How to set up a DIY cat food station

Why is it that homes are not just automatically built with places for your pet food to go? Don't they know that everyone needs a place to feed their cat? Serrrriously, though. For us “where to put the cat food” is a constant struggle. It's in the way, it gets kicked by people walking by, it gets lint in it if it's on the floor… I knew there had to be a better way. Here's how to set up a DIY cat food station in your house, even if the heathens who built it forgot to put in a cat food station. This post contains affiliate links because someone has to feed all these cats.

Step One: Find a high place to put the food and water

The first step is to find a nice place where the food and water can stay clean. On the floor is just no good. When we had our cat's water on the floor, it was always full of lint, hair, and other weird things. It was like a magnet for nasty. It was also hard to change the water and food because we had to bend all the way over and pick it all up. The little bits of food the cats would leave on the floor while eating, well, we didn't clean them up everyday because it was a pain in the back.

In our hallway there's a cabinet with a counter area that is probably a linen closet of some sort. It collects tons of stuff – receipts, junk mail, purses, keys, shopping bags, missing socks – because as we come into the house, we just dump stuff off there. It was the bane of my mothering experience. The clutter! Okay, it wasn't that bad but, whatever. I've noticed alot of newer homes have these hall cabinets with counters. Could it be an attempt at a cat  food station by the builder? Let's not give too much credit here…


I decided to solve two problems at once – eliminate the clutter and make a “high” place for the cat's food and water. Now, if you have dogs, obviously this solution won't work. You really need to get a cat. Your life will become infinitely better.

Step Two: Get all the cat food things

One you have the high place identified, you'll need to fill it with amazing cat food accouterments, like fancy water dishes and self-dispensing food holders filled with top of the line cat food. We choose cat foods like Purina Pro Plan and check the ingredients to make sure they do not have fish. Did you know that fish in cat food is what makes the cat poo smell 10 times more disgusting? It's elementary school science, Spongebob.  I may be a crazy cat lady but I DO NOT want my house to smell like it. Make sure your cat's food does not have fish or fish meal in it at all. Your nose will thank me.

Water Dish

Cat Water dish with Microban

We chose a self-filling water dish because we live in a very dry climate. If we filled a bowl with water, it might be dry from evaporation before the cats drink much. A self-filling water dish like this needs to be dismantled and washed at least once a week to prevent it from getting slimy. Sometimes I wash this dish every other day. If the water is yucky, the cats won't drink it and that puts them at risk of getting dehydrated: Petmate Replenish Pet Waterer with Microban, 1/2-Gallon, Pearl White

Food Dish

cat food dispenser

I recommend a self-filling food dish because then you don't have to worry so much about filling the cat's dish every day. I like this automatic cat food dish because it holds a 5lb bag of food, making it easy to fill. It also has a wide bowl. Cat's don't like their whiskers to bend when they are eating from a bowl so make sure the bowl has a wide mouth so they can eat comfortably: Petmate Pet Café Feeder, 3 pound capacity, Pearl Tan

Weighted Rubber Bottom Wet Food Bowl

wet cat food weighted bowl

We feed the kitten wet food right now because he is growing. Wet food can also help cats stay hydrated. Feeding out of the can is not a good idea because they are really small and disrupt the cat's whiskers. Also, the can could easily slide off the counter, fall on the floor, and now you have a cat food explosion everywhere. We spoon out the wet cad food into a wider mouth weighted dish with a rubber bottom. The rubber stops it from slipping, the weights helps it stay in one place, and the wide mouth makes eating easier for kitty.

Mat for the food to set on

mat for cat food

I recommend getting a mat or even a towel to set the cat food on. It will catch crumbs and water drops, making ti easy to keep the cat food area clean. Just roll up the mat, replace it with a clean one, and throw the dirty one into the wash. A hand towel is just the right size for this job! Pet Rageous Designed Tapestry Placemat for Pet Feeding Station, 13-Inch by 19-Inch, MEOW, Natural/Multi

Step Three: Train your kitty

If your cats are used to eating in one place, you'll need to teach them where the food is now located. You'll also need to teach them how to reach the food. Use a box as a “step” to help the kitties reach the food easier. Adult cats should have no problem jumping to counter height but kittens will need help. My new kitten Tubbs meowed at me for a few days to help him get food and water until he got the hang of jumping onto a box and then onto the counter. Soon, I'll be able to remove the box because he will be big enough to make the jump from the floor to the counter.

The first few days you may need to set your kitty on the counter so they know where their food and water is located. 


My cats are really happy with their new DIY cat food station! And I love it because I can keep it cleaner, change out the food and water easily, and I don't have cat food dishes in the way where people walk.

Where do you feed your cats? Let me know in the comments!

About the Author

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Jennifer Priest is a 20+ year designer in the arts & crafts industry and home DIYer with a passion for creativity. An Army veteran raised on a ranch, from her experience, she shares smart DIY projects that save money and fun craft ideas that anyone can make. Besides blogging, Jennifer is a Master Practitioner and Trainer of NLP, Hypnosis, and MER, and coaches other online entrepreneurs on money mindset, business, and living an intentional life. When not blogging, Jennifer is having adventures in the wilderness, on road trips, playing with her cats, and making paleo food.

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One Comment

  1. Great post. I do all of the above and remodeling our room (Ebony and I) with new furniture, which leads me to think I should get a small hutch-type for her feeding area. I always keep it off the floor (hate the mess, ants and the like) and she seems more secure eating higher up off the floor. Guess it’s a DIY project but was hoping for a small piece of furniture for food storage and feeding. Adjust is the word for the day and head for the antique store! Keep up the good work.

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