The Best And Worse Spots For Your Cat’s Food Bowl

  • Time to read: 16 min.

This is a question that many cat owners find themselves asking, and to some, keeping all the cat stuff together seems like the logical answer. This is uninformed, but with the correct information and reasons, you will be placing your cat’s food bowl at the optimal place!

Deciding where to place your kitty’s food bowl doesn’t seem to be very difficult: Just set their bowl on the floor, fill the bowl with food, and your cat will come running for food. However, this is not how it works, as your cat has preferences for where they want to eat, and it is up to you as their parent to know where these places are and why your cat prefers them!

Placing your cat’s food bowl in an ideal location will allow them to enjoy their food more and mark mealtimes as a positive experience. Read more to find out what to look for in an ideal place and where these places may be!

What To Look For When Placing Your Cat’s Food Bowl

  • Cat Dish Placement. In the wild, cats like to have a clear view of their surroundings in order to be able to detect the approach of predators or rivals. This means that where you decide to place your cat’s feeding dish plays a crucial role in their level of comfort at feeding time.

Placing your cat’s dish in the corner of a room will put them both on guard and edge because they will not be able to see what’s surrounding them. This is especially accurate in homes consisting of several cats or a dog or several dogs present. To lessen the tension and your kitty’s anxiety, try positioning their dish out in the open to maximize their sightlines. 

Feeding your cat should be a positive experience for you and them. Hopefully, the following tips will help you find the perfect place for your cat’s food bowl!

  • Choose a calm and quiet location. It will benefit both you and your cat if you pick a place where there is never a lot of noise or foot traffic. A quiet, calm space will help keep cats relaxed so that they can eat in peace, and refrain from rushing their meals. A loud and busy location will cause stress and keep your cat from eating or even force them to eat too quickly and vomit.
  • Choose the correct bowl. If you have chosen the ideal location, be sure that you choose the best bowl as well. Cats use their bowls numerous times a day, every single day, making cat bowls one of the most important products any cat owner will ever be able to purchase. So with that being said, make 100% sure that your cat’s food bowl is safe for them to use!
  • Separate the water bowl from the food bowl. Even though you have probably heard about dual bowl stands, it may not be the best choice. Dual bowl stands are extremely popular at many pet stores, but food and water bowls should be kept in two different locations. Cats do not like eating and drinking water with the bowls right next to each other

Cat behaviorists and several studies have shown that this may be due to vats hunting away from their water source in the wild. Cats do not enjoy the scent of their food while drinking water. Food particles in their water resources also nauseate them.

Therefore, as the cat owner, you will need to provide them with food and water conditions as close to their natural habitat. Keep your cat food and water bowls in two separate locations. And if you are currently using a bowl stand, use a single bowl stand rather than a double bowl stand so that you can easily separate your cat’s food and water.

  • Separate the food bowls for each cat. Both cat behaviorists and veterinarians agree that giving cats their own food bowls is best. In the wild, cats will always eat and hunt alone. They are wired to be protective of their food in case of other robbers or predators. 

Forcing your cats to share their food bowls with one another may result in your cats eating their food too quickly, guarding bowls, and even fights. Feeding your kitties from separate bowls also allows you to provide them with different portion sizes and diets according to age and weight. 

Even if your cats are okay with eating from the same bowls now, that may not always be the case, as they will age. It would help if you got some different bowls for your kitties as soon as possible.

  • Consider your other pets (if you have other pets). This is something to look into, especially if you have a dog at home. Think about placing your cat’s food bowls at a higher elevation, like on a counter. Not only will this help to keep your dog from eating the wrong food, but it will help to relax your cat. If your cat eats near or next to your dog, your cat may become too scared to eat or eat too fast.
  • Pick a permanent place for your cat’s food bowl. Cats are creatures of habit, just like humans. This is crucial to keep in mind when you decide to pick a place for their food bowl. Once you have picked a place, keep their bowls there. 

