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Every time my cat eats, he gets food all over the floor, making it a really disgusting and unappealing corner in the house.

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What solutions could I use to avoid this problem?

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6 Answers 6

up vote 11 down vote accepted

I can think of two possible solutions, having experienced this problem myself.

The first would be to use a dish with higher sides as long as feeding is still physically possible. You may also purchase a dish that has sides that curve inward so that the cat cannot push the food over the sides (see picture).

bowl

Now this may not be the exact style of bowl that will work, it is just an example. Plus you should probably use a safer material than glass. The edges could curve inward more drastically and even curve downward after inward. The base should probably also be more solid and larger so that it won't be easy knocked over.

The second solution would be to place a mat under the dishes. I have used placemats but you could use something with edges, such as a rubber shoe mat. This makes for easy cleanup. You remove the dishes, shake the mat off into the garbage, and put it back. If you have a vacuum cleaner, they are pretty easy to clean off as well.


Edit: I have found a commercial solution if you desire to try this instead. I have never tried it yet it seems to have good reviews on amazon. I will provide the link and you can peruse the reviews and decide if you are interested.

Link: The Neater Feeder

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2  
The cranberry colored one looks like a bug-eyed Iron Man. It's perfect. :P –  Matt S. Jun 20 at 15:07
    
Bowls rather than plates (as shown in the OP's picture) helped me with this too. The walls didn't need to be especially high; basic plastic bowls sold as food bowls for pets did the trick. –  Monica Cellio Jun 22 at 16:32

The solution we use, given that we have a similar problem, is a rubber boot mat. Basically, it has slightly raised sides that help contain the spillage and is very, very, easy to rinse and wipe to clean up. If you look around a bit, you can probably find one that doesn't look out of place or odd (ours is a gray color and blends reasonably well with the kitchen floors and walls).

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Ditto to this. It doesn't stop spillage but it does keep all the spillage in one place and is easy to clean up. I still wonder why the cats do this at all though... –  Iguananaut Jun 21 at 19:32
    
I had a cat that would do a head-shake after some bites as a reflex. This contributed to most of his messiness. –  Oldcat Jun 23 at 18:31

You might also check your cat for dental problems.

Our cat has Feline odontoclastic resorptive lesions, aka FORL. She will gradually but eventually need all of her teeth removed.

She recently was making more and more of a mess while eating, perhaps because of pain while chewing. Then she had six teeth removed. Despite having fewer teeth to "hold in the food", she isn't messy while feeding now. (And her general mood has much improved.)

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Good point, from the question it sounds like the messiness has always been an issue, but that's not to say there hasn't always been a small problem with something like, say, sensitive teeth. –  Matt S. Jun 20 at 22:38
    
That makes some sense. I think both of our cats became messier eaters after they got their teeth removed :( –  Iguananaut Jun 21 at 19:33

It's seldom a simple one size fits all problem (as the various posts are indicating).

Tooth / gum / mouth issues can result in some cats annoyingly mincing food into lots of small pieces and scattering.

Cats that like to lick up food (rather than bite / chew it) will need deep dishes and/or ones with vertical walls to keep the food in.

Other cats are more comfortable eating and make less of a mess with flat plates where they can get to all the food.

You'll need to try several things since your cat's issue isn't necessarily the same as another one.

It always helps if you have some glutton cat who likes to clean up the mess though :)

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God love the glutton-cats: "Cleanup on aisle three..." –  user2505 Jun 21 at 15:13
    
Except when they go to another cats serving, push that cats head out of the way, and steal food.... –  Dan S Jun 21 at 19:27
    
Yeah - that only works if they all move down a bowl. (That has happened at my house more than once.) –  user2505 Jun 22 at 1:43
    
I have a master glutton who eats fast, a amateur glutton who eats a lot but slowly, and a non-glutton... makes for annoying feeding time gymnastics. –  Dan S Jun 22 at 16:57

Ah, yes, the "eat some now and save some for later" technique. :)

I tried deeper bowls, but had two cats that would literally pick the food up out of the bowl, drop it on the floor, and then eat it. I finally gave in to reality, put down a mat, put another one along the wall like a backsplash, and called it good.

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I had the same problem with my cat. If anything, deeper bowls made the problem worse. Eventually I realised that she prefers to eat on a flatter surface, so now I feed her on a plate. The food is no longer scattered all over the floor.

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As you can see, his food is on a plate, on the side where the mess is worse. –  Dbugger Jun 21 at 7:00
    
Sorry, I should have looked at the picture more closely. But now that I do... it looks like most of the food on the floor is kibble from the bowl. I only see one piece of moist food from the plate. So it might be worth a try to put the kibble on a plate too. In any case, perhaps this answer will be useful to others in future. –  mhwombat Jun 21 at 16:58
    
Some cats pick the food up, others lick at it and push it backward off the plate. Some shake each bite, and some have few teeth and drop bits. I had a cat that did all these at once, RIP. Sometimes I would turn the plate to move the bits to the front to avoid pushing off the back. –  Oldcat Jun 23 at 18:29

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