ó Next time your cat shreds a couch cushion, lunges at
your legs or barfs, blame the overly generous pour you
made into his or her food bowl and the lack of any
"hunting" opportunities for that pet as a
prerequisite to eating.
behaviorists, supported by extensive feline
environmental-enrichment research, have been speaking of
the link for at least 20 years ó without influencing
much change in household cat-feeding practices.
Liz Bales is out to change that ó and make a few bucks
for herself and her partners at FEED Co. in South
FEED, or Feline Environmental Enrichment Design Co.,
gains a substantial following ó and the explosive
Kickstarter debut of its NoBowl Feeding System earlier
this month suggests it could ó in-home cat dining is
likely to become more akin to how nature intended it.
isnít an invention, itís a movement," Bales,
43, FEEDís CEO, a self-described "catvocate"
and mother of two from Chestnut Hill, said recently at
the companyís headquarters. It shares space with
several other tenants at 1241 Carpenter Studios +
Artspace, a former factory that is now the creative
haven of artists and craftspeople.
embodiment of FEEDís movement is a patent-pending
hollow, plastic, oval-shaped vessel measuring 4 inches
by 2 1/2 inches. Itís capable of holding 1.6
tablespoons of food and is covered with a fabric
"skin" designed to resemble a mouse, minus a
nose and eyes to minimize choking hazards.
kit includes five NoBowls, to be filled each day and
positioned throughout the house for a total daily
feeding portion of one-half cup, the recommended amount
for a healthy feline lifestyle, Bales said.
rolling the NoBowl, a cat can release the food. The skin
gives the animal something to grip so it can play with
its "catch" before eating ó just like it
would do in the wild with, say, a real mouse or bird.
month, the company launched its Kickstarter campaign to
raise $36,000 to fund the making of a production mold
and to get NoBowl to market.
goal was reached in an astonishing four days, with the
kits offered at $50 each. They also include a training
vessel and a portion scoop. By the campaignís end
April 10, it had raised $136,186 from 1,959 backers (
actually could cry," Bales said. "Itís just
Bales, itís the validation of an idea that occurred
when she was driving home from the 2014 Atlantic Coast
Veterinary Conference in Atlantic City, where she had
listened to several lectures on animal behavior and the
causes of it.
reinforced what she knew from her schooling and practice
about unfriendly, aggressive, lethargic cat conduct
resulting from overeating. A catís stomach can hold
one to two tablespoons.
theory behind it is very solid," said Carlo
Siracusa, a veterinary behaviorist at the University of
Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine who has no
connection to NoBowl. He said cats with outside access
eat nine to 12 small prey during the day, which amounts
to "a lot of environmental stimulation" absent
in a house. That void leads to acting out ó and girth.
physiology of a cat is set for this type of
feeding," Siracusa said of NoBowl. Transitioning to
it should be possible for cats of any age, he said.
days after the conference that inspired her, Bales was
at a neighborís birthday party, also attended by
inventor Steve Krupnick, 66, of Philadelphia. Although
medical devices have dominated much of his 45-year
career, Krupnickís creations also included the Flippy
Flyer Frisbee, popular among people and dogs alike.
she was saying makes sense," Krupnick said of why
he thought FEED was worth joining. "I get that if
you take something that has a natural instinct to do
[something] and you deprive them of that, itís going
to manifest in some way. Cats hunt Ö and yet we
deprive them of it."
other partners are Krupnickís son David and Sue Lohr,
who has a background in medical education and strategy
for big pharmaceutical companies, both of whom are from
Philadelphia, and Phebe Kearney, an expert in product
development and manufacturing from Washington Township.
plan to have NoBowl available for purchase in the
summer, with an August rollout at SuperZoo in Las Vegas,
the national show for pet retailers.