Moving bowls frequently will not only confuse your feline, but it could cause them to disrupt their regular eating and drinking schedules. Cats seem to enjoy having their own territories. Not only is keeping their bowls in one place more sanitary, but it also keeps them from competing for food.

  • Set up a second location if you want to transition. If you have learned that your cat’s bowl should probably be moved to a better location, it would not be smart just to move their current bowl. This will leave your cat confused.

Instead, keep the bowl in the current location while having a second bowl at the new locating. After your cat has fully adjusted to the bowl being in the second location and has used it a few times, you can decide to move the bowl from the old location then.

The Best Places To Place Your Cat’s Food Bowl

Now that you know exactly what to look for when searching for the best location for your cat’s food bowl, you might find it helpful to know a few basic locations that your cat will find most comfortable. 

If you have a spare bedroom inside your house, it might be a smart idea to place your cat’s food bowls there. The quiet and isolated space will give your cat enough confidence to approach their food bowl while feeling safe from food robbers and predators. 

The only possible con that this placement could have is the possibility of guests. This might not be the best place if you have regular guests staying the night in your spare bedroom, as the times can possibly clash with your cat’s feeding times, making them less comfortable. 

Hallways are also generally a suitable area to place your kitty’s food bowl. You could place the food bowl at one of the sides in your hallway. Again, the hallway might not work for households with more pets or people, as it can become too busy for your cat to feel safe and comfortable when eating. However, if you have a quiet hallway, it might just be your best bet!

Because of its proximity to the pantry, sink, and trash, the kitchen is also a very common location for placing cat bowls. If your home is generally quiet, the kitchen will work wonders. But, if your kitchen is regularly bustling with activities, it would not be the best location. 

The commotion and noise could make your cat nervous about eating, or someone could accidentally step on the cat’s bowl, making it less sanitary and comfortable for your kitty. As mentioned, your cat will appreciate all the privacy it can get when eating. 

If you have a cat door, your porch would be a wonderful choice to place your cat bowls. Not only would your cat have food readily available, but cats are hunters by nature and might enjoy a little “outside time” when snacking or eating their meals.

Lastly, your garage may be a suitable place for your cat bowls if it is cluttered, as your cat will feel safe and protected. You just have to take note of cars going in and out of your garage, which might be causing unnecessary stress for your cat during meal times.

You could also place your kitty’s bowl in your study room or office if you have one, as you are not moving around much in these areas. It will create a calm and safe environment for your cat to eat from!

The Worst Places To Place Your Cat’s Food Bowl

When it comes to the worst areas to place your cat’s food bowl, there are definitely some places cat owners have put their cat’s bowls that will shock you. Now that you know where to put your cat’s food bowl, you might think there are some grey areas. Let’s discuss the grey areas and the no-no areas!

As you know by now, cats are private animals, and they often hate noisy and crowded places altogether. Make sure you avoid noisy places like a living room. The reason for this being the sole purpose of a living room- imagine you ad your whole family talking and watching tv with your poor cat trying to have a snack or meal. 

Your cat will instantly be on guard and anxious, feeling like they are being watched. Not only can this cause your cat to lose weight, but they might become aggressive and develop serious behavioral issues.

Secondly, there has been a lot of talk about putting your cat’s food bowl in your bathroom. The easiest and most simple answer would just be not to! If you are wondering why not put your poor kitty’s food bowl in your bathroom, ask yourself if you would ever eat in your bathroom. 

Obviously, your answer would be no. Just imagine if you enjoyed your privacy, and someone comes in to invade it. This is exactly how your cat would feel when they are enjoying a tasty meal, and you enter the bathroom, breaking the silence and making them overly anxious.

Another common placement for cat owners to place their cat’s bowls would be their bedroom. This doesn’t seem right for several reasons, the main one being for you as the cat parent. All cats like to eat several times a day, often constantly snacking on the food in their bowl. 

Some of the times a cat likes to eat would be during the night, as they are nocturnal creatures. If you are lying in bed trying to get a good night’s sleep, the chewing of your cat might wake you up, startling both you and your cat. This will cause your cat to run away and feel unsafe while eating, and they might stop eating altogether. 

