This website has many different examples of rolling and stationary puzzles and you can either buy or make your puzzles. But once you have the puzzles...how do you get started? And if you are already using foraging puzzles, how do you keep your cat excited about them?
It is very important that cats are successful in the beginning. We recommend starting with clear puzzles that have many openings so that it's easy for your cat to detect food inside and be easily rewarded for any interaction with the toy.
At first, fill the puzzles with food - at least 1/2 full - so that food comes out easily. If the puzzle is almost empty, it can take too long for a beginner to get food out, which may be frustrating!
Sprinkle some dry food or treats around the puzzle so the cat learns positive associations with the puzzle. He or she may need to nudge the puzzle to get some of the treats which will help them build an association between touching the puzzle and receiving treats!
If your cat is a really slow starter, you can start with placing treats and small amounts of dry food in areas that they like to hang out, such as their kitty condo, cat bed, or window sills. They will start to associate getting food with some new places in your home.
As your cat becomes more skilled, you can increase the challenge - try puzzles with smaller holes, that are opaque, or don't roll as easily (such as a cube-shaped toy).
For the master forager:
Try hiding puzzles in new locations!
Place food in a small puzzle that you can nest inside a larger puzzle. This requires the cat to manipulate the puzzle longer until food comes out. Placing small objects (such as a ping pong ball or cat toy) inside a larger toy can achieve a similar effect by obstructing the hole so it is more difficult to acquire a piece of food.
Ingrid Johnson of Fundamentally Feline created this video to explain WHY and HOW you should be using food puzzles with your cats! See cats IN ACTION and see a wide variety of puzzles you can use with dry food.
A step by step guide from Pam Johnson-Bennett of Cat Behavior Associates, on introducing food puzzles to your cat's world!
Best Friends wrote this nice post on using food puzzles with pets, emphasizing differences in learning styles and speed, and why you shouldn't give up if at first you don't succeed!