For most cat owners, our pets are one of our top priorities. We like to make sure they have everything they need to live happily in our homes, and this includes their food bowls. An interesting debate among cat owners is whether or not our fuzzy companion’s bowls should be elevated. What are the potential benefits of elevating a cat’s food bowl? What kinds of elevated cat feeders are out there, and are they worth a buy? Fear not, here is all you may want to know about the pros and cons of elevated cat bowls.
In general, the pros of elevating your cat’s food bowl far out way the cons. Elevated cat bowls have strong health benefits and can encourage a cleaner feeding environment for your cat. Elevated feeding bowls make your cat’s food more accessible and comfortable for them to eat.
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Elevated Cat Bowls
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An elevated food bowl may come with a few potential cons, but overall they are highly beneficial to your cat and may make eating much more enjoyable for them. The question of whether or not to elevate a cat’s bowl is often a tricky one among cat owners, but at the end of the day, it is a positive change. If you have long been a ground-level feeder, here are some reasons to switch, as well as some things to keep in mind when doing so.
Pros of elevated cat bowls:
Better digestion and other health benefits
One of the main reasons cat owners switch to elevated bowls is because of their health benefits. By elevating your cat’s bowl, you are preventing your kitty from crouching down in an uncomfortable position to eat. This position often creates tension throughout your cat’s body, which is not good when they’re trying to swallow and digest their food.
Elevated feeders mean that your cat is in a much more relaxed position, with gravity aiding their food’s travel down to their stomach. With their bodies more relaxed, cat’s digestive systems can work to full capacity as their muscles aren’t focused on both crouching down and eating.
In an elevated position cats also inhale far less air when taking in mouthfuls of food. This can greatly lessen their chances of choking, vomiting, or experiencing acid reflux. If your cat is especially prone to any of these things, then this switch may help them with their problems.
The ideal height for an elevated feeder comes up to about your cat’s knee so they don’t strain their neck when accessing their food.
An elevated feeder also encourages good posture in your cat and lessens their chances of experiencing joint pains or back problems later on in life.
No whisker irritation
Cat bowls are tricky to get right sometimes, and the wrong shape can cause your cat some grief. Many owners find that bowls that are especially deep or small are uncomfortable for their cats to eat from. This is because cats have extremely sensitive whiskers.
When whiskers catch on the edge of a bowl, it can feel very unpleasant for your kitty. The worse the shape of the bowl, the more your cat will have to push back their whiskers trying to reach their food.
This experience can irritate them so much they can be put off eating altogether. To combat this problem, you should buy a wider or shallower bowl and pair it with an elevated feeder.
By elevating their bowl, your cat won’t have to reach as far down to access their food, and you likely won’t encounter the problem again. Some elevated feeders even support the bowl by the lip, meaning your cat won’t have to reach inside the bowl at all to access their food.
Elevated feeders are more hygienic
Having cat food at ground level is, unfortunately, going to increase the chances of that food getting dirty. The floor is generally a pretty unsanitary place, and some of what makes it that way may get into your cat’s bowl.
Cat bowls that are at ground level are at a higher risk of attracting insects and parasites. Bugs are drawn by the smell of food, and if your bowl is on the ground they’ll find it easier to get inside. This can increase your cat’s chances of picking up parasite eggs, which is the last thing you want them ingesting.
Elevated bowls restrict insect access to your cat’s food, as well as any other dirt or bacteria from the floor. Just like humans like to eat on something elevated for hygiene purposes, your cats will likely appreciate the extra measure.
Less mess and scattering
Another similar benefit for owners is the reduction of mess. Sometimes cats can get a little vigorous when eating and leave their pellets or soft foods scattered around their bowls after they’ve finished.
With elevated feeders, cats have much easier access to their food and are encouraged to eat neatly. They won’t have to dig into their pellets with their snouts, or otherwise struggle and cause a mess around their feeding area.
