Choosing the best cat food bowl is a challenge. There are so many options, and each option comes with its own benefits and drawbacks.
The best choice is a wide, shallow bowl that reduces whisker fatigue. Ceramic or stainless steel bowls are the easiest to clean and an automatic feeder helps if you are out of the house. Elevated bowls are good choices for cats with limited mobility.
Check out our top picks here.
The right cat food bowl can make your life easier when it comes to feeding time, but finding that perfect bowl is not easy at all. You have to consider size, color, shape, and material before you even get down to the important details like price vs quality or how comfortable it feels in your hand.
In this article, we’ll discuss our top picks for 5 different types of bowls for any situation. We’ll also give some tips on what features are most important when choosing a new one for your pet cat’s next mealtime!
My name is Derrick, and I write for Simply Cat Care. The goal of this site is to provide advice to improve your cat’s health. I have taken the time to review the products on the market and find products that have features that benefit your cat.
I am not a veterinarian and I recommend seeking the advice of a vet before continuing. My article uses research-based evidence as much as possible is not intended to replace the advice of a trained professional.
Let’s get into the article:
Product Review: Best Quality Cat Food Bowls
Best Cat Food Bowl Overall: Dr. Catsby’s Food Bowl for Whisker Relief
Let’s look at Dr. Catsby’s Food Bowl for Whisker Relief.
I like the simplicity and features of this cat food bowl. It has the main things I want which include an easy-to-clean stainless steel design and a shallow bowl to reduce whisker fatigue. I also like that there is a silicone mat attached to prevent slippage and spills.
The design of this product is basic, and if you want something flashier then this isn’t it. The bowl doesn’t hold dry cat food as well, as the food slides around. This might be prevented by serving a smaller amount of food at a time. The price is manageable but if you have multiple mouths to feed then you might want to go for something cheaper.
Best Cat Food Bowl Elevated: NECOICHI Extra Wide Raised Cat Food Bowl
Let’s take a look at the NECOICHI Extra Wide Raised Cat Food Bowl.
I like the elevated height of this design. This is helpful for cats that have trouble leaning down to access their food. I also like the shallow bowl to reduce whisker fatigue. The price is affordable which is great for the features on offer.
The main issue is the inconsistency with the height and size of the products delivered. The company claim there are a few heights to choose from. It seems they get the sizes mixed up. This issue appears to be uncommon. Although the ceramic design is easy to clean and safe, it is fragile and prone to chipping.
Best Cat Food Bowl Affordable: Our Pets Durapet Cat Bowl
Let’s take a look at the Our Pets Durapet Cat Bowl.
I like this affordable bowl because it’s low-sided to prevent whisker fatigue. It is a stainless steel design that is easy to clean in the dishwasher and resists bacteria. The other feature I like is the silicone base to prevent spills.
The brand puts the label sticker on the base of the bowl for delivery. Most people don’t have a problem removing the sticker, but it seems to be a Russian roulette-type situation. If you have some goo remover, then there won’t be a problem otherwise you might not want to take your chances on having to remove the stickers.
Best Cat Food Bowl Automatic: PETLIBRO Automatic Cat Feeder, Timed Cat Feeder
Let’s take a look at the PETLIBRO Automatic Cat Feeder, Timed Cat Feeder.
I like the concept of having a feeder which allows your cat a chance to feed whilst you’re away or sleeping. In the outdoors, cats normally go around hunting for small prey to keep them satisfied. It’s hard to replicate this environment when you have things to do and places to be. With this feeder, you can program the feeding times and amounts per your own customization.
The main downsides of this product are infrequent timer inconsistencies and the feeder only being suitable for dry cat food.
Best Cat Food Bowl Slow Puzzle Feeder: GooFoto Slow Feeder for Cats
Let’s take a look at the GooFoto Slow Feeder for Cats.
I like the simplicity of this slow feeder. It contains ridged dolphin shapes to slow down eating and reduce the chance of nausea. This is particularly helpful for ‘scarf and barf’ types. Also, the bowl introduces a chance for play and foraging. This may help reduce your cat’s boredom. Many of these products use ceramic which may be too hard to bite against, but this product uses softer melamine.
The downside of this product is it is not microwave friendly. It also doesn’t have an elevated option and lacks an anti-slip design to keep it in place whilst your cat tries to get at the food.
Buying Guide: What to Look for When Buying a Cat Food Bowl
In this guide, I’ll talk about all the important features of a cat food bowl. A good cat food bowl improves your cat’s eating experience and encourages them to eat.
Most cat food bowls work fine, but there are things to consider for your situation. Some cats may benefit from a cat food bowl with additional features.
What types of cat food bowls are there?
Basic Cat Food Bowl
A basic cat food bowl has no special features – just a bowl to put your food in.
These come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and materials. Some have nice colors and designs, whilst others are basic practical designs.
These choices are affordable as you may have guessed, but you may want some other features that other bowls have to offer.
A shallow and wide bowl is a great choice for most cats to prevent whisker fatigue. Whisker fatigue is an unpleasant sensation of whiskers rubbing against objects.
Elevated Cat Food Bowl
An elevated cat food bowl raises the height of the bowl to prevent your cat from having to bend down for food.
This is a great choice for senior cats with arthritis or mobility issues.
Expect to pay a little more for an elevated cat food bowl.
As you may have guessed, an automatic feeder drops food for your cat automatically.
There are a variety of designs but most operate by dropping portions of dry cat food at set time intervals. Fill up the feeder with dry cat food, set, and forget.
This type of feeder works well for people on short trips or cats that get hungry in the middle of the night. Often as owners, we forget cats hunt during the night and want to eat something at unusual times. If you have a restless kitty pawing you to wake up, then an automatic feeder is a great idea.
