Pet food bowls. Maybe not the most exiting subject, I'll admit. We talk a lot about nutrition for cats (which is indeed an important subject!), but it also matters what you serve that food in. It matters to the cat and it might also matter to your situation.
As a colony cat caretaker I have personaly spend a lot of time wondering about cat bowls. I need a lot of bowls and I also need to carry them back and forth every day. I also have to indoor cats, so the bowls take up a lot of space. And then there's the whole economic aspect to consider.
Maybe I'm cheap, but I think cat bowls in Denmark are expensive. Well, maybe they are resonable if you only have one or two cats to feed. As a one time payment it's okay as they tend to last long. But I for one have spend a lot of money on food and water bowls. Not just because I need a lot, but also because I've been having trouble finding the right ones. Also I broke a few.
Cat bowls come in many different shapes, sizes and materials. What the cats prefer differs and it depends on how they eat and what they eat. So it's not so easy finding the perfect food bowl. I have a lot of cat bowls and here I'll share some of my favourites and their pros and cons.
Plates from the thrift store
For Ronja and Victor I buy little cake plates from the thrift store. They are really cheap (like a fifth of the price of a cat bowl) and have a good size for the portions I serve them. I also happen to think they are cute.
The disadvantage in small plates is that the food can easily go over the edge, if your cat is a messy eater. Ronja and Victor are very good at keeping the food on the plate and it's only if I serve a particular difficult paté, that I need to give them a bowl.
Also if your cat tend to push their food bowl around, a lightweight plate is probably not the solution for you. I serve their food on a platter with edges, so in case they push the plate, it never gets far in our house.
One the best feature with thee plate insted of bowls, is that they take up a fraction of space in the cabinet. A big salespoint, when you need a lot of cat bowls. I rarely use them for the community cats because they can't hold very much food and because of problems I already listed above.
Another good thing about serving cat food on a plate is that they don't have any edges that might touch their whiskers. This is important as a cats whiskers are extremely sensitive and a cat bowl can annoy or even hurt the cat if it's too deep or narrow for it's whisker to stay clear. As you know, it takes A LOT for a cat to show discomfert or pain. So there's no way of knowing, if your cat is bothered by this. To be safe, you have to assume that it's a problem.
Before I heard that cats can develop allergies if they eat from plastic, I bought two plastic bowls at Zooplus. I wanted to test them out, to see if I could use them at my feeding stations. They stack well and can be put in may different ways in the dishwasher too, with no risk of breaking. They don't weigh much, which is nice for me, when I have to carry them back and forth. They have a rubber edge at the bottom, which keeps them in place when the cats eat, so it's no problem that they are light weight. They have a good size and they are even cheap. However, I've learned that it can be less hygienically with a plastic material, so I decided not to buy a lot of these. I know the risk is minimal as long as the bowl are intact, so no judgement here, for the ones who use plastic. But since I have so many cats eating from the same bowls and I can't keep a close eye on them, I have decided to stick to ceramic and steel where possible in the future.
AniOne bowls with a lid
I was so happy when I saw these bowls with a lid! It's perfect for my need to carry wetfood out at night. With these, I can fill up the bowls in my appartment, where it's dry and I have good lighting. I also don't need to carry a spoon around (something I often forget to bring!). It's much more comfertable to fill the bowls at home, rather than out in the cold, dark, wet night.
The price however I was not happy about. I had to use a minimal of 8 bowls for this to make sense, so I waited till they were 50% off.
These bowls are made of stainless steel and have a sort of creme colored foil. At the bottom of the bowl there is a rubber ring to keep the lightweight bowl in place. The problem is that they foil tends to peal off and with that, the rubber ring goes as well. This means that I might find these bowls on the ground, because they move when the cats eat. So I have to be mindfull, where to put these, once the foil is gone. I don't know if the foil comes off beacuse I put them in the dishwasher? But I really want to make sure the cat bowls are clean, so that's how it will have to be.
Another very critical problem with these bowls, is that most of the lids don't really fit! They haven't shut tight from the begining and it makes them harder to stack and the risk of getting cat food all over me is high. It's not optimal and since they were expensive, I don't think it's okay.
They don't have them at the pet store where I bought them anymore and I can't seem to find them online either.
Looking at the bright side, they are easy to fit in my dishwasher, they don't break when I drop them and they don't take up a lot of place when stacked. In spite of the problems these bowls from AniOne has, they are still my favorite bowls for the cat colony as they have lids.
Ceramic Trixie Bowls
I have tried a lot of different ceramic cat bowls, but the ones I prefer are these from Trixie. They have a nice size and stack really well together. When I'm out of clean steel bowls with a lid, these are my go to for the community cats.
Since they are ceramic they are of course heavy. A good thing for the cats, cause they don't run mid dinner. A bad thing for me who has to carry them together with a lot of other stuff. In Denmark most pet supply stores carries these, so they should be easy to find. Just be aware that the price may vary.
Think out of the box
Whatever it's about saving money, finding the right shape and size or just to find something that looks good, it might be a good idea to look into alternative solutions. Forget your average pet supply store for a minute and take a loook around shops like IKEA or hardware stores. You might just find the perfect cat bowl or plate in the section meat for humans. Like these cute bowls I found in Søstrene Grene.
There is no such thing as the perfect bowl for every cat. It depens very much on the cat and the situation. But it's an important thing to concider for your cats wellbeing and maybe it matters to you too.
This was a long post and I haven't even mentioned (automatic) food dispensers, slow feeding bowls or water fontains. The selection of cat bowls is huge and it definitly matters what you present to your cat. But like with everything else regarding cats, it might take a lot of tries, before finding just the right thing.