Picking the Right Cat Food Bowl

If you're looking for a bowl for your feline friend, you're in luck! Cat bowls are available in many colors and styles. Finding the bowl that's right for you and your cat should be easy if you stop to consider a few factors before you shop.

It may be that your only concern in selecting a bowl is color and style. Plastic and ceramic bowls come in an array of colors and often have decorative patterns. You can even have your cat's name inscribed or painted to personalize his bowl. Ceramic bowls are porous so make sure the surfaces are sealed and easy to clean. They are more fragile than other types and will break if they are accidentally dropped. Plastic bowls are durable and easy to wash but some pets have skin sensitivities to plastic food bowls. If your cat's nose and mouth look red, irritated or crusty, check with your veterinarian to rule out an irritation to plastic. This problem should clear up once the bowl is changed.

Stainless steel is a good choice for food and water bowls, and comes in the widest variety of sizes, widths and depths so you can find one to suit any cat.

But, no matter what type of bowl you choose, be aware that the size of your cat's bowl is very important. That cute little bowl may be too small for your cat to stick her head into and eat. If the cat's whiskers flatten against the sides, and she gets food on her face, it is likely that the bowl will rarely be used.

If your cat can be trusted not to gobble every morsel of food she sees, an automatic feeder can be a time and space saver. A large amount of dry food is placed in the container, inverted and secured to the serving dish. As your pet eats from the dish, the kibbles are replenished to keep the bowl full. A similar version of this dish is used for water as well, using a 2-liter plastic bottle as the reservoir. A more sophisticated version of this type of automatic feeder is one that contains an electric timer. You pre-set the timer to deliver a measured amount of food into your cat's dish. This is a great system if you have a pet that needs to be fed at a certain time of the day. A word of caution, automatic feeders should not be used with pets that have weight problems.

Another thing to consider is the weight of the bowl. If the bowl is too light and the cat ends up pushing her dish around trying to get every last morsel, try a weighted bowl that won't slide around the floor or tip over. Some cats will refuse to eat from a lightweight bowl.

Once you have chosen the best bowl for your cat, make sure to place the bowl in a calm quiet area. Your cat may refuse to eat from it if it is near a noisy washing machine, in the middle of where the kids play or if the family dog is a bother. Many cats prefer to be off the floor when there are other pets or small children around, so find an elevated place that is acceptable to you and your cat.