Dish Placement

More exits.
More at ease.

  1. Where you place a feeding dish can be as important to your cat's experience as the food you serve in it.

    When choosing where to place your cat’s feeding dish, it's important to understand the pressures of feeding in the wild.

    Active hunters know the value of food, so cats stay alert for rivals coming in to steal a hard-earned meal.

    Also know that cats are quite vulnerable to predators while eating. So they seek locations where they feel protected from the back or flank, but can still keep a watchful eye on anything approaching as they eat.

    In your home, it may be another cat that causes alarm. Perhaps it's a dog, a young child or another family member. 

  2. Take Note

    Look at the current placement of your cat's feeding dish. Is it tucked into a corner or up against the toe kick of a cabinet? The lack of sightlines can make for anxious times.

    Next, consider how your cat acts while eating. Are they acting unsettled or hurried? Do they take frequent pauses? You may notice your cat is constantly looking around or moving away from bowl if someone enters the space. Your cat might even carry food away to eat in another location. These are all cues that your cat may benefit from a move to an optimal spot.

    If your cat seems content and comfortably eats meals without much fuss, don’t mess with a good thing.

    But if you’re noticing any or a combination of the aforementioned cues, a change may be in order.

    To Complete This Step

    Take a picture of your current feeding location. And make note of how your cat behaves while feeding.

  3. Give it Space

    If it currently is in a spot that feels closed in, place the dish a little more out in the open. Choose a location with good sightlines and avenues of escape. Both details appeal to a cat's instincts and will likely put them at ease. Note any changes in behavior.

    Keep in mind it doesn’t have to be at ground level. So a counter, a table or even a stool can work as the elevated position can make your cat feel like they are perching. And that can put him or her at ease.

    One final consideration - competition can interfere with everything. So if you have multiple cats or dog that crowd your cat during mealtime, consider feeding in a secure location.

    To Complete This Step

    If you’ve relocated your cat's feeding dish, take a picture of the new spot, and describe why you chose it.

  4. Evaluate Progress

    How can you tell if your cat is taking to the new location? If there isn't a scurry at the first sign of trouble, there is more focused and relaxed behavior at the dish, and if your cat's body is held close to the ground or their tail is wrapped around their body, these are all signs of a successful transition.

    If not, be patient. If your cat doesn’t take immediately to the new location, give it a couple of days before trying another. It likely will resolve itself as the new routine is established. And it lessens any possible stress caused by frequent change.

    To Complete This Activity

    Once your cat has adjusted to the new location, note any new behavior. What evidence have you seen that your cat is more comfortable? Note it, and snap a picture.

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