One of the most important things you can do for your cat is to ensure that it has a plentiful supply of fresh water and one of the easiest ways you can encourage your cat to drink more is to use a cat water fountain.
The idea behind a cat water fountain is that it provides a steady stream of fresh water, something your cat will enjoy, and stops it going stagnant as it can do in a normal water bowl.
For Arthur and Kitty I chose the Drinkwell cat fountain. It features a constant free-falling stream of water (about 5 inches high) that collects in a bowl. A pump then extracts the water from the bowl and passes it through a charcoal filter that cleans the water, removing impurities and bad tastes, and then returns it through the fountain. It holds 50 oz. (about 1.5 liters) of water but you can order a separate reservoir to increase that capacity to 120 oz. although I haven’t tried that.
At first I thought it was going to be a noisy device, but it’s surprisingly quiet (although it sometimes get noisy, but more of that in a minute). It’s really easy to setup and in no you’ll have your cat water fountain up and running. Both Arthur and Kitty were a bit wary of it at first, but they quickly came round and are now very happy drinking from it. I’m pretty sure that both of them are drinking more than they used to from their old water bowl.
You can vary the speed of the water flow, but I quite like it on full. At this speed it makes a gentle trickling sound which I (oddly?) find quite soothing, and you’re also sure that it’s still flowing. Even at full speed it doesn’t splash water around, and it’s quite stable too so there’s no danger of you or your cat knocking it over.
OK, the downsides. First of all don’t place it directly next to your cat’s food bowl or you might find small bits of food finding their way into the water. If this is allowed to build up it can cause problems for the pump which could eventually burn out if you don’t do something. The same with cat hair, as this can build up and clog the pipework. For this reason you need to clean the fountain about once a week.
It takes me about fifteen minutes to do. It’s not particularly difficult, but the Drinkwell obviously wasn’t designed for easy cleaning. There are some nooks and crannies that need extra care, but you’ll soon get the hang of it.
Also, you need to make sure you top up the water regularly. Not because it’s running out, but because if the water level drops below the intake for the pump it will start to make slurping and sucking noises. At this point there is still water in the bowl so your cat still has a drink, but if the water level falls below the intake the motor will burn out. So keep it topped up and it will run smoothly and quietly.
Overall I’m very pleased with my new cat water fountain, and I can highly recommend the Drinkwell in particular. I bought the Drinkwell Original from Amazon for $50, although there is a more expensive Platinum version that looks a bit nicer and holds more water, but that’s the only difference.