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Owning both cats and dogs can certainly come with a few problems, one of which being trying to keep your dog out of your cats’ food bowl! If you’re in need of dog-proof cat feeder ideas to keep your dog away, we’ve come up with a few unique and interesting solutions.
Why do dogs like to eat cat food?
First things first – why the heck do dogs even want cat food anyway? They have their own!
The truth is, while they look similar, cat food is much different than dog food from a nutritional standpoint. Food for cats is made with a very high percentage of meat, while dog food contains less actual meat and has a higher fiber content. This means cat food has a higher fat and protein content which some dogs may crave.
The reason for this is that cats are obligate carnivores – they require meat to survive and can derive all their nutritional needs from it. On the other hand, dogs are omnivores and can’t survive on just meat – they need the fiber and nutrients that meat can’t provide alone.
But is it dangerous?
While it’s not really dangerous if your dog digs into the cat food every now and again, it could potentially cause some gastrointestinal issues if your dog has a sensitive stomach due to the high fat content.
That being said, you don’t want your dog to be fed a regular diet of cat food as cats and dogs just have different nutritional needs. So if they seem to get into the cat food on a regular basis, you definitely want to figure out a solution to stop (or at least reduce) the problem.
And besides, the poor cat doesn’t appreciate their food being stolen!
A few ideas for creating feeding areas the dog can’t access
Keep the cats’ food out of reach
Cats (many of them, anyway) love being up high because it makes them feel safe and secure from potential threats. Putting your cat bowl up higher, out of reach of dogs can be a relatively easy solution to the problem of dogs eating cat food.
There are a few different ways this can be achieved. You can get fancy and mount cat shelves on the wall, or simply just place the food on top of a washing machine or somewhere else easily accessible for your cat (but not dog).
Food bowls with suction cups and or the ability to mount them to a wall also exist if you can believe it or not. These can be used and simply placed next to somewhere your cat can jump upon.
Elevated feeding shelves (wall cat feeders): top recommendations
These are a great solution for keeping dogs away from the cat food bowl. They’re such a simple concept but surprisingly effective. Cats can jump up to 6x their length and are incredibly nimble creatures, so putting up wall-mounted feeding shelves for them will let them easily access the food without the worry of any dogs getting to it.
Prices for these mounted cat feeder shelves vary drastically, depending on the quality. If you’re looking to go the mounted shelf route, you’ll want to invest a little bit in something sturdy and solid so our recommendations are all handcrafted pieces!
Set of three cat shelves (and feeder) by PorteSueloGoods
This wall shelf is an all-in-one deal that includes a floating cat feeder, a floating cat bed, as well as just a normal shelf for your cat! You can even customize the color, bed, and position of the cat feeder bowl. It’s hand-made out of reclaimed wood, iron, and fabric so they’re great quality and very sturdy. You can check the current price on Etsy.
Reclaimed wood cat feeding shelf by AbbeyCatBrewing
This cat feeding shelf is hand constructed from wood and steel and is incredibly sturdy and stylish. It’s unique and handmade from an Etsy seller, so you’re also helping to support the small business. It can also be made as a regular shelf too! It has hundreds of raving reviews (and lots of pictures).
Cat food Shelf by RshPets (for big cats)
According to the company, these mounted cat food shelves are great for large cats like Maine Coons and Ragdolls, or just any cat that’s rather large (around 10 – 18 lbs). They’re 21.3” in length and 11.2” in width, along with a solid construction of stainless steel and thick plywood for extra support.
These shelves are also handmade by an Etsy seller, so you know the product is solid!
Budget-friendly wall mounted feeders for cats (without shelves)
If you don’t want to invest in a full set of cat shelves, you can buy food bowls that can be attached to the wall. These can simply be placed next to a comfortable high spot your cat already loves to jump on!
This shelf is great and relatively affordable compared to other feeder shelves. Reviewers say it’s super sturdy and easy to mount. However because this is a very small shelf that’s only meant for food bowls, it’ll need to be placed next to another shelf or a cat tree, or some other high surface your cat can sit and eat from. If you don’t have something that’ll work, there’s a compatible mod hammock system that can be mounted right next to it, allowing your pet room to sit and eat from.
These food bowls are advertised as an ergonomic way for your cat or dog to eat, as food bowls that are raised are said to help your pet’s posture and digestion. But they can also be mounted on a wall at any height, meaning if you already have cat shelves installed, these bowls would work great alongside!
They would also work well next to a sturdy cat tree or another high surface your cat can easily jump to and relax. And don’t let the pictures fool you – these work just fine for felines too!
