live longer, healthier and happier lives.’
Cat owner, Tim Lloyd, 35, from Surrey, who tried out the feeding plan, commented: ‘I’ve had my cat Colin on the plan for three weeks now and he is definitely more lively, inquisitive and healthy.’
The plan recommends:
- Giving cats five or more small portions of food a day (rather than feeding fewer, bigger portions)
- Using puzzle feeders
- Changing food location regularly
- Spreading feeding across the 24-hour period (using timed feeders and puzzle feeders)
- Monitoring cats’ behaviour and weight
A detailed version of the feeding plan, along with the full report behind the development of the plan, can be found on International Cat Care’s website:
A short version of the feeding plan can also be found here.
The feeding plan was developed by International Cat Care for The Big Bang UK Young Scientists and Engineer Fair, to help young people realise how science is everywhere, including when it comes to looking after their pets. More information on The Big Bang Fair can be found at: http://www.thebigbangfair.co.uk/
- Murray JK, Browne WJ, Roberts MA, et al. Number and ownership profiles of cats and dogs in the UK. Veterinary Record2010; 166: 163-168.
- Russell K, Sabin R, Holt S, et al. Influence of feeding regimen on body condition in the cat. Journal of Small Animal Practice2000; 41: 12-18.
- Courcier EA, O’Higgins R, Mellor DJ, and Yam PS. (2010). Prevalence and risk factors for feline obesity in a first opinion practice in Glasgow, Scotland. Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery2010; 12: 746–753.
- Nelson RW, Himsel CA, Feldman EC, and Bottoms GD. Glucose tolerance and insulin response in normal-weight and obese cats. American Journal of Veterinary Research1990; 51: 1357-1362.
- Hoenig M. The cat as a model for human nutrition and disease. Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition and Metabolic Care2006; 9: 584–588.
- Litster AL and Buchanan JW. Radiographic and echocardiographic measurement of the heart of obese cats. Veterinary Radiology and Ultrasound2000; 41: 320-325.
- Scarlett JM, and Donoghue S. Association between body condition and disease in cats. Journal of the American Medical Association1998; 212: 1725–1731.
- Lund EM, Armstrong PJ, Kirk CA, and Klausner JS. Prevalence and risk factors for obesity in adult cats from private US veterinary practices. International Journal of Applied Research in Veterinary Medicine2005; 3: 88–96.
- Miller C, Bartges J, Cornelius L, et al. Tumor necrosis factor-alpha levels in adipose tissue of lean and obese cats. Journal of Nutrition1998; 128: 2751S-2752S.
- O’Neill DG, Church DB, McGreevy PD, et al. Longevity and mortality of cats attending primary care veterinary practices in England. Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery2015; 17: 125–33.
Her Meojwesty Queen Nubia the Disturber of Peace
His Meowjesty King Oliver the Maker of Mischief
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