Bowl-free feeding system brings out the hunter in your cat

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The idea is to change a cat's feeding routine from a fairly passive affair to an active pursuit that brings out the inner feline hunter

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A new crowdfunding project is looking to put your cat's natural hunting instincts to work, offering an all-in-one feeding system that, according to the project's creators, could even improve your pets mental health. The NoBowl system promotes exercise, and mimics the animal's natural cycle of hunting.

The idea is to provide a set of equipment that changes your cat's experience of feeding from a fairly passive affair to an active pursuit that brings out the inner feline hunter. Designed by veterinarian Dr Liz Bales, the system is designed to be safe and simple to use, consisting of a small plastic container for the food, and a slip-over, drawstring skin – the bit that looks like a mouse – designed to mimic the tactile feel of the animal's natural prey.

A set comprises five NoBowl containers and covers, as well as a measure to fill them with the correct amount of food. There's also a training NoBowl in the box, which is like a standard container without a cover, designed to teach your cat how the system works before setting them loose to find standard NoBowls placed randomly around the home. Everything is reported easy to clean – you can wash the bowls in hot water and put the covers through the washing machine.

The project's creators claim to have conducted a "significant trial" of the NoBowl system in January, with positive results. Cats using the product reportedly behaved in a more friendly manner, didn't pester their owners for more food, and some even lost a little weight.

There's nothing particularly revolutionary about the NoBowl system – after all, it's designed to get the animals that use it back to their roots – but it's a simple idea that could be an effective way of improving the day-to-day life of your furry little friend.

The project has launched on Kickstarter to bring the feeding system into production, and has already more than doubled its US$36,000 funding goal. As of writing, NoBowl pledges start at $40 and, assuming everything goes to plan, shipping is estimated to start in August.

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