Cat Food Feeders and Water Fountains Product Reviews and Recommendations
There are some great products for feeding your gorgeous ragdoll while reducing the messes that will inevitably arise. Also, we strongly recommend that you use a water fountain. Please note that this page contains affiliate links, and we may be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on these links.
As always, please follow the advice of your veterinarian. If your vet recommends a different feeder or watering solution, there is probably a good idea behind their advice to meet the needs of your ragdoll.
Here are the important details:
We have not used any of the automatic cat food dispensers, primarily because it is important for a cattery to monitor how well each of these cute little fur balls is eating. But for your needs, an automatic dispenser could be very helpful. Cats love fresh food, and when a dispenser can supply a little at a time, it will keep the rest of the food inside the reservoir where it stays fresher. The ease and convenience of an automatic dispenser lets you focus on enjoying the purrs.
Here is an amazing automatic cat food dispenser that has a smartphone app where you can set up multiple daily schedules for feeding. It even tells you when the reservoir needs to be refilled and many other features.
Gravity flow cat food dispensers are very simple devices without any smartphone app setup. You simply put food in the reservoir and insert it into the feeder. That’s all. They are a very low cost way to keep food ready for your furry kitty.
For the most part they work very well. In some cases it is possible for cat food to lodge in the spill chute and prevent the refilling of the bowl. It is usually fairly simple to clear the blockage by bumping the feeder, and sometimes cats even clear the blockage themselves when they attempt to access the food they see in the reservoir.
One other item, about which we don’t have any original research or insight. There are people who describe allergic reactions on the chin of cats who eat out of some types of plastic bowls. Most of the low cost gravity flow cat food dispensers are made of plastic. Some people also believe that plastic may harbor microbes or bacteria. We simply aren’t experts in this area and we haven’t experienced these concerns. Apparently there are a large number of people who are satisfied with these dispensers because there are huge numbers of 5-star ratings. If you decide to try one of these very economical gravity flow dispensers, watch for signs of soreness or allergy, and ask your vet to check for you. If it isn’t causing a problem for you, then no worries!
Here is a great gravity flow cat food dispenser. We recommend the “small” size because it has a 6 lb reservoir capacity, which is a common size of bags of dry cat food. The top side lid is also very helpful clear a blockage without disassembly and to add more food while maintaining first-in/first-out for freshness.
You can also get a matching set of gravity flow cat food and cat water dispensers. See more on the water dispenser topic below.
Yet again, there are numberless choices for cat food bowls. Lots of fun, modern, fancy, simple, beautiful and utilitarian cat food bowls available for you to choose from. Traditional bowls have a timeless quality to them and can work very well.
We recommend that you focus your selection on the following key factors:
- You want a heavy bowl to reduce the likelihood that it will get tipped over accidentally. Plastic tends to be light weight. You want a bowl that can be sanitized, and plastic doesn’t always stand up to cleaning chemicals and hot water. Plastic can crack or break if it is dropped. Finally, as mentioned above, there are some people whose cats have experienced allergic reactions to certain types of plastic. There are probably some plastic bowls that have none of these detriments, and if so, great! But there so many great stainless steel and ceramic bowl options out there, don’t go with plastic.
- Ceramic and porcelain look beautiful and sanitize well. It can break or chip when it is dropped. We don’t have a microscope to examine these bowls, but some people have reported that micro cracks can emerge in ceramic bowls in ways that can harbor bacteria that could be detrimental to a cat. Frankly, there is bacteria everywhere, starting with the litter box. Our opinion is that if you find a beautiful ceramic bowl or porcelain bowl that you can’t live without, go for it!
- We use stainless steel, largely because it is very utilitarian for a cattery. Steel doesn’t break or crack, it is heavy to avoid tipping, and it sanitizes well. These are good reasons for everyone to use stainless steel.
Elevated and angled
- We can’t find any research or studies about the benefits of elevated and angled cat food bowls for cats. There are plenty of websites that make the assertion as a statement of fact, but don’t offer anything to base their statements on. We can certainly imagine that big dogs might benefit from an elevated bowl, but cats are not tall animals. Before cats were domesticated they drank water from rivers and streams situated at or below ground level and somehow lived to tell about it. 🙂 Will a few inches really make that much difference? Maybe, and possibly for older cats with aging joints. Lots of cat food feeder manufacturers apparently believe it, or at least lots promote it. We would be very interested to read some reasonably scholarly information on the topic. In the meantime, it certainly won’t hurt to have an angled bowl and a few inches of elevation won’t be a problem either.
- Some cats can be picky eaters. They like their food fresh, and it is possible that they may eat less than they should if their food isn’t fresh. Not to mention, it is wasteful to have food go stale. Therefore, shallower bowls hold less food which will be easier for us pet parents to remember to not overfill the bowl. This will keep the food in the bowl fresher and not be wasted. Also, there are people who say that shallow (wide) bowls don’t bother a cat’s whiskers. As with the elevated/angled bowl topic, we can’t find any original scholarly content to read, so we don’t really know if this is true. But if you use a shallow bowl for the reasons already given, you will get any whisker-affecting benefits also.
