As cat lovers, we tend to pay close attention to the food we feed our furry friends. A healthy and nutritionally balanced meal is essential to ensure they are happy and healthy. Although it is vital to give them the best food, have you ever considered whether the bowls you serve it in could be harmful to your cats? If you think about it, it makes sense to investigate as cat bowls are made from various materials such as plastic, ceramic, and steel. But what is the best bowl for cats to eat from?
The unbreakable, dishwasher-safe, sturdy stainless steel cat food bowl is the safest option for cats because it does not release any chemicals into the food, even if it gets hot. Another tried and trusted option is a ceramic bowl, but only if it has been sealed with a lead-free glaze.
Indeed, we don’t mean to cause any harm to our kitties, but if you want to ensure that they receive the best, then you have come to the right place. This article will discuss the best and worst cat bowls on the market to help you make an informed decision when choosing the best bowl for your cat.
The 10 Best Bowls For Cat Food
There are many different styles of cat food bowls available such as;
- Elevated Cat Bowls
- Anti-Vomiting Cat Bowls
- Tilted Cat Bowls
- Orthopedic Cat Bowls
The following cat bowls are created with special care and are safe for your cats to use;
This brilliant cat food and water bowl allow your cat to eat in a natural position, which improves their digestion and supports a healthy posture. It is designed with the perfect curvature, returning the food to the center of the bowl as they eat.
They won’t have to push their chin into the edges of the bowl to get to the last bits of the food, as everything will stay in the middle, making it much easier for them to eat.
The Necoichi bowl is free of toxic constituents like cadmium and lead and is 100% dishwasher safe. It is made from ceramic and has an inner lip to prevent spillage.
Although it is better to separate your cat’s water bowl from their food bowl, URPOWER has created a double bowl on a non-slip rubber mat. The bowls are positioned far enough from one another, so your cat won’t even feel like the bowl are together on one tray.
The rubber tray is wide enough to catch any spillage from falling directly onto the floor, and the bowls are made from stainless steel, making the entire unit dishwasher safe. The steel is of high quality and is 100% rust-resistant.
This environmentally-friendly cat dish is made from 47% bamboo plant material, has a high-polish finish and a food-grade silicone base, preventing the bowl from sliding over the floor as your cats eat.
What makes it a great choice is the wide and shallow design, which prevents whisker fatigue, and although not dishwasher safe, the polished finish makes it easy to clean.
This sleek-looking stainless steel bowl comes with a non-slip rubber base that also prevents spillage. It is a broad, whisker-friendly bowl that is dishwasher safe and made from bacteria-resistant stainless steel.
The Simply Pets Slow Feed cat bowl is made from rice husk and eco-friendly bamboo fiber. The sides of the bowl are elevated to prevent spillage. The interesting design slows down your cat’s eating speed 4-6 times slower.
The design helps to prevent vomiting, gagging, or choking from eating too fast. It also helps prevent obesity in cats that tend to overeat and keeps them from gulping their food, leading to stomach discomfort and painful gas.
This cat dish has been scientifically proven to reduce vomiting. It is the perfect choice for a cat who either eats too quickly or has a sensitive stomach.
It supports cats with joint and muscle issues and keeps them from straining their neck muscles. It is a lead-free glazed ceramic bowl that is both dishwasher and microwave safe. The bowl helps your cat with digestion, and it is heat resistant.
This lovely cat bowl is sturdy, shallow, wide, and explicitly designed to prevent whisker fatigue.
The silicone base is easy to clean and hard-wearing and won’t erode over time. Best of all, it does not collect bacteria or hold odors, so your cat’s food and water will stay fresh for longer.
The Hepper Nomnom cat bowl is a favorite amongst cat owners. It is a non-slip double stainless-steel bowl set, and its modern design fits in with any décor in your home.
There is a rim all around the bowl set, catching any food or water which may spill, and each metal bowl can be removed for easy cleaning. The design is whisker-friendly and elevated for comfortable access.
This modern, corrosion-resistant cat bowl prevents cat acne. It has an extended outer rim for easy grip, is dishwasher safe, and does not harbor odors or bacteria.
Although this may not be the fanciest cat bowl on the market, it certainly is a safe and hygienic option.
This three-part system features an elevated stand, integrated mat, and ergonomically designed, patent-pending, US-sourced stainless-steel bowls.
The materials used in this wonderful product are even safe for humans. The injection-molded mat and stand are made using anti-fungal, anti-microbial additives and FDA compliant resins.
The ergonomic design makes drinking and eating easier for your cats, is whisker-friendly, and dishwasher safe.
10 Worst Bowls For Cat Food
We have looked at some of the best cat food bowls on the market, but how about the worst ones? What classifies a bowl as being bad for cats to eat or drink from? The answer is many things!
Firstly, you need to know where the bowl was made. The majority of pet bowls imported from China have a warning label that reads “not for human use.” So, if these bowls aren’t even safe for humans, why must our poor animals eat and drink from them?
There are so many articles on the dangerous toxins present in bowls manufactured in China. Most of these pet bowls from China are made from plastic or lead-glazed ceramics, two of the most unhealthy choices for pet bowls.