Some cats enjoy eating from a more elevated area, and if you have dogs, you would definitely want to monitor your cat’s bowl during mealtimes. Some owners prefer placing their cat’s food bowls on elevated areas such as countertops or desks. 

This is, however, not a good idea as it can encourage your cat to rob food from a counter, and it could create anxiety. The anxiety bit comes from when your dog looks at your cat while eating, making your cat feels like they need to be in competition for food.

Avoid placing your cat’s food bowl in sunny areas like windowsills and directly into the sun. This can cause their food to become dried out, which can impact your cat’s moisture levels. 

Also, avoid areas that frequently get water. Your cat’s food can suck up the moisture and become stale, and even become moldy. This can increase your kitty’s chance of getting infections and becoming sick.

Lastly, never, ever put your cat’s food bowl outside. Cat food tends to attract flies, cockroaches, and other dirty insects. You wouldn’t want to eat food with insects on, and neither would your feline friend. Cats are extremely sanitary creatures, and they are constantly cleaning themselves, so contaminated food would definitely put them off and make them lose their appetite. 

Should Cat Food Be Close To The Litterbox?

Keep your cat’s food bowl away from the litter box at all times! You wouldn’t like to eat in the bathroom, and neither does your cat! Food bowls and litter boxes should be kept a considerable distance apart for many reasons. Let’s discuss the litterbox and food situation and the reasons why you should keep them apart

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The main reason to keep your cat’s food bowl and litter box apart would be to avoid the chance of cross-contamination that may occur when cats cover up after themselves after using the bathroom. If litter particles end up in their food or water bowl, your cat may still end up eating the contaminated food and cause them to become sick. 

It is very rare that your cat would actually eat their food at all when it is placed near their litterbox because of their impeccable sense of smell.

Also, in the wild, cats will go to the bathroom away from their nest so that predators will not be able to pick up on their scents. At home, having their food and litter too close to each other may confuse them entirely, as your cat will not be sure if they should eat or use the restroom, completely throwing off their usual patterns.

When it comes to placing your cat’s food bowl away from the litterbox, the best thing to remember would be to keep a cat’s sense of smell in mind. A cat’s sense of smell is quite strong; it has to be because its sense of smell locates its prey and identifies the possible dangers. 

If your kitty’s food is too close to their litterbox, the smell of the excrement inside the litterbox may overpower their food’s scent. This can prevent them from eating at all, and it may disrupt her appetite, as it may prevent their ability to smell their food.

Think about this: if you were to eat near a smelly toilet, you will most probably only smell the foul smells and wouldn’t be able to concentrate on the tasty meal right in front of you! But, even if you could still be able to smell the meal, the smell of the toilet would still turn your stomach. The same happens to your feline friend, who has a much better smell than you!

So, the main question is, how far away should your cat’s food dish be from the litterbox? The answer is fairly simple: Far enough away so that the scent of their litterbox will not interfere with the food. 

As a general rule, if it is possible, do not place the litterbox and the food bowl in the same room. If you are tight on space and have to place them in the same room, place the litterbox in the corner of the room and set the food bowl in the corner that is the farthest away from the litter box.

Should A Cat’s Water Bowl Be Away From The Food Bowl?

The placement of your feline friend’s food bowl and water bowl may not seem like something to think about at all. In fact, most cat owners place the two bowls directly next to each other. While some cats adapt and show to issues with this, other cats may rebel. Your cat could refuse to drink the water, knock the water bowl over, or drop food into its water bowl. These are all signs of the water bowl being too close to their food bowl.

Your cat’s water bowl should be placed at least 3-5 feet away from where their food bowl is placed.

Your cat’s water bowl should be placed at least 3-5 feet away from where their food bowl is placed. Many cats can’t stand the scent of food near their water. In the wild, cats try to drink from the freshest flowing water resources, and mixing food and water often results in bacterial growth and sickness. 

