Recently, I’ve come across a lot of questions in forums about the safety of running water bowls (aka cat fountains). I thought now is a good time to clear up any misconceptions about them. Read on to find out why cat fountains aren’t just safe, but also a fabulous option!
Cat fountains are fantastic. In fact, I would say they’re one of the best inventions for cats since the litter box. Many people have switched to cat fountains because a lot of cats actually won’t drink from bowls, or they drink very little. File it under more ways that cats are demanding. LOL Seriously, though, there are some cats that almost refuse to drink from water bowls. That’s because cats have a natural instinct to drink from running water sources. In the wild, running water is more likely to be fresh and safe. When I worked at the vet, we had an office cat that would only drink from a running faucet. We finally got a cat fountain, and we no longer had to keep the sink on a constant drip.
While these fountains are amazing, as I mentioned above, some people worry about the safety of these bowls. I have seen several questions about the safety of these fountains in cat forums. People are afraid that maybe the fountain will short or perhaps the cat will get water up its nose. Let me reassure everyone now – cat fountains are totally safe. But there are some things to bear in mind when getting one of these fountains.
Cat Fountains and Their Care
These fountains are safe, but they require some routine, minor maintenance – mainly cleaning. Like any other water bowl, these fountains need to be regularly cleaned to keep the water fresh and free of bacteria. Cat mouths are not a clean environment. There’s a reason that cat bites can become so easily infected. Because of this, it’s important to keep their water source clean and free of any bacteria as well as food debris and the like. In addition, it’s important to use filtered water to reduce buildup of calcium and line which will clog up the fountain over time.
My first recommendation is to avoid plastic cat fountains. I worked at a vet for 7 years, and in my opinion, plastic just doesn’t get as clean as ceramic or stainless steel. I recommend either ceramic or stainless steel for easier, more thorough cleaning and for longevity. Once you have your fountain, it’s just a matter of keeping it clean.
Cleaning Cat Fountains
I recommend cleaning your cat fountain at least every other week. At the vet, we cleaned them weekly, but every other week is the absolute minimum. To clean your fountain, wash the bowl with soapy water. Then remove the housing cover for the pump and thoroughly clean the cover and the inside of the housing. Remember, bacteria can grow in the housing, as well. Don’t neglect the areas you can’t see. It may seem too simple, but it actually is. It’s basically just washing a more complicated bowl.
Cat Fountains are Totally Safe
If your cat wants to drink from running water, get him one of the many cat fountains available out there. They are totally safe. In all the years I worked at the vet, I never heard of a cat having any issue with these fountains. The only thing to remember is that you need to clean cat fountains at least every other week. If you do that, you’ll be sitting pretty, and so will your cat.