Have you found Felix to be drinking from a dripping tap? Or maybe Princess Kitty has investigated the toilet bowl after a fresh flush? This could indicate that your four pawed pal is lacking something in their life. In this post, we will look at the differences between using a normal water bowl and a pet fountain to help you decide which would suit your feline friend.
The great water debate!
Water is water, right? Wrong! Let’s be honest, none of us want to drink stagnant, room temperature water, it can become stagnant in as little as 24 hours, with bacteria and beginning to grow after 48 hours.
Water bowls are the most cost-effective way to provide water for your cat, with us being to place them in various places around the home, with multiple bowls not breaking the bank. But that would require us to remember to change the water on a daily basis, to ensure the quality of the water isn’t affected by the growth of organisms and algae. As humans, we are not always the most reliable creatures, and this is where water fountains have the advantage. Water fountains come with a built-in pump, which creates the water flow. As the water is moving, it is a lot more difficult for bacteria and moulds to grow, as well as a huge boost in oxygen levels. On top of this, most pet fountains come with at least one filter. these filters are generally made with carbon and remove any microbes that could affect the quality as well as larger debris and fur that may fall into the fountain.
While fountains are great, they can be difficult to clean. Taking them apart, making sure they’re cleaned properly, putting them back together, making sure there’s no leaks before turning it on and have you remembered to buy more filters? Water bowls are easy and simple to clean, with most being able to go into the dishwasher, or even just a quick scrub in the sink.
Many cat fountains now are made in such a way that you have just four pieces. The top and bottom of the body of the fountain, the pump, and the filter. Filters are recommended to be replaced once every month and can be bought in multipacks to save on cost. The rest of the filters themselves are easy to clean with just a sponge and a thin straw cleaner to get into the outlet hole, making the whole process only about 10 minutes. Doing this at least once a week in a single cat household will help elongate the life of the pump and filter, while ensuring the water is at its freshest.
Once upon a time, most cat fountains were made out of plastics which can lead to skin issues around the cat’s face, such as cat acne, which can be very unpleasant for our friends. But now, there are a whole range of fountains that have been made from ceramics or use a stainless-steel bowl to avoid the cat needing to come into contact with the plastic. I personally love the little mushroom house fountain.
Another thing to consider in this debate is the cost. Water bowls are a one off cost, that we do not need to pay out for again unless we are replacing it. Most water bows are quite cheap, with them getting more expensive based on aspects such as design, material and size. Water fountains on the other hand, do have a steep initial cost as well as the on-going cost of maintenance like the filters and replacement pumps, as well as the ongoing electrical fees. Now, this isn’t to put you off fountains, because we all want what is best for our cats, and I also think they’re great for us! Running water helps with stress levels as well as adding moisture to the air from evaporation. Some people do ask about the noise from the fountains, but with technology, most fountains are what is called sleep mute, which means they are so quiet, you can have one in your bedroom and sleep through it, only to be awoken by Felix and his zoomies at 3AM.
Does my cat NEED a fountain though? Short answer? No. But it is much better for them. I have both fountains and bowls, as I do have a cat, Salem, who very much dislikes the fountains and won’t use them! So, there are always extra bowls being kept fresh for him. Sometimes, it can just take them some getting used to, but most cats would appreciate the running water, over a standing water bowl. Cats have a very keen sense of sight, but they still struggle to see the water level in a bowl of standing water. It is easy for them to pass by without even thinking about it. Add sound, like the fountain does, and this can encourage cats to actually drink more on a daily basis, as their attention is grabbed by the noise! More water makes for healthier cats! Especially nurtured males who are prone to urinary tract infections, increased water intake flushes the system more regularly!
With all this information in mind, you may still find yourself on the fence. I’ve always had a rule of thumb for water and animals. If you would not drink it yourself, do not expect the cat to drink it. My personal recommendation? Why not have both? They both have their own advantages and disadvantages but providing your feline with both gives them the option to choose. We all know how awkward cats can be!