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What you need to know about cat food bowls

Below we answer a number of questions that consumers often ask regarding the material, different models and other characteristics of cat food bowls. In this way we hope to help you further with any doubts, in order to find the food bowl that best suits you and your cat.

What exactly are cat food bowls?
The primary function of cat food bowls is to serve the food you give your cat daily. They are bowls that can have different sizes and shapes. As a result of other secondary needs, such as entertaining the pet or providing the food when the owner is not there, interactive and automatic models also exist today.

What does a good cat food bowl look like?
The optimal materials for cat food bowls are stainless steel and melamine because they are strong, durable and easy to clean. Ceramics are generally well accepted by cats, but can break easily. A good food bowl meets the following conditions:
  • Is made of an easy to clean material that does not absorb or retain dirt, bacteria or odors. Stainless steel, ceramic, melamine and glass are therefore good options.
  • Does not contain toxic materials. If the cat suffers from dermatitis or allergic reactions, it is recommended to look for hypoallergenic material, such as stainless steel or glass.
  • Has rounded edges. It is also useful if you can take the bowl and base apart for easy cleaning.
  • As for the design, a food bowl with a support that pushes the bowl up slightly can be more comfortable for the cat.
  • Is wide enough to prevent the whiskers from curling when they hit the sides. Otherwise, the food can become very uncomfortable for the cat.
  • The bucket depth is average. Very deep food bowls are usually not liked by cats because the animals have to place their heads too far into the bowl. If the bowl is too shallow, on the other hand, there is a risk that the cat will spill the food outside the bowl.
  • The base is non-slip. This is because many cats have a habit of moving while eating and pushing the food bowl away.

Diana Ramírez Veterinary Medicine
“Pet owners choose a cat food bowl based on their own taste. However, it is recommended to choose one that is made of stainless steel to prevent bacteria from collecting. Other materials can hide many micro-organisms that cause the development of fungi. This can result in a large bacterial load in the cat's body or in gastrointestinal diseases that require treatment. ”
Which materials are not suitable for a cat food bowl?
Plastic is generally not a good choice because although it does not break easily, the smooth texture quickly becomes rough and easily absorbs odors and food residues. This promotes the development of pathogens and causes cat rejection. Many cats don't even initially accept new plastic food bowls because they don't like the smell.
Wood is also usually not a good option for a cat food bowl, because it is a porous material that is very difficult to keep clean. In addition, it can also shatter over time.
There are wooden bases for stainless steel or ceramic bowls that are useful and that fulfill their function by being waterproof.
Can a food bowl cause an allergic reaction in a cat?
The material of a cat food bowl can indeed cause a reaction in cats. For example, a plastic bowl can trigger an allergic reaction, dermatitis, or rash. The reactions appear in most cases on the head and snout of the animal. The paint of the ceramic bowls can also contain toxic elements, but fortunately there are also paints that are completely free of such substances.
Is it a good idea to buy a double cat food bowl?
Buying a double cat food bowl can be a good idea if you have 2 cats to keep the food separate for both cats. What usually doesn't work is to buy a double cat food bowl to allocate one to food and the other to the cat's water. Most cats keep their drinks and like to keep food separate.
In addition, if the food bowl and drinking bowl are too close to each other, the water can wet the food and food residues may fall into the water. In general, cats don't like it when their dry food gets wet or the water gets dirty.
Although double cat food bowls can often be useful, because they can contain both food and drinking water, we recommend that you consider the needs of your cat and consider a single cat food bowl.
What is the best place to place the cat food bowl?
The main condition is to place the food bowl as far away from the litter box as possible. Otherwise, your cat may refuse the food and the problem is not the food bowl, but its location. Ideally, the food bowl should be in a quiet place, for example in the kitchen.
If a dog also lives in the house, the food bowl should be in a high place so that the dog does not get to the cat's food. It is also important to avoid direct sunlight, as this can change the taste of the food. The latter is especially important if you use an automatic dispenser to feed your cat for a week or more.

Are cat food bowls with support good?
Yes, support bowls (made of metal, wood or melamine) are very comfortable for most cats. They are especially suitable for older cats whose appetite may be less. If a food bowl requires an uncomfortable posture, these cats will eat even less. A food bowl with support helps the cat to maintain the most natural posture.

More expensive.
Design / Colors
Wide variety of colors and decorative elements (inscriptions, pictures, engravings).
Usually have austere designs and the most common colors are black and white.
Possible to dose the feed intake of the cat when the owner is not at home?
Yes, this is the biggest advantage of this model.
Is it possible to store food for several days or weeks?
 No, the food will spoil.
Yes, some of these devices can even store several pounds of food.
Suitable for both dry and wet food?
No. Only suitable for dry food.
Depends on the material. Melamine and stainless steel generally have an excellent lifespan.
Can break at some point, as with all automatic devices.
Consumes energy?
Yes, works on electricity or battery.

