Cat feeders are much more than simple bowls to feed your favourite feline. This is the reason why the market has models aplenty: from traditional, to automatic or interactive feeders. Otherwise, all feeders could just be made the same size, with materials like plastic or aluminium to avoid breaking and that would be it.
Your kitten can't handle food with its paws, which means it naturally has to resort to sticking its snout in the bowl. Cats have more contact with their plate than we have with ours. This is why some may find their feeder uncomfortable, unsuitable, or simply not like it. Keep reading our guide if you want t know more about these essential cat products.
- 1 Weekly newsletter with the best personal finance tips
- 2 Key Facts
- 3 Our recommendation: The best cat feeders
- 4 Shopping Guide: Everything you should know about cat feeders
- 4.1 What are cat feeders exactly?
- 4.2 How can I recognise a quality cat feeders?
- 4.3 What materials are unsuitable for a cat feeder?
- 4.4 Can a feeder cause allergies to my cat?
- 4.5 Should I buy a double feeder?
- 4.6 Where is the best place for my cat's feeder?
- 4.7 Are feeders with elevated bases useful?
- 4.8 What are the advantages of automatic feeders?
- 4.9 What are the key features of a quality automatic feeder?
- 4.10 What is the best feeder for overweight cats?
- 4.11 What types of cat feeders are available out there?
- 5 Shopping Criteria
- 6 Summary
- Different materials are used to make cat feeders: plastic, silicone, glass, ceramics, stainless steel and melamine.
- On the market, models vary in depth, shape, height (some are elevated), colours and decorative elements.
- A cat feeder can be traditional, automatic or interactive, so that there's always one to suit your feline's needs.
Our recommendation: The best cat feeders
Nowadays, our pets have become an integrant part of our families, and most people care for them in the best possible way. If you want your feline companion to have an adequate nutrition, buying a quality feeder should be on top of your list. Here is our selection of the best cat bowls available on the market:
Shopping Guide: Everything you should know about cat feeders
We designed the following section to answer some of the most frequently asked questions by consumers. This means we will discuss the materials, models and other characteristics of cat feeders. We want to help you get all the answers you need regarding the choice and use of these products, as well as feline behaviour during meal times.
What are cat feeders exactly?
How can I recognise a quality cat feeders?
- The material it is made from is easy to clean, doesn't absorb or retain dirt, pathogens or odours. Stainless steel, melamine, ceramic and glass are therefore great options.
- It doesn't contain any toxic material or compound. If your cat suffers from dermatitis or allergies, we recommend you opt for a hypoallergenic material like glass or stainless steel.
- The bowl and base are detachable to facilitate washing, and round edges are a big plus.
- Design-wise, a bowl with a raised support will result more comfortable for your kitty.
- Its diameter should be big enough so that the whiskers don't bend when touching the bowl. Otherwise, it will be very uncomfortable for your cat.
- The depth should be moderate; cats don't appreciate having to put their head to far down the bowl, so deep feeders should be avoided. On the other hand, a model that's too shallow will lead the cat to scatter its food all over the place.
- The base should be non-slip, as many cats have a habit of moving and pushing the bowl while they eat.
What materials are unsuitable for a cat feeder?
Wood is a porous material and therefore a bad option too, as its hygiene and disinfection are hard to achieve. It will also splinter over time and may harm your cat.
Can a feeder cause allergies to my cat?
Should I buy a double feeder?
If the two are placed too close together, water can spill into the food or leftovers can end up falling into the drink. And, as we mentioned earlier, cats aren't too keen on their dry food getting wet, or their water being dirty.
Where is the best place for my cat's feeder?
If you also have a canine friend living with you, make sure to put the feeder in a high place so that it cannot gobble your cat's food too. Direct sunshine will alter the flavour of the fats and should therefore also be avoided. This last point is particularly important if you use an automatic feeder that keeps food for a week or more.
Are feeders with elevated bases useful?
What are the advantages of automatic feeders?
Some people solve this absence issue by simply filling standard bowls to the limit, letting their cat decide when they want to eat; while it's not necessarily a no go, this doesn't always work. Garfield-like gluttonous cats cannot self-regulate and will just eat all the food at once, which can lead to digestive discomfort, vomiting and regurgitation.
|Design/Colours||Wide range of colours and decorations (inscriptions, images, prints).||Their design is usually plain and the most common colours are black and white.|
|Can it dispense and ration food consumption when the owner is away?||No.||Yes (this is its main advantage).|
|Can it store food for several days or weeks?||No, its capacity does not allow it.||Yes, certain models can store several kilos of food at a time.|
|Suitable for dry and wet food?||Yes.||No, it is only used with dry food.|
|Durability||It depends on the material. Melamine and stainless steel offer excellent durability.||Like all electronic devices, they may break down from time to time.|
|Do they consume energy?||No.||Yes, they work with batteries or via a power outlet.|
What are the key features of a quality automatic feeder?
