When it comes to happy, well-fed cats, the food you choose isn’t the only thing to consider. The best cat food bowls are made of stainless steel and designed to avoid whiskers, according to Dr. Danielle Rosenberg, an assistant veterinarian at Boston Veterinary Clinic. In order to make feeding more comfortable for your cat, look for wide, shallow bowls – and if it suits the food you are serving and your cat’s feeding style (read: your cat isn’t too messy), it’s also worth considering more bowls-like shapes especially if you have a difficult cat Satisfy him on your hands.
When it comes to materials, stainless steel trumps plastics and ceramics for Dr. Rosenberg. Stainless steel is a great material for bowls because it’s nonporous (so it doesn’t trap bacteria like plastic even after washing), and most designs are dishwasher safe. And while ceramic pots with a food-safe glaze are also nonporous, they’re less durable than stainless steel, as cracks and chips can form and when that happens, it’s best to get a brand new pot.
Aside from bowl shape and basic materials, consider your pet’s specific needs. “Older cats with arthritis may benefit from not having to bend their heads to eat,” Dr. Rosenberg wrote in an email to Bustle. So, if that’s a concern, consider a raised design, which also has the added benefit of keeping things tidy. Alternatively, for messy cats, you might enjoy a design that comes with a dishwasher-friendly mat. Finally, when it comes to water, Dr. Rosenberg recommends a fountain, because “the fresh, flowing water may induce them to drink more.” I’ve included the stainless steel option at the end of this list.
No matter what cat food bowls you use, Dr. Rosenberg stresses that “the dishes should be washed/cleaned daily or even between meals, if possible.” Scroll through for the top picks on Amazon to get you started.
1. The best overall
With a shallow 1.25 inch bowl and a unique plate-like shape without steep sides, the Dr. Catsby cat food bowl was designed with delicate whiskers in mind. The body is made of stainless steel, while the removable base is made of food-grade silicone so it doesn’t move around much. Plus, it’s dishwasher safe. With an overall rating of 4.6 stars after over 1,000 customers approved it, shopper approved it, and many wrote that it worked even with their picky pets. However, a few reviewers reported that their cats splash food on the floor easily with this bowl, especially if they put more than one cup of food in at a time.
According to one reviewer: “We adopted a cat who only eats bits of kisses he was taking out of his bowl with his paw. We tried 3 other dishes, and he acted like he was afraid of them. Then we thought maybe he was afraid of the stainless steel reflection, so we tried the ceramic bowls. That didn’t work Also; he kept pulling bits of kibble out of his bowl. Then we saw Dr. Catsby’s whisker relief food bowl and thought we should give it a try. Well, almost immediately our cat started eating normally, face down into the bowl.”
2. Best budget cat food bowl
If eclecticism is less of a concern and you want to save a few bucks, this fan-favorite stainless steel cat bowl has all the basics covered for less than $10. It is made of stainless steel and has a permanent silicone ring at the base to reduce movement. It features a shallow design with a depth of 1.1 inches to reduce bristles stress, and is also dishwasher safe. One thing to keep in mind: Some reviewers note that the label can be difficult to remove, but one customer recommended that it’s easy to do if you heat the bowl, peel slowly, and apply a little olive oil to any remaining glue stains. It has a one cup capacity.
According to one reviewer: “This bowl is sturdy and has a non-slip bottom. Keep in mind that it is on the small side. It is ideal for feeding one cat. The wide shape allows room for whiskers.”
3. Best high bowl
According to Dr. Rosenberg, older cats or those who find it difficult to move their necks can benefit from a raised bowl. If that sounds like your cat, consider this raised style from Neater Feeder. The two included bowls are dishwasher safe, two cups made of hygienic stainless steel with a depth of 1.25 inches. This is also a popular choice among those with messy cats because the walls around the edge are high, and the double-tiered tray has drainage holes on top so that excess water or food collects in the tray below for easier cleaning. The legs of the plastic frame have non-slip silicone feet to keep things in place as well. It measures 4.75 inches tall and comes in gray or light brown.
According to one reviewer: “My cat is a messy eater, and I often find food everywhere, but the cat tray not only keeps it all in place, but also makes cleaning faster. The enhanced height also helps his back pop as he gets older and doesn’t like to bend over for long periods of time to eat” .
4. Pair a cat bowl with a mat
If you have a messy cat, you’ll appreciate that the three detachable compartments of this duo cat bowl with silicone tray are dishwasher safe. When they are put together, it is very difficult to beat them. Each bowl holds up to 1.5 cups of food, and the bottom tray is non-slip to reduce mess while containing spills. Additionally, the stainless steel bowls are only about 1.6 inches deep, which is the highest on this list but still relatively shallow.
According to one reviewer: “My cat can’t get rid of these. It doesn’t slip on my kitchen floor. It’s soft silicone that makes the dishes easy to get in and out of for me but not for the cat. The bowls are the perfect size. Everything is easy to clean.”
5. A set of shallow pots in tons of sizes
Whether you have multiple cats using the same dish or just the same options, these sets of affordable cat food dishes are definitely worth considering. The 10-ounce size is just one inch deep, and the 56-ounce is 1.4-inch, making it a great surface pick for reducing bristles stress. Made of dishwasher safe stainless steel, it is built to last. However, if you have messy food, keep in mind that these do not have a non-slip bottom or other mechanism to keep them in place. Choose from combinations of two or four bowls.
According to one reviewer: Our cats often prefer these bowls over small, deep or plastic bowls. One of our cats is allergic to plastic and was immediately eliminated when we started using these bowls. It’s easy to clean and has held up even when dropped.”
Also great: stainless steel water fountain
Dr. Rosenberg recommends getting a fountain to encourage cats to drink more water. This cat filter fountain is designed to reduce splashing, and you can adjust the flow rate. It’s made of durable, non-porous stainless steel, and all parts except the pump and filter can be put in the dishwasher. Plus it’s extremely quiet at just 30dB.
According to one reviewer: “I usually had plastic fountains, but this stainless steel one is very quiet. Even when the room is silent, I can barely hear it. Cats love them too and encourage them to drink more water.”