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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 food and water bowls? 

Orange cat eating from cat food bowl

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! 

We recently wrote about how to pick the best stainless steel cat bowl. Now, here are some tips on choosing the best location for your cat’s food and water bowls:

Choose a Calm, Quiet Location

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 littler 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.

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.

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 cat 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. 

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. Some say this is an ancient trait, because cats would hunt away from their water source. Ideally, you should keep cat food and water bowls in two separate locations. 

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.  

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.  

What About Scratching Pads? 

Besides wondering where to put cat bowls, many cat lovers asked us where to put cat scratching pads. So, we researched the best locations. Learn more here.



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  • Americat Company on

    This is so sweet. Thanks for sharing!

  • Nannysgirl on

    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


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