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Do elevated cat bowls reduce vomiting?

If you have a cat that vomits frequently, you may be looking for solutions to reduce their discomfort. Cat vomiting is not the norm, so be sure to get them checked out by a vet. But, if your vet has given your kitty a clean bill of health, yet he still occasionally vomits after a meal, you may wonder if an elevated cat bowl might help. 

An elevated cat bowl is a cat dish that rests on a pedestal. There are many designs, heights, materials, and angles to choose from. But, do elevated cat bowls actually reduce vomiting?

Elevated cat bowls can reduce vomiting in cats by allowing them to eat in a more natural, upright position. They also help with digestion and weight management.

Read on to learn more about the benefits are having an elevated cat bowl for your feline friend. 

Benefits of Elevated Cat Bowls

There are many reasons why an elevated cat bowl might aid in managing your cat’s tummy troubles. However, it won’t prevent them from vomiting completely, especially if they have a medical condition. Cats do not vomit for attention. Vomiting is not the norm for cats, so if your cat is throwing up, you should get them checked out by a vet, especially if they are also refusing to eat.

However, if your vet has checked out your cat, and he is fine, but only occasionally vomits after a meal, an elevated cat bowl can improve digestion and reduce vomiting in many situations. For cats with gastrointestinal conditions, it may also alleviate their symptoms.

Eating in a More Natural, Upright Position

For the kitty who likes to gobble up his food at lightning speed, you can control their vomiting with an elevated dish. A cat eating crouched down is working against gravity. Their esophagus is having to work twice as hard to push food to the stomach.

An elevated dish gets your cat’s neck out of an odd angle and into a position that allows for the food to travel more easily to the stomach. This leads to less backup, reducing the chance of vomiting. 

Improving digestion

Cats are notorious for being fast eaters. When they gulp up their food, sometimes their digestive tract can’t keep up with the quick intake. This can lead to indigestion and vomiting. An elevated cat dish helps move the food to the stomach quicker, giving your cat a head start on digesting their food. They will also ingest less air as they eat, reducing bloat and gas. 

Reducing Strain on Muscles and Joints

When a cat reaches down to eat out of a traditional cat dish, he puts a lot of strain on his neck muscles. If your cat has problems digesting, it can be hard for the muscles to move the food along the esophagus. 

This leads to food getting stuck inside the esophagus instead of reaching the stomach for digestion. The extra food causes your cat discomfort and eventually leads to vomiting.

Additionally, this strain can be hard on elderly cats or cats with orthopedic conditions. They may not be able to hunker down in the eating position without feeling stiff or in pain. Elevated cat food dishes provide some relief from those ailments and lessen back pain in cats, as well. 

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Weight management

Elevated cat dishes force your cat to slow down as they eat. A cat who eats too fast doesn’t always take time to stop eating once they are full, and they end up overeating. As he slows down, your cat is better able to gauge when he is full. If your cat stops eating when he is full instead of scarfing down more, he will be better able to maintain a healthy weight.

Many elevated cat dishes also have less surface area for food, which means you will be less likely to overfeed your cat, as well. 

Choosing the Right Elevated Bowl

There are many sizes, materials, and designs to choose from when you purchase your cat an elevated dish. But, which one is best? It depends on exactly what you are trying to accomplish with the elevated dish. 

If you want to slow your cat’s eating down, certain dishes will work better for that. If you are trying to relieve discomfort, others will be better. 

Let’s look at some of the differences between the types of bowls and discuss how each type helps cat digestion.

Size

The size of the cat dish needs to match your goal. If you are trying to help your cat manage their weight, you may want a dish with a smaller surface area for food. If you have two or more cats sharing a dish, you may want a larger bowl. 

You may also want to consider whether the bowl is deep and narrow or shallow and wide. Shallow, wider dishes tend to be better for cats’ whiskers. Deep and narrow bowls can lead to overfeeding. 

Additionally, you will want to consider how tall of an elevated cat bowl your feline will need. Some cats are shorter than others, and a tall cat dish would be too high for them to reach. Also, a tall dish might be harder to find a place for in your house, so you’ll want one that fits your feeding area.

Stability

One of the problems with an elevated bowl is whether or not it will stay standing. Cats often push their dishes around while eating, so you want to make sure you get a dish that will stay put. You can either purchase one made from heavier materials or with a silicone base that helps the dish grip to your feeding surface. 

Either way, you want to ensure your bowl is sturdy, and will not be easy for your cat to tip over. This often means that cheaper dishes may not be the best choice.

Material

Like other cat dishes, they can be made from stainless steel, ceramic, glass, or even plastic. However, plastic dishes are both lightweight and less sturdy and also may lead to health issues.  You will want to go for a sturdier and easy-to-clean material, like ceramic or stainless steel. If you plan on putting your cat dish in the dishwasher, you may want to check for a “safe in dishwasher” label.

The pedestal part of the dish may be made from a different material than the dish itself, so you will want to check to see if the base is strong, as well. 

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Design

Before you rush out and get the cutest elevated cat dish on the market, make sure you consider the design that works best for your cat. Even if it’s beautiful, that doesn’t mean it works well. Some elevated dishes are just regular dishes in a tall metal container. These are fine, but may not reduce vomiting as well as angled, elevated dishes.

The angled dishes tend to work better for cats with digestive issues because they are eating in a more upright position, which aids the fluid flow of their digestive tract.

Also, some decorative bowls will have protrusions or weird shapes that may be awkward for your cat to eat from. Cats have preferences, and it may take a couple of tries to find the best dish for your pet.

Downsides to Elevated Bowls

As with other types of dishes, there are some downsides to elevated bowls you’ll want to take into consideration before purchasing them for your cat. 

Cost

First of all, elevated cat bowls tend to be more expensive than regular dishes, especially if you want one made with quality materials. Cheaper elevated dishes are around $15 while some of the fancier ones can be much more than that.

These dishes aren’t as easily replaced as a regular dish, so you will definitely want to do your research and buy one you feel is worth the price.

Not All Cats Like Elevated Bowls

Some cats will not eat out of an elevated dish. Cats, like people, have their preferences, and some cats prefer to eat on the ground. So, even if you want to help your cat’s digestive system, they may refuse and leave you feeding them on the floor like normal.

However, some cats will eventually come around to the dish. Before throwing out the dish as a loss, give your cat a couple of weeks to get used to it before switching back. 

If your cat ends up rejecting the dish altogether, consider a feeding station, instead. A feeding station is a designated piece of furniture or feeding area that you can place your cat’s dishes on. So, they could be slightly elevated on a shelf or in an automatic feeder. 

This may be a good in-between for fussy kitties. 

Takes Up More Space

One other con to elevated dishes is that they are taller and take up a little more space than traditional dishes, but this is usually not a major concern. When you are shopping for an elevated dish, just be sure to check the measurements to fit the dish into your existing feeding plans. 

Conclusion

Elevated cat bowls can help reduce vomiting by allowing your cat’s digestive tract to work with gravity while eating. This aids digestion, reduces neck strain, and can even help manage weight. Be sure to thoroughly research elevated cat dishes before buying one for your cat, and give your pet a couple of weeks to acclimate.

Your kitty will thank you once they get used to their new dish and you’ll be happy to provide your feline friend with more digestive comfort.