Pets & Animals

Man builds cool feeding machine that allows cat to hunt for food

Here kitty kitty! Cats, they've got minds of their own. They roam around like they're on a mission, and often find themselves getting into mysterious places, searching for what seems like hidden treasures. But perhaps all they're really looking for is a little mouse — think "Tom and Jerry" and their ongoing chase.

Benjamin Millam / YouTube
Cat hunts for ball to get dinner

With this in mind, Ben Millam created the ultimate cat-and-mouse hunting game for his kitty, Monkey. Bored of feeding Monkey in the typical way, Millam got creative and tried to make Monkey's life a little more interesting. And let's be honest, who doesn't love a good chase?

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Benjamin Millam
Cat hunts for ball in order to activate automatic cat food dispenser.

"This all started after I read an explanation of why cats go about repeatedly exploring the same areas: it’s partly to establish and survey their territory, but they’re also practicing ‘mobile’ hunting: moving about, being curious, and poking their noses around in the hopes of upsetting potential prey and finding a meal," wrote Millam on his self-titled blog. "So what if my cat, while out on patrol, actually found its prey? Surely this would bring him one step closer towards a more fulfilled and self-actualized indoor kitty existence."

Benjamin Millam
Cat hunts for ball in order to activate automatic cat food dispenser.

So what did he do? He made a cat feeding machine. With the help of some light hacking (with an Arduino setup) to an automatic feeder, Millam made a contraption that turned feeding times from a mundane ritual into an exciting daylong chase for Monkey.

Like us, you're probably thinking all right, cool, but how on earth does this work? So we'll let the cat out of the bag on this one! Millam hides balls around his house in hard-to-reach places. Monkey then spends her time searching for the balls, and when she gets one, she drops it into a blue bowl that's hooked up to the feeder. The ball must land just right, because its momentum triggers food to come out of the machine.

RELATED: Scared cat leaps at sight of cucumber

Millam used "clicker training" to encourage Monkey to carry out these steps. He details step-by-step instructions here showing other pet owners how to create a similar setup.

Benjamin Millam
Cat hunts for ball in order to activate automatic cat food dispenser.

Now if only Tom had this! Maybe this is answer to getting him to leave Jerry alone.

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