Your cat’s feeding routine has to include giving them healthy food and making sure they stay full and hydrated. However, even the best food in the world can be hindered by a poor choice of bowl. Many  cat bowls aren’t quite as hygienic as they should be. Some types of bowls for cats are even manufactured in a way that doesn’t particularly help them stay hygienic. If you want your cat’s diet to go according to plan, you need to think about how they’re eating their food as well as what food they’re eating.

cat eating from a cat food bowl

Photo by @sweetlouise

Some cats can be pretty picky about their food. For the fussiest of felines, this often even extends to their choice of bowl! It is important to make sure your cat is eating in a way that they enjoy.

When it comes to choosing a cat bowl, you’ve got a lot of options to consider. Different materials like ceramic or plastic each have their own benefits and drawbacks. Then there is the size of the bowl, the design, shapes, and even some high-tech automatic feeders if you really want to splash out on your cat.

There is no best cat bowl that will suit every pet. However, there are definitely some types you should avoid. If you want to make sure your cat is only eating from the best, then there are a few main things to consider when choosing a cat bowl.

What to Keep in Mind When Choosing a Cat Bowl

Cat Bowls

Not the best bowl available.

A lot about your choice of cat bowl is going to depend on preference. However, outside of this, there are some concerns that you have to evaluate on the bowls on. These are:

Material Quality

Not every cat bowl is made out of the best material. A low-quality bowl may break and pieces can wind up in your cat’s food! When looking for a bowl, you need to keep the quality of ingredients at the top of your mind.

Hygiene and Health Concerns of Cat Bowls

Some materials for cat bowls are more hygienic than others. This will depend on how often you wash them. However, not every cat bowl can be made hygienic even with a wash after every meal.

Versatility

Some bowls might be useful for serving dry or cold wet cat food. However, what if you want to give your pet something hot? Thin bowls won’t hold up to the heat and can be uncomfortable to use. If you’re going to microwave anything in your cat’s bowl, then having a microwave-safe bowl is going to be a big help.

Scratches on Cat Bowls

Cats aren’t always graceful eaters! A good bowl should be scratch resistant to stop it becoming damaged through use. A scratch in a bowl can become a breeding ground for bacteria, a good cat bowl should avoid these problems.

Design

You do have to keep the visual appearance of the bowl in mind too! This includes it looking nice, but also that it is in a shape that is comfortable to your cat that they can easily use.

Whiskers

A cat’s whiskers can often rule out certain types of bowls. They need to be wide or shallow enough to allow a cat to use them without having to lean too far in. This can cause your cat discomfort if the bowl isn’t quite right.

The Shape of a Cat’s Face

Some cats will have more trouble with different bowls. This will depend on the breed of your cat. While most mixed breeds won’t have too much trouble with generic shaped bowls, a cat like a Persian will need a specific shape where the bowl is even shallower.

cat eating from a cat food bowl outdoors

Photo by @Malenka

If a cat bowl successfully fits all of these requirements, it should be good enough for use by your pet. While there are many different options available, in each category there are some standout bowls. These are the best cat bowls available at the moment, to suit the needs of any owners.

Plastic Cat Bowls

Plastic cat bowls are a bit of a difficult topic. They might be used by quite a lot of people and are the bowls most typically pick up when they first bring a kitten home. However, they have some pretty big issues compared with other types of bowls.

Scratches

The first thing is the way that plastic scratches. If plastic is scratched, then pieces of it will likely chip off. This can be dangerous in your cat’s food bowl and cause them problems if accidentally eaten. Even if the scratch doesn’t chip off any small shards of plastic, these grooves from the scratch will begin to fester with germs. No amount of cleaning is going to keep a scratched up cat bowl safe.

Odours

Plastic bowls will hold odours from past food much more than other types of bowls. This can really put off our cats with their delicate senses. There is also the environmental impact of using single-use plastic for a bowl to consider. Even if the bowl is used for a long time, going for something made from sustainable materials is preferable.

Price should not be the leading factor

A lot of people go for plastic because of the price. However, plastic cat bowls aren’t really any cheaper than most ceramic or metal ones, they’re just more widely available. A good quality plastic bowl will likely cost just as much as a cheaper ceramic bowl, only it won’t last as long.

On the whole, if you’re looking for the best cat bowl you need to avoid plastic. It has far too many drawbacks compared with other types of bowls. Instead of plastic, there are plenty of other options to consider that are just as cost-effective as the thin plastic bowl at your local supermarket.

Melamine Cat Bowls

Melamine cat bowls have grown in popularity in recent years. These bowls present themselves as being something more than your typical plastic bowl. However, despite looking quite a bit nicer they have many of the same problems.

