Some cats are in the habit of gulping down all the food in their bowls without properly chewing it. This can disrupt their digestive system and can cause them to vomit or have diarrhea.
Eating too much at once can also be a problem because they will not receive proper nourishment from the food they are eating. Then there is also a possibility of becoming overweight.
You may have also come across many cat owners complaining about their cats making a mess everywhere by pulling the food out of their bowl and then eating on the floor. This may be because the cat just likes it that way, or because of what is known as ‘whisker stress‘.
Getting a licking mat for cats can help with these problems.
What is a Cat Lick Mat?
A cat licking mat is basically a small mat on which food can be placed, which the cat can lick for as long as she wants. It primarily helps with slow feeding your cat and provides enriched feeding experience by eliminating stress and encouraging their interest in food.
The surface of a cat licking mat is uniquely designed and comes with textured patterns of ribs and ridges. Once you spread your cats favorite food over the mat, it sticks in-between the gaps on the surface. This way the cat is encouraged to lick it off the mat instead of gulping it down all at once.
A lick mat is suitable for cats of all ages and breeds.
Are Licking Mats Safe for Cats?
Cat licking mats from reputable brands (listed below) are made of non-toxic, food grade materials and are safe for cats. When you are looking to buy a licking mat for your cat, make sure that you purchase one that is labelled as ‘pet safe’.
Also note that these mats are made of rubber or silicone and are safe for your cat if they just ‘lick‘ them and ‘not eat‘ them. Always supervise your cat, at least initially, to make sure that no part of the licking mat is bitten off and swallowed.
Are Lick Mats Good for Cats?
Lick mats are an excellent invention and provide a fun way for cats to eat their food. Being lick mats, they ensure that the cat does not make too much of a mess while eating.
In addition to slowing down eating, licking mat for cats are also known to reduce anxiety, boredom, and destructive behavior in cats. It can keep a single cat occupied, entertained, and mentally stimulated for several hours.
You may need more than one cat lick mat if you have multiple cats in the household.
So, this makes lick mats good for most cats.
Cat Lick Mat Benefits
Here are some of the benefits of cat lick mats that make them a must-have for most cat owners.
- Slows down eating for cats who eat way too fast and prolongs their mealtime.
- Reduces vomiting, diarrhea, and other digestive issues caused due to eating quickly or overeating.
- Cat lick mats are also beneficial for cats who have difficulty chewing food because of lack of teeth or their age.
- Keeps your cat calm, entertained and mentally stimulated. Reduces anxiety, boredom, and destructive behavior.
- Promotes dental health and fresh breath. Aids digestive health by stimulating saliva generation.
- Works for feeding a variety of foods (see below).
- A helpful distraction during activities that cats hate. For example, while trimming nails, applying/ removing nail caps and baths.
- Most cat lick mats are microwave friendly which allows cooking meals directly on the mat in a microwave. Some are also freezer friendly which let you freeze liquid foods or treats if needed.
Best Lick Mats for Cats
Cats are notoriously picky eaters and will often turn their noses up at food if it’s served too slowly. Licking mats work best for such cats.
These mats are made from soft material with raised bumps all over the surface so your cat will enjoy licking at their food.
There are several sizes to choose from, everything from small mats that can be used for single cats or one meal, all the way up to large mats that are best for multi-cat households or multiple meals in one day!
So, let’s look at some of the best lick mats for cats that you can buy.
LickiMat for Cats
LickiMat for Cats will change the way you feed your cat forever. Made from food grade rubber, this mat has been designed by vets with features specifically to meet the needs of cats.
Choosing the right LickiMat comes down to what you feed your cat, your cat’s choice of food or treat and how to prefer to clean up the mat. Here are the different LickiMat buying options available to you.
LickiMat currently has the following models based on the types of surface designs.
All LickiMat Classics mats can be used in a microwave and freezer and should be hand-washed. You can get these in green, orange, pink, and turquoise colors.
The LickiMat Casper and LickiMat Felix have complex surfaces that provide a varied challenge for cats on the same mat surface. They are recommended for kittens.
The LiciMat Tuff are the tougher ones. Like the LickiMat Classics, the LickiMat Tuff come in different surface patterns. They are dishwasher safe, microwave friendly and freezer friendly.
LickiMat Tuff can be used for dogs too!