What are the advantages of automatic dispensers?
As we mentioned earlier in this guide, automatic dispensers are a solution for people who spend a lot of time outdoors but don't want to interfere too much with their pets' diet. Some automatic dispensers allow you to administer the food at different times, adapted to the animal's habits, to avoid excesses or shortcomings.
Some owners solve their absence by filling an automatic dispenser to the top with food so that the cat can eat whenever he wants. Unfortunately, this does not always work that way. Many cats are unable to contain themselves and will gobble up all food at once. This can cause digestive complaints, vomiting and regurgitation.
What characteristics should a good automatic dispenser have?
In addition to functioning optimally in terms of planning meals and managing the correct amount of feed, a good automatic dispenser must also meet other characteristics. Below you will find an overview of the most important aspects:
  • Removable parts for easy cleaning.
  • Programming from the mobile phone to make the necessary changes.
  • Low or ultra-low energy consumption, to be aware of the environment.
  • Robust external structure, made of good quality materials. The cat may move the food bowl to play or to look for the food it contains. He may even grab it or throw it on the ground. The material must therefore be able to withstand a considerable impact.

What is the best type of food bowl for overweight cats?
With an automatic dispenser you can have the correct amount of food administered, which prevents the cat from eating more than necessary. However, if you don't adjust the dispenser correctly, you risk leaving too much food behind, “just in case”. In most cases, this is the cause of obesity in a cat.
A very handy type of food bowl to prevent the overweight of cats is the interactive type. The owner hides the food or delicacy in a number of containers. The cat must then "hunt" their prey to get their reward. The advantage of this type of food bowl is that you entertain the cat with it and at the same time you prevent the cat from swallowing all the food at once.

Carmen Marca André Professor at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine
"It is interesting to stimulate some activity during the meal, by processing the food in an interactive game and using food bowls that take some effort to get the food."

What types of cat food bowls are there?
The suitability of a particular food bowl for a cat will depend on the characteristics of the animal and the lifestyle of the family. The success of a food bowl depends entirely on the situation. Based on the needs of the cats and their owners, we can divide the food bowls into 3 types:
  • Traditional: Simply consists of a bowl or bowl plus a base or stand. Its main function is to serve wet or dry food. It is the owner who will administer the food.
  • Automatic: Programmed to deliver a certain amount of dry food at a specific time. Ideal for owners who spend much of the day away from home or travel a lot.
  • Interactive (or playful): Suitable for serving the food, entertaining and stimulating the cat. The cat must “hunt” the food in different parts of the food bowl. Its an excellent choice for overweight cats and cats that spend a lot of time alone and are therefore bored.
What should you pay attention to with your purchase?
Choosing a cat food bowl shouldn't be an impromptu purchase. Otherwise it is very likely that you will have to buy another bowl in a short time. If you have not yet decided which food bowl to buy based on everything that has been mentioned so far, the following purchase criteria will hopefully help you make up your mind:
  • Material
  • Cleaning
  • Shape and size
  • Kind
  • Design and decoration
The material the food bowl is made of is the first aspect to consider at the time of purchase. It is important that you choose a food bowl that is easy to clean and is safe, comfortable and resistant. Your cat always has the last word in this, because they sometimes do not or do not tolerate certain materials other than stainless steel, such as plastic or metals.

Stainless steel, melamine, ceramic and glass are materials that are very easy to clean and are therefore safe for your cat from a hygienic point of view. Most of these food bowls are suitable for a cleaning session in the dishwasher. Cat food bowls with removable parts are also the easiest to clean.
Shape and size
The food bowl should be wide enough so that the cat's whiskers don't bump and curl against the bowl walls. As for the depth, cats don't like very deep bowls. A support that holds the food bowl up promotes a comfortable position for the cat when eating.
If you spend enough time at home, a conventional bowl is enough for you and your cat. If you are away from home most of the day and your cat is bored, you may want to use an automatic or interactive food bowl. Of course you can also use different types of food bowls next to each other, depending on the situation.

Design and decoration
Traditional cat food bowls can have different styles, such as modern, elegant or minimalist. You will also find many models with decorative elements, such as engravings, stickers, images and inscriptions. Automatic dispensers are usually plastic and machine-like, while interactive food bowls are more like toy items.
Below you will find an overview of all the different types of cat food bowls, grouped on the basis of their material, with the associated characteristics:
Stainless steel
Average. Anti-slip feet or elevations can make the product more expensive. Overall, excellent value for money.
Average. A ceramic bowl is not very expensive, but the price is higher if it has a base or extra support.
Convenience to clean
Easy at the beginning, but over time it starts to get difficult due to the deterioration of the plastic.
Very easy.
Very easy.
Resistance and longevity
Good resistance, but over time the plastic deteriorates. The lifespan is average.
Excellent resistance and longevity.
Little resistance to blows. If the cat is not in the habit of playing with or turning the food bowl, it can last a long time.
Very good resistance and longevity.
Very light.
Very light.
Is it hypoallergenic?
Anti-shock design?
Plastic allows for the anti-shock design.
Acceptance by cats
Decorative elements
Simple, they are usually colored.
The base around the aluminum bowl is usually decorated with images, inscriptions and engravings.
The pottery is usually painted and often contains drawings and inscriptions. In addition, they can have a metal or wooden support that also improves the design.
The melamine is colored and sometimes contains details such as floral elements, arabesques and decorative inscriptions.
There is a good chance that you did not expect in advance that there are so many aspects to consider when choosing a cat food bowl. However, by paying due attention to the purchase of this product, you ensure that your cat gets a food bowl that he is comfortable with and which is also beneficial to his health.
Buying a good cat food bowl doesn't require a lot of money. The main thing is to choose a safe and comfortable model. Automatic dispensers may require a larger investment, but are a handy tool to remember to feed your cat when you are away from home a lot.
Did you find our guide to cat food bowls interesting? Don't forget to leave your comment below or share the article with your friends and family on social media.

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