- Detachable parts, for easy cleaning.
- Programming from your mobile phone, to make any adjustments if needed.
- Low or ultra-low energy consumption, to take care of the environment.
- A resistant outer structure made from quality materials. Your cat may be tempted to play with it or to try to get the good inside. He might even scratch it or try to throw it to the ground. A durable product is therefore essential.
What is the best feeder for overweight cats?
Interactive feeders are also a great way to control your cat's anxiety and voracity. After you hide the feed or treat in the feeder, your feline friend has to hunt its prey to get the reward. By entertaining kitties, these products contribute to channelling their anxiety.
What types of cat feeders are available out there?
- Traditional bowls: They consist of a simple bowl, or a bowl with a base or support. Their only function is to contain wet or dry food, that the owner will serve.
- Automatic feeders: They are designed to dispense dry feed at a specific time. They will be particularly appreciated by people who spend their days working away from home or who travel frequently.
- Interactive feeders: These models, besides containing food, will entertain and stimulate your cat. Your feline will have to work to find the food hidden inside the feeder. They are an excellent choice for overweight cats, as well as lonely cats who tend to get bored at home.
Choosing the right feeder for your cat isn't necessarily a walk in the park. You should take your time, or you might find yourself having to buy a new one in a few weeks only. The last section should have provided you with plenty of information to make your choice, but here are some key shopping criteria to further help you in your decision:
As we mentioned before, this is the very first aspect you should look at when the time comes to buy a cat feeder. It should be easy to clean, comfortable, safe and resistant. However, remember that your cat should always have the last say; it might not appreciate or tolerate certain materials, such as plastic or metals other than stainless steel.
In terms of hygiene, materials like stainless steel, melamine, ceramic and glass are easy to clean and safe for your cat's health. Most of these models will be dishwasher safe too, which is a plus. Traditional and automatic feeders with detachable parts are the easiest to clean.
Shape and size
Here's another point we've talked about before: the diameter of your cat's feeder should be large enough for its whiskers not to touch and bend against the edge of the bowl. Cats generally don't enjoy very deep feeders, and it won't be practical if they're too shallow. Raised bases to elevate the bowl will help cats eat in a comfortable position.
A traditional bowl will be perfect for your feline friend if you spend enough time at home. On the other hand, you'll want to respectively opt for an interactive or automatic feeder if your cat tends to get bored or if you're away all day. If you like, you can naturally switch between feeders to best suit the situation.
There are different styles of traditional bowls out there: modern, elegant or minimalist. You'll find them with a multitude of decorative elements, from engravings to images, stickers or other inscriptions. On the other hand, automatic feeders are generally made from plastic and look like most household appliances, while interactive models look like toys.
|Price||Affordable||Moderate. Anti-slip bases or elevated supports can raise the price. Excellent value for money.||Moderate. Ceramic bowls are not very expensive, but an extra base or support will set a higher price.||Affordable|
|Ease of cleaning||Easy at the beginning, but the deterioration of the plastic will make it more difficult over time.||Very easy||Easy||Very easy|
|Durability/resistance||Good resistance, but it will deteriorate over time. Its durability is average.||Excellent resistance and durability.||Low resistance to blows. It can last a long time if your cat doesn't play with its feeder.||Very good resistance and durability.|
|Weight||Light||Very light||Heavy||Very light|
|Is it hypoallergenic?||No||Yes||No||No|
|Anti-voracity design?||Plastic can support anti-voracity design.||No||No||No|
|Acceptance by cats||Low||Moderate||High||High|
|Decorative elements||Simple design, usually only colours.||The base around the bowl is usually decorated with images, inscriptions and engravings.||The ceramic is painted and it can also feature drawings and inscriptions.||The melamine is coloured and may present floral elements, arabesques and other inscriptions.|
We're ready to bet you didn't think there were so many different factors to take into account when buying a feeder for your cat. However, we strongly encourage you to take enough time to find the perfect model for your feline friend, answering to all its needs – and yours.
Quality traditional cat bowls can be budget-friendly; if you opt for these models, the most important is that it is safe and comfortable for your pet. On the other hand, automatic feeders will be a bigger investment, but they are a fantastic solution if you spend a lot of time away from home and went to make sure your cat maintains healthy eating habits.
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(Source of featured image: Alexey Poprotsky: 33533976/ 123rf.com)