No mess to clean up after your cat is done eating is bound to be appreciated by owners, and the cleaner their feeding area the happier your cat will be.
Cats are quite particular about their living areas, and to encourage healthy eating habits a clean feeding area that your cat feels comfortable in is very important.
They’re beneficial for older cats or ones with underlying health conditions
Elevated feeders can be especially beneficial to older cats, whose joints and muscles aren’t as robust as they once were.
Crouching down to eat every day can put unnecessary strain on elderly cats, which over time can increase their chances of arthritis or digestive problems.
Even if your cat is young, if they have health problems to do with their bones or digestive system, an elevated feeder is going to benefit them.
Cats who have any problems with swallowing or acid reflux will also likely thank you for the extra help when eating.
If your cat is starting to become a bit older and feebler, or has recently been diagnosed with an underlying condition, you should consider an elevated feeder.
Cons of elevated cat bowls:
Your cat may not take to it at first
Cats are creatures of habit and don’t like things about their daily lives to be disrupted. This can be especially true when it comes to their feeding areas, which cats can become very territorial and finicky about.
Introducing a new feeder may annoy or confuse your cat at first, but it’s more than likely they will get over initial reservations and begin to use it. In some cases, your cat may take a while to get used to its new bowl and feeding position.
Particularly nervous or fussy cats may reject the new feeder altogether, although this is rare. If your cat has been displaying out-of-character behavior or is anxious about some new development in your home, it isn’t a good time to try and change its feeding routine.
Wait until your cat is in a good place and likely to adapt to change to introduce the new feeder. In most cases after an adjustment period, your cat will be happy with its new feeding situation.
They can be pricey!
A lot of the best quality cat feeders can come with a hefty price tag, so make sure you research carefully and feel they are a worthwhile investment.
A high-quality, aesthetically pleasing cat feeder will add an element of chicness to your home, as well as be within your kitty’s best interest health-wise. Unfortunately, these are often the most expensive ones.
If you don’t feel like cashing out on an especially high-end feeder, don’t worry there are a lot of options. There are a large number of feeders that are highly affordable and do their job just as well as pricier ones.
Alternatively, you can build your own bowl elevator. You can even use something you already have in the house for convenience and to save on money. It’s up to you!
A bit of a tripping hazard
Elevated feeders tend to be bigger than your average food bowl and therefore easier to accidentally stumble over. The result of knocking food over from a high vantage range will be a wider spread mess to clean up, as you can imagine.
As well as this, tripping over a cat feeder could result in some not-so-fun injuries for the humans of the household. But this is of course an avoidable enough situation.
If your cat’s feeding area is somewhere prone to a lot of movement in the house, such as the kitchen or hallway, try moving it as out of the way as possible.
Ideally, your cat’s feeding area should be somewhere quiet and rarely used by people to minimize the hazards of tripping. Less mess and less stress!
Elevated feeders may entice your other pets
Changing the style of your cat’s food bowl, especially to a more easily accessible shape, may attract the attention from your other pets. If you have dogs or any other animal that may be interested in your cat’s food, leaving a new and accessible bowl out will likely confuse them.
They may not understand at first that the new bowl is your cat’s and attempt to eat your kitty’s food. It is suggested that you give your cats a secluded feeding area that only they can access to prevent this.
However, if you are happy with your cat’s feeding area being out in the open and accessible to other pets, then you simply need to train them to understand your cat’s bowl is off-limits.
Cats hate having other animals infringing on their food and territory, and when they feel anxious or threatened it can lead to bad eating habits. After a period of training, your other pets should get the message that the new bowl is not for them and your cats can enjoy their feeder in peace.
Types of raised feeders:
When it comes to elevated feeders, there are many types and styles to choose from, when looking to purchase an elevated feeder research carefully first and find one that will best suit your cat’s needs.
Alternatively, you can DIY and construct your own elevated cat feeder. Here are some of the most popular choices for feeders and some tips on how to build your own.