Before we list the worst bowls for cat food, let’s take a closer look at the different types of bowls to determine whether they are safe or not.
Are Plastic Bowls Safe For Cats?
Overall, plastic bowls are the most widely used cat food bowl, and with the cute fish designs and attractive price, why wouldn’t they be? Well, unfortunately, a plastic cat food bowl is the unhealthiest choice you can make, and here’s why;
- The slightest scratch or chip on a plastic cat food bowl creates a nesting pool for harmful bacteria.
- When plastic gets too hot, it melts or warps, making it difficult to sterilize with boiling water. Plastic bowls are, more often than not, not dishwasher-, or microwave safe. Simply washing them in warm water with soap does not eliminate all the bacteria that could be a possible health risk to your cats.
- Plastic releases harmful chemicals when it is heated. So, if it is a hot day and the plastic gets warmer, it will emit dangerous gasses and change the food‘s taste. The smell and the taste repulse cats, and ultimately, your cat will refuse to eat their food, causing them to be hungry and unhappy.
- According to The American Cat Company, “Plastic cat bowls cannot be fully sanitized.” BPA and other dangerous chemicals leach out into your cats’ food. It does not matter how often you wash plastic bowls; you won’t remove all the bacteria. Simply put, you cannot sanitize all of the crevices.’
- Feline acne is found on a cat’s chin and other areas of the face. It is a medical condition that forms blackheads, lesions, bumps, and whiteheads and causes irritation and inflammation. Unfortunately, one of the leading causes of cat acne is an allergic reaction to plastic, as the bacteria in the cracks aggravates your cat’s delicate skin.
- If you detect any signs of acne on your cat’s face, remove the plastic bowl immediately and ask your local veterinarian for treatment and advice on which bowls to use instead.
- According to the Texas A&M College Of Veterinarian Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, “Plastic food dishes tend to harbor microbes, so we recommend that owners switch to metallic dishes and clean them daily.”
Toxic Chemicals In Plastic Cat Food Bowls
BPA is a toxic chemical in plastic that disrupts hormones and causes various other health problems. BPA was banned by the FDA in the use of sippy cups and baby bottles but is still found in lots of different plastics.
Most plastics contain phthalates, which are plastic softeners. They are endocrine disruptors that can cause developmental disorders, low fertility, asthma, malformations of reproductivity in boys, and increases allergic reactions.
Project TENDR (Targeting Environmental Neuro-Developmental Risks) has identified phthalates as “a prime example of chemicals of emerging concern to brain development.”
Phthalates were banned in 2008 by the US in the production of toys as tests revealed the presence of the chemical in the urine of 99% of people that were tested.
Unfortunately, the attempt to replace these harmful chemicals with other chemicals in the BP family has shown almost precisely the same effects as BPA.
Synthetic estrogen mimickers still manage to get into the contents in the plastic bowls, potentially causing heart disease, infertility, and cancer.
Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC)
PVC is considered one of the most toxic plastics, compromising the health of our cats and the environment. PVC releases vinyl chloride, cadmium, ethylene dichloride, dioxins, and phthalates. These harmful chemicals are slowly leaching into your cat’s food and water.
According to the CDC(Centers For Disease Control), children are more affected by lead than adults. The EPA.gov (Environmental Protection Agency) says, “Children may also be exposed to lead by eating and drinking water from dishes or glasses that contain lead, inhaling lead dust from lead-based paint or lead-contaminated soil or from playing with toys with lead paint.”
So, if you think about how dangerous it is for little children, imagine how harmful it must be to our cats or any animal for that matter.
50% of teethers and plastic toys from China contain bromine, an endocrine disruptor usually found in flame retardants.
Bromine’s vapors not only irritate the throat and eyes it is also corrosive to human tissue in a liquid state. These vapors are highly toxic to inhale, and even organic bromines can be absorbed through the skin, and they could contaminate food and water.
This dangerous element is known to cause cancer and respiratory illness. David Bellinger, a professor of neurology at Harvard University, who studies the effect that metal exposure has on children’s developing brains, says, “I do not think that I have ever seen a study on its potential toxicity in children-or adults. If it is common exposure and it is bioavailable, then it should be looked at.”
A carcinogen is sometimes called the “Erin Brockovich” contaminant because it too gained exposure to the movie of the same name.
The hexavalent form of chromium is very toxic and can cause adverse effects such as dermatitis, allergic skin reactions, and ulcerations.
Are Ceramic Bowls Safe For Cats?
Ceramic bowls with a lead-free glaze finish are a very hygienic and safe choice for a cat bowl. No chemicals are released if it gets hot, and ceramic is usually dishwasher and microwave safe.
However, ceramic isn’t indestructible, and unlike plastic or metal, it is unlikely for a ceramic bowl to remain in one piece if it falls. Ceramic bowls also chip easily. These cracks harbor unhealthy and unwanted bacteria that could compromise the health of your furry friend.
Bacteria isn’t the only concern if a ceramic bowl were to chip or crack, but the chipped edges are sharp, and cats can cut themselves while eating or drinking water. If a ceramic bowl is not sealed or glazed, bacteria seeps into the porous surface and becomes more septic with every use.
