Do Cats Really Need Elevated Bowls?

As a cat owner, you may have heard the heated debate over whether or not elevated bowls are necessary for your feline friend. Some people swear by them, claiming that they aid in digestion and prevent whisker fatigue. Others argue that they’re nothing more than a passing trend. But what’s the truth behind this controversy?

In this article, we’ll explore the pros and cons of elevated cat bowls to help you determine if they’re right for your furry companion. We’ll delve into the science behind the benefits of raised bowls, such as how they can alleviate neck and joint strain for older cats. On the flip side, we’ll also discuss potential downsides, like causing your cat to gobble up their food too quickly or creating messy spills.

But let’s get to the heart of the matter: do all cats really need elevated bowls? The answer isn’t straightforward. While some cats may benefit from a raised feeding position, others may not require it at all. We’ll examine different scenarios, including cats with medical conditions that necessitate an elevated bowl and how to ensure your cat’s unique needs are met.

Whether you’re a die-hard elevated bowl advocate or simply curious about this feline feeding trend, keep reading to uncover the truth about whether or not your cat truly needs an elevated bowl.

Benefits of Elevated Bowls for Cats

While it may not be necessary, there are several benefits of elevated bowls for cats that are worth considering.

One of the primary benefits of elevated bowls is that they improve digestion. When your cat eats from a flat surface, they have to bend down and position themselves in an awkward position that can cause strain on their neck, spine, and digestive system. This can lead to vomiting and regurgitation. However, elevated bowls allow your cat to eat at a more natural angle, promoting better posture and leading to better digestion. Your feline friend will enjoy their meals without any stomach discomfort.

Another benefit of elevated bowls is that they reduce the amount of air cats swallow while eating. When cats eat from a bowl on the floor, they often have to take big bites and swallow quickly to avoid competition from other cats or animals in the household. This can cause them to swallow air along with their food, leading to digestive problems such as bloating and gas. Elevated bowls allow cats to eat at a slower pace, reducing the likelihood of swallowing air.

Elevated bowls can also be helpful for older cats or those with arthritis or joint pain. Bending down to eat from a bowl on the floor can be uncomfortable and painful for cats with mobility issues. Instead, elevated bowls eliminate the need for cats to bend down, allowing them to eat more comfortably. This means they can enjoy their meals without any added discomfort, giving them the energy they need to play and explore.

It’s important to note that elevated bowls may not be suitable for all cats. Cats with certain medical conditions such as feline acne or dental problems may find it difficult to eat from an elevated bowl. Additionally, some cats may not take well to the change in feeding location and may refuse to eat from an elevated bowl altogether.

Digestion Improvement with Elevated Bowls

One crucial aspect of their well-being is their digestive system. Cats have a unique digestive system that requires them to eat small, frequent meals throughout the day. However, when they eat, they can swallow air along with their food, leading to discomfort and bloating in their stomachs. Luckily, elevated bowls may just be the solution.

Elevated bowls have been recommended by experts to improve your cat’s digestion by allowing them to eat at a more comfortable height. When cats eat from a bowl on the ground, they need to crane their necks down to reach their food. This position can cause them to swallow more air, leading to digestive problems.

By elevating the bowl, cats can maintain a more natural and comfortable posture while eating. This can reduce the amount of air they swallow and promote better digestion. Additionally, elevated bowls can benefit cats with certain medical conditions such as arthritis or other mobility issues. These conditions can make it difficult for cats to bend down to reach their food, causing them discomfort and pain. By providing an elevated bowl, these cats can eat without straining their joints and muscles.

It’s essential to note that not all cats may benefit from elevated bowls. Some cats may prefer to eat at ground level and may not experience any digestive issues despite swallowing air while eating. It’s always best to consult with a veterinarian before making any changes to your cat’s feeding routine.

Comfort for Older Cats and Those with Arthritis

As our feline friends enter their golden years, it’s common for them to develop joint pain and stiffness, making everyday tasks a challenge. This discomfort can be particularly frustrating for cats with arthritis, who may struggle to bend down to ground-level bowls and may even avoid eating altogether. Fortunately, there’s a simple solution that can make mealtime more comfortable and enjoyable for these cats: elevated bowls.

By raising food and water to a more comfortable height, elevated bowls can reduce the strain on your cat’s neck and back, allowing them to eat without experiencing discomfort or pain. Not only that, but elevated bowls can also help prevent spillage and messes – a true bonus for cats with mobility issues.

However, it’s essential to note that not all cats will benefit from elevated bowls. Some may prefer to eat and drink from ground-level bowls, regardless of their age or health status. It’s crucial to observe your cat’s behavior during mealtimes and make adjustments accordingly.

