I have 3 cats and feeding them was quite messy. I had 3 sets of mismatched bowls and placemats to protect the floor, and no matter how hard I tried to keep it tidy, the area was always a mess. So I decided to make a sleek no-mess feeder for my furball friends. This could be used for small dogs as well, or easily modified for medium sized dogs.
Cost: About $30 for lumber. The rest of the stuff I had on hand.
Materials I used:
5 cat bowls
Tools I used: (not all are completely necessary)
First, I had to figure out how many bowls I wanted, how far I wanted them spaced apart, etc; so I plotted everything out on a piece of 1/4" plywood. I decided on 5 bowls total...food, water, food, water, food...and to space them all 1" apart from the sides and from each other. I traced the bottom of the bowls and then cut one out with a jigsaw to make sure it was the right size, and that the lip of the bowls would cover the hole. Surprisingly, that size hole (5") worked for all 3 different size and brand of bowls I had. It must be pretty standard. So now that hole that I cut out became my template.
Tracing the template and playing with the spacing on the plywood helped me determine how much wood I needed. This top was 31" long and I planed the lumber down to 3/4". The depth is 7".
I knew I wanted the feeder to be 4" high, so the sides had to be 2.5". I used some scrap 3/4" plywood to figure out what angle I wanted to use. I ended up cutting the wood at a 15 degree angle. This helped me determine how long the sides would have to be before cutting the angles, and then also how long the bottom needed to be. It ended up being 29".
Next step was to cut out the holes for the bowls. After clamping down my wood, I used a 3/8" bit to drill a starter hole and then a jigsaw to cut out the rest of the holes. I wasn't too concerned on making them absolutely perfect, as the bowls will cover any slight imperfections. I was careful to stay inside the lines I had drawn, though. Better too small than too big!
Next step was to sand a bit and then glue and nail it all together. I glued the bottom first (upside down) and then added the top on. One side was sticking up a bit so I clamped it for a while.
I took it home from the shop and sanded the sides down so they were perfectly flush. I filled in the nail holes and painted the top, then applied paste wax to the rest of the piece.
All that was left to do was put in the bowls and hand it over to the cats! They love it and so do I. Nice and neat.