When she was adopted from a Baltimore shelter, Chai the kitty was ‘9 ponds of chonk,’ and came home to live with a new sister.
Chai’s sister is Leona, a blind, one-eyed, scrappy girl who lost half her tail. Leona, the grey kitty, survived a car accident and was found in the middle of the road. Sometimes, she still spins in circles due to brain damage. But despite it all, she’s happy and well-adjusted and loves being pampered by her family and Chai, who loves her – maybe too much sometimes!
“We think Chai believes that Leona is her kitten,” a TikTok shared.
Video via TikTok/chai_n_leona
Chai Scarfed Down Her Sister’s Food
Like many cats rescued from life as a stray, Chai has food insecurity issues. So, she tends to scarf down any available food, including Leona’s! At feeding time, it was often necessary to keep Chai away from Leona’s bowl. She was getting even chonkier.
To find solutions, Chai’s mama introduced interactive treat puzzles and balls. Then, she introduced an automatic treat dispenser by PetGeek which has a separate remote button. It was made with dogs in mind, but would it work for kitties? As it turns out, yes!
Important note: Any plans for a cat’s weight loss regimen must be planned carefully after a vet checks for any underlying health issues. Cats must lose weight quite gradually. In general, cats can only safely lose about a pound per month to avoid life-threatening issues.
How the Treat Dispenser and Remote Button Work
With some patient training, Chai learned to push the button sensor, which runs on batteries (See how she learned to use it below).
When pushed, the button makes a sound and activates the adjustable treat dispenser. Since the button is separate, you can position it anywhere across the room. An optional suction cup allows you to stick the button on windows, too. So, it’s easy to change up the routine and make it fresh and more engaging.
To prevent cats from eating too much, you can easily portion the food that goes into the dispenser. So Chai only eats the amount she requires in her diet.
To encourage hydration, Chai’s mom puts a little water in the tray to moisten the dry kibble. In this case, the two kitties love kibble and not wet food so much. In fact, Leona detests wet food, but as always, please consult your veterinarian about the best diet.
Video via TikTok/chai_n_leona
Chai Loves Using the Button and Gets More Exercise
After she pushes the button, Chai excitedly runs to the dispenser, which encourages healthy play and exercise. So for clever cats like her, it’s enriching and entertaining, similar to nosework training.
As a bonus, it breaks up the kitty’s meal, so she eats slower. Since introducing the gadget, Chai has gradually lost weight, and she’s also lost interest in eating her sister’s food. Meanwhile, Leona isn’t bothered by her sister’s funny antics.
Training Chai to Use the Button Dispenser
According to a follow-up on TikTok, training Chai to use the button took time. First, it started by pointing a laser pointer at the button to get Chai to swat at the button. When she touched the button, the dispenser placed next to the button released food each time. That way, Chai gradually associated the button with the food.
Then, the distance between the button and the dispenser could be gradually increased. Eventually, Chai learned to go on a scavenger hunt for the button, even high up on a cat tree. After pushing the button, she excitedly runs to the dispenser for her reward. Sometimes, she has to jump over some obstacles, encouraging even more exercise. It looks like a lot of fun for Chai and is helping her stay healthy!
You can see more of Chai and Leona on TikTok and Instagram. The Baltimore Animal Rescue & Care Shelter rescued Chai, while the Darlington County Humane Society in Hartsville, South Carolina, saved her sister, Leona.