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?
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!
Here are a few things to keep in mind when choosing a 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.
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.
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 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.
Hope this helps you and your cats! Have an area that works great for your cats? Share in the comments below.