What Type Of Cat Bowl Is Best?

There are so many options nowadays for cat bowls it is hard to focus on what works and what is just for show.  Are you looking for a cat bowl to prevent vomiting?  Are you concerned about cat acne?  The list goes on.

The 4 main things to consider when buying a cat bowl are:

  • The cat bowl material – stainless steel or ceramic is best for cat bowls
  • The height of the cat bowl – cat bowls should be at your cat’s knee height (4” to 6”)
  • The depth of the cat bowl – shallow cat bowls or cat plates help maintain overall ergonomics.
  • The angle of the cat bowl – a tilted cat bowl is more ergonomic for your cat’s neck

Besides materials used, ergonomics is the biggest factor in cat bowl design. 

Once you understand these 4 concepts you will be well equipped to find the best cat bowl of all time.

In the end, we chose the X-Zone Pet Raised Pet Bowl for our cat, Maya. It fits our needs very well. The stainless steel bowls are easy to clean. We throw the bowls in the dishwasher with no problems. The 4” to 4.5” model allows you to tilt the bowls to a nice feeding angle.

The only thing we could feel better about is the water bowl. At an angle the water bowl feels a bit shallow. The bowl isn’t causing any issue, but we are thinking of eventually swapping it out for something with a lip. Fortunately this isn’t a problem, since you can put any bowl you want in the stand itself.

Best Cat Bowl Material

  • The best cat bowl material is stainless steel.
    • This is because stainless steel is durable and can be cleaned easily. Its non-porous surface does not allow bacteria to enter micro-fissures where they can breed and harm your cat.
    • Be aware that steel does come in different grades.  Steel containing things like lead and other harmful chemicals are a big no-no.
  • Ceramic cat bowls are not a bad option after stainless steel. 
    • Ceramic can be cleaned easily if glazed properly.  They tend to be heavy, making it harder for cats to knock over.  And these cat dishes often feature fun designs that you and your cat will enjoy.
    • The reason ceramic is a second choice to steel is durability.  Ceramic can break, and these cracks can allow bacteria to breed.  Also be aware that some ceramic glazes contain lead.  Always be sure of the quality of your pet products.
  • Plastic cat bowls are not recommended. 
    • Plastic easily scratches, allowing bacteria to flourish.  Some cats are allergic to plastic.  In these cats, plastic causes a reaction resembling acne on their chins.  Although some may be inexpensive, plastic cat bowls are not a top choice.

FOREYY Raised Pet Bowls for Cats and Small Dogs

PETKIT CYBERTAIL Elevated Cat Bowls with 2 Stainless Steel Bowls

VENTION Global Wansheng Cat Food Dish

Why Elevated Cat Bowls?

The reason to embrace an elevated cat feeder is that elevated cat bowls are more ergonomic.  When your cat is bending over to eat, their stomach is compressed.  You can try this for yourself.  Put a plate on the ground and try to eat without your hands.  Your stomach is compressed and creates difficulty in swallowing.

We recommend using your plate and your food for this experiment, but to each their own.

Elevated cat bowls help keep your cat in a proper eating position.  Your cat will swallow less air, which can prevent vomiting.  Cats suffering from acid reflux can also enjoy this optimal eating position.

Older cats gain a special benefit from elevated feeders.  Older cats begin to develop joint pains and stiff muscles.  If a cat is uncomfortable while eating, they will eat less.  This can cause your older cat to become malnourished.  In this way, a raised cat feeder can encourage proper eating habits.

How high should an elevated cat bowl be?

An elevated cat bowl should be approximately 4” to 6”, or at the height of your cat’s knees.  Cat’s do crouch when they eat. Putting your cat’s bowl at the height of their knee will allow this crouching position to occur naturally.

FUKUMARU Elevated Cat Ceramic Bowls

Smith Chu Premium Elevated Pet Bowls

Neater Feeder Express Elevated Dog and Cat Bowls

Why Are Cat Bowls Shallow?

The main reason to use shallow cat bowls is to provide better ergonomics while your cat eats.  If your cat must go into a deeper bowl they must bend their neck to reach the bottom.  This is not ideal for your cat.

Using a deep cat dish can actually undo the work you put in to make your cat’s eating posture more ideal.  If you were to buy an elevated cat dish stand and then use a deep cat bowl, they cancel each other out.

Do Shallow Cat Bowls Help Whisker Fatigue?

There is no evidence that shallow bowls help prevent whisker fatigue.  Furthermore, there is no evidence that whisker fatigue is a cat ailment.  However, your cat might appreciate a shallow bowl over a deep bowl.

The NY Times published an article talking about “whisker fatigue”.  No veterinarians were cited in this article.  Three companies that make or sell cat bowls were cited in this article.

Boston Magazine wrote an article criticizing The Times for writing the piece. In this article they interviewed credible sources, such as the American Veterinary Medical Association.  They did not find evidence of whisker fatigue.

In 2020 an article was published in the Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery titled “Evaluation of Whisker Stress in Cats”.  The authors concluded:

“Cats fed from a whisker-friendly dish did not spend more time eating, drop less food or eat more food in a 5-min period. Some cats appeared to prefer the new whisker-friendly dish over their normal food dish. Overall, food dish-associated whisker stress did not affect the eating habits of the study cats.”

Do Cats Prefer Shallow Food Bowls?

Some cats do prefer to use shallow cat dishes. A study has found no evidence that food dish-associated whisker stress affects the eating habits of cats.  It is speculative to say why a cat would prefer a shallow food dish.  There is no way to know if your cat will prefer a shallow cat dish versus a normal cat dish unless you try one.

I mean, we are talking about a cat, right?  Can anyone figure out why they are so picky?

Related Article : Boston Magazine – Did the New York Times Publish Fake News About Cats?

Related Article : Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery – Evaluation of Whisker Stress in Cats

Related Article : New York Times – Feline Food Issues? ‘Whisker Fatigue’ May Be to Blame

CatGuru Premium Cat Food Bowl

Necoichi Extra Wide Raised Cat Food Bowl

omSaf Cat Food Water Bowl

Why Tilted Cat Bowls?

We will use the word “ergonomic” one more time.

The reason to use a tilted cat bowl is ergonomics.  A tilted cat bowl design allows for a straight approach opposed to normal cat bowls.  When eating from a standard bowl, your cat must bend their neck to get food on the bottom of the bowl.  A tilted cat design allows easier access to the last bits of food.

A tilted cat bowl fits well into an overall ergonomic cat feeding station.

Y YHY Cat Bowl

LIONWEI LIONWELI Ceramic Raised Cat Bowls

Super Design Mess Free 15° Slanted Bowl for Dogs and Cats

Which Cat Bowl Is Best?

A cat bowl, or cat feeding station, should be optimized to give the best eating posture for your cat.  Your cat should not have to bend its neck or chest to get to its food.  The materials that make up the stand should be easy to clean and durable.  Stainless steel bowls are best.  Ceramic dishes are acceptable as well.

Now you understand what goes into cat bowl design.  Use what you’ve learned to find the perfect cat bowl for your kitty.  The rest comes down to you and your cat’s style.  Choose your cat bowl with confidence.

Bon Appetit!

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