More information regarding our evaluation process is available here. Independently researching, assessing, and recommending the top options are our editors. We may receive commissions on purchases made after clicking on one of our chosen links.
Pet owners might not think much about the proper water bowl for their cat. But it turns out that giving your cat enough water has a ton of benefits. The wild cat’s predecessors didn’t have a high thirst drive since their diet of small animals supplied the majority of the moisture they needed. The moderate chronic dehydration that may occur in house cats who eat predominantly dry food, especially in senior cats, can lead to urinary tract and kidney problems.
Making sure your cat is properly hydrated is one of the best things you can do for their kidney, urinary system, and pretty much every other organ in their body. Similar to people, keeping animals adequately hydrated keeps their bodies and brains functioning at their best. It also helps with toxin clearance, lessens constipation, and prevents kidney stones in animals.
Your cat might not be motivated to drink from the water bowl even if you leave it out. Fortunately, water dishes that encourage cats to drink more water have been developed by pet supply firms, including heated, chilled, and drinking fountain bowls. When choosing a bowl, you should also consider its shape and size, the materials used to make it, and how easy it is to clean.
The best cat water dishes are listed here.
Best Overall: Our Pets Premium Rubber-Bonded Stainless Steel Cat Dish
A cat should be able to drink from it for at least a day and a half, but it may be a little bit heavier. It also comes in 0.75 cup, 1 cup, and 1.25 cup sizes.
Best Budget: Frisco Stainless Steel Bowl
Simply remove the rubber ring to clean it in the dishwasher or by hand.
Best Ceramic: Park Life Designs Paris Pet Bowl
Best Fountain: PetSafe Drinkwell 360 STAINLESS Pet Fountain
We adore the PetSafe Drinkwell 360 Stainless Steel Pet Fountain. We value its large capacity and carbon filtration system, which keeps the flavor and odor of clean, fresh water. A second foam filter is used as protection for the motor to increase its lifespan. Most of the components are dishwasher safe, and disassembly is not too challenging. You can rest easy knowing that a replacement pump and carbon filters are easily accessible even though it is built to last.
To find the one that makes your cat feel the most at ease and ready to drink, you can experiment with five different water flow options. Your cat might need some time to adjust to the movements and the motor's hum.
What Testers Say
“We were a little concerned about putting the PetSafe Drinkwell 360 together since it involved lots of pieces, but the process was simple thanks to the included instruction book. Once assembled, it has been simply a matter of filling it with water and experimenting with the spout attachments.”-Sharon Lehman, Product Tester
Best Spill-Proof: Modern Artisans Heavy-Weight Splash-Resistant Stoneware Water Bowl for Dogs and Cats
Best Weighted: Bone Dry Ceramic Dog Bowl
It is available in a variety of exquisite patterns and colors that may complement your personal style. They come in single bowls, sets of two bowls, 0.75-cup bowls, and 1.5-cup bowls.
READ NEXT: The 11 Best Cat Toys of 2022
Best Set: Ureverbasic Small Pet Feeding Bowls, Set of 2
Pet parents love the robust stainless steel and larger base with a silicone ring that prevents tipping and sliding. The only potential flaw with this set is that you have to be cautious when cleaning to prevent using materials that could remove paint. These bowls will also be dishwasher safe provided the silicone ring is taken off and a high heat setting is avoided.
Since cats dislike odors near their water, veterinarians advise keeping food and water at least three to five feet apart or farther.
Best Heated: Farm Innovators Heated Stainless Steel Pet Bowl
The Farm Innovators SB-40 Stainless Steel Bowl will also be used by birds and other animals besides cats. The 40-watt heater prevents the water from freezing in conditions below freezing. Even though the volume seems enormous, even in low-humidity areas the water evaporates, so you'll need it. The stainless steel interior of the container is simple to clean and hygienic, despite the fact that it must be scrubbed by hand to protect the electronics.
The heating element will automatically shut off when the water runs out to prevent overheating or damage. It is also safely grounded to prevent shocks and electrocution. It has a one-year limited warranty and is also available in 5.5-quart size.
“Our Pets” We enjoy the obvious quality and price of Durapet Premium Rubber-Bonded Stainless Steel Cat Dish (view at Amazon). It is slip- and stain-resistant and has the right depth and dimension. Offering your cat the five various settings of fresh, clean water that the PetSafe Drinkwell 360 STAINLESS Pet Fountain can pour may help motivate them to drink more.
What to Look for in Cat Bowls’ Materials
The bowl aisle at the pet store may appear intimidating due to the numerous options available. There are a few considerations to make while selecting a cat water bowl. Veterinarians typically advise ceramic or stainless steel water bowls since they are reliable, easy to clean, and largely resistant to bacterial growth. They are less likely to flavor the water or introduce other aromas, which can further deter your cat from drinking.
In addition to ceramic, stainless steel, and plastic bowls, retailers also have bamboo, stoneware, melamine, silicone, and stainless steel bowls.
