This Clever Feeding System Lets Indoor Cats 'Hunt' for Their Food

Inside every lazy indoor cat beats the heart of a hunter. That’s why Liz Bales, a Philadelphia-based veterinarian, created the NoBowl Feeding System, the Daily Mail reports. Instead of feeding your kitty with a bowl, the NoBowl comes with five rodent-shaped pods that you fill with dry food and hide around your house. That way, your cat can hone its natural mousing instincts—and get a workout in the process.

Bales invented the NoBowl because “in my practice, so many of the most common problems that I see in cats are born of wellness and lifestyle issues,” she told the Daily Mail. “Cats become obese, lazy, anxious and even destructive or sick in the absence of the ability to hunt and interact with their food.”

To find a solution, Bales consulted with feline veterinarians, nutritionists, and behaviorists. She then collaborated with a team of inventors and designers, who helped Bales create the NoBowl's rodent capsules—tiny, egg-shaped food trays, covered in removable mice “skins.”

The rodent capsules are equal part toy and meal dispenser, Bales says. Once a kitty discovers a food-filled mouse, they can eat the meal inside—or have a little fun with the fuzzy animal.

“The NoBowl Feeding System is designed with a soft skin to simulate its prey. Cats love to pick it up and use their claws to enhance the experience,” the NoBowl System’s website states. “Its shape is designed to roll and move in the way a mouse or bird would. Cats are exhilarated without being scared by an unpredictable movement.”

After more than 20 years of research and testing, the NoBowl is currently in production and available for pre-order, thanks to successful fundraisers on Kickstarter and Indiegogo. You can order the NoBowl online, starting at $38, or visit the system’s website for more information.

How to Keep a Cat Out of Your Christmas Tree

MW47/iStock via Getty Images
MW47/iStock via Getty Images

You may be able to resist poking around the Christmas tree until December 25, but your cat has different plans. The tree you spent hours decorating is nothing more than an oversized toy to the feline in your home. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to dissuade your pet from swatting away all your hard work.

As Lifehacker reports, an elaborate skirt is the key to a cat-friendly tree. If a cat loves the soft, fluffy material beneath the tree, it may lose interest in the branches overhead. A different approach is to use the skirt as an opportunity to create an uninviting barrier between your cat and the tree. It's hard to mess with ornaments when they're hanging above a layer of tape laid out sticky-side up, or even a bed of pinecones if you want something that looks more natural.

Some curious cats can't be deterred by a few obstacles in their way. For these cases, PetCareRx recommends using a safe cat repellent. There are many smells cats can't stand, like bitter apple, citronella, potpourri, and even Vicks VapoRub. You can either spray pine cones or cotton balls with these scents and tuck them around the tree, or spray them directly onto the branches. Your cat will suddenly be repulsed by the shiny new object in the living room, plus your tree will smell a little more festive—especially if it's fake.

Even after taking these precautions, it helps to have a few more safeguards in place. Limiting ornaments to the top half of the tree where they'll be out of kitty's reach, and securing them with strings instead of wire hooks, means they're less likely to end up on the ground or in your pet's paws. Location is also crucial—setting up your tree right next to a sofa or another piece of furniture your cat likes to climb on is like inviting him to use it as a launchpad.

If you're thinking of skipping the traditional tree altogether this year, here are some regional alternatives.

[h/t Lifehacker]

Treat Your Achy Back to a Cozy, Vibrating Sloth Pillow This Winter

Smoko
Smoko

Battling your way through the biting winds of winter just to get to your office or run a simple errand—even if you’re just dashing a few yards to and from your car—can make your body feel like it’s been through an actual battle. And while cold weather definitely justifies curling up on the couch under a weighted blanket for hours on end, sometimes a regular throw pillow just isn’t enough to soothe your stiff muscles.

Smoko’s plush boo pillow from Urban Outfitters ($49), however, just might do the trick. Not only does it have a fleece exterior, it also vibrates: Just press the power button on the right arm, and the pillow will give you a subtle, relaxing massage to sink into while you binge-watch whatever television series your friends won’t stop talking about. According to PopSugar, it comes with three AA batteries, so you don’t have to worry about bundling back up for a last-minute trip to the convenience store after you realize the only batteries you have are in your TV remote.

The smiling sloth face on the front gives you the impression that you’re being hugged by the world’s cutest, coziest arboreal mammal. There’s also a handle on the top of the pillow, so you can easily relocate from the couch to your bed whenever you feel like it.

In short, the sloth-themed pillow might make you actually look forward to hearing your local meteorologist drop the term “wintry mix” in the forecast. And, at $49, it’s an ideal gift for anyone on your list who loves sloths and/or enjoys indulging in sloth-like behavior.

You can get one (or more) from Urban Outfitters here—and, for the full effect, why not pair it with a nice ugly Christmas sweater? Here are our 11 favorites.

[h/t PopSugar]

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