In the complex world of feline health, the focus often falls on nutrition, exercise, and regular veterinary visits. One aspect of cat health, however, that often slips under the radar, is hydration.
However, cats, by nature, are finicky drinkers with a low thirst drive. This often makes supplying them with the right amount of fresh water a challenge. In this case, water fountains are increasingly advocated by vets as an essential means to ensure feline hydration.
Why Cats Might Not Like Water Bowls?
Well, before we move on to water fountains, we need to figure out why some cats hate normal water bowls. In the wild, cats lean towards flowing water over stagnant sources, as it's usually cleaner and safer. That can also explain why cats are obsessed with water from faucets. Moreover, cats are particular about the cleanliness of their drinking area, which may originate from their desert origins. A bowl may become contaminated with dust, food particles, or even their own fur, deterring them from drinking.
Do Vets Recommend Water Fountains?
Vets often encourage measures that increase a cat's water intake, for they believe water from a fountain led to greater water intake in cats when compared with water in a standard bowl. Water fountains cater to the unique natural instincts and behaviors of cats, providing several benefits:
- Mimic Flowing Water: One of the biggest advantages is that water fountains simulate the flowing water that cats inherently prefer. The continuous circulation of water through the fountain not only keeps it fresher but also more oxygenated. The constant movement of the water can be more enticing to cats and encourage them to drink more often.
- Fresher and Cleaner Water: The filters found in most water fountains help keep the water clean, reducing impurities, such as hair and food particles. This maintains the cleanliness that cats crave and makes the water taste better, further promoting hydration.
- Increased Water Consumption: Hydration is paramount in ensuring a cat's health. Increased water consumption aids digestion, supports kidney function, and helps prevent urinary tract diseases, which are common in cats. By attracting cats to drink more, water fountains can play a key role in promoting better health.
- Comfort and Stimulation: The bubbling sound of the water fountain can be comforting to cats, creating a peaceful environment. The moving water also provides visual stimulation, keeping their interest piqued and encouraging them to interact with the fountain and subsequently drink more.
- Less Whisker Stress: Some water fountains are designed with shallow bowls to prevent whisker stress, a discomforting sensation for cats when their whiskers touch the sides of a deep bowl. This can make drinking a more comfortable experience for them.
By addressing the natural instincts of cats and promoting increased hydration, water fountains serve as a practical solution to many common issues faced by cat owners. However, it's essential to note that the advantages of water fountains can depend on the specific needs, behaviors, and preferences of each cat. While some cats may be intrigued by the moving water and drink more, others might be initially wary of the new device. It's always a good idea to introduce new items, like a water fountain, gradually and monitor your cat's reaction.
Extra Considerations When Using a Water Fountain
While cat water fountains can provide numerous benefits, it's essential to be aware of some potential risks and considerations when introducing one to your household:
- Cleaning and Maintenance: The most significant potential risk is a neglected fountain. Fountains need regular cleaning to prevent bacteria, algae, and mold growth. A dirty fountain may not only deter your cat from drinking but can also pose health risks.
- Noise Level: Some fountains may generate a low humming noise from the pump, which may be irritating to some cats and deter them from using the fountain. Before purchasing, consider the noise level, especially if your cat is sensitive to sound.
- Electrical Considerations: Most water fountains need a power source to operate. This means you'll have an electrical cord that your cat may be curious about. Ensure the cord is well protected and cannot be easily chewed or damaged by your pet.
- Dependence on the Fountain: Some cats might become so used to the fountain that they refuse to drink from other sources. This could be a problem if the fountain breaks down or during travel. Make sure your cat is still comfortable drinking from a regular bowl if necessary. While using water fountains, you can can try to provide your furry friends with wet food or in some cases, add to the water with a handful of water from a can of tuna or low sodium chicken broth.
- Filter Replacements: Filters need to be replaced regularly for optimal function. Ensure that the replacement filters are within your budget and are easy to obtain.
While these considerations may sound daunting, most can be easily managed with regular cleaning and maintenance. By understanding these factors, you can create a safe, appealing hydration solution for your feline friend.
Water fountains can be a valuable addition to a cat's daily routine, offering health benefits and meeting their natural preferences for fresh, flowing water. While many vets do recommend them, the suitability depends on individual cats. Choosing the right fountain and maintaining its cleanliness are crucial steps in ensuring your feline friend stays hydrated and healthy.