Are raised cat feeding stations a good idea?

A social media user posted the picture below and ask whether the feeding station was too high. I thought that it was just about acceptable. I was prompted to ask myself whether raised cat feeding stations were beneficial to cats. Or perhaps useful for their caregivers.

Raised food bowl advantages?
Raised food bowl advantages? They are limited in my view. Image: u/Homonomore on Reddit.com
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles:- Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

There might be a small benefit to the cat’s owner. It might be easier to maintain the feeding area but I’m guessing.

There is one website which lists seven different benefits for a raised feeding platform, but I don’t agree with almost all of them. They state that a raised feeding station: improves posture, reduces indigestion, reduces vomiting, encourages healthy eating, prevents food contamination, minimises mess and helps elderly owners.

I think the author is being very adventurous in stating these benefits with such confidence without supporting science and hard facts. The reducing mess suggestion might have some validity. The rest I don’t really see as true.

My research indicates that there is no evidence that it reduces vomiting or indigestion. I don’t see how it can encourage healthy eating. And I can’t see the logic in suggesting that a raised platform prevents food contamination. I explore some of these points more below.

The natural way for a domestic cat to eat is with their food on the ground. That is how their wild cat ancestor eats. I think we should be guided by the behaviour of the wild cat ancestor of the domestic cat.

Gravity

The issue of gravity is maybe a valid one. The other website didn’t emphasise this. It may be a little more difficult for a cat to swallow food when feeding from a bowl on the ground compared to when feeding from a raised platform because they have the assistance of gravity in the latter method. If, therefore, a cat has a problem with swallowing food it may help.

There is at least one medical condition to do with difficulty in swallowing: pharyngeal dysphagia. Another condition is cricopharyngeal dysphagia. Not being a veterinarian, I don’t know anything about them. But a cat with these conditions may benefit with sitting more upright when feeding. A well-known veterinary website does not support that suggestion by the way.

Food contamination

They state that with the food off the ground there is less chance of contamination from dust and dirt on the ground. I don’t really get that unless the owner has a very dirty kitchen with a very dirty floor. Anyway, I feed my cat on the kitchen counter! And that is spotlessly clean 😊✔️👍.

Frankly, it is much easier to keep a kitchen counter clean than a floor. A lot of people won’t like the idea of feeding their cat on the kitchen counter. I realise that.

Minimising mess

Well, mess is a potential problem with cat food and water bowls. Cats do sometimes drag the food out of the bowl onto the surface around the bowl. I’m referring to wet cat food. Anything to make feeding your cat more efficient is a good idea.

I don’t really see how a raised feeding and water bowl makes less mess. I can’t agree with this is a suggested benefit.

Clearing up easier on counter

The big advantage of feeding my cat on the kitchen counter is that I can clear up much more easily because I’m standing up rather than hunched over. Once again, very few people will take up that option. I would highly recommend it.

I don’t believe in cats transferring disease to people any more than humans transfer disease to other people. In fact, people transfer far more diseases to other people than cats because most diseases are not zoonotic which means they cannot be transferred from animal to human and vice versa.

Encourages healthy eating

Once again, I don’t believe this. The author of that website is making most of it up. They suggest that when a cat feeds with their bowl on the ground or on the kitchen counter (in my case), they get stiff necks, back pain and indigestion. An extravagant claim without any evidence. Do you have first-hand evidence to support this bold statement? This is nonsense in my view. It reads like fiction to me. And the author makes no attempt to support their statement with science or through a study.

This claim is simply not to be believed.

Conclusion

My conclusion about raised cat food and water bowls is that they might be more convenient for cat owners. They might help keep the area around the food and water bowls a bit cleaner and tidier as it might be a little easier to keep clean. They may make feeding a little more convenient for individual cats such as an infirm, elderly cat. The last point may be the biggest point.

I would welcome comments because I am speculating. I have never used a raised platform such as the one you see in the photograph. I’m dependent, therefore, on other people’s first-hand experience.

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