Cat feeders are much more than just bowls that hold food for our beloved furry friends. There are countless models on the market: conventional, automatic or interactive, that can affect the dynamic between our pet, their food, and us. There’s much more to consider when making cat bowls other than their durability. Your kitten cannot manipulate food with her legs and, naturally, eats by sticking her snout in the feeder.

Your cat has direct and intimate contact with her food, much greater than the one you have with your plate. The feeder that we choose therefore has a great impact on how your cat is able to consume their meals. Without proper consideration of the form the feeder takes, they may find it uncomfortable, inadequate, or simply may not like eating out of the container you’ve chosen. Want to know a little more? Continue on for a more in depth look into the small but important world of cat bowls.

Key Facts

  • Cat feeders are made of different materials: plastic, silicone, glass, ceramics, stainless steel and melamine.
  • There are different models of cat feeders in regards to their depth, shape, height, colors and decorative elements.
  • A cat feeder can be conventional, automatic or interactive, to suit the needs of the kitten and her family.

Ranking: The best cat feeders on the market

Today, most people consider their pets a part of their family, and go above and beyond to provide the best possible care for them. Buying a good quality feeder is the first step to provide adequate nutrition to your cat companion. These are the best cat feeders available on the market:

No. 1: UPSKY – Food and Water Feeder

The food and water feeder by UPSKY is a dual purpose feeder that has a set of 2 bowls, each at 11 oz. to provide your cat with sufficient food and water throughout the day. The double stainless steel is good for cats and dogs as well. The bowl is not only durable, but has a no-spill construction, incorporating a mat that prevents even the messiest of eater from getting food on the floor.

The feeder is situated .8 inches off the ground, allowing your pet to eat comfortably without straining the neck. The design of the bowl promotes the flow of food from the mouth to the stomach, making swallowing easy. This cat feeder is rated high among users, who love how well the stainless steel bowls maintain a clean eating space and the ease with which they can be washed.

No. 2: SureFlap – Microchip Pet Feeder

This high tech pet feeder may seem excessive at first, but is ideal for the multi-pet homes that deal with food guarding, food stealing, and other aggressive behaviors at pet meal-time. The Microchip Pet Feeder uses the pet’s Microchip ID or a lightweight RFID collar tag to communicate with the feeder to open for that specific pet. It holds 13.5 fl. oz, wet or dry pet food and uses a neoprene lip to seal and lock in moisture.

Automatic Cat Feeder opens when the assigned pet microchip ID approaches, and closes when it moves away using simple one button programming. This feeder orks with 9 (Avid Secure), 10 (FDXA) and 15 (FDXB) digit microchip numbers; if unsure of your pet’s microchip number, you can check with your veterinarian, pet shelter or animal rescue. The feeder allows you to program up to 4 feeding times with their corresponding ration and record a personalized message that will be played at the time of dispensing the meal.

No. 3: Catit – Style 2-Bowl Glass Dinner Set

The Catit Design Glass Diner makes every meal a fine dining experience. The contemporary design blends in nicely with home décor. Forward-tilting angled dishes and elevated pedestal are ergonomically designed to provide easy access. It is equipped with two bowls that are dishwasher safe and ideal for wet or dry foods.

The bowl within the cat feeder is made of stainless steel, has a non-slip support and a melamine elevator. The material is non toxic, resistant and will never suffer discoloration. This keeps your pet healthy and your bowl an integral part of your decor. The designs for the melamine base come in plain white, light blue, green, orange, black or printed.

No. 4: Enjoy Pet – Food and Water Bowl Set

Enjoy Pet has created a bowl that is non-toxic and tasteless, made with a 5A food-grade melamine. It conforms to environmental protection standards, providing a healthy eating surface or your furry friend. The bottom of the bowl is equipped with 4 silicone pads for anti-skid protection. Moreover, the bowl is slightly shallow, making it easy for the cat to get food without bending too much or damaging it’s whiskers.

Consumers love it because “it’s a great quality at an affordable price” and because “it could even be used for sauces, snacks, candy or fruit due to its beautiful design.” In addition, this food and water bowl set can hold up to 8 ounces of dry or wet food, which helps prevent overeating in both dogs and cats. The melamine material is easy to clean and dishwasher safe.

No. 5: Signature Housewares Pets – Cat Bowl Set

This set of two pet bowls comes on a sturdy, black metal stand that elevates your pet’s food and water bowls for more comfortable feeding. Moreover, raising pet bowls off the floor makes for easier cleaning under and around the feeding area. In addition, the stand helps keep the bowl in place, especially for those animals that eat rapidly and aggressively.

