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, glass or 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.
Our favorite feeding station is the CatIt Diner set. It includes two glass bowls that lock into an elevated plastic base. The bowls are very thick and sturdy and they tilt slightly to one side to allow for easier access. We actually buy several extras so we can wash the bowls. Now if we could just convince CatIt to get rid of the kibble in their product pics.
We've also 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. It also helps if the water is at least a few feet away from your cat’s food dish. Cats are fastidious about their water preferences. They often will not drink water near their food for fear that it may be contaminated. That’s also why they prefer moving water. 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.
Our cats also like the CatIt Flower Fountain. Yes, it’s made of plastic, but it has a unique feature. The white and yellow parts of the flower can be removed to create different flowing water patterns. This allows you to adapt the fountain to the flow your cat most responds to. We also like that this new design keeps some of the water in the top of the fountain where it’s accessible in the event of a power or pump failure.
Finally, 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.