Choosing the best bowl for your cat can be hard. The market is flooded with different sizes, types, and styles that might not all be as good for your feline friend as you might think. From a veterinarian’s perspective, Dr. Chyrle Bonk says the most important thing you’ll want to look at when choosing the right bowl is safety.
“Safety might not seem like a big issue in bowls, but the fact is that it can be,” Bonk says. “Some cats may chew or scratch at their food bowl, which if it’s plastic, for example, can cause holes or pits that can harbor bacteria or break off chunks that cats can then swallow.”
Looking for a new cat bowl for your own feline friend? Below, we’ve rounded up some of the best veterinarian-approved styles and designs that will surely make feeding time that much more enjoyable for the both of you.
Choosing the Best Cat Bowl for Your Feline Friend
Choosing the right water and food bowl for your cat isn’t as easy as it seems. In fact, there are a lot of things that need to be taken into account to make the best possible choice. The right cat bowl for your feline friend will vary greatly depending upon their health, breed, and the type of food you tend to serve them. Here are a few key points to keep in mind when selecting the best cat bowl for your pet:
Avoid plastic when possible: The first thing to consider when choosing the best cat bowl is to stay away from plastic bowls whenever possible as they can harbor bacteria and cause infections and even cat acne. “Stainless steel, glass, or ceramic are better,” says Holly Anne Dustin, certified cat sitter at Feline Friends Cat Care.
Go wide and shallow: “Avoid getting bowls that are too deep so kitty’s whiskers are rubbing against the side of the bowl,” suggests Dustin. “This can cause irritation and whisker stress.” Instead, Dustin suggests opting for shallow and wide food bowls which most cats will find to be the most comfortable.
Consider an elevated dish: According to Dustin, elevated dishes are going to be your best bet if you live with older cats or cats who have arthritis, as cats with limited mobility or chronic pain may have trouble bending to a flat dish.
Look for slanted bowls: “Slanted bowls can help Persians and other breeds that push all their food off the edge of their dish as they eat because of their flatter faces,” explains Dustin.
Skip two-in-one bowls: Another thing to look for is to avoid taking double bowls that have containers for food and water right next to each other. “The water in a double bowl might get contaminated with food and take in the smell of food—which cats dislike,” explains Dr. Sabrina Kong. This could run the risk of your cat becoming dehydrated, which can become dangerous very quickly.
How We Ranked Our Favorite Cat Bowls
From stainless steel to ceramic to raised bowls, there are a ton of cat bowl options on the market for feeding your cat. For this article, we ranked our favorite cat bowls with the health, safety, and enjoyment of dinner time in mind. Here’s how we chose the best ones:
Personal experience: I’ve lived in a two-cat household for the past five years, one of which is a picky senior cat and the other who suffered from cancer and, later, mobility issues. A couple of the bowls I’ve listed helped both of my cats enjoy their meals much more comfortably.
Veterinarian recommendations: We also reached out to veterinarians and cat specialists in our network to understand the best bowls they recommend to their feline clients based on health and safety standards.
Real user reviews: We filled in the rest of the contenders by looking at overall ratings, number of reviews, and quality of reviews. We selected the cat bowls that had the best ratings—but also had relevant reviews that really told us what was great about each product.
Best Cat Bowls: 6 Options for Every Need
All featured products are chosen at the discretion of the author. However, Great Pet Care may make a small affiliate commission if you click through and make a purchase.
Considering upgrading your cat bowl to something new? Here are some of the best options on the market right now—for every feline lifestyle need.
Best Automatic Cat Feeder
Our pick: Petlibro Granary Automatic Pet Feeder
The Petlibro Granary Automatic Pet Feeder is going to be your best bet if you want to take the stress out of feeding time. This budget-friendly feeder with an angled LED display is highly reliable: it comes equipped with a backup battery power supply in case of power outages and also includes a wide and shallow bowl for easy access.
- Available in 3L (black) or 5L (white) capacity
- Choose up to 6 meals a day and up to 50 portions
- Infrared sensors will automatically stop the feeder when an obstruction is detected
- Allows you to record personalized messages to play at meal time
- Transparent window so you know when it’s time to refill
- USB charging port
- No tough-to-reach corners, ensuring easy cleaning
- Great price compared to other automatic feeders
Things to Consider
- The initial set up and programming can be tricky to get right on the first go
- You can only fill it with dry food, and the kibble must be less than 0.6 inches in diameter
- Backup power requires 3 D-cell batteries (not included)
- The company also makes a WiFi feeder, if you’re looking for something more high-tech
Sample buyer review: “My cat is consistently hungry at 4 a.m. every morning, regardless of how late we feed him the night before. The feeder now allows me to peacefully sleep through the night by dispensing his kibble in the early morning. It was easy to assemble and set up, and my cat took to eating it immediately. Worth the money, would recommend!”