It’s crucial to remember that many manufacturers have enhanced the aesthetics of stainless steel bowls by applying a powdered coating or epoxy resin to the exterior and occasionally even the interior. If you’re looking to buy a stainless steel bowl for all of its benefits, be careful not to get one that has been coated with plastic, which would more closely resemble a plastic bowl.
Veterinarians don’t typically recommend plastic bowls because they could be of lower quality and have several drawbacks for your cat. All plastics are made with petroleum-based chemicals. Most of them emit substances as they age, especially when they are exposed to sunlight, and some of them are quite porous. Cracks and crevices may also harbor harmful germs that could upset your cat’s stomach and give off an unpleasant odor.
If you must use a plastic dish, make sure it is actually “BPA-” and “phthalate-“free. Chemical hardeners like bisphenol A, also referred to as BPA, are used to make plastics. BPA has been shown to disrupt the endocrine system and cause a variety of disorders, including cancer, cardiovascular damage, early puberty, chromosomal and reproductive system abnormalities, and impaired brain and neurological functions, according to the nonprofit watchdog Environmental Working Group.
Since silicone will endure longer and is more inert than plastic, it is less likely to leak toxins into the environment and human health than plastic. There are many different types of silicone, but those with more extra fillers are less healthy for the cat. Overall, silicone food and drink containers are just slightly better than plastic because there aren’t many long-term studies on their use. Lightweight silicone is a top alternative for collapsible portable pet dishes, despite being less ideal for regular use.
Remember that silicone and plastic can both leak chemicals when heated to high temperatures, as those experienced during the drying cycle of your dishwasher. Because of this, if you must use plastic or silicone, be careful to hand wash them occasionally and change the bowls once a year.
Size and Shape
A bowl should be at least slightly wider than your cat’s whiskers, but choosing ones with straight edges or those that curve outward will make them more difficult to tilt. Their whiskers act as a third sensory organ, sending the same amount of information to their brains as their eyes and ears do. Many cats won’t drink from little water bowls because the rims irritate their incredibly delicate whiskers. Choose a shallow, wide water dish that has enough room to hold two days’ worth of water for your cat.
Per pound of body weight, cats normally drink 20 to 40 milliliters of water per day. That equates to 1 to 2 cups per day for a cat weighing 12 pounds. If you give them fresh water every day, they should never run out and won’t have time to develop much bacterial growth or stench. Make sure the volume is adequately scaled up for numerous cats and animals with larger body weights.
Where should I put my cat’s water bowl?
The most tranquil, fresh, and clean environment is ideal for a cat’s water dish. Cats are predators, yet they must also be prey because of their biology. Therefore, drinking a glass of water may make people feel vulnerable. If the atmosphere is too busy or noisy, your cat might not feel at ease and comfortable enough to take their time and drink their entire amount.
Many cats possess keen senses of smell. They might avoid a water dish if it is too close to their food bowl or litter box. This is because their species has only ever consumed odorless water as it has evolved. They believed that smell in water could be a sign of microorganisms or other harmful substances. It will be easier to avoid foreign objects from getting into their drinking water and contaminating it if you keep them away from rubbish and food.
In order to prevent the possibility that your cats will run out of fresh, clean drinking water, the location you select should be somewhere you can easily check on.
How can I stop my cat from tipping over its water bowl?
Spills of water cause more than just inconvenience. Some flooring damage could lead to trips and falls. To prevent tipping, use a bowl that is shallow and wide at the base. Additionally, stability might be improved by having straight sides. Because they include additional weight in the base or are composed of naturally heavy materials like stoneware or ceramics, some bowls are more difficult to tip over (see above). Others find that putting a pad made of rubber or another material under the bowl can prevent it from sliding and keep any water drips off the floor.
Do felines have their own water bowls?
Even if sharing a bowl with another cat won’t harm them, it is advisable to have at least one water dish for each cat. We want to make sure that nothing stands in the way of our cats obtaining enough water every day. Even cats with a close attachment and who have been raised together since birth might develop territorial behavior. They have a reputation for being an independent species. That also applies to their demand for private space. As was already mentioned, they also need to relax in order to drink enough. However, they could find it challenging to relax if they think there is a dispute over the bowl. If they can’t just move to another bowl when the dominant cat approaches, they might not be getting all the water they need.
Different water bowls should be separated from one another by being placed in separate rooms or far apart in the same room. No cat will be able to keep an eye on more than one bowl at once, therefore there will always be a safe bowl to drink from.
Why Should I Trust the Product Review from the Cat?
For the past 35 years, Lorraine Wilde, the essay’s author, has had at least two cats in her home, some of whom have unique needs. Long into their early 20s, her two cats lived contented, healthy lives. Her current feline friends have stomach and urinary system problems, so making sure they drink enough water has been very important.
When researching these brands, Lorraine evaluated the nature and quality of each product, client comments, the company’s R&D activities, and business ethics.
Lorraine also holds a Bachelor of Science in Biology and a Master of Science in environmental science. She is adamant that individuals are capable of making moral, informed, and earth-friendly choices that will protect both their pets and the environment.
READ NEXT: The 9 Best Automatic Cat Feeders of 2022