We continue our series of recommendations for new cat owners. See the entire new cat shopping list here.
Cat Food & Water Bowls
You can never go wrong with high-quality, stainless steel bowls. Shallow, round or oval dishes are better because your little friend may be put off by the way their whiskers rub the edges of the dish. Avoid plastic and ceramics as they can harbor bacteria. This is especially important if you feed your cat a raw food diet.
We've had great luck with DuraPet bowls. These are great because they have rubber bases that keep them from sliding around. They're also available in several sizes so you can get a larger water bowl and a smaller food dish.
Every cat should have fresh, clean water available 24/7. A bowl just like the food bowl but filled with water is adequate. Just like the food dish, the water bowl should be cleaned and refilled daily.
Some cats respond more favorably to moving water. It's easy to see why - in the wild, moving water in a stream would always be safer than stagnant water. Most fountains made for cats and dogs are made from plastic or ceramic, both of which can harbor bacteria. We prefer this all-stainless model despite the fact that it still has a few plastic parts inside. Sadly, plastic is hard to completely avoid in modern manufacturing of an item like this. Still, of all the pet fountains out there, this one is our top recommendation for size, ease of use, and price.
It's important to be aware that any water pump will need regular maintenance. Pioneer Pet has a brief video that outlines how to clean out the pump. They also offer additional filters, though their recommendation of changing filters monthly seems like a bit much. Most filters can easily be rinsed every week, especially if filtered water is used in the fountain to begin with.
We'd also like to add a brief word about automated feeders. Unless it's an emergency where your cat won't get fed otherwise, don't do it. Feeding time is an opportunity to bond with your cat daily. Just think--there are only a few things your cat looks forward to each day. Meal times are high on the list. Your cat will develop rituals and expectations around meals. You really should choose to be a part of them.