Do you have a cat that likes to drink from the faucet? Or perhaps you have an adventurer that you find lapping at the toilet bowl or bath water? It can be seen as an unusual behavior for a cat and can cause concern due to the chemicals in toilet water. However, your cat is doing it for a very good reason.
Cats like to drink fresh water. That’s why they’ll avoid a bowl that’s been standing for any length of time and go outside to lick puddles or drink from your water feature instead. They have a good reason for that, and once you know it you’ll probably want to invest in a great cat water fountain like the YouThink Cat Drinking Fountain.
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Why Cats Like to Drink Running Water
The theory behind cats’ preference for running water is that it’s all down to evolution. Have you ever left a bucket of water outside for a long period of time? If you have, you’ll have noticed that ‘things’ start to grow in it. It begins with algae or clouding from bacteria. You may have also seen living creatures emerge; that happens when insects lay their eggs in the water.
So, cats soon learned that standing water wasn’t the best thing to drink. They started looking for running water; streams, waterfalls, and the drips coming from plants. That’s why your pet will prefer to run into the bathroom once you’re done washing your hands, so they can lap up a few fresh drops.
There are other factors that could be involved, too. For example, the sound of running water may make it easier for cats to locate and the extra oxygen that is put in the water as it runs over rocks and stones may make it taste better.
Watching how much your cat drinks can give you important insights into your pet’s health. A cat that suddenly starts drinking much more, or less, water may need a visit to the vets as that can be a symptom of illness. How can you provide your cat with fresh, running water and yet still know how much they’re drinking? A cat water fountain.
What is a Cat Water Fountain?
Pet water fountains (they are available for dogs, too) are units that allow you to provide your cat with fresh, running water. They come in a range of sizes and styles, and most contain filters to ensure that the water is kept clean.
They are not plumbed in, so you will need to ensure the water is topped up, but most do circulate the water around the unit. This means that the water is frequently passing through the filters, and being oxygenated to improve the flavor.
Some are functional units, while others are more stylish and could be matched to the style of your home. While your cat may not be overly bothered by the aesthetic, they will appreciate the fresh water and you can enjoy the relaxing sound of moving water.
Features to Look for in a Cat Water Fountain
If you want to make the right choice when purchasing your cat a water fountain then there are a few things that you should keep in mind. Features can vary between units, so we’ll run you through the most common features now and what you should keep in mind about them.
Movement is what sets a water fountain apart from a bowl or a gravity water store. While in the latter two, the water remains still, in a fountain it is moved around the unit by a pump. This means that the water stays tasting better, and makes it harder for bacteria to get a foothold.
However, because there is a pump there will be some noise from the unit. If you are going to keep the fountain in a communal area then it is worth checking that it has a quiet motor so the noise doesn’t become a problem.
It’s also worth thinking about what noise the water itself will make. While some fountains merely keep a steady current of water moving in a bowl, others incorporate a greater range of movement which will be louder. Although many people find the sound of water relaxing, think carefully about the operation of the pump if you don’t.
Most water fountains will include a filter, but there are several different types available. The simplest filter will just remove hair or other objects that may have dropped into the bowl. Charcoal filters or anti-bacterial filters will go a step further and help purify the water and discourage bacteria from making a home in the fountain.
When you look at a fountain, check that replacement filters are easy to come by and are not too expensive. It’s also worth reading reviews to see how simple the filters are to change.
Pet fountains come in a range of styles. There are the very functional ones which are simple white plastic in design, but there are others that bring a splash of flair into your home. Ceramic fountains are attractive, and useful for placing in communal areas of the house. Stainless steel fountains keep their looks, and they are also easy to keep clean.
Consider where you would like to place the fountain, and that will help you decide whether you would like something simple, or perhaps something more attractive to blend in with the rest of your room.
Ease of Cleaning
How easy is it to give the fountain a really good clean? Although the water is filtered, you will still need to empty the fountain and give it a thorough clean periodically. Think about how easy the fountain is to take apart, and whether you will need specialist cleaners or tools to keep it spotless.
Size of Fountain
We don’t just mean how much space the fountain will take up in your home, but also whether the unit is the right size for the pets that you have in your home. Kittens and younger cats will need to be able to reach the water. Is the volume it contains sufficient for the number of pets that you have, or will it need very frequent refilling? If you have a dog in the home as well as a cat, will both pets be able to share the unit?
Best Cat Water Fountains
With an eye-catching floral design, the YouThink fountain also has three different water flow settings to accommodate even the pickiest drinker. With a carbon filter and a super quiet pump, this is our top pick for cat water fountain. The filters are easy to obtain, and one spare filter comes with the unit.
With a 100-ounce capacity, this fountain has two tiers; the upper is suitable for larger or arthritic pets who might have trouble bending. There’s a carbon filter inside the unit, and this fountain has a patented, wide-fall of water to help with the fresh taste.
If you’re worried about your pet locating their water at night (or tripping over the unit yourself!) then this model has the answer. It contains an LED nightlight, to illuminate the fountain and the surrounding area. It also has two changeable streams, and both a foam and carbon filter inside. One spare of each is provided with the fountain.
The washable parts of this stylish, stainless steel fountain are all dishwasher safe for ease of cleaning. It has an ultra-quiet pump so you won’t be disturbed by the noise. With two streams of water, one shallow and one deep, it allows for your pet’s preference and is suitable for dog & cat fur babies.
This ceramic fountain blends into your home with the appearance of a water feature. A replaceable carbon filter and two streams help keep the water fresh and tasting great. It has a 70-ounce capacity, and the top shelf is dishwasher safe. With two tiers, multiple pets can drink from it at the same time.
Making sure that your cat has access to fresh, clean, drinking water is a great way to help them stay healthy. A drinking fountain not only makes the water taste better by adding oxygen, but it can also filter out impurities to keep your pet safe from disease. When choosing your fountain, make sure that replacement filters are readily available and that you’ve factored their cost into your household budget.
With many different styles available, you can choose a fountain to suit your home and the needs of your pet. We hope that this guide helps you to feel more confident when you choose a pet drinking fountain.
Sarah Dixon is a freelance writer specializing in pet care and recruitment, and the author of the Alfie Slider series of children’s Sci-Fi novels. She lives in York, UK with her two children and her fur babies Tilly (Calico) and Casper (DSH).