I have noticed that while my cat eats, he has trouble getting his food pellets into his mouth, perhaps because of the shape of the food bowl? The food bowl I use is a small, circular, flat bottomed dish with 2 inch side rims -- pretty standard.

Has anyone done research on the most comfortable food bowl shape for cats?


The best bowl to use is a bowl that is wide and shallow. So maybe a plate with high sides or something similar. I use a platter with high sides that is metal. The cat will have trouble getting the last pieces into its mouth because the large bowl will make the food slip away from it as it tries to lick them up, this can be stopped by getting a bowl with more traction on it.

From The Cat Bible: Everything Your Cat Expects You to Know By Tracie Hotchner:

The shape of the bowl is important because a deep narrow bowl is really uncomfortable for a cat. A bowl of this shape can crowd a cat's whiskers, soil the hair on a long haired cat's face, and cause problems for flat-nosed breeds such as Persians or Himalayans. Cats generally do best with food and water bowls that are wide and shallow.

The book goes on to say that plastic is good, but can cause medical issues in some cats and scratches that can accumulate easy can harbour bacteria. Some other things to make sure of are to make sure the bowl does not move as the cat goes inside it to eat stabilizing the bowl in a cat bowl holder or having a heavy bowl should work. Some cats are also allergic to metals, so you should know what your cat is allergic to.

Additional Info

While these may not be considered research some of these resources are written by Veternarians.


There is still no definitive research on whisker stress/fatigue (the theory that leads folks to suggest wide, flat bowls).

Boston Magazine recently interviewed multiple sources looking for confirmation of whisker stress and could not find any veterinarians to agree it is a problem that cat owners should be concerned about. These sources include:

  • Journal Searches
    • Journal of the American Veterinarian Association
    • American Journal of Veterinary Research
    • International Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery
  • MSPCA's Angell Animal Medical Center
  • Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University
  • American Veterinary Medical Association

Many of the sources quoted in the article stressed that if your cat has trouble eating or has behavioral changes at mealtime, they should see a veterinarian for an assessment.

As the AVMA’s Meyer explained, “If you notice your cat having difficulty eating or showing behavioral changes at meal time, talk to your veterinarian. There could be serious and treatable medical problems affecting your cat, such as an illness or painful problems with their teeth.”

This advice agrees with my own experience. Whenever a cat has changed their eating habits (or gotten significantly messier at meal time), they've had a painful mouth condition. Once we addressed that issue, their habits returned to normal.

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