Plastic elevated feeders are some of the most common feeders. They’re often more easily affordable and come in a variety of shapes and styles. Plastic feeders can be shaped as anything, from pillars to put under your cat bowl to mini tables with built-in bowls.
Plastic feeders can be easy to use and clean and are at low risk of breaking. However, they are also more harmful to the environment than other materials.
Plastic is generally a durable material, but if it starts to wear down over time it can pose a health risk to your cat. Ingesting plastic particles is very bad for a cat’s system, so if you do choose this feeder make sure to replace it once it starts to fray from friction or over-use.
Metal feeders often use a wireframe to hold your cat’s bowl up, either by the base or the lip. They’re minimalistic and easy to apply to different bowl shapes. They also don’t take up much floor space in your cat’s feeding area.
With wireframe elevators, you won’t have to change out the bowl that your cat is used to. This way they can enjoy a healthier eating position without having to adjust to a new bowl as well.
Metal feeders are also more environmentally friendly than plastic ones, and their minimal space usage lessens their tripping hazard.
However, they can also be prone to rust. If you feed your cat outside, a metal frame can be especially at risk of rusting. If you go with a metal feeder, try to keep it unexposed to the elements.
Glass feeders can look especially chic and are also built of one of the most hygienic materials when it comes to storing cat food. Glass is easy to clean and doesn’t collect rust, mold, or dirt in the same way other materials might.
Glass feeders will likely come with their own fitted bowls that sit inside the feeder’s base. Whilst beautiful, they also tend to be rather expensive. And of course, they are highly fragile.
Glass feeders are inclined to take up more floor space than most and can be a high tripping hazard in the house. Make sure you calculate the risk of keeping a large glass feeder on the ground when looking to buy.
These feeders are ideal for especially careful cats with secluded eating areas. If your household is particularly busy or your cat prone to clumsy accidents, this feeder is not recommended.
A wooden cat feeder is durable, hygienic, and easy to clean. Wooden cat feeders will likely come with their own fitted bowls to sit inside a wooden base but can also be styled as mini tables for your cat’s bowls to rest on top of.
They are a good pick as wood doesn’t attract or collect dirt easily, though after a very long time it may begin to rot if exposed to the elements.
These feeders are most ideal for indoor cats. Wooden feeders tend to be quite bulky, so be sure to calculate their tripping hazard potential when choosing to buy.
Creating your own feeder
There are several ways to make your own elevated cat feeder. Essentially all you need is something sturdy to prop up your cat’s bowl to the ideal comfortable height.
This could be anything from bricks to spare blocks of wood, old plastic trays or boxes turned upside down, or even an old plastic bowl turned upside down.
Keep in mind that makeshift elevators can tend to be a bit unstable, and your cat may knock its bowl over a few times before it gets the hang of it. Try securing their bowl against a wall or something else sturdy to prevent this.
If you’re particularly crafty and up for a challenge, you could try to build a wire or wooden frame for your cat bowl using supplies from a local craft or hardware store. If you want to try and make a professional-grade feeder keep in mind you might need quite a few tools and materials, as well as a bit of hard work and tenacity.
It’s up to you how you chose to construct your feeder, and a homemade one will likely get the job done just as well as a store-bought product.
Where to purchase an elevated feeder
If you do decide you want to buy a feeder, they should generally be available in particularly well-stocked pet shops. If your local store doesn’t have many options for you, then the internet certainly will.
Online you will likely find a variety of options to choose from, so research carefully and select whichever feeder you feel will suit your cat and particular situation best. Then you need only wait for your new bowl, and your cat can start enjoying its new feeding position! This is our top pick that you can buy on Amazon.
The benefits of an elevated cat feeder far outweigh any downsides. Elevated feeders have multiple health benefits and can encourage a more hygienic and enjoyable feeding area for your cat.
Remember to research thoroughly when choosing which feeder to buy if you think this is a worthwhile investment for you and your cat. Hopefully, you will both enjoy the benefits your new feeder has to offer!