Mess containment features
- The truth is that some cats are messy eaters, especially when it comes to dry cat food. They pick up a piece of food in their mouth and as they chew fragments can fall out of their mount, sometimes onto the floor, which will leave a mess. There are several different tray and catch basin methods of keeping the food mess contained.
Okay, that’s a lot to absorb. Here are recommendations for your consideration, factoring in all of these parameters. The ideal cat food bowl will be elevated and angled, made with shallow stainless steel bowls, and wrapped with a mess containment system. A very close second would be the same thing with ceramic or porcelain bowls. Frankly, most any beautiful cat food bowl that makes you happy will probably be just fine too.
We have used a wide variety of cat food feeder solutions over the years. We now just use the following three products:
This is our primary go-to solution to feed our ragdolls. With two stainless steel bowls, you can use one for food and one for water if you want. It is elevated and angled, and has a great catch basin solution for trapping food and allowing splashed water to drain through the first level deck. The rubber skid feed help to keep it in place and it santizes easily. These feeders are awesome. We are going to use them forever.
These shallow, stainless steel bowls are perfect for our ragdoll kittens. The shallow sides prevent it from tipping over easily, and the rubber base keeps it in place. They are easy to clean and work great for wet cat food and kitten formula. Durapet cat dishes are intended to sit on the floor and are the perfect height for kittens and small cats.
Just like the cat food feeders, the stainless steel and ceramic type cat food dishes will work for water bowls. The Neeter Feeder dual-dish set has an innovative mess catching solution for water and food that allows splashed water to drop down to the lower catch basin. These are good solutions. However, we have a very important recommendation for you when it comes to providing water for your purring ragdoll.
When feeding your fur ball dry cat food, it is especially important that your cat get plenty of water. They need extra water to hydrate the dry food that they eat. Fountains are a great tool to persuade your kitty to drink more water because cats are attracted to the moving water.
We are convinced that a moving water fountain, especially if it has a carbon filter, will make a significant contribution to the health of your ragdoll over her full lifespan. Here is how:
- Carbon filtered water will be cleaner and taste fresher to your kitty
- Moving water will be more interesting and attractive for drinking
- The more water that your ragdoll drinks, the better she will be able to digest dry cat food and the better she will be able flush toxins from her body.
Our recommendation is that unless there are other extenuating circumstances, your fluff ball will be very well served by a pump-driven, stainless steel water fountain with an activated carbon filter or a similar ceramic fountain. The good news is that there are lots of excellent options for these fountains.
There are many different stainless steel cat water fountains available to choose from and most are very modestly priced.
This is our primary go-to solution to provide water for our ragdolls. We have been using these fountains for many years and have been very pleased with their performance. The activated carbon filter is affordably replacable in 4-pack and 8-pack quantities. The steel is dishwasher safe and the pump is a champ. We recommend this fountain for our Ragdoll Family.
We have not used any of the ceramic cat water fountains on the market today. But they look very substantial, and are certainly a graceful addition to the decor and ambience of your home in the form of a small water feature.
There are some water fountains with a motion sensor so that the fountain only runs when your kitty approaches. If the sound of the water in the fountain is an annoyance then the motion sensor is probably a good idea for you. However, don’t worry about the other claim of saving electricity – the pump motor is so small that even running continuously for a year will only consume $2 worth of electricity. In our opinion, the cleanliness and health value from your ragdoll having the water continuously filtered is worth much more than the $2 worth of electricity savings.
Here is a beautiful white ceramic fountain bowl that looks great. They list it as “ultra quiet” and it is continuously filtered with a 2.1 liter lower reservoir. If we were in the market for a water feature type of ceramic fountain, this is the one we would try.
For those of you who want a ceramic water fountain, we do recommend this one from Pioneer Pet. It comes in all white or all black ceramic, and uses the same pump and filter solution as the stainless steel fountain we discussed above. We are very pleased with Pioneer Pet’s stainless steel fountains and are confident that you will be happy with their ceramic fountains also. When you consider the low price compared to other ceramic fountains, this one is a great value.
A word of caution
Years ago we used water dispensers that had an UPPER reservoir with gravity flow, but also had a pump to circulate the water through a carbon filter. They were great devices except for one minor detail. The circulation path had a screen to block cat hair from entering the pump intake. If that screen became partially clogged the water level behind the screen would drop and the reservoir would gravity flow more water even though the running water portion of the unit didn’t have any more holding capacity. As a result, the water would get pumped out onto the floor as the reservoir drained.
So the lesson we learned is: don’t use a pump solution with an UPPER water supply reservoir unless we can be confident that the return path won’t get clogged with cat hair. Lower water reservoirs do not have this risk.
We aren’t seeing this type of upper reservoir pumped fountain on the market anymore, but just be aware of this issue if you are considering something like this type.