Designed for cats and small dogs, it stands 2.75-Inch high and holds two 5-Inch (8-Ounce) bowls. The bowls by Signature Houseware Pets are made of durable, glazed stoneware ceramic that holds up against constant use, frequent cleaning, and it is also dishwasher-safe. We should note that the manufacturer prides itself on “developing fashionable products that combine value and quality.”

Shopping Guide: Everything you should know about cat bowls

In this section we will address some of the most frequent questions asked by pet owners. With this section we hope to not only answer all the questions you may have about the different types and uses for these products, but also answer any questions regarding feline behaviour while eating.

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Cats don’t like their food to get wet or their water to be dirty. (Source: Alena Ozerova: 46423368/123rf.com)

What are cat feeders exactly?

Cat bows are containers that come in many different shapes and sizes, their primary function is to hold food for our cats. As technology and product development advance, features such as entertainment or automatic feeding are being introduced in the design of these products. For example, you are now able to schedule your cat’s meals and specific feeding even when you’re not home!

What are the characteristics that make up a good cat bowl?

The optimum materials for conventional cat bowls are stainless steel and melamine because they are tough, durable and easy to clean. The ceramic types are preferred by cats, but these can break easily. A good quality bowl meets the following conditions:

  • It is made of a material that is easy to clean and doesn’t absorb or retain dirt, pathogens or odours. In this regard, stainless steel, ceramics, melamine and glass materials are good options.
  • Contains no toxic materials or corrosive compounds. If the cat has dermatitis or suffers from allergic reactions, look for bowls that are made from hypoallergenic materials, such as stainless steel or glass.
  • It has rounded edges and the bowl and base are easily removable. This will allow for a more simple and thorough cleaning.
  • In terms of design, a bowl that comes with support or a stand that provides height may be more comfortable and ergonomic for your cat. Added height will make it so that your kitty doesn’t have to curve their spine or bend their neck to eat. Allowing them to keep a more natural and comfortable posture.
  • Has a large enough diameter to prevent your cat’s wishers from curling when touching the walls of the bowl. When this happens it is very uncomfortable and sometimes even painful for the cat.
  • Has an appropriate depth, very deep feeders are usually not to the cat’s liking, as he must put his head too far into the bowl to reach the food. On the other hand, if the bowl is too shallow, there is a risk that the cat will scatter the food everywhere.
  • Ensuring the base is non-slip. Because many cats have the habit of moving and pushing the feeder while eating, a no-slip base prevents the cat and bowl from moving around while they’re eating.
Diana RamirezVeterinary MD

“Pet owners can choose the best type of bowl according to their tastes, but stainless steel is recommended to prevent bacteria from forming and adhering like they do in porous materials. These other types of materials can also hide microorganisms right on the surface cause fungus to appear. This can create a high bacterial load on the cat’s body or gastrointestinal system, which will eventually require treatment.”

What materials are unsuitable for a food bowl?

Plastic is not a good choice because, while it doesn’t break easily, its smooth texture quickly becomes rough, absorbing odours and food debris. This promotes the development of pathogens, which can cause bad eating habits in pets. Sometimes small kittens won’t even accept or eat out of new plastic feeders because they don’t like the way they smell.

Wood is a terrible choice for food bowls, because it is such a porous material it’s hygiene and sterilization is very difficult. Moreover, this material tends to deteriorate and splinter over time.

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However, there are wooden bases for stainless steel or ceramic feeders that perform their function perfectly because they are waterproof.

Can a bowl cause my cat to have an allergic reaction?

Actually, it’s the material in the bowl that causes the reaction. Allergic reactions, dermatitis, or rashes have been reported in cats from their use of plastic bowls. The lesions appear on the head and snout. The paint in ceramic bowls can sometimes contain toxins, nonetheless, you can always make sure the paint used is hypoallergenic. Make sure to check the product labels if your concerned about the composition of the chosen bowl.

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One must keep pet feeders in a dry and fresh place.(Source: Anurak Ponapatimet: 76046951/123rf.com)

Is it a good idea to buy a double feeder?

Buying a double feeder can be useful if you have two cats, by allowing you to feed them separately. What doesn’t usually work is buying a double feeder for food and water. Most cats like to keep their food and drink in separate places.

