Raised feeders aren’t just for dogs. Cats, especially flat-faced breeds, also benefit from eating in a more elevated position.
Put yourself in your cat’s place. Get down on “all fours” facing a floor-level plate or bowl and pretend to eat or drink from it. Your stomach is “crunched” into your chest. Is this what your kitty experiences while eating?
You might argue that cats are built by nature to stand on four legs, while we stand on two, but I nevertheless noticed that our four Persians seemed to suck their food off their plates, then gulped it down along with air, creating a propensity to vomit afterwards. They also spilled as much food on the floor as they took in. In addition, their whiskers became bent during floor-level dining, which seemed to make them feel uncomfortable.
To help alleviate these issues, we decided to switch to raised feeders for our kitties. Raised feeders are often used for dogs, especially those prone to bloat, but they can also be great for cats. In fact, when given the choice between raised level or floor level dining, our cats always choose the former.
You can either purchase or build an elevated feeder to suit your and your cat’s needs, your individual tastes, and even your home’s décor. Raised feeding stations are available in pet stores, and vary in height, shape and size. They can be created from wrought iron, plastic, ceramic, and many types of wood ranging from mahogany to bamboo. Some are designed for holding one, two or three bowls.
Before buying or building
- Consider the number of cats who will be using the feeder and whether or not to include the water bowl in the feeder – it’s a good idea to do so!
- Keep in mind that cats are natural “crouch” eaters; they do not like to eat in a standing position. The ideal height for a raised feeder is the cat’s knee height (approximately 4” to 6”); this eliminates the need to lift up the head while eating or drinking.
- Avoid the use of deep bowls in elevated feeders. Most stainless or glass bowls fit easily into elevated feeders. With minimum effort on your part, your cats can eat from clean dishes at every meal since glass or stainless bowls are dishwasher safe.
We opted to make our own raised feeders. We combed the internet for ideas before building two sets of elevated feeders out of wood. We have four cats, so we chose to make two feeding stations with holders for two bowls and a water dish holder to separate them. I painted the feeders to match our décor. I use Corningware bowls which, like stainless steel, are rust-free and non-leaching. (Plastic bowls end up with teeth marks and scratches that can harbor unhealthy bacteria). Our cats prefer shallow glass bowls over deep metal bowls, but both types are easily sanitized in the dishwasher.
“Before, my three cats would scatter their food across the floor,” says cat lover Atria, who has also started using raised feeders. “Now there is no more mess or fuss, it’s more sanitary, and I spend less time cleaning up. My Persians can now dine without having to put their entire at faces into the bowls, and when they drink, the water isn’t sucked up into their noses, or dribbled down their ruffs. And there’s no more snorting water and sneezing after they drink.”
Before building or ordering an elevated feeder, be sure do your homework to determine what size, style, material and height is best for you and your cat. The finished product will add a “touch of elegance” to your kitchen, and your cats will look especially elegant (and adorable) while dining upscale!