Plastic, ceramic, or stainless steel cat bowls? Why stainless steel cat bowls are safest!

You’ve researched the best cat food, but have you thought about the best cat bowl to serve it in? Cats use their bowls multiple times a day every single day making cat bowls one of the most important products that you will buy for your little babies. So, it's important to carefully select the right type!

Stainless steel cat bowl

Our goal at Americat Company was to create the best and safest cat bowl. So first, we diligently researched the different material options, plastic versus ceramic versus stainless steel. 

After analyzing the different materials, we gave each type of cat dish material a grade based on safety, design, and overall performance. This is the cat bowl that we ultimately chose to create based on our goal to create the safest and durable bowl. 

We wanted to share what we learned about the pros and cons of plastic versus ceramic versus stainless steel cat bowls to help you pick the perfect bowl for your cats.  

Pros and Cons of Stainless Steel Cat Bowls 

+ Sanitary and germ-resistant, because bacteria cannot enter hard, non-porous surface
+ Unbreakable
+ Long-lasting and won’t easily scratch, stain, or rust despite constant use
+ Easy to clean and dishwasher safe
+ Attractive, modern look
- Quality may vary depending on grade of stainless steel

Grade: A

Rationale: Based on our testing, stainless steel is the best material for cat bowls. Frequently used in medical equipment and in cooking because of its antibacterial qualities, stainless steel is safest for cats. Its cleanliness and durability cannot be beat. 

However, not all stainless steel cat bowls are created equally. Some bowls made overseas have been found to contain lead and other radioactive metals. Also, there are hundreds of grades of stainless steel, so quality can vary greatly. 

Once we determined that stainless steel was the safest material for cat bowls, we researched the different types of stainless steel bowls. Here are 5 tips for choosing the best stainless steel cat bowl.  

This is the stainless steel bowl that we trust for our own cats. It is made in the USA in a facility that also makes healthcare and culinary products. It is made from 18/8 304 series stainless steel, and after manufacturing, each batch is tested to be free of lead, mercury, and cadmium by an independent lab accredited by the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Pros and Cons of Plastic Cat Bowls

+ Inexpensive given light weight 
- Can become a breeding ground for bacteria. Plastic cat bowls develop scratches over time. Scratches and plastic's porous surface trap bacteria, which thrive on leftover food and saliva
- Cannot be fully cleaned. Washing only cleans smooth surfaces, not bacteria within tiny scratches 
- May cause cat acne. A cat's chin can become inflamed and infected from bacteria on plastic bowls
- May contain BPA, phthalates, and other toxins that can leach into food

Grade: F

Rationale: Although plastic cat bowls can be inexpensive, you get what you pay for. They can pose a number of risks. Cats can develop an infection or feline acne from bacteria in the cracks of a plastic bowl. They may also contain BPA, phthalates, and other potentially harmful toxins.

If you'd like to read more about plastic cat bowls, we dove deeper into whether plastic cat bowls are good or bad for cats in a separate article.

Pros and Cons of Ceramic Cat Bowls

+ Can feature fun, artistic designs
- Can develop chips or cracks, which harbor bacteria similar to plastic cat bowls
- Can shatter and break easily. Sharp shards can injure you or your cat
- Glaze may contain lead or other toxins that are not foodsafe

Grade: C

Rationale: Ceramic cat bowls are safer than plastic. But, their fragileness, ability to harbor bacteria if not glazed properly, and potentially toxic paint make them a gamble.

In Summary, Stainless Steel is the Best Type of Cat Bowl

After researching the pros and cons of plastic versus ceramic versus stainless steel cat bowls, stainless steel is the clear winner. Unlike plastic and ceramic, bacteria from leftover food and saliva cannot enter stainless steel's hard surface, so stainless steel cat bowls are more sanitary. They are also more durable and easier to clean.

But, Choose the Right Stainless Steel Bowl

Quality of stainless steel cat bowls can vary dramatically. At a minimum, be sure to look into 1) the country where the cat bowl is manufactured, 2) the grade of stainless steel, and 3) whether the cat bowl is non-toxic. Also consider whether it prevents whisker fatigue and is dishwasher safe. Learn more in our article, "5 Tips for Choosing the Best Stainless Steel Cat Bowl." 

The Stainless Steel Bowl Our Cats Use

Our cats Penny and Bella love Americat Company stainless steel bowls, because they are whisker friendly and don't harbor bacteria. We love that they are made in the USA from 18/8 304 series stainless steel, are non-toxic (free of lead and other radioactive metals), and dishwasher safe.


About Us: Americat Company is where love for cats meets American craftsmanship. Founded in 2016, we are a cat-loving, woman-owned, small business. We make cat products in the USA from safe, durable, U.S. materials. Shop all our made in the USA cat products here.

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