Additionally, if the dual bowls are to close to each other, water may splash into the food and vice versa, causing an undesirable combination of food and water. Cats generally don’t like their dry food to get wet or their water to be dirty.

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And that is why, if there is only one cat living in the house, the ideal set up would be to have a simple feeder in the right spot.

What is the best place to set up the cat bowl?

Without a doubt, the most important aspect to consider in terms of bowl placement, is to place the cat bowl as far away as possible from its litter tray (sandbox). Otherwise, your cat may not eat and the problem won’t be the bowl, but the location and external remnants that are in too close of proximity to their food. Ideally, the cat bowl should be in a quiet and clean place.

If a dog lives in the house, the feeder must be put in a high place, so that the dog doesn’t have access to it. Keep in mind that cat food should not be placed under direct sunlight, which can alter the taste of the fats in the food. This is most important to keep in mind with automatic dispensers, since they store food for a week or more.

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Choose carefully the type of food you feed to your cat.(Source: Svetlana Medvedeva: 85707691/123rf.com)

Are cat bows with a support stand good options?

Yes, feeders with a high support (metal, wood or melamine) are usually more comfortable for cats. This is particularly important for older cats whose appetite may already be decreasing. If the cat bowl is difficult to reach and the cat must place itself in an uncomfortable position to reach it, he’ll eat even less.

What are the advantages of automatic feeders?

As mentioned earlier, automatic feeders emerged as a solution for people who spend a lot of time away from home and don’t want to neglect their pets’ diet. They allow you to portion food into several quantities per day, adapting to the animal’s habits and avoiding excessive or insufficient servings.

Some owners make up for their absence by filling a conventional bowl with food to the top for the cat to eat when he wants, but this doesn’t always work out well. Some gluttonous cats are not able to self-regulate and consume all the food at once. This can cause digestive discomfort, vomiting and regurgitation.

Conventional Automatic
Price Economical Cost effective
Design/Colours Wide variety of colours and decorative elements (inscriptions, images, engravings). they usually have sober designs and the most frequent colours are black and white.
Capability to feed cat remotely? No Yes (this is their main advantage).
Does it store food for several days or weeks? No, its capacity is easily exceeded. Yes, some of these feeders can store several kilograms of food at a time.
Suitable for dry and wet food? Yes No
Durability Depends on material. Melamine and stainless steel have excellent durability. They tend to break down from time to time, like all automatic devices.
Does it consume energy? No Yes, they work with batteries or by plugging them into the homes electric network.

What features and characteristics should good automatic feeders have?

In addition to having optimal performance in scheduling meals and administering the correct amount of food to your pet, a good automatic feeder should have other features. Next we list the main aspects that a high quality, automatic dispenser should have:

  • It’s parts can be taken apart easily. This allows for easy cleaning and proper disinfecting]
  • Can be programmed from a mobile phone. This makes it easy to make any modifications to schedule and rations.
  • Low or ultra-low energy consumption. This is an important aspect if you want to care for the environment and your electricity bill.
  • Rugged and durable external structure – made with good quality materials. The cat may want to move it to play or it may be actively looking to get the food that is inside outside. Your kitty might even scratch or throw the bowl on the ground. Cats can be playful, therefore, it’s feeding bowl must be durable.
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The material of the bowl is the first aspect to consider at the time of purchase.(Source: Deyan Georgiev: 36872205/123rf.com)

What is the best cat bowl design for overweight cats?

The automatic feeder allows you to dispense exactly the amount of food your pet needs, which prevents the owner from leaving too much food when they’re not at home, in fear that their cat will starve. This “just in case” behaviour of leaving excess food is often the cause of obesity in cats.

Another style of feeder that’s very useful in these cases are those that help control the anxiety and ferocity of cats at mealtime. These types of feeders are designed to be interactive and stimulating for the cat. For example, some designs make it so the owners must hide the food or treats in them and the cat “hunts” its prey and obtains its reward. This type of feeder entertains the kittens and allows them to channel their anxiety.

Carmen Marca AndrewsVeterinary Faculty Professor

“Cats enjoy and find it interesting when they are stimulated during meals – this can be done by hiding their food into hollow toys or using feeders which requires the kitten to put in effort to get the food.”

What types of cat bowls are there?