The downsides of an automatic feeder are setting it up and programming the device to your custom needs. For many people, this is a challenge. Another downside is the increase in price over a standard bowl. Finally, if you have multiple cats it might be hard to prevent one cat from eating all the food from the other.
A puzzle feeder is designed to slow down your cats and add an element of play to eating.
This is great for cats that eat quickly and aren’t able to tolerate a lot of food at a time (most cats can’t tolerate lots of food due to small stomach sizes). Research has shown many benefits to puzzle feeders including less regurgitation, weight loss, increased mobility, and less aggression (1).
There are many types of puzzle feeders. A puzzle feeder bowl is a stationary type of feeder that can use dry cat food, freeze-dried food, and/or wet cat food. A variation of a puzzle feeder is a ‘slow feeder’. This is designed to slow your cats eating down.
Expect to pay a little more than a basic cat food bowl.
What to look for when buying a cat food bowl?
The most important features of a cat bowl are an easy to clean, durable material, and a shallow wide design.
Let’s take a closer look at things to look for in a cat food bowl.
The best cat food bowl materials are stainless steel, ceramic, and glass. Plastic bowls are the least preferable as scratched plastic may harbor bacteria.
Ceramic bowls usually have microwave compatibility. Check with the individual product for further information.
Fortunately, there are a wide variety of great cat food bowl choices so you won’t have to rely on plastic.
Look for a cat bowl that is wide and shallow. This reduces whisker fatigue associated with eating from deep bowls.
Whisker fatigue is an unpleasant sensation a cat gets when its whiskers come into contact with objects. If a cat food bowl is too deep, your cat may experience more friction on the whiskers.
Whiskers are an important sensory tool for cats. Check out my article on cat whisker facts for more.
The shape of a cat food bowl is a matter of personal preference.
A basic round bowl is perfect for your cat, but a square plate also works fine. There are also prey-shaped (e.g. mouse) containers. There’s no evidence that these entice a cat to eat more because they look like wild animals.
Cats don’t need to eat large meals, so you do not need a monster-sized bowl.
In the wild, cats eat multiple small meals from prey such as mice and insects. A cat’s stomach is small and can only hold small portions of food at a time.
Instead of feeding your cat one or two big meals, serve them small meals frequently over the course of a day to replicate their evolutionary feeding behavior.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I clean a cat food bowl?
Most cat food bowls are dishwasher safe but check with the instruction manual.
Otherwise, you can hand wash the bowl in a gentle detergent and rinse it well to clean it. Make sure you clean your cat’s bowl daily to reduce the build-up of bacteria and bad odors. You wouldn’t want to eat from a dirty bowl and neither would your cat.
Should I avoid a plastic cat food bowl?
Plastic food bowls are easy to scratch and may harbor more bacteria.
These days there is a wide variety of stainless steel and ceramic cat food bowls on the market. Plastic is becoming less common. One benefit of plastic or melamine bowls is they are softer. This is beneficial for puzzle and slow feeders.
I recommend sticking with stainless steel and ceramic cat food bowls for all other situations.
Do I need a mat?
A food mat helps keep the floor clean.
Generally, it’s best to put cat food on a tiled floor and not carpet. Cat’s can be a little messy with their food. Serving smaller amounts of food may help reduce mess, as well as a wider food bowl.
Some cat food bowls come with anti-slip silicone pads. This may reduce the need for a mat to keep things in place.
How much food should I serve in a cat food bowl?
A 3 ounce serving of food is more than enough for a cat at one time.
In the wild cats don’t consume large portions at a time. They hunt small prey over the course of day and night. This results in multiple small feedings, as opposed to a big meal.
It’s tempting to ‘set and forget’ a big tray of dry cat food, but this might get your cat to overeat and vomit their food.
How can I get my cat to drink more water?
Some cats may prefer drinking water from a clean running source.
Researchers studied whether cats preferred a standard bowl or running source from a fountain. They found that some cats prefer a fountain, but others don’t care. You may have a ‘fountain lover’ cat on your hands.
The theory behind this is a cat finds running water to be less likely to contain bacteria and have a more pleasant smell than water sitting in a bowl. Other approaches to encourage more water drinking include:
- Clean the water bowl daily
- Use filtered water
- Keep the water bowl away from the food bowl
- Keep the water bowl away from the litter tray
Check out my article on the best cat water fountain for more help.
Keep in mind that wet canned cat food is high in moisture. Most cats don’t tend to drink much water because their usual meat-based diet contains a lot of moisture. However, cats fed a diet of dry cat food lack moisture in their diet and have more problems with hydration.
If you feed your cat mostly dry cat food, consider also using more wet canned food in the diet.
Conclusion: The Best Cat Food Bowl (Final Thoughts)
In this article, I’ve talked about the best cat food bowl for your cat.
Cat food bowls come in all shapes and sizes. They serve a basic function to provide your cat with food and drink. The goal of a cat food bowl is to ensure your cat has access to food without discomfort or helps to stimulate play and foraging behavior (i.e. puzzle feeder).
There are different choices that suit different needs. A house with multiple cats may benefit from an affordable cat food bowl to buy in bulk.
Automatic feeders allow your cat to eat if you are away or asleep. Puzzle feeders, as mentioned, help stimulate play and may reduce the risk of overeating. Elevated bowls help cats with mobility issues.
In this article, I’ve gone through my top picks for different situations and needs. I’ve also provided a buying guide that gives clear and simple steps to purchasing the right product for your needs. Finally, I provided a frequently asked questions section for additional queries you may have with cat food bowls.
Our Top Pick: The Best Cat Food Bowl Overall
I chose this product as the best overall due to the simplicity and key features on offer. This bowl reduces whisker fatigue and is easy to clean. It has a durable and safe stainless steel design with a silicone mat to prevent spills.