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October 13, 2015

Once upon a time, selecting a cat bowl was as simple as pulling out a saucer from a kitchen cabinet. Those days are long past as we begin to treat our cats less like animals and more like family members. Consumers now take into account things like whisker stress and whether a manufacturer used BPA-free plastics during manufacturing.

As the feline diet has transformed over the years, so too have the food bowls. Raw feeders face new challenges as the threat of salmonella and other zoonotic diseases have the potential to contaminate human family members. For that reason, Kinn has developed the KleanBowl. The KleanBowl features a stainless steel holder that secures a biodegradable, compostable and recyclable sugarcane fiber disposable liner which helps reduce the risk of food contamination. Optional lids are also available, which enable pet parents to easily defrost a frozen raw-food diet without contaminating other foods.

Beautiful Bowls

If your customers are seeking something more stylish, designer bowls have come a long way. From ceramic to glass, pet bowls have become a way for owners to express their pet’s personality.

“PawNosh bowls offer a safe, sustainable and beautiful option in the pet bowl category,” said Sachi Ushihara, co-founder of PawNosh. “Our bowls are created from non-toxic, 100 percent post-consumer/post-industrial recycled glass and are hand pressed in California. We warranty our flagship line of Cubby and Cubby Deluxe bowls for lifetime against breakage, dispelling the myth that glass must be fragile.”

Both practical and attractive, the Cane range of Mason Cash Pet Food Bowls has a variety of benefits both to pet and owner.

“These durable, chip and bite resistant bowls are dishwasher safe and help keep food and water cooler longer,” said Sean Kelly, marketing assistant at Typhoon Homewares. “Specially designed with low sides to prevent whisker stress, they are also designed to be easy to pick up for owners so that they don’t have to worry about getting their hands dirty.”

For a more sophisticated look, the new Loved Ones line of cat bowls from Kathy Ireland provide an elegant solution.

“Every item is designed to blend beautifully into a pet parent’s home,” said Hannah Rosenberg, research and design manager, and chief designer of the Kathy Ireland Loved Ones collection. “We offer a variety of dishes and saucers with a low profile. These enable cats to reach their food without aggravating their sensitive whiskers. All of our cat dishes are made from high quality ceramic—they are both beautiful and durable.”

“Many of our best-selling Loving Pets bowls such as Bella Bowls, Milano Bowls and Dolce Diners feature either a stainless steel insert or stainless steel construction because stainless steel is veterinarian recommended as it helps keep food and water fresher longer, is bacteria resistant and easy to clean in the dishwasher,” said Eric Abbey, founder and president of Loving Pets.

“Loving Pets also designed and launched several new lines of raised double diners for cats, such as the Loving Pets’ Black Label Collection, because in many cases, cat owners seek a raised height to aid in better digestion for a cat’s sensitive stomach,” Abbey said.

High Tech Options

Technology also plays a large role in feeding these days. Automated feeders allow owners more control over their cat’s diet, while helping to fight obesity and keep other animals out of cat food.

Wireless Whiskers is the only feeder that is designed specifically for households with multiple pets.

“You can separately set the allowance for up to eight pets and control access to allow or lock out pets as you desire,” said Steve Whelan, president of Wireless Whiskers. “Wireless Whiskers welcomes pets by name and will even alert you if any pet is under feeding, a common early warning sign of illness.”

Another technological wonder is the SureFeed Microchip Pet Feeder from Sureflap. This feeder acts like an electronic nanny that recognizes an individual cat and will only allow it to access the food bowl. SureFeed solves the problem of an overweight cat consuming the food of another (possibly meeker) cat. This feeding station is compact and easy to use, utilizing RFID technology to automatically close the bowl when an unauthorized cat is present.

“This is a high-tech answer to an age old problem,” said Piers Hampson, marketing director for SureFlap. “It has a lid that seals over the food bowl that will only open when it recognizes and identifies the cat that is trying to access the food.”

When a cat approaches the SureFeed Microchip Pet Feeder it is identified by either the pet’s imbedded identification microchip or a SureFlap RFID collar tag. This feeder is perfect for households with multiple pets where stealing food is a problem and it also allows cats to naturally graze throughout the day.

For those who need to carefully monitor their pet’s food and water intake, the new Obe ProBowl may be the solution. This feeder uses a “smart base” complete with a ceramic bowl that allows pet owners to monitor their pet’s consumption in real time. Features include a convenient “Say When” light and the iOS app allows pet owners to monitor how much and when their pet eats and drinks. Owners—or anyone from the cat sitter—will receive alerts if there is a change in eating or drinking habits, and can also be sent as reminders for feeding (and to prevent double feeding).

For those not quite ready to embrace the digital revolution, a new product from Automated Pet Care Products, the developers of Litter-Robot, make keeping your cat’s food inaccessible to other members of the household that much easier. This year, it introduced the Feed-Safe. This durable domed enclosure allows a cat-sized pet to eat in peace while larger pets like dogs are denied access. The lid allows easy access to food and water bowls. An adjustable sliding door locks easily into position and lets cats enter and eat.

An alternate exit allows gives cats a choice of how to leave the dome. This secure feeding option helps ensure pets are not accessing each other’s food.

These days a feeder exists for any type of behavior or one that is aethestically pleasing for a home. Retailers should remain up to date on the latest technology to help educate their customers.

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