The suitability, or lack thereof of any cat bowl will depend on the specific characteristics of the animal and the lifestyle of the family in question. No one product is better or worse than another if the specifics of the situation are not considered. Based on the needs of the kittens and their owners, we can classify cat feeders into these 3 types:

  • Conventional: These simply consist of a bowl or a bowl plus a base or support. Its function is simply to contain wet or dry food, and it will be the owner who administers the food.
  • Automatic: These are programmed to dispense a certain amount of dry feed at a specific time. They are ideal for owners who spend a good part of their day away from home or who travel a lot.
  • Interactive: These products, besides containing the food, also entertain and stimulate your cat. Your kitty will have to work to get the food hidden in different parts of the feeder. They are an excellent choice for overweight cats or cats that spend a lot of time alone and get bored.

Purchase Criteria

Choosing a feeder for your cat should not be a thoughtless endeavour. Otherwise, it is very likely that in a short amount of time you will end up having to buy another bowl. If you have not yet decided which type to buy based on all the information we’ve given you so far, with these purchase criteria should help you finish making your decision:

  • Material
  • Cleaning
  • Shape and size
  • Type
  • Design and decoration

Material

The material of the cat bowl is the first thing you should consider when trying to find right one for your cat. You should make sure that it is safe, comfortable, resistant and easy to clean. Keep in mind however, that your cat will always have the last word, and sometimes they simply do not like certain materials. Materials such as plastic or non-stainless steel metals tend to be more unpopular among cats.

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Cleaning the feeders is quite simple.(Source: Andrea Obzerova: 58467683/123rf.com)

Cleaning

Stainless steel, melamine, ceramic and glass are easy to clean and very hygienic optioned for your cats food bowl. Most of these bowls are dishwasher safe and easy to sanitize. Conventional or automatic feeders with easily removable parts are the easiest to clean and maintain.

Shape and size

The bowl must have a wide enough diameter so that the cat’s whiskers don’t bend and
curve against the walls of the bowl. As for depth, cats usually don’t like their feeders very deep, which can make it too difficult to reach the last bits of food. A support stand that adds height to the feeder allows animals to position themselves in a more comfortable position while they eat.

Type

If you spend enough time at home, a conventional bowl is usually sufficient for your feline companion. If you’re out most of the day or your cat gets bored easily, you can opt for an automatic or interactive feeder. You can, of course, utilize different types of feeders at different times, depending on the specifics of the situation.

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There are many models of cat feeders: automatic, interactive and conventional.(Source: Anurak Ponapatimet: 54880520/123rf.com)

Design and decoration

Conventional cat bowls can have many different styles: modern, elegant or minimalist. They often incorporate decorative elements such as engravings, stickers, images and inscriptions. Automatic feeders are usually made of plastic and resemble a kitchen appliance, while interactive ones look more like toys.

Plastic Stainless steel Ceramic Melamine
Price Economical Moderate – Anti-slip bases or lifting supports can make the product more expensive. Often with great price-quality ratios. Moderate – The ceramic bowl is not very expensive, but its price is higher if it has a base or an extra support. Affordable
Easy to clean Easy to start off, but over time it begins to become difficult due to plastic deterioration Very easy Easy Very easy
Durability and resistance Good resistance, but over time the plastic deteriorates. Its durability is medium. Excellent resistance and durability. Low resistance to blows. If the cat is not in the habit of playing or turning over its feeding bowl, it can last a long time. Very good resistance and durability.
Weight Light Very light Heavy Very light
Is it hypoallergenic? No Yes No No
Design anti-voracity? The plastic supports anti-voracity design. No No No
Cat acceptance Low Moderate High High
Decorative elements Simple, usually only in colour. The base that surrounds the aluminum bowl is usually decorated with images, inscriptions and engravings. The ceramic is painted and drawings and inscriptions are usually included. The melamine is coloured and may include floral elements, arabesques and inscriptions to decorate the bowl.

Summary

Surely, when you began to read our guide you never imagined the versatility of cat bowls and all the different qualities one must consider when choosing the perfect feeder for your cat. However, dedicating the time to research each individual product ensures that your kitten receives a feeder that will meet all of it’s needs and ofcourse, your own.

Buying a good and conventional cat bowl doesn’t require a lot of money. The important only important thing is that you select a safe and comfortable feeder for your feline companion. Keep in mind that automatic dispensers may require a higher initial investment, but they are a great solution to providing your cat with the meals and proper nutrition they need while you’re away.

If you liked our article, don’t forget to share it on your social networks or leave us a comment with your thoughts.

(Featured image source: Alexey Poprotsky: 33533976/123rf.com)

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