The downside to these is because they’re free-floating food bowls, they’ll likely be a mess down below! However, they’re made of stainless steel, which means they’re super durable and last forever. Your cat won’t be able to scratch them up and they won’t crack if they fall!
Get a food bowl that dogs can’t eat from
Another suggestion is to get your cat a food dish that a dog can’t access, or at least not very easily. This in theory is one of the simplest suggestions, and you don’t have to purchase anything incredibly expensive.
Maze or puzzle cat bowls are becoming pretty popular as a way to prevent cats from eating too quickly and puking (as some tend to do). The majority of them aren’t really designed to keep dogs out, but this SmartCat Tiger Diner feeder or this Catit Senses food dispenser may just work for that.
While most puzzle feeder bowls for cats still have the food out in the open, this particular design requires your cat to paw out the food pieces in order to eat them, which slows down their eating substantially. It also means that dogs are very unlikely to steal out of this dish, especially larger breeds as their paws wouldn’t even be able to fit in the openings.
This cat feeder is unique in that it only opens up for specific animals. So, if your cat is microchipped, you can get the number scanned at your vet or local animal shelter, and program it into this feeding unit. This means it’ll open for your cat, but not the dog! This solution will REALLY keep out the dog (provided it works properly), but it is rather expensive.
Put your cat food into a room the dogs can’t access
Another option is to simply create a feeding space that is only accessible to your cat. If you have a small room or closet that can be used for this purpose, these options would work great. (These also work well for baby-proofing your litter box area!)
Pretty self-explanatory, but a cat door can create a safe space for your cat to go without the dog following behind. At least you can shut the cat feeding area up to keep your silly canine away and prevent them from chowing down on their food. Well, at least if the dog isn’t tiny!
This is the same concept as a cat door, however, it’s much simpler. Instead of having to carve out a hole for the door, you basically just install this plastic latch at the top of the door. This allows the door to open just enough for a cat to sneak through, but not (most) dogs.
However considering you’d need to access the room yourself to regularly feed your cats, you’d need to remember to latch the door buddy up each time you left the room!
Unfortunately these solutions won’t work well with small dogs that can fit anywhere cats can!
Keep the food bowls in cat litter box furniture (or another enclosed space)
Another idea is to buy cat litter box furniture (cabinets or other types of furniture that are designed to place litter boxes to keep them out of sight) and keep your cat food bowls in them instead. This will at least keep out larger dogs, although smaller breeds may still find their way inside if they’re able to fit through cat doors.
This “litter box” cabinet is custom made out of real wood and can be finished with a variety of colors, ranging from light to dark, so it’d fit in with any space. It’s also pretty solid construction compared to the cheap stuff they sell at most places like Amazon.
This could be used instead as a perfect private feeding station for your kitties, as long as they don’t mind eating in a cabinet! The main cabinet door can be shut and latched, so the cat has to walk in through the side entrance. This design would keep out most dogs.
You can also view more litter box furniture for cats here on Etsy, as there is quite the range of styles and prices.
If you’re on a budget, you could go a more DIY route and create your own enclosed feeding station using your own materials!
Things to consider before buying a “dog proof” cat feeder
Keep in mind that these suggestions to help keep your dog away from cat food are not one size fits all. How well these ideas work will depend on different factors, such as your space, your cat’s abilities and preferences, as well as the size of your dog.
Budget – Our recommendations here range from a few bucks to a few hundred dollars, so there’s no need to spend hundreds if you can’t afford it! There really is an idea for everyone.
Cats ease and ability to jump – mounted cat feeders require your cat to jump up high, so if your cat doesn’t prefer to jump up and high to relax, or if you have an older cat who can’t move around so well, probably best to stick with a grounded bowl. Cats may be notorious for jumping high, but some really do prefer to stay low.
Your space – how much space you have in your home, as well as how your home is set up may impact how well these ideas would work for your situation. A wall feeder or special slow feeding bowl for your cat may work best if you don’t have extra rooms or areas to keep secured away from any dogs.
Your dog’s size – smaller dogs may be able to fit through small openings like cat doors and cracks, so some solutions may not work well for keeping them out of your cat’s food.
The Bottom Line
It’s important to make sure cats and dogs are living together as stress-free as possible, and solving the issue of your dog eating up all the cat food is a great way to help reduce anxiety and stress within the home. You also don’t want your cat to end up slowly malnourished if this is an ongoing issue!
The good news is, no matter your budget, you can find a dog proof cat feeding solution to work for YOUR home.