Are you wondering if your cats need raised dishes?
Cats are made to eat off the ground, right? True, but we’ve seen some great benefits of a raised bowl for a few of our cats. Kitties that suffer from digestive or indigestion issues, anxiety or food insecurities, and arthritis can be especially helped.
For cats with digestive issues, an elevated bowl can help slow eating. The raised position also lets gravity help the food move into the belly.
Cats with anxiety can find that a raised bowl allows them better peripheral vision. Food is a valuable resource for cats and meal-time can feel vulnerable with other cats or humans around. By having a better view of things around them, they can feel more secure while eating.
The sad fact is that 90% of all cats will suffer from arthritis as they age. By taking the strain off crouching to the ground, many cats with arthritis can eat much more comfortably… and this is likely why raised dishes for cats are increasingly popular.
However, there are a few issues we see with this growing market of raised dishes:
- Bowl size. Many of these elevated feeders include bowls (or bowl holes) that are not sized for cat comfort. Whisker stress is a real issue – and investing in a raised system that doesn’t consider this issue can turn out to be a waste of money.
- Food and water are side by side. What’s the problem with that? Don’t you put food and water dishes in the same place? Many people do – but cats instinctively prefer their water source to be a good distance from their food. In the wild, cats know their food source can contaminate their clean water – so many cats will not drink from a water bowl anywhere near their food dish. Perhaps this explains why some cats prefer drinking from the toilet.
- Platform placement. Many of these elevated feeders are designed to be placed up against a wall. Convenient for us, but not at all considerate of a cat’s instincts. As mentioned, mealtime is a vulnerable time for cats. They need to feel secure knowing they will not be ambushed by a larger predator while trying to enjoy a meal. Putting their dish up against a wall so a cat has their back to the world can be very scary for them. Some simply will not eat. Feline behaviorist recommend moving a cat’s food dish out from a wall by at least 18 inches. This allows a cat to enjoy their meal – with their back facing the wall, and their eyes keenly peeled for any approaching predators.
We’ve found a wonderful and affordable option for these issues in something most all of us already have in our homes. Books. We just grab a few books and let our cats let us know where they want to eat. Then place their whisker stress-free dish on the stacked books and watch them enjoy a relaxed and nourishing meal.