* Prices may differ from that shown
* BACKGROUND INFO... * Many regular readers of my reviews will be aware by now that I have a very elderly feline at home with me who unfortunately has several health problems to contend with in her old age. It is very unfortunate that one of these problems is renal failure which is obviously quite serious, but is surprisingly common in older felines. One of the symptoms of this disease is nausea, and my poor girl will often vomit or try to, as a result of feeling sick. She has special medication to treat this horrible side-effect of course, but I have found over the past eight months or so that her appetite has really diminished, which both my vet and myself feel is as a direct result of feeling sick or nauseous. As you would expect, her reluctance to eat at times has seen her weight gradually drop and whilst I have found this rather worrying, my vet assures me she is "holding her own" and is doing considerably well at the moment given her age and other health concerns. Even so, I have found myself on a new-found quest to encourage my girl to eat as much as possible, whenever possible. One of the little 'tricks' that I thought might work in tempting my girl's appetite was to offer her a small variety of different foods. This has seen me offering her perhaps four different foodstuffs at any one mealtime - a practice which has had my other half teasing me about how my girl has become rather accustomed to being offered a 'buffet' choice at mealtimes. He has also commented - or grumbled - about how my girl is better fed than he is, but I am pretty much willing to do ANYTHING if it gets my precious feline to eat well, even if that means an expensive pet food bill. Not long after starting this new feeding 'routine', I stumbled across a bit of a problem. I didn't have enough cat food bowls or saucers in which to serve her assorted meals. I made do with a couple of old Tupperware bowls for a short time, but decided I had better buy her some new bowls. * ANCOL CARTOON CAT DISH * One of the bowls that I purchased at the time was from the well-known brand of pet supplies "Ancol". I came across the "Cartoon Cat Dish" whilst browsing a large pet-care stall at a local indoor market and due to its cute design - and, more importantly, it's ideal size and robust nature - I knew immediately that this item was the perfect purchase for me. I paid around £3 for the bowl at the time, and looking online this price seems to be quite average. Comprising of a small, shallow dish, the Ancol Cartoon Cat Dish is certainly more attractive than some of my girl's other, more 'mundane' bowls and dishes. There is an extremely cute cartoon image of a little white cat in the red centre of the bowl - on the surface where you put the food - which is quite attractive, even though the cat has a rather smug look on his face! Maybe he is just happy? This 'theme' is then continued with a little detail around the red 'band' on the outside of the bowl by way of a little row of catty feline faces that continues all around the outside rim of the bowl. Our friend from the centre of the bowl appears in this moggy 'line-up' again, but this time he is surrounded by other cartoon cats. Overall, I think the image and design of the bowl is really pretty and quite cute, and it is by far the main reason that I purchased the product over any other bowl available at the time, appealing to me immediately as a huge cat-lover and fan of all things feline! (The picture of the bowls at the top of the Dooyoo page are showing a pink version of the product, but my girl's bowl is a red design, which was the only colour on offer at the time of purchase.) The material of the bowl is EXTREMELY robust and I cannot emphasise this enough. My girl's bowl has survived all manner of 'trauma', thanks to my young nephew who is only 2 years old. Having accidentally kicked the bowls over, stomped on it and all manner of rather 'rough handling', the bowl has survived without so much as a scratch being evident on its hard plastic surface. I don't doubt for a second that a more flimsy bowl, or one made of porcelain or a china material would have met a more disastrous fate. The bowl is extremely easy to clean too, and I find that the tough plastic or melamine material is easy to wipe and clean with a sponge scourer or something similar. It is fair to say that I have never put the bowl in a dishwasher - mainly because I don't own one - but I'm fairly confident that it would withstand this practice too. The bowl is the perfect size for my little mog's snacks and appetisers, thanks to its neat design. Being just under 11cm across, it is deep enough to hold a small amount of cat food too, so it is not suitable for smaller, 'snack-sized' meals exclusively. It is also 'deep' enough to be of use when serving her water or cat milk. Other bowls are far too shallow to be of any great use here, and this is particularly important for my own cat as she has renal failure. A common side effect of this horrible disease is a continuous thirst that is difficult to quench, and so my girl MUST have access to large amounts of water, which she will drink on a daily basis. Any sort of shallow saucer or bowl is not satisfactory for this purpose as far as I am concerned, as my cat should be allowed access to as much water as she cares to drink. The little Ancol Cartoon Cat Dish is deep enough to hold a reasonable amount of water, making it much more versatile than many of the other dishes and saucers that my girl has in her little 'collection'. Whilst I am on the subject of my girl drinking her water, it is worth noting that the Ancol Cartoon Cat Dish has one rather large - and very significant - advantage over other bowls and dishes that I own; the bowl has four little rubber 'feet' inserted into the bottom of the dish. Why other manufactures and designers of items such as pet feeding bowls don't take factors like this into account is beyond me... it is such a simple addition, but quite a relevant one. To explain this further, when animals are 'licking' or 'lapping' their food and water into their mouths, it is often the case that bowls and saucers can be licked rather enthusiastically, so much so that the contents can end up on the floor as a light or flimsy bowl is easily overturned by a hungry beast, and in my experience this is something that happens with dogs AND cats. The Ancol Cartoon Cat Dish has removed this little niggle by the addition of four little black 'feet' that can be found on the underside of the plastic bowl. These little feet have allowed the bowl to remain stationary whilst my girl will chomp away at whatever yummy treats are contained within. And of course, when lapping at a bowl of water, my thirsty girl has no fear of knocking the bowl over herself, an occasional misadventure which always, ALWAYS results in a very grumpy puss. (She hates water touching her and even the merest of droplets will result in her turning her back to the room as she exercises her right to a huff!) So, with the use of the Ancol Dish, both human and feline are happy and content. I have absolutely nothing negative to report about this cute little cat dish, and will happily award it top marks in the product rating. Not only is it a fairly attractive piece, being slightly more interesting than some of the boring, self-coloured alternatives that my girl owns, but I find it does its job very well, providing a robust bowl for my girl to use that has proven to be robust and sturdy, and offering an excellent quality item for a reasonable price. Definitely gets top marks from me....... And my girl!! At the time of writing (April 2012) the Ancol Cartoon Cat is available from a variety of online retailers and online pet supply stores. The price can vary quite a lot so it is worth shopping around in my opinion. One of the best prices that I have seen is from www.4dobbin.com, a website which supplies equestrian and pet supplies. The bowl costs only £2.06 from this retailer, but will carry a delivery charge of around £4. I would highly recommend checking out pet supply stalls at local markets, or even some independent pet shops, as there is often a reasonable range of Ancol products to be found from independent retailers.