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Cat bowl and automatic feeder buying guide

Cat bowl and automatic feeder buying guide

Pauline, Self-taught DIYer, Leeds

Guide written by:

Pauline, Self-taught DIYer, Leeds

125 guides

Cats all have different eating habits. Some are happy with two set meals while others prefer to snack throughout the day. So how exactly should you feed your cat and what kind of feeding equipment do you need? Read on to find the right cat food bowl or automatic feeder to keep your feline friend purring!

Important features

  • Size
  • Material
  • Mechanical
  • Electronic
  • Food preservation
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Cat bowls come in all different sizes and materials including plastic, ceramic and stainless steel. These bowls can be used to hold water, dry food or wet food. Automatic cat feeders or drinkers may be mechanical in which case the water or food simply falls into a bowl. Alternatively, they can be electronic meaning they can either be programmed to set times or designed to open automatically when your cat sits in front of the device.

Cat bowls can be used to provide your cat with wet or dry food, or water. No matter what you use it for, the bowl must be cleaned on a daily basis. It is possible to find double bowls but cats usually insist that their water bowl be kept far from their food or they may even prefer to drink from a water fountain.

Cat bowls also come in all sizes, colours and materials. Some cats will happily eat from a stainless steel bowl while others prefer ceramic. Sometimes, it's best to test out a few different bowls to find out what your cat likes best.
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Cat water fountains

Automatic cat feeders are designed to dish out the correct portion of food automatically. Basic models feature a small tank that gradually sends out dry food. Electronic cat feeders are either designed to distribute food at set hours or when your cat sits in front of the machine in which case the feeder reads a chip on your cat's collar.

Automatic cat feeders are really handy for keeping your cat fed if you have to go away for short periods of time – they'll also prevent you getting woken up at 5am by a hungry cat!

Cats are brilliant hunters but they do have trouble seeing things that are too close to them. That's why they'll often check the water level in a bowl using their paws. But many cats prefer to drink from a moving water source. Cat water fountains can be used to keep your cat's water fresh. Automatic drinkers can be made of plastic or ceramic.

Depending on the model, there may be different access points, overflow trays and waterfall settings. In terms of noise level, each pump makes a different noise so read up on the product specifications and have a look at the customer reviews before purchase.

Cat water fountains are made up of a tank and a drinking tray which is always filled with the same level of water. In fact, this system is pretty close to a water bowl with the big difference being that you don't need to keep topping it up!

Taking a train, car or plane ride? Your cat will need to be able to drink in transit! Some travel carriers are equipped with built-in water bowls but others will need to be fitted with containers to keep your pet hydrated. If you want to prevent spills, a cat travel water bottle is ideal: these bottles are equipped with a deep water bowl to prevent mess.

Need to save space on your travels? Go for a foldaway food bowl to save space.

There are a couple of situations in which you may find yourself having to nurse kittens; for example if you've found abandoned kittens or a nursing cat isn't producing milk.

Kitten nursing bottles are often supplied with kitten formula but you may need to buy more if you have a lot of kittens to feed.

These bottles are either made of plastic or glass. The formula is released by a nipple which must be pierced correctly – you don't want to release too much formula at once as this can present a risk of choking.

Quick tip: for very young kittens (1 day to 3 weeks), a pipette is best for nursing.

Cat food should be given in strictly measured portions to prevent your pet putting on or losing weight. Feeding scoops make it easy to measure out dry cat food on a daily basis.

To keep your cat food fresh, it's best to invest in an airtight cat food container. These containers work to:

  • protect the food from air and moisture;
  • keep the food out of the sun;
  • preserve all ingredients (especially taurine).

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Cat food scoops and accessories

In addition to bowls or feeders, you might want to think about investing in some cat feeding accessories such as:

  • Bowl covers;
  • Feeding mats;
  • Cover for automatic feeders;
  • Replacement feeder accessories (bowl, food tank, etc.).
After all, a well-fed cat is a happy cat!

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Cat feeding accessories

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Guide written by:

Pauline, Self-taught DIYer, Leeds, 125 guides

Pauline, Self-taught DIYer, Leeds

With a handyman-father, I grew up with the soft sound of the sander and hammer on weekends. I am both manual and cerebral, I learned the basics of DIY and the customisation of furniture because I was passionate. The salvage mentality is a true way of life that allowed me to know how to use all the tools and products needed to give something a second life, from a sander to varnish. I have two favourite activities: the transformation of old furniture and decoration tips. I am always ready to lend a helping hand to revamp a table or to restore a mirror that was intended for the tip that will become a friend’s centrepiece. I’m convinced that it’s possible to reinvent an interior by small, regular modifications and I constantly research low-cost ideas.

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