In the wild, cats hunt daily for every meal. This keeps their skills sharp and efficient.
As we get ready for Maker Faire in New York City, September 21-22, 2013, there's lots of activity online around things you can make for your cat. That includes feeders that challenge your cat’s body and mind.
Try out this plan shared by our friend Marty at Urban Pet Haus. While he spends his days making thoughtful and beautifully crafted furniture and accessories for cats and dogs, he brought us this amazing plan for a DIY hunter feeder.
What You Need
2-foot square of 3/4-inch MDF
1/2-inch diameter wood dowels
Brad nails of finish nails
Router (for larger holes)
1/2-inch drill bit
Eye and ear protection
How to Make it
1. Start by cutting your sheet of MDF in half. Stack the two halves on top of each other. Draw a shape on the top piece of MDF with a pencil. Clamp the two pieces together and use the jig saw to cut out the desired shape.
2. On one piece of the MDF, mark 1-inch inside the entire perimeter and cut it using the jig saw. This will be used to make a raised border that will help keep kibble in the feeder.
3. Use the router to make larger holes about 1-1/2-inch in diameter and 1/4 - to 3/8-inch deep. It doesn’t have to be perfect. When kibble is placed in these holes, it makes it more challenging to get the food or treat.
To make holes for your dowels, drill 1/2-inch diameter holes in the bottom MDF panel. Be careful not to go all the way through. Make sure to space them so it’s not too easy to get the food.
4. Cut the dowels into varying lengths. We varied ours from 4- to 10-inches. This will make it even more challenging to get their paws on their beloved treats.
5. Run a bead of glue around the 1-inch piece of border you cut and glue it onto the base. Use brads or finishing nails to hold in place until the glue dries. Make sure the edges are flush.
6. Put a dab of wood glue on the bottom of a dowel and insert it into one of the holes in the base. You may want to tap with a rubber mallet to ensure it's firmly set. Repeat with the other lengths of dowels until all of the holes are filled. Be sure to spread around the dowels of various heights to add variety to the experience for your cat.
Optional: While our hunter feeder is unfinished, you can stain or paint it with a non-toxic, water-based color.
7. Set out the hunter feeder in your home. Sprinkle a few bits of kibble or treats within the protection of the dowels and let your cat get to work.
Have you put your spin on a scratch post or surface for your cat? Share it with our True Nature community on Facebook.
Or gather more inspiration for your own DIY projects for your cat on our Pinterest board.
For other ideas for bringing enrichment to your cat’s day, check out the True Nature Journal.