Are Steel Bowls Safe For Cats?
Stainless steel has proven to be the safest option for cat bowls. They are germ-resistant and sanitary, and due to their non-porous, hard surface, bacteria have no chance of entering their strong armor. It is indestructible, long-lasting, and won’t stain, rust or scratch.
It is also a very modern-looking bowl, and it comes as no surprise that stainless steel is at the top of the list as it is mainly used in cooking, and medical equipment, due to its antibacterial qualities. No other bowl comes close to its durability and cleanliness.
However, stainless steel bowls are made differently, and not all of them share the same high standards. Some stainless steel bowls contain radioactive metals and lead, and the quality can vary significantly as there are so many different grades of stainless steel.
A stainless-steel bowl approved by the Consumer Product Safety Commission is made from 18/8 304 series of stainless steel and goes through a series of tests to detect cadmium, lead, and mercury.
Certain factors play an essential role in selecting the best stainless-steel bowl for your cat, such as;
- What is the grade of stainless steel used?
- Does it prevent whisker fatigue?
- Is it dishwasher safe?
- In which country was the bowl manufactured?
Are Glass Bowls Safe For Cats?
Glass cat food bowls are another healthy option. It is non-toxic, non-porous, and made up of ingredients such as;
- Sodium carbonate
- Calcium oxide
These ingredients do not react with liquids or acids, are stable, sterilizable, and dishwasher-safe. Some glass bowls do, however, have lower manufacturing standards and regulations and some glass bowls from Mexico contain lead.
Another downside to glass bowls is that they are fragile and can break easily if they are accidentally banged against a counter or dropped.
Are Melamine Bowls Safe For Cats?
Melamine is another form of plastic and therefore present many of the same problems as plastic cat bowls. Like plastic, melamine can also leach chemicals into your cat’s food, and melamine contamination is reported to cause kidney failure and could ultimately lead to death.
Melamine bowls are not the best choice as a cat’s bowl because they are created by using wasteful materials. Melamine, also known as triaminotriazine or cyanuramide, is a colorless crystalline substance.
It belongs to the heterocyclic organic compound family and is found in synthetic resins. It is high in nitrogen, making it the perfect addition to flame retardant materials.
What’s The Verdict?
Now that we are aware of the health risks and possible side effects caused by different materials used to create cat bowls, we can compile the perfect list of The 10 Worst Cat Food Bowls to AVOID!
1)Marlton’s plastic cat food bowls
2)Cat food bowls manufactured in China (especially plastic)
3)Ceramic bowls with a lead-based glaze finish
4)Glass cat food bowls from Mexico (created using lower standards and regulations and contains lead)
5)Melamine cat food bowls made from wasteful materials
6)Stainless-steel cat bowls made with radioactive metal, lead, or cadmium
7)Bowls that are too deep (causes whisker fatigue)
8)Unsealed/unglazed ceramic cat food bowls
9)Single-molded double bowl (bowls are too close, causing whisker fatigue
10)Stoneware bowls containing lead
So, the next time you are shopping for a cat bowl, take the list mentioned above into consideration. Check the labels to see where it is from and do thorough research before deciding to make the purchase. If you are at all uncertain, ask the expert opinion of a veterinarian.
- Separate bowls for food and water are a better choice than a double bowl. Food can contaminate and change the taste of your cat’s water, and their whiskers get in the way when they want to eat or drink.
- Cats prefer shallow dishes because deep dishes irritate their whiskers, so next time, opt for a broad and shallow food and water bowl for your cat.
- Cats are pretty particular about the location of their bowls. The best spot for your cat’s food or water bowls is in a low-traffic area, with a balance of shade and sunlight. If you have other pets, consider placing your cat’s bowls on a higher surface where the other pets cannot reach.
- Cats do not like to be interrupted while eating and can feel threatened and will stop eating, even if they are still hungry.
- Cats get most of their water from their prey or the food they eat. Try to keep their water bowl separate and away from their food, because if any food gets into their water, whether it be from their whiskers after eating food, they won’t continue drinking from their water bowl.
- Cats love to drink from running water, so purchasing a pet water fountain will ensure that your kitties get all the hydration they need.
Our cats are a part of our families, and we protect our families. They deserve the same love and care we would give to a small child, and now that we know the importance of the material of a cat bowl, we can select a healthier option on behalf of our four-legged friends.
Next time you need to buy a bowl for your cat, ask yourself if it would be safe for a child because then it will also be safe for your cat. If they could talk, they would thank you for making their lives happier and healthier!
- Which Bowl? Facts and Advice | Petopedia (petscorner.co.uk)
- What are the Safest Cat Food Bowls? – Homeless to Housecats
- The 8 Best Cat Water Bowls (thesprucepets.com)
- Why Stainless Steel Cat Bowls Are Safest – Americat Company
- Cat Bowls: How to Choose the Best Bowl for Your Cat – Mishi Pets
- Melamine bowls!!! | TheCatSite
- The Surprising (And Dangerous) Truth About Your Pet’s Bowls (iheartdogs.com)
- Guide to Food and Water Bowls for Cats (thesprucepets.com)