Where To Put Your Cat Food and Water Bowls: Location, Location, Location!

It’s a question that many cat owners ask on a regular basis – Where is the best place for my cat’s stuff? 

To some, keeping all the cat stuff together seems like the logical answer (this used to be me). To others, placing bowls in the kitchen is the answer. In reality, neither of these common cat bowl locations may be best for your cat! 

Choose a Calm, Quiet Location

Once you have the right bowl, pick a place where there is not a lot of foot traffic. A quiet space, such as a spare bathroom or a hallway, will help keep cats relaxed, so they can eat in peace.

Because of its proximity to the pantry, sink, and trash, the kitchen is a common location for cat bowls. If your home is quiet, the kitchen works. But, if your kitchen is bustling with activity, it is not the best location. The commotion could make your cat nervous about eating, or someone could accidentally step on your cat's tail.

Keep Cat Bowls Away from the Litter Box

You don't like to eat in the bathroom and neither does your cat! Food and litter boxes should be kept a considerable distance apart. The main reason is to avoid cross contamination that may occur when cats cover up after themselves. If litter particles end up in the food or water bowl, they may get eaten and cause your cat to become sick.

Also, in the wild, cats go to the bathroom away from their nest, so that predators do not pick up on their scent. At home, having food and litter close to each other may confuse cats, as they are not sure if they should eat or use the restroom, throwing off their usual patterns.

Choose the Right Bowl

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, first, make sure your cats' bowls are safe for them. 

This is my baby girl Bella eating from her favorite bowl. We use this bowl, because it is made in the USA, lead-free, and whisker friendly. 

Separate Food and Water Bowls

Even though dual bowl stands for food and water are very popular at many pet stores, food and water should actually be kept in two different locations. Cats do not enjoy the scent of food while drinking water. They are also turned off by food particles in their water. Cat behaviorists believe this may be due to cats hunting away from their water source in the wild. Ideally, you should keep cat food and water bowls in two separate locations. 

Separate Food Bowls for Each Cat

Veterinarians and cat behaviorists agree that giving cats their own food bowls is best. In the wild, cats eat and hunt alone, and are wired to be protective of their food. Forcing cats to share bowls at home may result in cats eating too quickly, guarding bowls, and fights. 

Feeding cats from separate bowls also allows you to give different portion sizes and diets. Even if your cats eat the same food now, that may not always be the case as they age.

Read more in another blog article we wrote about whether cats should share food bowls.

Consider Your Dog

If you have a dog at home, think about placing cat bowls at a higher elevation, like on a counter. Or, place them in a location where only your cat can fit, like a cat condo. Not only does this help keep your dog from eating the wrong food, but it will also help relax your cat. If your cat eats near your dog, your cat may become too scared to eat or, alternatively, eat too fast.

Pick a Permanent Place

Cats are creatures of habit (just like their parents!) so once you pick a location, keep their bowls there. Moving bowls frequently will only confuse your cat, causing them to disrupt their regular eating and drinking schedules.

These are my cats' favorite food and water bowls. A few years ago, I was guilty of keeping all the cat stuff in one place, a spare bathroom. The litter box was in one corner and the food and water bowls were in another. Now, I keep Bella's food bowl in the breakfast room and Penny's food bowl in the hallway by my office. I keep their water bowls in the kitchen (which is quiet in my case) and in a spare bedroom upstairs.

They seem to enjoy the peace of having their own territories. I now understand this is more sanitary and also keeps them from competing with each other for food.

Setup a 2nd Location to Transition

If you've learned that your cat bowls should probably be in different places, don't just move your cat's current bowls. This may confuse your cat. Instead, keep bowls in the current locations plus setup bowls in the new locations. After your cat has adjusted and used bowls in the new locations, you can remove bowls from the old locations.

Hope this helps you and your cats! Have an area that works great for your cats? Share in the comments below.


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  • Hi Lada, good question! We wrote more about that in another blog article:

    It’s ok for cats to drink from the same bowls. But for feeding, it’s best to have scheduled mealtime where the cats are physically separated in different rooms or you are watching to make sure they don’t eat from each other’s bowls.

    Americat Company
  • Hi,
    Thanks for the new insights!
    I just wonder how do you make sure that your two cats are not eating & drinking from each other’s bowls?

  • My wife and I are planning on adopting a kitten soon, but neither of us is too familiar with animals because we have never had pets before. It was really helpful when you mentioned that the water and food bowls should be in two separate locations. Hopefully, by following your advice we will be able to help our new pet adjust to our home when we get it.

    Thomas Clarence
  • I live in a small home with a 15 month old kitty who was rescued from a local shelter. Her bathroom is near mine but far from our kitchen because I too prefer a distance between the two. We have breakfast and dinner together but as a rule I skip lunch. She has access to clean fresh water at all times and dry food in case she needs a snack during the day. All of her bowls are washed after use, just like mine. We go for walks at least twice a day and sometimes 3. She of course has her harness and leash to keep her safe and out of trees. She gets along with all the 2 and 4 leg friends in our community. And sometimes has her (my) sisters dog visit for a few days when on a vacation. They respect each others food area but share a common water area. She, and he sleep together cuddled up on my bed, which sometimes means I sleep on the couch. They like the middle of the bed and are reticent to give it up. I grab a pillow and quilt and head for the couch and I would swear I can hear them laugh a little as I go down the hall. You all know what I mean

  • Did you learn something new?

    Americat Company