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Food is a medium for expressing care and love to those we cherish, not only humans. The project aimed to design a new practice of cat feeding that could facilitate meaningful interactions between cats and owners, thus to contribute to their positive relationships.

The project started with literature study, which covered topics about cat-human relationships and feeding, including animal-human interaction, companion animals and human well-being, and cats’ emotions, and feline nutrition, feeding practice, and current pet food industry.

It established a solid cornerstone for the contextual research, which involved 49 participants from China, Europe(Netherlands, Germany, and Sweden), Turkey, and Canada. The contextual research consists of two parts, in-depth generative interviews covering the most aspects of cat-keeping practice and a survey specifically about playing and hunting behaviours of cats. Potential users were involved throughout the design process, from the ideation and co-evaluation to the testing.

The final concept is PREY, a feeding-via-playing experience for cat owners and an indoor hunting game for cats. It is a combination of a cat food customising service and a set of modular toys, which enables cat owners to design the prey for their cats and create a hunting field in the home environment. In this new feeding practice, the meaningful playfulness promotes cat owners to acquire more and deeper understanding of their cats’ personalities, capabilities and preferences. The involvement of food in the game enriches their emotional experience and brings cats extra satisfaction in playing.

Project coaches: Pieter Desmet, Rick Schifferstein