Best Elevated Cat Bowl
Our pick: Jemirry Ceramic Cat Food Bowl
This elevated cat bowl is ideal if your feline friend has mobility issues or arthritis—but it can also be a great option to help foster better digestion. The veterinarian-approved design encourages cats to sit up straight while eating their meals, which helps reduce the pressure on the cat’s neck and reduces occasional vomiting, too. The cute scalloped design and pastel colorways also make this bowl an attractive option.
- Crafted from high quality, food-safe ceramic
- Dishwasher safe and easy to keep clean
- Comes in a wide variety of cute colorways
Things to Consider
- Some reviewers mentioned that it could be more heavy at the base
Sample buyer review: “These great quality bowls are beautiful. They’re just the right height and my kitties love them! They’re very sturdy and easily wash clean. Everything I was expecting. Would definitely purchase it again.”
Best Cat Bowl for Messy Eaters
Our pick: Messy Cats Single Silicone Feeder
Do you have a messy eater on your hands? It can be frustrating to have to vacuum up all the crumbs and discarded kibble after your feline friend has finished eating—but the Messy Cats Single Silicone Feeder pretty much resolves the issue all together. The stainless steel bowl is slightly slanted while the built-in silicone place mat allows you to easily discard all the crumbs and kibble surrounding the bowl in one fell swoop.
- Makes it easy to keep the feeding area clean
- Helps repel ants and other household pets
- Great price for the additional bells and whistles
Things to Consider
- Some reviewers noted that the silicone base bends too easily when you pick it up, which can cause water to spill out.
Sample buyer review: “We ordered three of these for our two cats…On top of the stainless steel bowl being so easy to clean, I also like the wide and shallow shape, which makes it easy for the cats to eat and drink out of. The grey mat underneath is really helpful because one of our cats is a very messy eater so this helps significantly with clean up. We also had ants recently and in the midst of trying to get rid of them, had to find a solution to stop them from getting into the cats’ food bowls. The silicone mat actually provided the perfect solution—we filled it with water, making a sort of moat around the bowl, and since ants don’t like to cross water, it immediately solved our problem until we could find a more permanent solution.”
Best Cat Bowl for Whisker Fatigue
If you’ve noticed your cat struggles to eat their entire meal but you’ve already ruled out any digestive issues, you might be dealing with whisker fatigue. In short, whisker fatigue is when a cat’s whiskers become overstimulated (in this case by rubbing up against the edge of the food bowl). This can easily be remedied with a cat bowl made for whisker fatigue—like this one from CatGuru that offers a shallow base with ridged edges for added comfort.
- Allows for sensitive cats to enjoy their meal without whisker fatigue
- Crafted from high quality, food-safe materials
- Very easy to clean
Things to Consider
- These bowls are so shallow that food can slip out of them
Sample buyer review: “My cats, who are larger sized, have a much easier time eating out of this dish than their normal dishes. I have tried many times in the past to buy fancy looking metal dishes that they have hated right away, along with porcelain dishes that they try to knock over or ‘bury.’ They love this dish and it’s much harder for them to spill.”
Best Smart Cat Feeder
Scheduling feeding can be increasingly difficult if you tend to work late into the night or head into the office early in the morning—but that’s where the LeeKooLuu Smart Feeder comes in. This WiFi-enabled feeder allows you to make sure your cats stick to a regular feeding schedule and also makes it easy to check on them from wherever you are thanks to the built-in 1080P camera.
- Allows you to check on your cat from outside the house
- Fits up to 24 cups of cat food for added convenience
- Very easy to maintain and keep clean
Things to Consider
- Definitely on the higher end in terms of price point
Sample buyer review: “Very easy to set up. The Smart Life app you need to download is surprisingly user friendly. The video camera feed is sharp and the night vision is pretty good. There is no guessing whether or not food actually came out of the device.”
Best Budget-Friendly Cat Bowl
Our pick: JOCHA Cat Food Bowl Set
Bells and whistles are nice but sometimes all you need is a classic food-safe bowl—especially if your cat isn’t exactly the picky type. This stainless steel food bowl set offers everything you need to ensure the health and safety of your pet—and the pricepoint clocks in at less than a tin of wet cat food.
- Made from high quality stainless steel
- Comes with an anti-skid base for better traction
- Very cute exterior design
Things to Consider
- Some reviewers noted that cats can knock food out of these bowls and make a mess
Sample buyer review: “The bows are small enough for my cats to eat from, and large enough to hold food for all day.”
Cat Bowl Hygiene Tips
Once you’ve purchased the best cat bowl for your cat, remember to clean the bowl after every meal. Think of your cat’s food bowl like you would your own dishware. You wouldn’t want to go a couple of days without washing your dinner plates, would you? It’s best to clean your cat bowls with hot, soapy water to prevent bacteria growth.
Before you replace your cat bowl after cleaning, you should always check for scratches. Those little nooks could be harboring harmful bacteria that could make your cat sick.