Potential Drawbacks to Elevated Bowls

However, before jumping on the elevated bowl bandwagon, it’s crucial to consider the potential drawbacks associated with this feeding option.

One of the primary concerns with elevated bowls is the increased risk of feline acne. When cats eat from elevated bowls, their chins may rest on the edge of the bowl, leading to irritation and bacterial buildup that can result in acne. While this may seem like a minor issue, feline acne can cause discomfort and even pain for your furry friend.

Another downside to elevated bowls is the possibility of increased air intake during feeding. Elevated bowls can cause cats to swallow more air than usual, leading to digestive issues such as bloating or vomiting. This is especially concerning for cats who are already prone to digestive problems.

Cats with mobility issues may also struggle with elevated bowls. Arthritis or other mobility problems can make it difficult for cats to access an elevated bowl, leading to decreased appetite or other health problems.

It’s essential to keep in mind that cats are creatures of habit and may not take kindly to changes in their feeding routine. If your cat is used to eating from a traditional bowl on the ground, introducing an elevated bowl could cause anxiety and stress that may negatively impact their eating habits.

Despite these potential drawbacks, elevated bowls can still offer benefits for some cats. It’s vital to consult with your veterinarian before making any changes to your cat’s feeding routine to determine if elevated bowls are appropriate for your individual cat’s needs and health.

Medical Conditions that May Make Elevated Bowls Inappropriate

However, did you know that elevated bowls may not be suitable for all cats, especially those with certain medical conditions?

Feline arthritis is a common condition, especially among older cats. It can cause pain and stiffness in the joints, making it uncomfortable for cats to eat from an elevated bowl. Stretching their necks and straining their joints can exacerbate the discomfort or even result in pain.

Similarly, megaesophagus is another condition that may make elevated bowls inappropriate for cats. This condition results in an enlarged and weakened esophagus, which makes it difficult for food to pass through to the stomach. Elevating a cat’s bowl could cause the food to move too quickly into the esophagus, increasing the risk of regurgitation and aspiration pneumonia.

Cats with dental problems may also find eating from elevated bowls challenging. Missing teeth or gum disease can make it hard for cats to chew food from an elevated position. Thus, feeding these cats from a flat surface where they can comfortably use their paws to hold down the food while chewing is best.

It is essential to consult your veterinarian if your cat has any medical condition that affects their ability to eat comfortably before making any changes to their feeding routine. While elevated bowls may offer benefits for most cats, there are instances when they may not be appropriate. Cats with arthritis, megaesophagus, dental problems or any other medical condition that affects their ability to eat comfortably should be fed from a flat surface.

Resistant Cats Who Refuse to Eat from an Elevated Bowl

Fear not. This is a common issue that can be resolved by understanding the reasons why some cats resist eating from raised surfaces.

Firstly, it’s important to know that cats are natural hunters who usually eat their prey on the ground. So, it’s natural for some cats to feel uncomfortable eating from an elevated bowl. Additionally, elevated bowls can make cats feel vulnerable and exposed, which goes against their instinctual need for safety.

Secondly, some cats may struggle with elevated bowls due to certain health conditions. For instance, cats with arthritis or joint problems may feel pain or discomfort when reaching up to eat from an elevated bowl. Similarly, cats with dental issues may find it challenging to chew their food properly when eating from a raised surface.

But don’t worry – there are several ways to help your resistant cat adjust to an elevated bowl. You can start by introducing the raised bowl gradually by placing it next to their usual feeding spot and gradually raising it over time. You can also try different types of raised bowls that have a shallow incline or adjustable heights.

However, it’s crucial to understand that not all cats need elevated bowls. If your cat continues to resist despite your efforts, there’s no need to force them. Ultimately, what matters most is that your cat eats comfortably and without pain or discomfort.


As we wrap up the discussion on whether cats need elevated bowls, it’s clear that there are pros and cons to consider. While some cat owners swear by them, others remain skeptical. But let’s dive a little deeper into the benefits and drawbacks.

Elevated bowls can be a game-changer for cats with digestive issues or joint pain. By raising the bowl off the ground, it reduces air intake during feeding, which helps prevent bloating and vomiting. Additionally, older cats or those with arthritis can benefit from an elevated bowl as it reduces strain on their neck and joints.

However, there are potential downsides to consider. Elevated bowls may increase the risk of feline acne or other skin irritations around the chin area. Also, not all cats may prefer eating from an elevated bowl – some may find it uncomfortable or unnatural.

It’s important to note that elevated bowls aren’t a one-size-fits-all solution. Every cat is unique and has different needs when it comes to feeding. If you’re considering introducing an elevated bowl to your cat’s routine, consult with your veterinarian first to determine if it’s appropriate for your cat’s individual needs.

In conclusion, while some cats may benefit from elevated bowls, they aren’t necessary for every feline friend out there.