Melamine is just another form of plastic. Like most plastic tableware, melamine dishes can potentially pose health risks by leaching chemicals into your food. In high concentrations and in combination with other elements present in pet food, melamine contamination can cause kidney failure and even lead to death. They aren’t recyclable and are made from a wasteful material. If you’re looking after the footprint of you and your cat, then melamine bowls aren’t the best choice.

The Best Ceramic Cat Bowl

Ceramic cat bowls have a lot of advantages over other types of bowls. They don’t have the same problems with absorbing odours as plastic does. This should make it a lot easier to keep your cat happy using it. They can also be cleaned much easier than a plastic bowl, helping you keep your pet’s feeding routine germ-free.

cat food bowl set

Cat food bowl set
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Ceramic bowls even have an advantage over metal bowls as they are usually microwave safe. They lend themselves to a variety of cute designs that you won’t get with stainless steel and a good ceramic bowl will be made out of hardy and polished materials.

This set of cat bowls features a nice design and some additional features. It is properly designed to prevent the whisker problem that makes eating or drinking uncomfortable for your pet. They are microwave safe which will make it easier to use them for any type of food. As well as this, they have the usual benefits of being ceramic; they’ve more hygienic, easier to wash, and more sustainable.

The Best Metal Cat Bowls

If you don’t want to go for ceramic, then metal is another viable choice. It is best to go for a type of metal that won’t rust or stain from food, for fairly obvious reasons. Metal is also more hygienic than plastic and should eliminate the issue of scratches causing bacteria to grow. A good metal bowl might not look as pretty as most ceramic ones, but it will get the job done.

stainless steel metal cat feeding bowls

Stainless steel cat bowls
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These metal bowls are some of the best cat bowls, even if they are a bit simple. They might be lacking in the design and aesthetic department since there is only so much you can do with metal, but they work. They are hygienic, easy to wash, and won’t hold any of those nasty smells that put your cat off their dinner.

If you want something more about function than form, then these bowls are great.

The Best Hi-Tech Cat Bowls

It isn’t just a choice between ceramic and metal, there are even some high-tech cat bowls out there if you really want to spoil your cat! These come in all sorts of varieties like bowls that allow you to communicate with your cat when you’re out of the home. There are even some that play a voice clip to build an association with your cat between that word and food.

automatic pet feeder for dogs and cats

Automatic pet feeder
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This is one of the best automatic cat bowls on the market. This is for a few reasons. The first is that unlike other timer-based cat feeders this one doesn’t put the food into its own plastic tray. Those feeders have the same problems as plastic bowls in general. It is also sturdy enough to stand up to even the most persistent cat in search of a second helping. Functionally, it is pretty useful. It will automatically dispense your cat’s dry food, great for if you have to be away for an extended period.

However, these bowls aren’t really useable with wet food, cost quite a bit more, and can be a hassle to use. Unless you need your cat’s eating to be regimented, it might be better to stick to a ceramic or metal bowl while you’re around. Although if you want something automated, this is a good choice.

Automated Wet Food Dispensers

There are some dispensers available that can be used with wet food rather than dry, such as this one. These operate by turning around to reveal a different section at meal times. They may have convenience going for them, but there is a cost. With storing wet food in one of these dispensers for longer periods of time, the dispenser itself is going to become infested with germs from the remains. You’re also going to have to scrub week old cat food from the insides whenever you will it up. it is far from ideal.

Cat mate automatic cat feeder
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Double Bowl Set-Ups

These raised double bowl set-ups are a common sight when looking for cat bowls. They look a little nicer by giving them two matching bowls, set up at a small cat table. However, what is cute for us isn’t the best for our cats. Cats don’t particularly like having their food and water close by especially when pieces of food accidentally drop into the water bowl. Similar to scents soaking into bowls, the smell of food around their water will put them off. These sets won’t be particularly nice for your cat, even if they are cute.

raised cat ceramic bowl set

Raised ceramic cat bowl set
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Which Cat Bowl is for you?

There are a lot of different options for cat bowls. Those provided here are some of the best currently available, although they each still have their benefits and drawbacks. If you want to choose the perfect cat bowl for your pet, then one of these picks is going to be just right.

Ceramic bowls are a great option since they allow for some cute designs without sacrificing hygiene, safety, or comfort for your cat. Metal bowls are pretty standardised in look but they will get the job done. An automatic feeder might even come in handy if you know you won’t always be home for feeding time yourself. Whichever bowl you go for, the important thing is that your cat is safe and enjoys their meal!