Your cat may also want to drink and eat in different places so that they will be able to run and hide from “predators.” Even the act of hunting down the different bowls set in different places can feel more natural to a cat and motivate them to eat more.

For scared or jumpy cats, it can feel risky to eat and drink in the same place. The best solution is to gradually move their water disk away from the food dish, a few inches at a time. When you separate the bowls all at once, I can put your cat in distress, especially those of you who have cats who are already protective of their food or water bowls.

Why Do Cats Not Like Water Near Their Food?

Cats dislike having their water bowl near their food, but the reason behind it may sound strange or petty to some cat parents. It is especially true if you move the water dish a few to the left and find the cat rejecting it all of a sudden. The truth is, cats have very sensible and valid reasons for their petty habits:

  • They are avoiding predators. Cats will often drink water, go to the bathroom, and eat in different places in the wild. This is to make sure that other animals like robbers and predators will not be able to catch their scent or invade their territory. While your house cat certainly doesn’t need to worry about dangerous predators or rivals, their natural instinct will still remain intact.
  • Avoiding sickness. Cats that eat, drink, sleep, and defecate around the same spot will commonly find their food and water contaminated by harmful bacteria. This can lead to your cat getting ill shortly after. Your cat will prefer that all of its belongings stay in their own spot around the home. Grouping them closely together, in your cat’s mind, is the same as inviting illness.
  • They are enjoying their hunting instincts. Studies found that cats do not typically eat large, infrequent meals throughout the day. Unlike humans, cats will hunt smaller prey and consume around ten to twenty smaller meals on a good hunting day. 

Of course, these meals cannot be found in the same place, and your cat needs to look for them! Keeping this in mind, your feline will be more likely to drink and eat if it feels like they hunted for it. You can encourage your cat’s instincts by placing its water and food in different places around your home. 

  • Hiding places. Because cats are both prey and predators, they understand that drinking and eating make them vulnerable. For example, when drinking and eating, their heads will be down, and they will be busy with the water or food. 

This will give any predators a good chance to sneak up on them! By merely placing their food and water bowls in different locations, your kitty will have more options. They can eat in one secluded place, drink in another, and even pick from different food and water spots. Also, if your cat is new to your home, it can help them feel more protected and less exposed. Even if one of your chosen spots is compromised by foot traffic, a different place will still feel safe.

Things To Consider About Your Cat’s Food Bowl

The problem comes in when your cat was accepting their food bowl before, no matter its placement. If your cat has picked up this habit suddenly, it is likely because of three main things:

  1. Bowl’s material

Cat’s tend to be particularly picky about the material of the bowl they will eat their food out of. You may need to go by trial and error to see which bowl your cat prefers. Plastic bowls may be a lot cheaper, but your cat may get irritated or uncomfortable by the way its whiskers cling to the surface. 

Stainless steel, porcelain, and glass bowls are designed to keep food dry and fresh all day long. These types of bowls tend to work best for even the pickiest cats.

  1. Bowl’s smell

Because of their good sense of smell, cays are also very sensitive to certain smells. If a plastic bowl still has a chemical residue of mildew growing along its surface, your cat will probably refuse to use it at all. 

The same will happen if you give your cat another pet’s bowl or swap out a food bowl and use it as a water bowl. Be sure also to change your kitty’s food daily and sanitize the bowl on a weekly basis. This will eliminate all possible smells.

  1. Stagnant food 

Some cats will hate their food bowls altogether if their food isn’t replaced regularly. This is why it is of utmost importance to make sure you store your cat food properly, to ensure that it is the freshest it could be for your feline friend!

Conclusion

Now that you know exactly where and why you should or should not place your cat’s food bowl, it will benefit both you and your cat. Not only will it cause you to be more vigilant to learn to know your feline, but your cat will certainly appreciate your efforts and have a more balanced and fixed diet and feeding times.

For pet owners, it is on the top of our priority list to ensure that our cats are safe, comfortable, as well as healthy, and food bowl placement plays a significant role. 

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