Monday, January 03, 2005

Fountain of Controversy

I'd love to get my boys a drinking fountain to replace or supplement their water bowl. I look at products like the Drinkwell Fountain, Petmate Fresh Flow, or the Hagen Catit and I start to drool.

This is an issue of some debate between my fiancee Liz and I. Liz correctly points out that the boys are getting a fair amount of water from the bowl we have now, a Petmate Le Bistro waterer. They are drinking and they are urinating quite a bit (if the litterbox is to be belived). But how much water is enough?

Because I'm a geek who loves gadgets and because I want to give my boys the best care, the thought of a pet fountain appeals to me, but does it really matter to them?

I know that, if I were a cat, I'd prefer fresh flowing water, but do they really need it? Also, I find myself with a huge electric bill each month, just because of the various air purifiers I use to remove dander from the air. Will having a motorized fountain running 24-7 add a lot to that bill?


Anonymous said...

I had one of those fountains for a while, but I found that it was complicated to get it clean and that after a
while is got rather slimy inside. I guess this is from recycling water the cat has had her tongue in?

Since my cat has always been fine with a regular still bowl, I went back to that.

Anonymous said...

Hi there. I'm with your girlfriend: simpler is better! I always make a point of leaving two water bowls, so that's there sure to be plenty, but as long as you change the water twice a day -- I do it in the morning before work, and once I get home from work -- it is fresh enough for your kitties!

P.S. I got my last cat as an adult, and he lived an additional 16 years, so he seemed to be just fine with this method. My "new" cat is doing fine after two years with me.

Jenn said...

My cat prefers his water fountain to a bowl. When I give him a bowl, he tips it over and then he's left without water until I discover what he's done (at least he keeps the floor clean LOL). I like that I don't have to replenish his water 2-3 times a day. The fountain has a resevoir that keeps the water level at "full" and the motor is a really small pump like the one you'd find in a small fish tank so I don't think it would be that noticable on your electric bill.
I clean it out completely every week so that it doesn't get all slimy and the filter gets changed every three months.
In my humble opinion, I'd get the it IS a really cool gadget and I know my cat is fascinated with the running water ;) Check to see where they're on sale, I got mine for $19.99

Thumper said...

Cats will only drink what they need...don't worry about them over drinking just because you have a fountain. But the fountain DOES remove concerns about any water borne ickies they might get from straight tap water, and they don't have to deal with a dish of water that's been just sitting there all day--they get filtered, fresh water on demand.

And there's the thrill factor--cats seem to love the fountains. There will probably be a bit of playing with the water at first. Gotta tell you, though, I'll never go back to having my cat drink out of a regular dish anymore.

We're using the Drinkwell Fountain, and Max loves it. I pull the filter and clean it out every week, and do a through cleaning of the whole thing every 10-14 days. It doesn't take much effort...and I just like the idea that he's getting clean water pretty much all the time.

I don't think it uses much electricity. No more than plugging a clock in.

Peggy said...

I have to agree with the first comment. I bought a Petmate fountain because Jack would sometimes jump on the bathroom vanity and drink from the faucet. He and Pippen were totally unimpressed by the Petmate. I thought it was a pain to take it apart and clean it. After a short time I gave up and went back to heavy glass or ceramic bowls with fresh water twice a day.

From the microbiology point of view, I have seen some pet fountains that look grungy and slimy; I sure wouldn't want to drink from them! I wonder what would grow if I cultured them? After a certain amount of time, stuff just adheres to plastic and no amount of scrubbing gets it really clean again. That's also why glass, ceramic, or metal is recommended for food bowls.

Some cats like to drink from the bathroom sink, but I know your bathroom is off-limits to the boys. And it's probably not a good idea to let them use the kitchen sink ;-)

I have a friend who gives her cats bottled water and changes it twice a day. That might be a good compromise between tap water and a fountain if you are concerned about water quality/freshness.

Of course, sometimes my cats jump in the tub and lick the water going down the drain, so I'm not too sure they care that much about the aesthetics!

socidoc said...

Hi Avram,
Well, you know I love my two cats as much as the next person... and I've never been seriously tempted to buy a gadget like a cat water fountain! My cats have a total of 4 water dishes spread around my place, including next to my bed (where they occasionally sleep), in the kitchen sink, next to their food, and even on the stove where I know they explore after I leave for work. I change the water once a day, and I have one cat who is a VERY prolific water drinker. If you are concerned about the purity of your tap water, just buy a Brita water jug (plastic, for storage of water in the refrig) and then both you and the cats can use it! That's my two cents worth. Cheers.

Anonymous said...

Not only do the boys get thier water dispenser washed often and thier water changed regularly, I have taken to giving them filtered water rather than Tap water. Since our builiding changed water tanks I've been giving the boys water from our Brita Filter and they seem to like it no better or worse than regular tap water which they were getting previously.

I've noticed that when the boys get their water changed they are fasinated as the water pours into the bowl but they dont drink out of it. They sniff and stare but I've only seen them drink after it finishes filling the bowl and not while its "running" water.
So I dont think they need or even care if the water is running as long as its clean and plentiful which it always is.