Six Things That Frustrate Cats

Puzzle feeders are one of the things that frustrate cats.

Humans come up with so many things that frustrate cats. That really hit home this week with my pet sitting cats.

Ollie and Hobbes have a plastic “puzzle feeder” that would be fun if they could figure out how to pull the pieces of kibble through the holes in the plastic. LK and her friends have covered litter boxes with swinging doors — cute, except one cat got tired of being hit in the face every time she had to go to the bathroom and is now using the floor instead. Poor Brian has pills so big they’d choke a horse. And Pebbles has one of those laser toys with the uncatchable red dot.

Six Things That Frustrate Cats

I’ve thought for a long time that most vets and people who design cat products are dog people and rarely, if ever, think like a cat. And this week confirmed my suspicions. The products are cute and appeal to humans. But to cats, they’re frustrating and really annoying.

Those litter boxes with swinging doors and puzzle feeders are right at the top of my list of things that frustrate cats. And here are a few more.

1. Laser Toys. I’m always suspicious when the box says, “It will drive your cat crazy.” Crazy with fun, or crazy with frustration because they know they’re chasing something they’ll never catch? If you must play with a laser toy with your cat, give him some treats at the end of the game so he can catch something he can actually get his paws on.

2. Petite Posts for scratching. One of the reasons cats scratch is to stretch the muscles in their backs. But you can’t get a good stretch if the scratching post is too short and feels like it’s going to topple over on you. Frustration-free scratching posts are about 33 inches tall and have heavy, stable bases so the cat can’t pull them over. 

3. Teeny Toys are also near the top of my list of things that frustrate cats: Chasing a ball around a plastic circle or track can be great fun for a cat, but the small versions of these toys are just maddening and frustrating for an adult. When buying toys, think cat, not kitten, and make sure the toy’s big enough for your cat’s full-grown paws and body.

4. Scented Litter: The smell of scented litter seems to cling to everything, including cat fur. But cats like to smell like cats, not cheap perfume. Imagine how frustrating it must be to always smell like something you’re not.

5. Covered Litter Boxes: There are many reasons to not use covered litter boxes, but the ones with the swinging doors are at the top of my list of The Worst Cat Products. Ever. Would you like getting hit in the face by a plastic door every time you use the bathroom? Cats don’t either! 

6. Those Puzzle And Slow Feeders: One of the ideas behind the puzzle and slow feeders is to keep cats from eating too fast so they won’t immediately throw up what they ate. The other is that they like to forage for food.

But there are other, less stressful ways to keep your cat from eating too fast. And while it’s true that cats forage for food outside, they’re opportunistic feeders and will eat whatever is easiest to get their paws on. That’s why you see outdoor cats hanging around restaurant Dumpsters.

Catching mice is a lot different from catching dry food, too. Mice move, make sounds and are interesting. Kibble encased in plastic just sits there doing nothing, giving the cat no reason to catch it. And getting it out of that plastic “tree” isn’t easy. Ollie and Hobbs decided it wasn’t worth the effort and gave up. How frustrating when you’re hungry and just want a quick snack…


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