The LickiMat Slomo allows you to combine hard as well as soft or liquid cat foods on the mat at the same time. You can use these as a replacement for food bowls. Just like the Tuff, you can use these in a microwave, freezer, and dishwasher.
In addition to green, turquoise, and orange colors, the LickiMat Slomo mats are available in limited edition red and purple color as well.
You can either spread out the cat food on the mat surface or press the food or treats into it. The pockets on the feeding surface challenges cats to extract food. They need to crouch down low enough to feed just like they would do in the wild.
You can use it as a replacement for your cat’s feeding bowl if need be.
Rubber tips of LickiMat gently scrape and stimulate the cat’s tongue whilst feeding or snacking. It soothes your cat by releasing endorphins.
All LickiMat models are environmentally friendly. They are made from food grade rubber, and they are non-toxic. So, you don’t have to worry about your cat licking anything that could harm her.
Neater Pets – Neat-LIK Slow Feeding Licking Pad for Cats
The Neater Pets – Neat-LIK Slow Feeding Licking Pad for Cats is a great way to help your cat stay healthy and happy.
The mat has an anti-slip bottom so it can also be placed directly on floors. It comes with a tray which prevents the cats from chewing the mat from the sides and swallowing off the pieces. Thus, making it safe for use by cats of all sizes and breeds.
Since it’s made from food safe and non-toxic TPE that can also be recycled, which is why it is one of our favorite cat lick mats!
It can be safely washed on the top rack of your dishwasher or by hand too. It comes in green and purple color and is also available in a pack of two.
How to Use a Lick Mat for Cats
Using a licking mat for cats is simple. Start by placing the licking mat on a flat surface that is easy to clean, such as tile or linoleum. Avoid placing it on carpeting or rugs. Lick mats are designed so that they can be used under food bowls as well as inside of eating trays.
It’s important to follow the manufacturer instructions for the lick mat carefully for your cat’s safety.
Once you have it on a flat surface, spread your cat’s favorite food or treat on it using a spatula or by hand. And that’s it! Your cat should lick the food off the mat.
You can also place lick mats at different places around the house if you need to slow down your cats eating or if you need to keep them occupied for a while.
Here are some ideas for using a licking mat for cats:
- As a distraction during grooming sessions.
- Trick your cat into eating antibiotics (no harm in trying!).
- To slow down eating.
- Cook meals directly in a microwave (always make sure to check if the mat is microwave safe!) or freeze liquid foods in a freezer.
- As a fun activity.
- Keep them occupied while you are away.
What to Put on a Cat Lick Mat?
Now that we have looked at the benefits of lick mats and how you can use them, let’s look at some of the best cat lick mat foods that you can use on these mats.
- Peanut butter
- Plain oats
- Eggs and meat
- Cheese (should be given only occasionally)
- Plain yogurt
- Plain canned pumpkin
- Wet and dry cat food
- Chunks of raw food
Plus, almost anything that your cat enjoys and is allowed to eat!
Best Cat Lick Mat Foods
In addition to the above list, if you’re looking for some more food options for cat licking mats, we’ve got you covered. Below we have listed the best cat lick mat foods you can try.
How to Clean Cat Lick Mats?
Cats lick mats are typically made of natural rubber or silicone materials which makes them easy to clean. You can simply wipe the cat lick mat with a wet cloth if there isn’t too much of a food residue stuck on it.
If there is some food stuck in the gaps and crevices of the mat, you can also wash them with a regular cleaning brush under warm running water.
Most of the licking mat for cats listed above are dishwasher safe. This allows you to easily clean the lick mat by running it through a dishwasher.
Be sure not to use any harsh chemicals or solvents to clean the lick mats in either case.
You may also put lick mats in the freezer for a few hours before cleaning them. Freezing liquids or foods on lick mats makes it much simpler to remove them without creating a mess. Another alternative is to thaw lick mats in the microwave only for a few minutes.
Lick mats are not just beneficial for cats but also fun to use. A licking mat for cats is like a toy that dispenses food as your cat licks it. Unlike other methods of food dispensing, the lick mat provides a more natural way for your cat to eat.
If you have never used lick mats before, give them a try and see the difference they make in your cat’s eating habits. With the right cat licking mat, you will no longer find any mess on the floor after their mealtime.
A cat lick mat can also help with your cat’s dental hygiene. It will encourage her to lick instead of bite or chew on things that aren’t food. All these benefits make licking mat for cats a must have for all cat owners.