When choosing a set of food and water dishes for your cat, buy something that is sturdy, dishwasher safe and made of glass or ceramic. If you buy a fancy painted bowl, make sure that it is marked "safe for food". Many decorative bowls contain lead in the paint or glaze, which is poisonous when consumes. As a basic rule, if the food and water dishes are safe for people to use, then they are safe for your cat.
Although plastic bowls are commonly sold in pet supply stores and are easy to clean, they are not recommended. They tend to get scratched easily and could house bacteria that will make your cat or kitten sick. Some cats like to play with lightweight plastic bowls by flipping them over and swatting them around the floor for fun. Stainless steel bowls are not a good choice either. Even though they are dishwasher safe and sturdy, they may give food and water a metallic taste. And if the food does not smell and taste good, your cat won't eat it. Whatever type of dishes you purchase, make sure they are washed out and refilled every day.
Some owners like to purchase automatic watering devices such as drinking fountains or self filling water bowls for their cats. These are hard to tip over, and they ensure that the cat will have access to plenty of water. Remember, though, as with the regular water dish, the self waterer must be emptied out, cleaned, and then refilled with fresh water daily.
Kitten owners should purchase kitten sized food and water bowls. These dishes are smaller and shallower than bowls made for adults. This is important because a small kitten might not be able to reach into the bottom of a large bowl to eat or drink. Kitten sized dishes can be found in grocery stores and pet supply stores either offline or online.
Before you bring home your cat or kitten, find out what kind of food he was eating and buy a bag or box of the same kind. Your new pet may be hungry when he arrives and the smell and taste of familiar food will comfort him.
Cats are creatures of habit and often do not like changes or surprises. A stable routine in their lives gives them a sense of comfort and security, a sign that all is well with their world. In fact, once a cat has established a daily routine or pattern, he may become upset, stressed, or confused if the pattern is suddenly altered or disrupted.
When you bring your new cat home, set up a daily schedule and stick to it. Develop a routine for exercise, playtime, grooming, feeding, sleeping, and cleaning out the litter box. Follow this pattern at the same time every day. This will build trust and let your cat know what to expect and when
If you have more than one cat or kitten in your home, make sure that each one has his own set of dishes. This prevents fighting over food and lets you monitor how much each cat consumes.