Best Cat Water Fountain
Cat water fountains can be a great way to get your cat to drink more water, and because this kind of pet water dispenser constantly circulates water and often includes a filter, you know that your cat will be getting fresh, quality water.
Cats are naturally drawn to moving water, so a fountain might entice a cat not drinking water, or curtail behaviors such as drinking from faucets. An added incentive to hydrate is especially important for cats diagnosed with diabetes, feline kidney disease, or feline leukemia, since dehydration can be a debilitating side effect.
Of course, there are many things to consider when trying to find the best cat water fountain, ranging from what kind of filter you need, to how you will replace equipment, to something as simple as where you will place it in the house, depending on whether the cat water fountain is battery operated or needs an outlet. Here is some information on cat water fountains to think about:
Something to consider regarding your cat’s water intake in general is the water quality. There are a few different types of water available to you and your pet, each with different effects:
- Local Tap Water – Tap water can vary in quality between municipalities, but it typically contains fluoride, chlorine by-products, bacteria, pesticides, arsenic, and heavy metals. Because of this, it is recommended to filter tap water before giving it to your cat.
- Well Water – Again, well water can vary depending on the location. Have the well water tested before deciding whether or not it should be filtered.
- Distilled Water – Since distilled water has been highly purified, it seems like it would be a safe choice, but it is not recommended for drinking. Because of the way water works by osmosis, distilled water is so lacking in solutes that it can actually pull beneficial nutrients out of the body, such as potassium, sodium, and other minerals. It also contains some dangerous compounds, and contact with air can make it acidic. Overall, it is not a good option for long-term intake.
- Spring Water – Spring water is actually the healthiest option for both people and cats, but finding real spring water can be a challenge. Many bottled waters that advertise as spring water are actually just tap water and have tested positive for contaminants. Brands like Perrier and Evian are fairly good options, as are Calistoga, Mountain Valley and Eldorado Springs.
The best way to make sure you are putting high quality water in your cat’s fountain is to have your water tested. If the water you are using is contaminated, fountains with a filtration system or even a faucet filter are good solutions.
If you know you want a filtration system for your cat’s water, there are a couple of different possibilities. Depending on what kind of pet fountain you buy, filters can be included in the fountain itself. Another option is to install filters in your home. Here are a few different types of filtration systems to consider:
- Ultraviolet Filter – UV light kills harmful microorganisms including bacteria, parasites, and various viruses.
- Carbon Filter – This filter gets rid of hazardous contaminants including heavy metals, parasites, disinfection byproducts, pesticides, and others by attracting and removing impurities using absorbent, positively charged carbon molecules. It also has the added benefit of removing bad tastes and odors.
- Reverse Osmosis – In this system, a semipermeable membrane filters out contaminants including heavy metals, parasites, arsenic, and other pollutants. This is a system you might find more commonly installed under sinks, though it is worth noting that this treatment does waste more water than other systems.
- Water Softening – An ion exchange filter can “soften” water by removing positively charged ions and replacing them with more stable minerals. This gets rid of calcium, magnesium, barium, and a few other hazardous ions.
Again, a good starting point might be to get your water tested and then decide what kind of filtration system is best for your pet and for you.
Consider also what the pet fountain you are looking into is made of. Two materials that have generated some controversy are copper and plastic:
- Copper – Research over the years has suggested that copper tubing is harmful to both humans and pets. Copper tends to dissolve into water and then builds up in people and animals’ systems. In cats, copper buildup can cause acute or chronic copper liver diseases, or hepatopathies.
- Plastic – Plastic has become problematic for a few different reasons. A basic problem with the material is that it requires a lot more cleaning than other options, and tends to retain odors, and thus germs, much more easily. Not only is it bad to ingest these germs, but contact with greasy plastic bowls has also been linked to feline acne developing on a cat’s chin. Other studies indicate that plastic releases the harmful chemical Bisphenol A (BPA) into water, with negative side effects ranging from increased cancer risk to reproductive problems.
Some pet owners report that they’ve had good experiences with high quality ceramic, which is easier to clean, doesn’t accumulate as much bacteria, keeps the water cool, and is often dishwasher safe.
Another thing to consider is the cleaning of a cat water fountain, particularly what kind of disinfectants to use:
- Hot water - The mildest form of cleaning would be to use extremely hot water, which has been shown to be effective in killing bacteria.
- Vinegar – Another type of cleaner is vinegar, which has antimicrobial properties. However, while it does prevent the growth of certain bacteria, it isn’t universally considered to be a full scale disinfecting solution.
- Chlorine Bleach – Chlorine bleach is still considered the best option for disinfection. While the safety of chlorine is up for debate, chlorinated water is still considered safer for drinking than water containing harmful bacteria.
A final practical and aesthetic consideration is the placement of your cat fountain. Most of these fountains will need to be near an electrical outlet, unless you get a battery operated cat water fountain. Cat fountains can also be a decorative addition to a house if you look into artistic models that can complement a space.
Cat water fountain reviews can also be a great source of information if you aren’t sure which kind to get. We are currently reviewing Glacier Point’s Perfect Pet Fountain:
What have your experiences been with cat water fountains? How do you clean and maintain your cat’s fountain? Which materials and styles do you like best and why?