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How often Should You Clean Your Cat Bowl?

If you are keen to keep your cat clean and healthy, their cat bowl (Click here for my best cat bowl on Amazon)  is a great place to start. But, how often should you really be cleaning them to keep it hygienic?

how often should you clean your cat bowl? You should be cleaning your cat bowls after every meal. Then every few days you should do a more thorough clean. And finally, you should sanitize them at least once a week.

Now that you know how often you should be cleaning the bowl. Let me explain how you should clean it, the dangers of not cleaning it, the best bowls to choose and more. Keep reading.

Is the daily clean a big time suck?

The daily clean may sound a lot if you have not been doing this, but it’s necessary. However, this does not need to be an in-depth clean after every meal. You can just remove chunks of food and rinse in warm soapy water at this stage.

The dangers of bacteria

You may, or may not know. But, pet bowls are one of the most germ-infested items in our homes. In fact, it is not a lot worse than your kitchen sponge.

But, how does this happen?

You may be thinking that “this is just food, what’s the big deal?”, well it is actually a big deal. The problem is its quite hard to see how it’s happening.

Firstly the food left over by your cat will naturally attract bacteria, this is just nature. In addition to this, there are microbes that are typically in your cat’s mouth. These microbes transfer to the bowl from the saliva in her mouth.

This is an ideal environment for the growth of many pathogens and bacteria. According to this site, it includes Salmonella, e. coli, and more.

Do you need bleach?

If I have got you ultra-paranoid now, with all this talk of bacteria, salmonella, etc, you may be wondering if you should be using bleach to do an even thorough clean.

Some people swear by it, using a combination of bleach and water. This is down to preference really. Later on, in this article, I will suggest other ways to give your bowl a good clean.

What you should be doing daily

The key thing is, keeping on top of it on a daily basis. Use hot soapy water, not just room temperature. This will help to get rid of some of the germs.

As you do it, run your hands around the bowl. This is to remove any obvious chunks of food that may have built up. This can be quite hard to remove later, so best to deal with it now, are you with me?

The idea is to keep going until there is no slimy residue or chunks in the bowl. In reality, this should not take too long. Once you remove all the dirt and grime you are good to go.

In reality, this should be common sense. Also, it will make you feel better about it once you see a lovely clean bowl for each meal with kitty.

What about a dishwasher?

Earlier I mentioned some people use bleach to clean them. But, another simple way to keep them clean is to use your dishwasher. The good thing is, your dishwasher runs at high temperatures and scrubs the bowls. It does a lot better job than we can do.

Some things to consider though

Yes, the dishwasher is good. But there are some practical and moral dilemmas to consider.

  • Should you be mixing these bowls with your family’s plates?
  • Should you be doing multiple washes per day, for your cat?

Mixing the bowls

The debate about mixing your pet’s bowls comes down to preference. In reality, the dishwasher will do all the “heavy lifting”. Meaning, it will clean these bowls without discrimination.

But, it still feels weird putting your cat bowl in with your kid’s plates, right? I get it. For some reason, I wouldn’t do it. But, I wouldn’t judge anyone who did this. In fact, it makes logical sense.

Multiple Washes, or Nah?

If you are clever, you may be thinking you will need many dish washes to stay on top of the cat bowls. Well, yes if you stick with your current number of bowls you will be contently waiting for the dishwasher.

What is the answer? Simple, buy more bowls. In the scheme of things, its a good investment.

Does the type of cat bowl matter?

You may be wondering if the type of cat bowl makes a big difference. Well, yes it does really. Firstly their are considerations on the height and ange of the cat bowl, that is why some cat owners get raised cat bowls (Click here to see why I rate this one the best). Then there is the hygienic perspective. The problem is, some may look great, but they are not as hygienic as you may think. Let me explain…

Stainless Steel Bowls

Ideally, you should be using a stainless steel bowl (Click here to see the price on Amazon). Why? Because these bowls are the most hygienic, easy to wash and look great, simple as that.

How About Ceramic Bowls?

Ceramic bowls are good as well. However, I would put them in second place, after steel bowls. Why? Because they look good, but they have a tendency to crack. If they crack, they are not hygienic.

The big concern is the small cracks that may not always be obvious.

Avoid Plastic Bowls

You may be considering a cheap plastic cat bowl. Personally I wouldn’t do it. Why? Because they tend to collect micro scratches that can collect bacteria. The problem is, these little scratches are almost always not detected.

Should you also clean the Matt under the bowl?

If you have a mat underneath your cat bowl, this also needs cleaning. Why? Because it carries dirt and bacteria as well. Think about it, every time food drops onto it, from the dirty cat bowl, it soils the mat. In time, this too can become a hot-bed for bacteria.

To do this you need hot soapy water. Basically, the hotter the better. This is necessary because it helps to get rid of harmful bacteria. However, when you are finished do not make the same mistake other people make, by drying it off with their kitchen towel.

Why? Simple, it will just contaminate the mat or the towel in the process. So, what’s the best practice? The best thing is to simply let it drip dry.

Also, you need to clean up the sink you are using, when you are done. This will help to stop any bacteria passing on to other utensils or food items.

Extra precautions (for raw meat)

The chances are, this will not be required for your cat. But in the unlikely event that you serve raw meat, you need to take extra precautions. You need to to make sure you really sanitize the bowl. Not just the bowl, but the surface around it too.

This can be achieved by using a combination of bleach and water. Ideally, a quarter cup of bleach with a gallon of water will usually do it.

Related Questions:

In this section, I will answer some questions related to how often you should clean your cat bowl. If you have other questions, not answered here, please feel free to drop me a comment below.

How often should you give your cat water? As a guide, you should be giving them approx 3 to 4 ounces per 5 pounds of body weight. However, the mistake a lot of cat owners make is to underestimate the volume of water consumed in their food. Especially if they are fed wet food. This counts.

The reality is, wet food is as much as 75% water. Meaning if you give kitty a standard 5-ounce can, about 4 ounces of that is water. Meaning, this will make a good contribution to her daily intake, are you with me?

Lindsey Browlingdon

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