What kind of water bowl is best for cats?

Cat drinking from a bowl
Cat drinking from a bowl. Photo by Candid Shots from Pexels
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The kind of water bowl that is best for cats is either glass, ceramic or stainless steel and reasonably shallow. The shallowness is to avoid your cat’s whiskers brushing against the sides as they drink. Some cats don’t like this, apparently. The reason for glass, stainless steel or ceramic bowls is twofold. Some people believe that you can’t clean plastic bowls properly because bacteria can build up inside the scratches of the bowl which can predispose cats to developing feline acne.

Cat drinking water
Cat drinking water. I think some cats prefer drinking out of clear bowls. Try it if you think your cat is no drinking enough and try a different position. Picture in the public domain in my view.

An alternative reason is that a similar condition to feline acne is an allergic reaction to rubber or plastic water bowls (and food bowls of course). Either way, plastic bowls are less good than glass, ceramic or stainless steel ones. If your cat has feline acne and you’re struggling to deal with it then you should at least change his bowl if he is using a plastic one. You will also need to see your vet about it but it normally responds to cleansing of the skin twice a day with an ointment or gel containing 2.5 to 5% benzoyl peroxide.

There is one other point to make about glass bowls. It has been theorised, and it may be a practical point, that cats prefer to drink out of glass bowls. This may be a visual thing. It may encourage a cat to drink and we know that that is important because they are poor drinkers; their DNA makes them like that because they inherited it from their wild cat ancestor.

Cat Drinking From Muddy Pool
Cat Drinking From Muddy Pool. Collage by Michael from picture by ehud

You probably know this already. Domestic gas tend to prefer muddy puddles outside to tap water which has been chlorinated. Rainwater is purer and does not contain the chemicals that tap water does.

2 thoughts on “What kind of water bowl is best for cats?”

  1. I put my two cats on a totally wet food diet several years ago at the encouragement of my veternarian. Prior to that, they were on a dry food diet and drank from a pet fountain. Since switching to the wet food, I haven’t seen them take a single drink. (Water, of course, though one does like champagne!). I keep a ceramic dish of water available, but they don’t seem to need or want it.

    • Yes, your story sounds very typical. My cat grazes on dry food during the night and therefore he does drink some water. I also occasionally give him cooked prawns and there may have some salt in them which makes them thirsty! But he’s addicted to the damn things


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